Natural-Born Subjects? Race and British Subjecthood in Australia
Source TitleAustralian Journal of Politics and History
University of Melbourne Author/sChesterman, John
AffiliationMelbourne Law School
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsChesterman1, J. (2005). Natural-Born Subjects? Race and British Subjecthood in Australia. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 51 (1), pp.30-39. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8497.2005.00358.x.
Access StatusOpen Access
C1 - Refereed Journal Article
From the time of European settlement in Australia until 1948, British subjecthood was the preeminent Australian citizenship classification. “Australian citizenship” was only created as a legal category in 1948, and from then until 1984 British subjecthood continued to exist, alongside Australian citizenship, as a kind of parenthetical citizenship status. This article explores the meanings and significance of British subjecthood in Australia, and considers the reasons for its eventual demise. The article argues that the advent of formal (legal) racial equality in Australia for Indigenous people and for immigrant groups (which culminated in 1975 with the passage of the Racial Discrimination Act ), was one significant factor that helped to render obsolete the scenario whereby Australian citizens were deemed also to be British subjects.
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