Progressive ideas and movements Defining Moments, 1750–1918
Investigation 2: Socialism
2.5 1912 Maternity allowance
Childbirth was a dangerous time for women and for babies at the beginning of the twentieth century. There was a very high death rate for children and mothers.
One idea to address this problem was to provide support to allow women to gain access to medical help and food. By doing this it was hoped the death rate would be reduced and Australia would achieve a more certain population growth.
An allowance was introduced, but was limited to only white women. Therefore despite helping many women, the policy also supported the White Australia policy.
Read the information about the introduction of a national maternity allowance in the Defining Moment in Australian history: 1912 Australian Government introduces a maternity allowance. Use that information to answer these questions.
Look back at the Key Questions. Which of these questions do you think you can now answer fully? Which need more research?