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Forward Defence

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Research Question: Explain the implications of the policy of "Forward Defence" on political life in Australia between 1964 and 1972 The policy of "Forward Defence" can be defined as the deployment of troops across the approaches to Australia to prevent a potential enemy attacking it. It would have many implications on political life in Australia between 1964 and 1972. This included the strengthening of the relationship with the United States of America, Australia's participation in Vietnam War and also the dominance of the Australian Liberal Party during this period. Clearly, there were implications of this policy. It can definitely be said that "forward defence" has strengthened the relationship between Australia and USA. Communism was definitely a threat to the West as it had spread to Asian countries like China and there was a possibility that it would keep spreading. Communism was a constant issue in Australian life as Australia was part of the Cold War rivalry. ...read more.


In the previous election of 1963, the Labour and Liberal Party won 52 seats each. In the 1966 election, the Labour Party only won 41 seats and the Liberal Party won 61 seats. This clearly showed the extent of President Johnson's influence on Australian people. "Forward Defence" enabled Australia to work with the USA against communism in Asia which could be said as the defence of Australia. Clearly, "Forward Defence" enabled Australia to create a close relationship with the USA which in turn affected the federal election of 1966 as well as the later ones which would clearly impact Australian society. The participation in the Vietnam War was a controversial issue. Communism was seen as a threat to Australia. "Forward Defence" enabled the government to claim that sending the troops to Vietnam was to help the security of the nation. The "Domino Theory" was a concern. It was believed that if South Vietnam fell to communism, then communism would spread to the rest of Asia and even Australia. ...read more.


The Liberal Party's stance against communism was clear. The Liberal Party often accused the Labour Party of being soft on communism and as people in Australia thought communism was indeed a big threat to society, they supported the Liberal Party and so were subject to conscription which changed many people's lives. Also, the Labour Party was in turmoil as the Labour Party Right-wing groups split with the party and formed their own, called the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). This was a major reason why the Labour Party lost the elections from 1954 onwards until 1972. The policy of "forward defence" was therefore important in showing the stances of the parties with communism and was instrumental to political life in Australia. In conclusion, the policy of "Forward Defence" had implications on political life in Australia between 1964 and 1972. It included the strengthening of Australia's relationship with the USA, Australia's participation in the Vietnam War as well as the Liberal Party dominance during that era. Cleary, there were implications of this controversial policy. ...read more.

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