The Info List - White Australia Policy

The term White Australia policy
White Australia policy
comprises various historical policies that effectively barred people of non-European descent from immigrating to Australia. There was never any specific policy titled as such, but the term was invented later to encapsulate a collection of policies that were designed to exclude people from Asia (particularly China) and the Pacific Islands
Pacific Islands
(particularly Melanesia) from immigrating to Australia. These policies were progressively dismantled between 1949 and 1973.[3] Competition in the gold fields between British and Chinese miners, and labour union opposition to the importation of Pacific Islanders into the sugar plantations of Queensland, reinforced the demand to eliminate or minimize low wage immigration from Asia
and the Pacific Islands. From the 1850s, there were restrictions on family members joining Chinese miners already in Australia. The colonial authorities levied a special tax on Chinese immigrants that other immigrants were exempted from. Towards the end of the 19th century, there was also a push by the labour unions to stop work done by Chinese immigrants in the furniture and market garden industries. Australian furniture had to be labelled "Made with Chinese Labour".[citation needed] Soon after Australia became a federation, the Government of Edmund Barton, passed the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, which was drafted by Australia's second Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. The passage of this bill is considered the commencement of the White Australia Policy as Australian government policy. Subsequent acts further strengthened the policy up to the start of the Second World War.[4] These policies effectively allowed for British migrants to be preferred over all others through the first four decades of the 20th century. During the Second World War, Prime Minister John Curtin reinforced the policy, saying "This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race."[3] The policy was dismantled in stages by successive governments after the conclusion of the Second World War, with the encouragement of first non-British, non-white immigration, allowing for a large multi-ethnic post-war program of immigration. The Menzies and Holt Governments effectively dismantled the policies between 1949 and 1966 and the Whitlam Government
Whitlam Government
passed laws to ensure that race would be totally disregarded as a component for immigration to Australia in 1973. In 1975, the Whitlam Government
Whitlam Government
passed the Racial Discrimination Act, which made racially based selection criteria unlawful. In the decades since, Australia has maintained large-scale multi-ethnic immigration. Australia's current Migration Program allows people from any country to apply to migrate to Australia, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, or language, provided that they meet the criteria set out in law.[3]


1 Immigration policy prior to Federation

1.1 Gold Rush Era 1.2 Support from the Australian Labour Movement

2 From Federation to the Second World War

2.1 Federation Convention and Australia's first government

2.1.1 Immigration Restriction Act 1901 2.1.2 Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901

2.2 Paris Peace Conference 2.3 Alfred Deakin 2.4 Stanley Bruce

3 Abolition of the policy

3.1 Second World War 3.2 Post-war immigration 3.3 Relaxation of restrictions 3.4 End of the White Australia policy 3.5 Aftermath

4 Legacy

4.1 Religious legacy 4.2 Contemporary racial and ethnic demographics 4.3 Political and social legacy

5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Immigration policy prior to Federation[edit] Gold Rush Era[edit] The discovery of gold in Australia in 1851 led to an influx of immigrants from all around the world. The colony of New South Wales had a population of just 200,000 in 1851, but the huge influx of settlers spurred by the gold rushes transformed the Australian colonies economically, politically and demographically. Over the next 20 years, 40,000 Chinese men and over 9,000 women (mostly Cantonese) immigrated to the goldfields seeking prosperity.[5] Gold brought great wealth but also new social tensions. Multi-ethnic migrants came to New South Wales
New South Wales
in large numbers for the first time. Competition on the goldfields, particularly resentment among white miners towards the successes of Chinese miners, led to tensions between groups and eventually a series of significant protests and riots, including the Buckland Riot in 1857 and the Lambing Flat Riots between 1860 and 1861. Governor Hotham, on 16 November 1854, appointed a Royal Commission on Victorian goldfields problems and grievances. This led to restrictions being placed on Chinese immigration and residency taxes levied from Chinese residents in Victoria from 1855 with New South Wales
New South Wales
following suit in 1861. These restrictions remained in force until the early 1870s.[6]Reference does not support the argument of this paragraph Support from the Australian Labour Movement[edit] Melbourne Trades Hall
Melbourne Trades Hall
was opened in 1859 with Trades and Labour Councils and Trades Halls opening in all cities and most regional towns in the following forty years. During the 1880s Trade unions developed among shearers, miners, and stevedores (wharf workers), but soon spread to cover almost all blue-collar jobs. Shortages of labour led to high wages for a prosperous skilled working class, whose unions demanded and got an eight-hour day and other benefits unheard of in Europe.

Eight-hour day
Eight-hour day
march circa 1900, outside Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne.

