Their Fiery Cross of Union challenges an unchallenged orthodoxy of Australian life: that the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 was a kind of saving triumph, without which existence in the land would be unimaginable. Their Fiery Cross argues instead that the Federation of 1901 was an almost accidental upshot of the contest of Henry Parkes, G.H. Reid and Edmund Barton for personal political supremacy; that the leadership of the cause was mediocre; its democracy mechanical, it’s motivations banal, its ideals more imperial than patriotic, and its consequences injurious Australia’s economic welfare, military security, industrial peace, and social harmony. It concludes Australian Federation was at least one generation premature. And badly botched. To contemplate Australia’s political agglomeration tossing and twisting in the present this crisis – and to wonder ‘how did it get this way?’ – is to wish to read this book.
Their Fiery Cross was published in June 2021, and is now for sale.