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Ben Chifley 13 Jul 1945 16th Prime Minister
New Prime Minister Ben Chifley was sworn in after being chosen the day before as the new leader of the Labor Party.
Ben Chifley 06 Aug 1945 Hiroshima
The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. On 15 August Japan surrendered, ending the war in the Pacific.
Ben Chifley 17 Oct 1945 Peace time intelligence
The Commonwealth Investigation Service was formed. It combined the wartime Security Service and the Investigation Branch.
Ben Chifley 10 Jul 1946 Parliament at home
Proceedings in the House of Representatives were broadcast for the first time. Legislation required the ABC to relay the parliamentary sessions on the interstate radio network. Senate broadcasts began a week later.
Ben Chifley 15 Aug 1946 Coal Board
Under an agreement with the New South Wales government, a Joint Coal Board was established. It enabled the government to continue the regulation of coal production, distribution and prices managed during the war by the Commonwealth Coal Commissioner. Coal production tripled in the next 25 years. In 2002 the Board was replaced by a private company, Coal Services Pty Ltd.
Ben Chifley 28 Sep 1946 National social security
A referendum to alter Section 51 of the Constitution was successful. It granted the Commonwealth power to provide maternity allowances, widows pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services, and student and family allowances. Two further proposals related to marketing and industrial employment were not carried. The referendum was held with the 18th federal election.
Ben Chifley 28 Sep 1946 18th federal election
74 House of Representatives seats and 19 Senate seats
Ben Chifley 13 Dec 1946 Papua New Guinea
The United Nations granted Australia trusteeship of New Guinea and Papua. The two regions were administered jointly, with the capital at Port Moresby.
Ben Chifley 11 Mar 1947 12th Governor-General
Sir William McKell served as Governor-General until 8 May 1953. Lord Northcote was acting Governor-General from 19 July to 14 December 1951.
Ben Chifley 01 Apr 1947 Woomera
The Woomera rocket range was established as a joint facility for testing British and Australian short and long-range missiles. The range was sited within the 127,000 square kilometre Woomera Prohibited Area in the northwest of South Australia. From 1957 the facility has also been used for Australia’s space program.
Ben Chifley 01 Jul 1947 Good news
At 7 pm, the first ABC news broadcast under amendments to the Broadcasting Act was aired. The changes aimed at removing bias by requiring all news to be produced by ABC journalists, rather than gathered from commercial sources.
Ben Chifley 21 Jul 1947 Displaced persons accepted
Australia’s Minister for Immigration Arthur Calwell signed an agreement with the United Nations Refugee organisation to accept displaced persons from European countries ravaged by war.
Ben Chifley 18 Nov 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Australia applied the reduced tariffs under the GATT, signed in Geneva that year. The agreement established an international forum to encourage free trade between members by reducing tariffs on traded goods and by providing a means for resolving trade disputes.
Ben Chifley 26 Dec 1947 Antarctic territories
Britain transferred Heard and MacDonald Islands in Antarctica to Australia. The Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) was established in August. Scientific stations were set up on Heard Island in December, and on Macquarie Island the following May, using the small vessel Wyatt Earp.
Ben Chifley 01 Jan 1948 40-hour week
Workers covered by Commonwealth awards began the reduced 40-hour week. The date for the change had been set by the Conciliation and Arbitration Court in September 1947.
Ben Chifley 29 May 1948 Referendum
A proposal to give the Commonwealth Parliament ongoing power to make laws with respect to rents and prices was not carried.
Ben Chifley 24 Jun 1948 National sea and air lines
The Qantas Empire Airways Act meant Australia’s only overseas airline was now publicly owned. In 1948 the government also re-established a Commonwealth shipping line.
Ben Chifley 21 Sep 1948 United Nations president
Australia’s Minister for External Affairs, HV Evatt, was elected president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Ben Chifley 29 Nov 1948 First Holden
Prime Minister Ben Chifley launched the first Holden ‘family motor car’ off the assembly line. Ten years later, 500,000 Holdens had been produced.
Ben Chifley 26 Jan 1949 Australia’s first citizens
The Nationality and Citizenship Act came into operation, creating Australian citizenship. Although Australians remained British subjects, they were now citizens of their own country as well. The Act retained the definition of ‘aliens’ as those not British subjects. Irish citizens and ‘protected persons’ within the British Commonwealth were excepted.
Ben Chifley 16 Mar 1949 ASIO established
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was established to protect the Commonwealth from espionage, sabotage and subversion.
Ben Chifley 11 May 1949 More seats in parliament
The 1948 Representation Act was enacted. It increased the the House of Representatives from 75 to 122 seats, including a new member for the Australian Capital Territory, and the Senate from 36 to 60 seats. The Commonwealth Electoral Act introduced proportional representation for Senate elections.
Ben Chifley 12 Sep 1949 Planting the national garden
Prime Minister Ben Chifley planted a eucalypt at the entrance of the National Botanic Gardens during a visit by international foresters. The gardens had been established at Black Mountain in Canberra four years before.
Ben Chifley 17 Oct 1949 Snowy scheme
Work began on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme to divert water from the upper Snowy River through tunnels and dams. The scheme aimed to generate electricity for New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, and provide water for irrigation along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. This major postwar development project employed many immigrant workers and was completed in 1974.
Ben Chifley 10 Dec 1949 19th federal election
House of Representatives and 42 Senate seats