Australia gained a reputation as "the working man's paradise." Some employers tried to undercut the unions by importing Chinese labour. This produced a reaction which led to all the colonies restricting Chinese and other Asian immigration. This was the foundation of the White Australia Policy. The "Australian compact", based around centralised industrial arbitration, a degree of government assistance particularly for primary industries, and White Australia, was to continue for many years before gradually dissolving in the second half of the 20th century.

The growth of the sugar industry in Queensland
in the 1870s led to searching for labourers prepared to work in a tropical environment. During this time, thousands of "Kanakas" (Pacific Islanders) were brought into Australia as indentured workers.[7] This and related practices of bringing in non-white labour to be cheaply employed was commonly termed "blackbirding" and refers to the recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work on plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland
(Australia) and Fiji.[8] In the 1870s and 1880s, the trade union movement began a series of protests against foreign labour. Their arguments were that Asians and Chinese took jobs away from white men, worked for "substandard" wages, lowered working conditions and refused unionisation.[5] Objections to these arguments came largely from wealthy land owners in rural areas.[5] It was argued that without Asiatics to work in the tropical areas of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
and Queensland, the area would have to be abandoned.[7] Despite these objections to restricting immigration, between 1875 and 1888 all Australian colonies enacted legislation which excluded all further Chinese immigration.[7] Asian immigrants already residing in the Australian colonies were not expelled and retained the same rights as their Anglo and Southern compatriots. Agreements were made to further increase these restrictions in 1895 following an Inter-colonial Premier's Conference where all colonies agreed to extend entry restrictions to all non-white races. However, in attempting to enact this legislation, the Governors of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania
reserved the bills, due to a treaty with Japan, and they did not become law. Instead, the Natal Act of 1897 was introduced, restricting "undesirable persons" rather than any specific race.[5] The British government in London was not pleased with legislation that discriminated against certain subjects of its Empire, but decided not to disallow the laws that were passed. Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain explained in 1897:

We quite sympathise with the determination...of these colonies...that there should not be an influx of people alien in civilisation, alien in religion, alien in customs, whose influx, moreover, would seriously interfere with the legitimate rights of the existing labouring population.[9]

From Federation to the Second World War[edit] In writing about the preoccupations of the Australian population in early Federation Australia before the First World War
First World War
in ANZAC to Amiens, the official historian of the war, Charles Bean, considered the White Australia policy
White Australia policy
and defined it as follows:

"White Australia Policy" – a vehement effort to maintain a high Western standard of economy, society and culture (necessitating at that stage, however it might be camouflaged, the rigid exclusion of Oriental peoples).

Federation Convention and Australia's first government[edit] Immigration was a prominent topic in the lead up to Australian Federation. At the third Session of the Australasian Federation Convention of 1898, Western Australian premier and future federal cabinet member John Forrest
John Forrest
summarised the prevailing feeling:[8]

It is of no use to shut our eyes to the fact that there is a great feeling all over Australia against the introduction of coloured persons. It goes without saying that we do not like to talk about it, but it is so.[10]

The Barton Government
Barton Government
which came to power following the first elections to the Commonwealth parliament in 1901 was formed by the Protectionist Party
Protectionist Party
with the support of the Australian Labor Party. The support of the Labor Party was contingent upon restricting non-white immigration, reflecting the attitudes of the Australian Workers Union and other labour organisations at the time, upon whose support the Labor Party was founded. The first Parliament of Australia
Parliament of Australia
quickly moved to restrict immigration to maintain Australia's British character, and the Pacific Island Labourers Bill and the Immigration Restriction Bill were passed shortly before parliament rose for its first Christmas recess. The Colonial Secretary in Britain had however made it clear that a race-based immigration policy would run "contrary to the general conceptions of equality which have ever been the guiding principle of British rule throughout the Empire". The Barton Government
Barton Government
therefore conceived of the "language dictation test", which would allow the government, at the discretion of the minister, to block unwanted migrants by forcing them to sit a test in "any European language". Race had already been established as a premise for exclusion among the colonial parliaments, so the main question for debate was who exactly the new Commonwealth ought to exclude, with the Labor Party rejecting Britain's calls to placate the populations of its non-white colonies and allow "aboriginal natives of Asia, Africa, or the islands thereof". There was opposition from Queensland
and its sugar industry to the proposals of the Pacific Islanders Bill to exclude "Kanaka" laborers, however Barton argued that the practice was "veiled slavery" that could lead to a "negro problem" similar to that in the United States, and the Bill was passed.[11] Immigration Restriction Act 1901[edit] Main article: Immigration Restriction Act 1901 The new Federal Parliament, as one of its first pieces of legislation, passed the Immigration Restriction Act 1901
Immigration Restriction Act 1901
to "place certain restrictions on immigration and... for the removal... of prohibited immigrants". The Act drew on similar legislation in South Africa. Edmund Barton, the prime minister, argued in support of the Bill with the following statement: "The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman."[12] The Attorney General tasked with drafting the legislation was Alfred Deakin. Deakin supported Barton's position over that of the Labor Party in drafting the Bill (the ALP wanted more direct methods of exclusion than the dictation test) and redacted the more vicious racism proposed for the text in his Second Reading
Second Reading
of the Bill.[13] In seeking to justify the policy, Deakin said he believed that the Japanese and Chinese[14] might be a threat to the newly formed federation and it was this belief that led to legislation to ensure they would be kept out:

