Every Assistance and Protection is the first book presenting an in-depth history of the Australian passport. In charting the development of the passport from its early beginnings to its present form, the book traverses changes in government policy and social history from the early 19th century to the modern era. It shows how the Australian passport evolved from a signifier of British nationality into a badge of membership of one of the most multicultural countries in the world.
The book explores the landmark events in this history:
the great 19th century diasporas, resulting from relaxation of official controls on the movement of people;
the early passport regime regulating the movement of “ticket-of-leave” convicts;
the establishment of the centralised passport system during World War I;
the enactment of the first passport legislation for the Commonwealth, The Passports Act 1920, and the reaction of some Australians who felt the new law infringed the liberties of the British subject;
changes to the laws in 1938 such that possession of a passport was no longer mandatory for an Australian to travel, though still a practical necessity;
the use of the government’s discretionary power to cancel or withhold passports to inhibit the movement of individual communists;
the establishment of Australian citizenship in 1948 – the basis for possession of an Australian passport; the removal of the word “British” from the cover in 1967;
the effects of globalisation and heightened security in the late 20th and early 21st century.
It also touches on the lives of individuals: boxer Les Darcy, journalist Wilfred Burchett, and General Sir Thomas Blamey, are among the many Australians featuring in these pages.
The book is based on an exhaustive examination of hitherto unexamined primary sources of many government departments, including the Departments of External Affairs, the Prime Minister’s, the Attorney-General’s, Defence, Home and Territories, Immigration and Foreign Affairs.
Sponsored by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade