The Eureka rebellion, which is often referred to as the 'Eureka Stockade', is an important event in the development of Australian democracy. The rebellion came about because the goldfield workers (known as 'diggers') conflicting the government miners' licenses. The licenses were a simple way for the government to tax the diggers. License fees had to be paid even if the digger couldn’t find any gold. They had to carry it with them at all times, or face a fine and arrest. Less successful diggers found it difficult to pay their license fees. The miners felt this was an unfair system and were prepared to fight for change. They lost the fight they were successful in bringing about the changes they wanted -miners paid a tax on gold they found, instead of paying for the possibility of getting gold.
Many ordinary people hated the inequalities that existed between rich and poor in Britain and Europe. Australia seemed to offer them the chance to gain independence as small farmers. In the 1850s a popular movement developed calling for ‘free selection’. The first free selection Act was passed in the Victorian Parliament in 1860. In New South Wales free selection acts were passed in 1861 and similar laws were made in the other colonies.
These free selection laws allowed