It is not the bad qualities, but the good qualities of these alien races that make them so dangerous to us. It is their inexhaustible energy, their power of applying themselves to new tasks, their endurance and low standard of living that make them such competitors.[15]

Early drafts of the Act explicitly banned non-Europeans from migrating to Australia but objections from the British government, which feared that such a measure would offend British subjects in India and Britain's allies in Japan, caused the Barton government to remove this wording. Instead, a "dictation test" was introduced as a device for excluding unwanted immigrants. Immigration officials were given the power to exclude any person who failed to pass a 50-word dictation test. At first this was to be in any European language, but was later changed to include any language. The tests were written in such a way to make them nearly impossible to pass. The first of these tests was written by Federal MP Stewart Parnaby as an example for officers to follow when setting future tests. The "Stewart" test was unofficially standardised as the English version of the test, due to its extremely high rates of failure resulting from a very sophisticated use of language.[16] While specifically asked by Barton to carry out this task, Parnaby allegedly shared similar views to Donald Cameron despite never publicly admitting so citation required. The legislation found strong support in the new Australian Parliament, with arguments ranging from economic protection to outright racism. The Labor Party wanted to protect "white" jobs and pushed for more explicit restrictions. A few politicians spoke of the need to avoid hysterical treatment of the question. Member of Parliament Bruce Smith said he had "no desire to see low-class Indians, Chinamen or Japanese...swarming into this country... But there is obligation...not (to) unnecessarily offend the educated classes of those nations"[17] Donald Cameron, a Free Trade Party
Free Trade Party
member from Tasmania, expressed a rare note of dissention:

[N]o race on... this earth has been treated in a more shameful manner than have the Chinese.... They were forced at the point of a bayonet to admit Englishmen... into China. Now if we compel them to admit our people... why in the name of justice should we refuse to admit them here?[18]

Outside parliament, Australia's first Catholic cardinal, Patrick Francis Moran was politically active and denounced anti-Chinese legislation as "unchristian".[19] The popular press mocked the cardinal's position and the small European population of Australia generally supported the legislation and remained fearful of being overwhelmed by an influx of non-British migrants from the vastly different cultures of the highly populated empires to Australia's north. Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901[edit] In 1901 the Australian parliament passed the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901. The result of this legislation was that 7,500 Pacific Islanders (called "Kanakas") working mostly on plantations in Queensland
were deported, and entry into Australia by Pacific Islanders was prohibited after 1904. Paris Peace Conference[edit] At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference following the First World War, Japan sought to include a racial equality clause in the Covenant of the League of Nations. Japanese policy reflected their desire to remove or to ease the immigration restrictions against Japanese (especially in the United States
United States
and Canada), which Japan regarded as a humiliation and affront to its prestige. Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
was already concerned by the prospect of Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Australia, Japan and New Zealand had seized the German colonial empire's territories in the Pacific in the early stages of the war and Hughes was concerned to retain German New Guinea
German New Guinea
as vital to the defence of Australia.[20] The Treaty ultimately granted Australia a League of Nations Mandate over German New Guinea
German New Guinea
and Japan to the South Pacific Mandate
South Pacific Mandate
immediately to its north – thus bringing Australian and Japanese territory to a shared border – a situation altered only by Japan's Second World War invasion of New Guinea. Hughes vehemently opposed Japan's racial equality proposition. Hughes recognised that such a clause would be a threat to White Australia and made it clear to British Prime Minister David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
that he would leave the conference if the clause was adopted. When the proposal failed, Hughes reported in the Australian parliament:

The White Australia is yours. You may do with it what you please, but at any rate, the soldiers have achieved the victory and my colleagues and I have brought that great principle back to you from the conference, as safe as it was on the day when it was first adopted.[21]

Alfred Deakin[edit] Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin campaigned vehemently for the White Australia policy
White Australia policy
and made it a key issue in his 1903 Election speech[22] he proclaimed that the policy was not only for the preservation of the 'complexion' of Australia but it was for the establishment of 'social justice'. Stanley Bruce[edit] Australian Prime Minister Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
was a supporter of the White Australia policy and made it an issue in his campaign for the 1925 Australian Federal election.[23]

