Free for educational use
Year of production - 2007
Duration - 5min 5sec
Tags - Australian History, biography, federation, identity, immigration, Law, national identity, politics, Prime Ministers, White Australia Policy, see all tags
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About the Video Cliptop
Andrew Fisher’s Lunch Box is an episode from the series The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures, produced in 2007.
The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures
Award winning cartoonist and yarn spinner, Warren Brown, reveals the emotional lives of Australian Prime Ministers through 10 objects they used every day or even adored – from Robert Menzies’ home movie camera, to Joseph Lyons’ love letters, Harold Holt’s briefcase and Ben Chifley’s pipe. These treasures reveal the nation’s leaders, as you have never seen them before.
The Prime Ministers’ National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program produced in association with Old Parliament House and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Andrew Fisher’s tin lunch box reminds us that humble beginnings informed his formidable political career. Leaving school at ten, he was a coalminer throughout his teens, and migrated to Australia from Scotland at 23. He rose quickly from union organiser to three-time Prime Minister, inventing the Australian ideal of a ‘fair go’ along the way. Among a host of policies designed for the common good, he advocated maternity allowances and greater political equality for women.
Andrew Fisher (1862-1928) was Prime Minister of Australia three times; from November 1908 to June 1909, April 1910 to June 1913, September 1914 to October 1915. He is regarded as one of the most successful Australian politicians.
Andrew Fisher’s lunch box is held at the Gympie Gold Mining Museum in Queensland.
Early Commonwealth legislation
The Early Commonwealth period is characterised by a large number of significant and progressive pieces of legislation. These included the following:
- Immigration Restriction Act 1901
- Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901
- Franchise Act 1902
- Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904
- Tariff Acts and New Protection 1905–7
- Invalid and Old Age Pension Act 1908
- Defence Act (‘boy conscription’) 1909
- Maternity Allowances Act 1912
In small groups, select one piece of legislation to research and then report back to the whole class.
Key questions to consider include:
- What did the Act do?
- How was it new and different or progressive?
- What was the underlying vision behind this Act?
- To whom did the Act apply, and what does it tell us about who was ‘Australian’ and what it meant to be Australian in this period?
- Who was to be excluded from the new nation?
Go to the Australian Dictionary of Biography
Robert Lewis, Nation, Race and Citizen 1888–1914, Eagle Resources, Melbourne, 2005 for discussion of these Acts.