Originally published in Radical Currents, Labour Histories, No. 1 Autumn 2022.
Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
In 1900 the Australian Constitution gave the Commonwealth Parliament not a ‘treaty power’ but a vague power over ‘external affairs’. Its precise meaning remained elusive for most of the twentieth century. But from the 1930s, Labor politicians, beginning with H. V. Evatt, Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs in the Curtin and Chifley governments in the 1940s, saw the potential of the ‘external affairs’ power. Continue reading