It is necessary that we should determine what are the ideals towards which every Australian would desire to strive. I think those ideals might well be stated as being to secure our national safety, and to ensure the maintenance of our White Australia Policy to continue as an integral portion of the British Empire.[23] We intend to keep this country white and not allow its people to be faced with the problems that at present are practically insoluble in many parts of the world.[24]

Abolition of the policy[edit] Second World War[edit] Australian anxiety at the prospect of Japanese expansionism and war in the Pacific continued through the 1930s. Billy Hughes, by then a minister in the United Australia Party's Lyons Government, made a notable contribution to Australia's attitude towards immigration in a 1935 speech in which he argued that "Australia must... populate or perish". However Hughes was forced to resign in 1935 after his book Australia and the War Today exposed a lack of preparation in Australia for what Hughes correctly supposed to be a coming war.[11] Between the Great Depression
Great Depression
starting in 1929 and the end of the Second World War
Second World War
in 1945, global conditions kept immigration to very low levels.[25] At the start of the war, Prime Minister John Curtin (ALP) reinforced the message of the White Australia policy
White Australia policy
by saying: "This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race."[26] Following the 1942 Fall of Singapore, Australians
feared invasion by Imperial Japan. Australian cities were bombed by the Japanese Airforce and Navy and Axis Naval Forces menaced Australian shipping, while the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
remained pre-occupied with the battles of the Atlantic and Mediterranean in the face of Nazi
aggression in Europe. A Japanese invasion fleet headed for the Australian Territory of New Guinea
Territory of New Guinea
was only halted by the intervention of the United States
United States
Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea.[27] Australia received thousands of refugees from territories falling to advancing Japanese forces – notably thousands of Dutch who fled the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
(now Indonesia).[28] Australian Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders, Papua New Guineans and Timorese served in the frontline of the defence of Australia, bringing Australia's racially discriminatory immigration and political rights policies into focus and wartime service gave many Indigenous Australians
confidence in demanding their rights upon return to civilian life.[29] During the war, talk arose about the possibility of abolishing the policy. Spokesman for the Labor Party demanded that it be continued:

The policy of White Australia is now, perhaps, the most outstanding political characteristic of this country, and it has been accepted not only by those closely associated with it, but also by those who watched and studied "this interesting experiment" from afar. Only those who favor the exploitation of a servile coloured race for greed of gain, and a few professional economists and benighted theologians, are now heard in serious criticism of a White Australia; but...they are encouraged by the ill-timed and inappropriate pronouncements of what are, after all, irresponsible officials.[30]

Post-war immigration[edit] Main article: Post-war immigration to Australia

Dutch migrants arriving in Australia in 1954. Australia embarked upon a massive immigration programme following the Second World War
Second World War
and gradually dismantled the preferential treatment afforded to British migrants.

Following the trauma of Second World War, Australia's vulnerability during the Pacific War
Pacific War
and its relatively small population compared to other nations led to policies summarised by the slogan, "populate or perish". According to author Lachlan Strahan, this was an ethnocentric slogan that in effect was an admonition to fill Australia with Europeans or else risk having it overrun by Asians.[31] Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell
Arthur Calwell
stated in 1947 to critics of the government's mass immigration programme: "We have 25 years at most to populate this country before the yellow races are down on us." During the war, many non-white refugees, including Malays, Indonesians and Filipinos, arrived in Australia, but Calwell controversially sought to have them all deported. The Chifley Government
Chifley Government
introduced the Aliens Deportation Act 1948, which had its weaknesses exposed by a High Court case, and then passed the War-time Refugees Removal Act 1949 which gave the immigration minister sweeping powers of deportation.[32] In 1948, Iranian Bahá'ís
seeking to immigrate to Australia were classified as "Asiatic" by the policy and were denied entry.[33] In 1949, Calwell's successor Harold Holt
Harold Holt
allowed the remaining 800 non-white refugees to apply for residency, and also allowed Japanese "war brides" to settle in Australia.[26] In the meantime, encouraging immigration from Europe, Australia admitted large numbers of immigrants from mostly Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia, as well as its traditional source of the British Isles. Ambitious post-war development projects like the Snowy Mountains Scheme (1949–1972) required a large labour force that could only be sourced by diversifying Australia's migrant intake. Relaxation of restrictions[edit]

Sir Robert Menzies. The Menzies Government abolished the dictation test in 1958.

Australian policy began to shift towards significantly increasing immigration. Legislative changes over the next few decades continuously opened up immigration in Australia.[25] Labor Party Chifley Government:

1947 The Chifley Labor Government relaxed the Immigration Restriction Act allowing non-Europeans the right to settle permanently in Australia for business reasons.

