Colonial departures
Australian activists on the age of consent and prostitution
in Sex, politics and empire
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The settlers whose interventions were more colonial agents than they were subjects, though their positions and interventions were non-metropolitan, and as such they illuminate some of the political life that existed beyond England. Colonial legislators and activists looked to, and often appeared to copy, English models of regulation and resistance. In Australia, similarly, much of the content of social purity movements could be traced to English and American sources. Regulation Bills, put before and sometimes passed by responsible colonial governments, were generally modelled directly or indirectly on their English counterparts. Australian colonial governments assumed responsibility for many areas of legislation, including the regulation of prostitution and the determination of ages of consent. The South Australian parliament passed legislation, similar to England's Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 and introduced a series of other restrictions and regulations on sexual conduct.

Sex, politics and empire

A Postcolonial Geography


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