The Great Depression in Australia

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The Great Depression in Australia
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  1. Give a definition of depression when it refers to economy.

A time of low economic activity, distinguished from a recession by being prolonged and sustained, characterized by continuing falls in output, high and rising unemployment and companies burdened with unsold stocks because demand is low.

  1. When was the Great Depression in Australia?

The Great Depression in Australia happened in 1929 and ended in 1932.

  1. What were Australia’s lowest and highest unemployment rates during the Great Depression?

Australia was already at ten per cent. The Wall Street crash in October 1929 signalled the beginning of a severe depression for the whole industrialised world.

After the crash unemployment in Australia more than doubled to twenty-one per cent in mid-1930, and reached its peak in mid-1932 when almost thirty-two per cent of Australians were out of work.

  1. What were the causes of the Great Depression?

The ultimate cause of the Great Depression is still the subject of debate by economists. Although the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange determined its timing there were several factors involved:

  1. What were the social impacts of the Great Depression on Australians?

The Great Depression's impact on Australian society was devastating. Without work and a steady income many people lost their homes and were forced to live in makeshift dwellings with poor heating and sanitation.

  1. List the political impacts of the Great Depression in Australia.

During the Great Depression, many Australians lost confidence in the abilities of their government representatives. A number of radical or extremist organizations gathered strength and popularity as a result of the large-scale public dissatisfaction.

  1. Who brought political stability to the Australian government after the effects of the Great Depression?

Former Tasmanian Premier Joseph Lyons was a minister in Scullin's government throughout the Depression and was responsible for the portfolios of Postmaster-General, and Works and Railways. He was a supporter of an economic policy that included a evenhanded budget and decrease in government spending, which was rejected by the ALP Caucus.

After quitting from Cabinet on 26 January 1931, Lyons defected from the ALP to a movement called the 'All For Australia League', which later became the United Australia Party (UAP). With Lyons manager, the new UAP contributed to the demise of the Scullin Labor government and Lyons became Prime Minister on 6 January 1932.

  1. How much money was given to help unemployment in Australia?

After the Wall Street crash, the federal government gave £1,000,000 to the states to provide relief to the unemployed. It was anticipated that the money to be used for road works. It possibly will also free up funds to help the unemployed in other areas. But the numbers of unemployed continued to grow.

  1. What sorts of work were the unemployed given?

In July 1930, a further £1,000,000 was made available to the states for proposed public works (only projects that turned enough of a profit to cover interest repayments on loans were accepted), followed by another £500,000 in December of that year. Most of the work generated was hard manual labour. The narrow road built to the summit of Mount Wellington in Tasmania is an example of the kinds of projects unemployed Australians were carrying out.

  1. What did Australia do in an attempt to solve its economic problems?

James Scullin's Labor government, with its internal party disputes and deflationary economic policy, was unable to bring much relief from the Great Depression. By the time his government was voted out in early 1932, Australia had felt the effects of the economic disaster more than other nations around the world.

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