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Learn more about each key event and check the answers for our quiz on Australian rights history.

C. The first newspaper to be published without government consent was the Hobart Town Gazette.

Image: View of Hobart Town, 1824, Joseph Lycett, hand-coloured aquatint and etching, 17 x 27 cm. Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office AUTAS001142927714

B. Melbourne stone masons won the right to work 8 hours in a day in 1856.

Image: An eight-hour day parade in Bourke Street, Melbourne, 1907, postcard. State Library of Victoria SH 870396

D. The Australian Ballot (voting by marking ‘X’ beside the name of your preferred candidate) was first introduced by South Australia.

Image: Henry Samuel Chapman, who devised an effective way to implement the secret ballot, 1867. Photo: Frederick Alexander Dunn. State Library of Victoria H29509

A. Free, compulsory and secular education was introduced in Victoria in 1872.

Image: The newly established Education Office, Melbourne, 1872. State Library of Victoria H96.1601708

D. The Victorian Employers’ Union was founded in reaction to the bootmakers’ strike.

Image: Billy Trenwith, President of the Operative Bootmakers Union, 1898. National Library of Australia 144620662

D. Women in South Australia won the right to vote and stand for parliament in 1894.

Image: Women’s Suffrage League secretary, Mary Lee. National Museum of Australia

B. White Australian women won the right to vote in federal elections in 1902.

Image: Poster of women’s suffrage banner, ‘Trust the Women Mother As I Have Done’, 1908, Dora Meeson Coates. National Museum of Australia

A. The Harvester Judgement relates to the standard family wage.

Image: Henry Bourne Higgins, President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. National Library of Australia obj-136708449

B. In 1908 the federal government passed the Invalid and Old-Age Pensions Act. Men had to be 65 years of age to be eligible for a pension.

Image: Christmas Day at the Benevolent Asylum’ in Illustrated Australian News. Photo: David Syme and Co. State Library of Victoria IAN01/01/95/1

B. The first Australian maternity allowance was introduced on 10 October 1912. Married and single women could receive £5 to cover their medical costs.

Image: Two children, Elsie and George Barnes, playing in their cart, Pioneer Express, with their dog, Ingham, Queensland, 1912. Hinchinbrook Shire Library 4/86

C. The federal government introduced sickness and unemployment benefits in 1945.

Image: More than 1000 unemployed men marching from the Esplanade to the Treasury buildings in Perth to see Western Australian Premier Sir James Mitchell during the Depression. State Library of Western Australia 000775D

B. The contraception pill was introduced in Australia in 1961.

Image: Contraceptive pills

A. The White Australia policy was abolished in 1966.

Image: Prime Minister Harold Holt (second from left), with other Southeast Asia Treaty Organization leaders in Manila, Philippines, 1966. Photo: Frank Wolfe, White House Photo Office, LBJ Library C3638-6

B. In 1967, 91% of voters voted in favour of the referendum on Aboriginal people, the highest ‘yes’ vote in Australian referendum history.

Image: Lobbyists from the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders with Prime Minister Harold Holt in February 1967. From left: Gordon Bryant MP, Faith Bandler, Harold Holt, Pastor Doug Nicholls, Burnum (Harry Penrith), Win Branson and WC Wentworth MP. National Archives of Australia A1200, L62232

A. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission granted equal pay for men and women in 1972.

Image: Equal pay protest, Melbourne Town Hall, 20 February 1969. Laurie Richards Collection, Museums Victoria 054972

C. The Australian federal parliament passed the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act in 1976.

Image: Group of protesters at the Aboriginal land rights demonstration, Parliament House, Canberra, 30 July 1972, National Library of Australia obj-149418663

A. The first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras took place along Sydney's Oxford Street.

Image: 2012 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: Eva Rinaldi

B. Susan Ryan introduced the Sex Discrimination Bill to the Australian Senate in 1983.

Image: The first Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pam O’Neill, with Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 1984. National Archives of Australia A6180,20/7/84/16

B. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

Image: Sydney on Australia Day 2008, three weeks prior to the Apology. The ‘Sorry’ writing was commissioned by a private individual. Photo: Michael Davies

B.  61.6% of voters recorded ‘yes’ votes in the 2017 same-sex marriage survey.

Image: Love Wheels, Eloise Murphy, wool, metal, plastic, paper and ink, bike: 168 x W 64 x H 93 cm. National Museum of Australia

Updated: 30 January 2020
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