When and why did Australia become a welfare state?
Students collaboratively construct a class timeline of key tax and welfare events and developments from Federation to Post World War II. They compare the provision of welfare between then and the present day to draw conclusions about continuity and change. By identifying significant tax and welfare events, students begin to understand the concept of historical significance.
By the end of Year 10, students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in the past. Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. They explain different interpretations of the past and recognise the evidence used to support these interpretations.
Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame a historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes. When evaluating these sources, they analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose and context. They develop and justify their own interpretations about the past. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.
Historical Knowledge and Understanding
the inter-war years between World War I d World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression (ACOKFH018).
The impact of World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Australian home front, including the changing roles of women and use of wartime government controls (conscription, manpower controls, rationing and censorship) (ACDSEH109).
Use chronological sequencing to demonstrate the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places (ACHHS182).
Use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS183).
Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry (ACHHS184).
Evaluate and enhance these questions (ACHHS185).
Suggested activity sequence
This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.If you assign this activity to a class, your students will be assigned all student resources on their 'My learning' page. You can also hand-pick the resources students are assigned by selecting individual resources when you add a work item to a class in 'My classes'.
Part A: Developing a hypothesis
- Explain that the activities students engage in will focus on answering the following inquiry question:
How and why did Australia become a welfare state?
- Explain the view of some historians regarding the history of welfare in Australia such as the view of Shaver:
‘Australia entered World War II with only a fragmentary welfare provision: by the end of the war it had constructed a 'welfare state'1
- Students develop a hypothesis about how and why Australia became a welfare state.
- Elicit students' initial ideas and ask them to share their first tentative hypothesis that answers the inquiry question.
- Invite students to develop a range of questions that could support their historical inquiry and test their hypothesis.
 Shaver, Sheila. (1987). “Design for a Welfare State: The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Social Security”. Australian Historical Studies. 22. P. 411.
Part B: Creating a class timeline of significant events
- Post the following headings on a wall:
- Pre-World War II
- World War II
- Post-World War II
- Give each student (or pair of students) an event and invite them to build a timeline of the key events in each period by placing their event on the wall in the correct place.
- As a class, discuss the differences between the black events and the blue events. What is the relationship between them?
- Students identify and discuss the following in groups:
- the main continuities
- the changes
- when the most changes occurred and the period of history with the greatest significance in the history of welfare
- anything that surprises them.
To promote collaborative and purposeful talk, use the talking cards resource.
- Students record their answers in their notebooks.
- Invite students to revisit their initial hypothesis. If it is no longer supported by evidence, have them generate a new hypothesis.
- Discuss as a class the findings that emerged from this activity.