Australia First Movement

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Australia First Movement was a proto-fascist movement which grew out of the Rational Association and the Victorian Socialist Party. Adela Pankhurst Walsh, of the famous suffragette family, was involved in the movement, along with W. J. Miles, Rhodes scholar Percy Stephensen, and writers Xavier Herbert, Miles Franklin and Eleanor Dark.

The movement's advocacy of independence from the British Empire attracted the support of the Catholic weekly, The Advocate, as well as the Odinist Alexander Rud Mills. It was anti-semitic,[1] and by 1938 was advocating a national socialist corporate state[citation needed] and a political alliance with the axis powers of Germany,[1] Italy and Japan. Compromised by its direct links with Japan, the organisation was suppressed in March 1942. Four Australia First Movement members in Perth, and sixteen in Sydney, were arrested. Two were convicted of conspiring to assist the enemy and others were interned – a decision later criticised heavily by Paul Hasluck, in his official history of Australian involvement in the Second World War.[2]

A number of the movement's members had come from a far-left background. Walsh, Stephensen and Pankhurst were former Communists.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Australia First Movement". Trove. 20 June 1944. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Horner, David (2014-10-07). The Spy Catchers: The Official History of ASIO, 1949-1963. Allen & Unwin. pp. 22–23. ISBN 9781743319666. 
  3. ^ Hogan, Susan (1990). "Pankhurst, Adela Constantia (1885–1961)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Munro, Craig (1990). "Stephensen, Percy Reginald (1901–1965)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  1. Barbara Winter (January 2005). The Australia First Movement. Interactive Publications. ISBN 978-1-876819-91-0. 
  2. Bruce Muirden (1968). The Puzzled Patriots: The Story of the Australia First Movement. Melbourne University Press.