Liberal-Country Party Menzies Government (1949–1966):

1949 Immigration Minister Harold Holt
Harold Holt
permitted 800 non-European refugees to stay, and Japanese war brides to be admitted.[34] 1950 External Affairs Minister Percy Spender
Percy Spender
instigated the Colombo Plan, under which students from Asian countries were admitted to study at Australian universities. 1957 Non-Europeans with 15 years' residence in Australia were allowed to become citizens. 1958 Migration Act 1958
Migration Act 1958
abolished the dictation test and introduced a simpler system for entry. Immigration Minister, Sir Alick Downer, announced that 'distinguished and highly qualified Asians' might immigrate. 1959 Australians
were permitted to sponsor Asian spouses for citizenship. 1964 Conditions of entry for people of non-European stock were relaxed.

In 1963, a paper "Immigration: Control or Colour Bar?" was published by a group of students and academics at Melbourne
University. It proposed eliminating the White Australia policy, and was influential towards this end.[35][36] End of the White Australia policy[edit]

Harold Holt. The Holt Government's Migration Act 1966 effectively dismantled the White Australia policy.

In 1966, the Holt Liberal Government effectively dismantled the White Australia policy and increased access to non-European migrants, including refugees fleeing the Vietnam War.[37] After a review of immigration policy in March 1966, Immigration Minister Hubert Opperman announced applications for migration would be accepted from well-qualified people "on the basis of their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily and their possession of qualifications positively useful to Australia". At the same time, Harold Holt's government decided to allow foreign non-whites to become permanent residents and citizens after five years (the same as for Europeans), and also removed discriminatory provisions in family reunification policies. As a result, annual non-European settler arrivals rose from 746 in 1966 to 2,696 in 1971, while annual part-European settler arrivals rose from 1,498 to 6,054.[26] Leader of the Labor Party from 1960-1967 Arthur Calwell
Arthur Calwell
supported the White European Australia policy. This is reflected by Calwell's comments in his 1972 memoirs, Be Just and Fear Not, in which he made it clear that he maintained his view that non-European people should not be allowed to settle in Australia. He wrote:

I am proud of my white skin, just as a Chinese is proud of his yellow skin, a Japanese of his brown skin, and the Indians of their various hues from black to coffee-coloured. Anybody who is not proud of his race is not a man at all. And any man who tries to stigmatize the Australian community as racist because they want to preserve this country for the white race is doing our nation great harm... I reject, in conscience, the idea that Australia should or ever can become a multi-racial society and survive.[38]

The legal end of the White Australia policy
White Australia policy
is usually placed in the year 1973, when the Whitlam Labor government implemented a series of amendments preventing the enforcement of racial aspects of the immigration law.[26] These amendments:

Legislated that all migrants, regardless of origin, be eligible to obtain citizenship after three years of permanent residence. Ratified all international agreements relating to immigration and race. Issued policy to totally disregard race as a factor in selecting migrants.

The 1975 Racial Discrimination
Act made the use of racial criteria for any official purpose illegal. It was not until the Fraser Liberal government's review of immigration law in 1978 that all selection of prospective migrants based on country of origin was entirely removed from official policy. In 1981, the Minister for Immigration announced a Special
Humanitarian Assistance Programme (SHP) for Iranians to seek refuge in Australia and by 1988 some 2500 Bahá'ís
and many more others had arrived in Australia through either SHP or Refugee Programmes.[33] The last selective immigration policy, offering relocation assistance to British nationals, was finally removed in 1982.[39] Aftermath[edit] Australia's contemporary immigration programme has two components: a programme for skilled and family migrants and a humanitarian programme for refugees and asylum seekers.[40] By 2010, the post-war immigration programme had received more than 6.5 million migrants from every continent. The population tripled in the six decades to around 21 million in 2010, comprising people originating from 200 countries.[41] Legacy[edit] While non-European and non-Christian immigration has increased substantially since the dismantling of the White Australia policy, Australian society inevitably remains rooted in the demographic legacy of the 72 years of White Australia, during which time the country underwent its most substantial population growth. Religious legacy[edit] The policy had the obvious demographic effect of creating a population of European, and largely Anglo-Celtic, descent. In refusing immigration by people of other racial and ethnic descents, it also effectively limited the immigration of practitioners of non-Christian faiths. Consequently, the White Australia policy
White Australia policy
ensured that Christianity remained the religion of the overwhelming majority of Australians.[42] Contemporary racial and ethnic demographics[edit] The 2001 Australian census results indicate that many Australians claim some European heritage: English 37%, Irish 11%, Italian 5%, German 4.3%, Scottish 3%, Greek 2%, Former Yugoslav 1.8%, Dutch 1.5%, Polish 0.9%. Australians
of some non-European origin form a significant but still relatively small part of the population: Chinese 3.2%, Indian 0.9%, Lebanese 0.9%, Vietnamese 0.9%. About 2.2% identified themselves as Indigenous Australians. 39% of the population gave their ancestry as "Australian". The Australian
The Australian
census does not classify people according to race, only ethnic ancestry. (Note that subjects were permitted to select more than one answer for this census question.)[43] 15% of the population now speaks a language other than English at home.[44] The most commonly spoken languages are Italian, Greek, Cantonese
and Arabic. Political and social legacy[edit] The story of Australia since the Second World War
Second World War
– and particularly since the final relegation of the white Australia policy – has been one of ever-increasing ethnic and cultural diversity. Successive governments have sustained a large programmes of multiethnic immigration from all continents. Discrimination
on the basis of race or ethnicity was legally sanctioned until 1975. Australia's new official policy on racial diversity is: "to build on our success as a culturally diverse, accepting and open society, united through a shared future".[45] The White Australia policy
White Australia policy
continues to be mentioned in modern contexts, although it is generally only mentioned by politicians when denouncing their opposition. As Leader of the Opposition, John Howard
John Howard
argued for restricting Asian immigration in 1988 as part of his One Australia policy; in August 1988, he said:

