Journal article

Turning the Screw: The 1916 Victorian Campaign for Conscription

John Lack

Victorian Historical Journal | ROYAL HISTORICAL SOC VICTORIA | Published : 2018


Historians of the home front in the Great War agree that by mid-1916 Australia was bitterly divided over the issue of conscription for overseas military service. However, they have shown far more interest in the anti-conscriptionists than in the conscriptionists. This article traces the campaign for conscription that was waged in regional Victoria and in Melbourne – newspaper pressure for the Liberal Opposition to end their political truce over voluntary enlistment, and the municipal and Australian Natives' Association crusades for compulsion. Did Australia's earliest conscriptionist campaign make Victoria the most closely divided State at the plebiscite held in October 1916?