A Free Country- Australians' Search for Utopia 1861-1901 tells how Australians, inspired by their new democracy, attempted to use their freedom to build a society without social and economic conflict.
As the second book in a landmark five-volume Australian Liberalism series, A Free Country shows the successes and missteps in the attempt to establish the legal and moral foundations for a liberal society in Australia, examining the ideological battles of the period.
The national politics of twentieth-century Australia had their roots during this time, as utopian dreams of 'social reconstruction' opposed liberal ideals of individual freedom, fostering the concept of 'class wars' and leading to the ongoing involvement of trade unions in politics.
As emerging collective ideas of nationalism, empire, race and class challenged individual rights and threatened to seed domestic and international conflict, liberals succeeded in bringing the six colonies into one Australian nation founded on liberal principles, writing a constitution hailed as the most democratic in the world.
About the Author
David Kemp's career spans both academia and practical politics. From 1990 to 2004 he was member of the federal parliament, and from 1996 he was a minister in the Howard government overseeing various portfolios including Employment, Education and Environment. Before entering parliament he was Professor of Politics at Monash University, and after leaving parliament Professor and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Australia & New Zealand School of Government and board member of the Grattan Institute for Public Policy. He is Chairman of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and of the Australian Heritage Council.
He has published seminal books on voting behavior and political analysis, and has written extensively on political liberalism, political ideas and Liberal Party icons such as Robert Menzies and Malcolm Fraser.