I do believe that if it is – in the eyes of some in the community – that it's too great, it would be in our immediate-term interest and supporting of social cohesion if it [Asian immigration] were slowed down a little, so the capacity of the community to absorb it was greater.[46]

Howard later retracted and apologised for the remarks, and was returned to the leadership of the Liberal Party in 1995. The Howard Government (1996–2007) in turn ran a large programme of non-discriminatory immigration and, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Asian countries became an increasingly important source of immigration over the decade from 1996 to 2006, with the proportion of migrants from Southern and Central Asian countries doubling from 7% to 14%. The proportion of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa also increased. By 2005–06, China
and India were the third and fourth largest sources of all migration (after New Zealand and the United Kingdom). In 2005–06, there were 180,000 permanent additions of migrants to Australia (72% more than the number in 1996–97). This figure included around 17,000 through the humanitarian programme, of whom Iraqis
and Sudanese
accounted for the largest portions.[47] China became Australia's biggest source of migrants, for the first time in 2009, surpassing New Zealand and Britain.[48] Historian Geoffrey Blainey achieved mainstream recognition for the anti-multiculturalist cause when he wrote that multiculturalism threatened to transform Australia into a "cluster of tribes". In his 1984 book All for Australia, Blainey criticised multiculturalism for tending to "emphasise the rights of ethnic minorities at the expense of the majority of Australians" and also for tending to be "anti-British", even though "people from the United Kingdom and Ireland form the dominant class of pre-war immigrants and the largest single group of post-war immigrants." According to Blainey, such a policy, with its "emphasis on what is different and on the rights of the new minority rather than the old majority," was unnecessarily creating division and threatened national cohesion. He argued that "the evidence is clear that many multicultural societies have failed and that the human cost of the failure has been high" and warned that "we should think very carefully about the perils of converting Australia into a giant multicultural laboratory for the assumed benefit of the peoples of the world."[49] In one of his numerous criticisms of multiculturalism, Blainey wrote:

For the millions of Australians
who have no other nation to fall back upon, multiculturalism is almost an insult. It is divisive. It threatens social cohesion. It could, in the long-term, also endanger Australia's military security because it sets up enclaves which in a crisis could appeal to their own homelands for help.

Blainey remained a persistent critic of multiculturalism into the 1990s, denouncing multiculturalism as "morally, intellectually and economically ... a sham". Despite the overall success and generally bipartisan support for Australia's multi-ethnic immigration programme, there remain voices of opposition to immigration within the Australian electorate. At its peak, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party received 9% of the national vote at the 1998 Federal Election.[50] Hanson was widely accused of trying to take Australia back to the days of the White Australia policy, particularly through reference to Arthur Calwell, one of the policy's strongest supporters. In her maiden address to the Australian Parliament
Australian Parliament
following the 1996 election, Hanson said:

I and most Australians
want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate.[51]

