Ambivalent Abolitionism in the 1920s: New South Wales, Australia
In the former penal colony of New South Wales (NSW), a Labor government attempted what its counterpart in Queensland had achieved in 1922: the abolition of the death penalty. Although NSW’s unelected Legislative Council scuttled Labor’s 1925 bill, the party’s prevarication over capital punishment and the government’s poor management of the campaign thwarted abolition for a further three decades. However, NSW’s failure must be analysed in light of ambivalent abolitionism that prevailed in Britain and the US in the postwar decade. In this wider context, Queensland, rather than NSW, was the abolitionist outlier.
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