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Australian Government Respond to the Threat of Communism During the 1950’s

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After the conclusion of World War 2, which ended in 1945, Australia faced the growing threat of communism. Communism is social organization in which all the people in the community all properties and money is equally shared. The Australian government responded in many ways to the threat of communism during the 1950’s. Australia responded by its involvement in the Korean War, joining alliances and signing treaties and by the introduction of the Dissolution Bill, referendum and the Petrov Affair.

Australia’s involvement in the Korean War was one of the ways in which it reacted to the largely growing threat of communism. Australia didn’t think communism as a threat until China was sucked in by the Red Menace and turn into a communist country. Australia joined the Korean War in 1950. Troops were sent to fight in Korea in order to stop the domino effect. The domino effect was the result of the large nations falling under the control of Communism, eventually nation after nation would become a communist state. In order for Australia to not fall under the domino effect Australia joined the Korean War was because it believed that it would be smarter and more strategic to fight the threat of communism outside of Australia rather than wait for it to come and fight it here. Consequently a truce was signed between the countries thus leaving the country back to where it had started.

Another response to the threat of communism in Asia was the signing of the Anzus treaty. This was possibly the greatest and most important step that Australia took in order to minimize the threat of communism. The treaty was signed by Australia, New Zealand and the United States. By signing the treaty all three nations were obliged to help each other out if either of them were to be under attack. Australia signed the Anzus treaty because Australia believed that it needed strong allies to keep Australia safe from the threat of communism.

Australia also signed another agreement called the SEATO alliance. This alliance was signed between Britain, Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, France, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. This was signed by Australia in 1955. Great fears arose that the large poverty-stricken populations of South East Asia would rise up and get support from China and become a communist area. Menzies believed that the treaty was a need as for it would provide Australia with security and defense against the spreading and expansion of Communism. Consequently the Alliance allowed for economic, social and cultural cooperation between members thus providing security and defense for Australia.

Australia’s response to Communism within Australia was by the attempt of the Dissolution Bill, the referendum to ban Communism and the Petrov affair. In 1950 Menzies proposed a law, called the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. The Bill proposed to get rid of the Communist party in Australia and stop any member of the communist party being a government employee. The Bill was presented to the High Court. The high court agreed on that the Bill was unconstitutional and Menzies’ Bill did not get passed. In order to protect Australia from communism, Menzies turned to the vote of the people. The population narrowly opposed to the referendum thus leading to the Communist Party to still be an active party at that time. Having lost the referendum in 1951, Prime Minister Robert Menzies decided to increase the hunt for communist parties.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization took advantage of their power and began watching people and politicians, tapping into phones and confiscating anyone who looked like a communist suspect’s passports. The Liberal party was losing interest from the people and therefore was losing the vote of the people very slowly. Unless Menzies came up with a miracle he would lose power with the upcoming elections in 1954. In the last hours of last session of parliament, Menzies announced that a Russian Diplomat in Australia was going to deflect and provide information about communist spies in Australia. Menzies also announced of the introduction of the Royal Commission. The affair took a very dramatic turn in late April in 1954 when Petrov’s wife was dragged on a plane at Sydney Airport to be taken to Russia by Russian agents as a result of Petrov’s deflection. While the plane was refueling in Brisbane ASIO and Mrs. Petrov was removed from the plane and was granted Political Asylum.

Australia’s responses to the growing treat of Communism were vital steps as it allowed communism to be confined and not spread to Australia. Yet, despite this belief and threat, Australia’s involvement in the Korean War, involvement in treaties and alliances and the dissolution, referendum and the Petrov affair played an integral part in the spreading of communism. Australia’s responses had a large impact on Australia, and the world wouldn’t look the same today. The steps that Australia implement against the threat of Communism in Australia were vital

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