Hanson's remarks generated wide interest in the media both nationally and internationally, but she herself did not retain her seat in Parliament at the 1998 election or subsequent 2001 and 2004 federal elections. Hanson also failed to win election in the 2003 and 2011 New South Wales state elections.[52] In May 2007, Hanson, with her new Pauline's United Australia Party, continued her call for a freeze on immigration, arguing that African migrants carried disease into Australia.[53] Hanson returned to politics in 2014 and ran in the Queensland election. Topics related to racism and immigration in Australia are still regularly connected by the media to the White Australia policy. Some examples of issues and events where this connection has been made include: reconciliation with Indigenous Australians; mandatory detention and the "Pacific Solution"; the 2005 Cronulla riots, and the 2009 attacks on Indians in Australia. Former opposition Labor party leader Mark Latham, in his book The Latham Diaries, described the ANZUS
alliance as a legacy of the White Australia policy. In 2007, the Howard Government
Howard Government
proposed an Australian Citizenship Test intended "to get that balance between diversity and integration correct in future, particularly as we now draw people from so many different countries and so many different cultures". The draft proposal contained a pamphlet introducing Australian history, Culture and Democracy. Migrants were to be required to correctly answer at least 12 out of 20 questions on such topics in a citizenship quiz. Migrants would also be required to demonstrate an adequate level of understanding of the English language.[54] The Rudd Government reviewed and then implemented the proposal in 2009.[55] See also[edit]

Wog Apartheid Head tax (New Zealand) Settler colonialism South Sea Islanders Europeans in Oceania Australian nationalism Head tax (Canada)
Head tax (Canada)
and Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 Anti-Chinese legislation in the United States


^ Design, UBC Web. "Australian Natives Association Centenary - Monument Australia". monumentaustralia.org.au. Retrieved 22 October 2017.  ^ See Museum Victoria description Archived 5 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet – Abolition of the 'White Australia' Policy". Australian Immigration. Commonwealth of Australia, National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Retrieved 27 March 2013.  ^ Wendy Lewis, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.  ^ a b c d Markey, Raymond (1 January 1996). "Race and organized labor in Australia, 1850–1901". Highbeam Research. Retrieved 14 June 2006.  ^ R. Lockwood, "British Imperial Influences in the Foundation of the White Australia Policy," Labour History, No. 7 (Nov. 1964), pp. 23–33 in JSTOR ^ a b c Griffiths, Phil (4 July 2002). "Towards White Australia: The shadow of Mill and the spectre of slavery in the 1880s debates on Chinese immigration" (RTF). 11th Biennial National Conference of the Australian Historical Association. Retrieved 14 June 2006.  ^ a b Willoughby, Emma. "Our Federation Journey 1901–2001" (PDF). Museum Victoria. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2006.  ^ Speech to Colonial Conference of 1897, quoted in J. Holland Rose et al., eds. The Cambridge History of the British Empire: Volume VII: Part I: Australia (1933) p 411; full text ^ 1898 Australasian Federation Convention 3rd Session Debates 8 Feb ^ a b Brian Carroll; From Barton to Fraser; Cassell Australia; 1978 ^ Kendall, Timothy. "Within China's Orbit: China
through the eyes of the Australian Parliament" (PDF). Australian Parliamentary Library. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2011.  ^ Biography – Alfred Deakin – Australian Dictionary of Biography ^ Clancy, Laurie (2004). Culture and Customs of Australia. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313321696.  ^ Schaffer, Kay. "Manne's Generation: White Nation Responses to the Stolen Generation Report". Retrieved 18 December 2008.  ^ Stuart MacIntyre (1986) The Oxford History of Australia, Volume 4 1901–1942 Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-554612-1 ^ Bruce Smith (Free Trade Party) Parliamentary Debates cited in D.M. Gibb (1973) The Making of White Australia.p.113. Victorian Historical Association. ISBN ^ Donald Cameron(Free Trade Party)Parliamentary Debates, cited in D.M. Gibb (1973)p.112 ^ Biography – Patrick Francis Moran
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– Australian Dictionary of Biography ^ "Remembering the war in New Guinea - Why were the Japanese were in New Guinea". ajrp.awm.gov.au. Retrieved 22 October 2017.  ^ "100 Years: The Australia Story. Episode 2: Rise and Fall of White Australia". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 21 March 2001. Retrieved 29 January 2007.  ^ Alfred Deakins 1903 Election Speech, http://electionspeeches.moadoph.gov.au/speeches/1903-alfred-deakin ^ a b "ISSUES OF THE ELECTIONS". The Age
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(21,999). Victoria, Australia. 6 October 1925. p. 11. Retrieved 9 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.  ^ Bowen, James; Bowen, Margarita (2002). The Great Barrier Reef: History, Science, Heritage. Cambridge University Press. p. 301. ISBN 0-521-82430-3. Retrieved 24 January 2008.  ^ a b " Immigration to Australia
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Further reading[edit]

Stefanie Affeldt (2010) "A Paroxysm of Whiteness. 'White' Labour, 'White' Nation and 'White' Sugar in Australia", Wages of Whiteness & Racist Symbolic Capital, ed. by Wulf D. Hund, Jeremy Krikler, David Roediger. Berlin. ISBN 978-3-643-10949-1 Stefanie Affeldt (2014). Consuming Whiteness. Australian Racism
and the 'White Sugar' Campaign. Berlin. LIT. ISBN 978-3-643-90569-7.  John Bailey (2001). The White Divers of Broome. Sydney, MacMillan. ISBN 0-7329-1078-1.  Jane Doulman and David Lee (2008). Every Assistance & Protection: a History of the Australian Passport. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Federation Press.  Ian Duffield (1993). Skilled Workers or Marginalised Poor? The African Population of the United Kingdom, 1812–1852. Immigrants and Minorities Vol. 12, No. 3; Frank Cass.  John Fitzgerald (2007). Big White Lie: Chinese Australians
in White Australia. Sydney. ISBN 0-86840-870-0.  Wulf D. Hund (2006): White Australia oder der Krieg der Historiker. In: Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, 3. Laksiri Jayasuriya, David Walker, Jan Gothard (Eds.) (2003): Legacies of White Australia. Crawley, University of Western Australia Press. James Jupp and Maria Kabala (1993). The Politics of Australian Immigration. Australian Government Publishing Service.  Gwenda Tavan (2005). The Long, Slow Death of White Australia. Scribe. ISBN 1-920769-46-3.  Myra Willard (1923). History of the White Australia Policy to 1920. Melbourne
University Press. ISBN 0-522-83830-8.  (old but still very useful) Keith Windschuttle (2004). The White Australia Policy. Macleay Press. 

External links[edit]

"Immigration Restriction Act 1901". National Archives of Australia: Documenting a Democracy. Archived from the original on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2006.  (scan of the Act and information) The Mabel Freer Case Educational Resources about the White Australia Policy Newton Barton Diary, 1894–1895– A shipboard diary kept by able seaman Newton Barton on one of his voyages to recruit South Sea Islanders for the Queensland
cane fields. Digitised and held by the State Library of Queensland. Fact Sheet 8 – Abolition of the 'White Australia' Policy

v t e

Segregation in countries by type

Geographical (religious)

Bosnia and Herzegovina Partition of India Northern Ireland Greece and Turkey Partition of Bengal Saudi Arabia Bahrain Myanmar


Australia Argentina Canada Bahrain Brazil Dominican Republic Fiji France Malaysia Nazi
Germany Poland Portugal Rhodesia South Africa Spain Saudization Emiratisation United States

schools Anti-miscegenation laws
Anti-miscegenation laws
in the United States


Islam (in Iran) Taliban Saudi Arabia Judaism Separatist feminism


Auto-segregation Balkanization Ethnic cleansing Exclusionary zoning Forced migration Internment

labor camps

Residential segregation in the United States Social exclusion

Related topics



Anti-miscegenation laws Black Codes Corporative federalism Discrimination Hafrada Jim Crow laws Nativism Nuremberg Laws Racism Rankism Religious intolerance Reservation in India Second-class citizen Separate but equal Separate school (Canada) Shunning Social apartheid Xenophobia

See also: Desegregation


Pillarisation Category

caste gender racial


v t e

Ancestry of Australians

Ancestral background of Australians
and overseas-born Australians


Australian Most declared ancestries in 2016 Australian census:

English Irish Scottish Chinese Italian German Indian Greek Dutch

Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal Australians Torres Strait Islanders


Albanian British and Celtic or Anglo-Celtic

Cornish English Manx Scottish Welsh Irish

Austrian Belgian Belarusian Bosnian Bulgarian Croatian Cypriot Czech Danish Dutch Estonian French Finnish German Greek Hungarian Icelandic Irish Italian Jewish Kosovan Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Maltese Montenegrin Norwegian Polish (Jewish) Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovene Spanish Swedish Swiss Ukrainian


Afghan Arab

Emirati Iraqi Jordanian Kuwaiti Lebanese Palestinian Saudi Syrian

Armenian Assyrian Bangladeshi Burmese Cambodian Chinese

Hong Kong Taiwanese

East Timorese Filipino Indian

Malayali Tamil

Indonesian Iranian Israeli/Jewish Japanese Korean Kurdish Laotian Malaysian


Mongolian Nepali Pakistani Russian Singaporean


Sri Lankan


Thai Turkish Vietnamese

Pacific Islands

Papua New Guinean Fijian New Zealand


Samoan South Sea Islanders Tongan




Ethiopian Ghanaian Kenyan Mauritian Nigerian Somali South African South Sudanese Sudanese Ugandan Zimbabwean


American Argentine Brazilian Canadian Chilean Colombian Ecuadorian Jamaican Peruvian Salvadoran Uruguayan Venezuelan

according to Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013 and Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the