The term White Australia policy was widely used to encapsulate a set of historical policies that aimed to exclude people of non-European origin, especially Asians (primarily Chinese) and Pacific Islanders (primarily Melanesians) from immigrating to Australia. Governments progressively dismantled such policies between 1949 and 1973.
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 demands to eliminate or minimize low-wage immigration from Asia and the Pacific Islands. From the 1850s colonial governments imposed 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 labour unions pushed to stop Chinese immigrants working in the furniture and market-garden industries. Australian furniture had to be labelled "Made with Chinese Labour".
Soon after Australia became a federation in January 1901, the federal government of Edmund Barton passed the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, drafted by the man who would become Australia's second Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The passage of this bill marked the commencement of the White Australia Policy as Australian federal government policy. Subsequent acts further strengthened the policy up to the start of the Second World War. These policies effectively gave British migrants preference 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."
Successive governments dismantled the policy in stages after the conclusion of the Second World War of 1939-1945, 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 (1949-1967) effectively dismantled the policies between 1949 and 1966, and the 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 passed the Racial Discrimination Act, which made racially-based selection criteria unlawful. In the decades since, Australia has maintained large-scale multi-ethnic immigration. As of 2018, Australia's 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.
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.
Gold brought great wealth but also new social tensions. Multi-ethnic migrants came to 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 following suit in 1861. These restrictions remained in force until the early 1870s.Reference does not support the argument of this paragraph
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.
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. 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. 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.
Objections to these arguments came largely from wealthy land owners in rural areas. It was argued that without Asiatics to work in the tropical areas of the Northern Territory and Queensland, the area would have to be abandoned. Despite these objections to restricting immigration, between 1875 and 1888 all Australian colonies enacted legislation which excluded all further Chinese immigration. 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.
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.
In writing about the preoccupations of the Australian population in early Federation Australia before the First World War in ANZAC to Amiens, the official historian of the war, Charles Bean, considered the 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).
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 summarised the prevailing feeling:
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.
The Barton Government which came to power following the first elections to the Commonwealth parliament in 1901 was formed by the 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 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 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.
The new Federal Parliament, as one of its first pieces of legislation, passed the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (1 Edward VII 17 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."
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 of the Bill. In seeking to justify the policy, Deakin said he believed that the Japanese and Chinese 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.
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. 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" Donald Cameron, a 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?
Outside parliament, Australia's first Catholic cardinal, Patrick Francis Moran was politically active and denounced anti-Chinese legislation as "unchristian". 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.
The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 imposed a dictation test, in any prescribed language, for any non-European migrant to Australia. Further discriminatory legislation was the Postal and Telegraph Services Act 1901 (1 Edward VII 12 1901), which required any ship carrying mail to and from Australia to only have a white crew.
In 1901 there were approximately 9,800 Pacific islander labourers in Queensland. In 1901 the Australian parliament passed the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 (1 Edward VII 16 1901). The result of these statutes 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. Those exempted from repatriation, along with a number of others who escaped deportation, remained in Australia to form the basis of what is today Australia's largest non-indigenous black ethnic group. Today, the descendants of those who remained are officially referred to as South Sea Islanders. 
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 and Canada), which Japan regarded as a humiliation and affront to its prestige.
Australian Prime Minister 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 as vital to the defence of Australia. The Treaty ultimately granted Australia a League of Nations Mandate over German New Guinea and Japan to the 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 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.
Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin campaigned vehemently for the White Australia policy and made it a key issue in his 1903 Election speech 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'.
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. 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.
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.
Between the Great Depression starting in 1929 and the end of the Second World War in 1945, global conditions kept immigration to very low levels. At the start of the war, Prime Minister John Curtin (ALP) reinforced the message of the 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."
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 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 was only halted by the intervention of the United States Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Australia received thousands of refugees from territories falling to advancing Japanese forces – notably thousands of Dutch who fled the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). 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.
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.
Following the trauma of Second World War, Australia's vulnerability during the 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. Immigration Minister 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 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. In 1948, Iranian Bahá'ís seeking to immigrate to Australia were classified as "Asiatic" by the policy and were denied entry. In 1949, Calwell's successor Harold Holt allowed the remaining 800 non-white refugees to apply for residency, and also allowed Japanese "war brides" to settle in Australia. 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.
Australian policy began to shift towards significantly increasing immigration. Legislative changes over the next few decades continuously opened up immigration in Australia.
Labor Party Chifley Government:
Liberal-Country Party Menzies Government (1949–1966):
"I don't want to see reproduced in Australia the kind of problem they have in South Africa or in America or increasingly in Great Britain. I think it's been a very good policy and it's been of great value to us and most of the criticism of it that I've ever heard doesn't come from these oriental countries it comes from wandering Australians. (Lamb) "For these years of course in the past Sir Robert you have been described as a racist."
(Menzies) "Have I?"
(Lamb) "I have read this, yes."
(Menzies) "Well if I were not described as a racist I'd be the only public man who hasn't been."
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.
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. 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.
Leader of the Labor Party from 1960-1967 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.
The legal end of the 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. These amendments:
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. The last selective immigration policy, offering relocation assistance to British nationals, was finally removed in 1982.
Australia's contemporary immigration programme has two components: a programme for skilled and family migrants and a humanitarian programme for refugees and asylum seekers. 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.
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.
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 ensured that Christianity remained the religion of the overwhelming majority of Australians.
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 census does not classify people according to race, only ethnic ancestry. Respondents were permitted to select more than one answer for this census question.
The story of Australia since the 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". The 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 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.
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. China became Australia's biggest source of migrants, for the first time in 2009, surpassing New Zealand and Britain.
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."
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.
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 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.
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. 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.
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 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. The Rudd Government reviewed and then implemented the proposal in 2009.
The Australian Workers Union (AWU) is one of Australia's largest and oldest trade unions. It traces its origins to unions founded in the pastoral and mining industries in the 1880s and currently has approximately 100,000 members. It has exercised an influence on the Australian trade union movement and on the Australian Labor Party throughout its history.
The AWU is the most powerful union in the Labor Right faction of the Australian Labor Party.Australian nationalism
Australian nationalism asserts that the Australians are a nation and promotes the national and cultural unity of Australia. Australian nationalism has a history dating back to the late 19th century as Australia gradually developed a distinct culture and identity from that of Britain, beginning to view itself as a unique and separate entity and not simply an extension or a derivation of British culture and identity.Bruce Smith (Australian politician)
Arthur Bruce Smith KC (28 June 1851 – 14 August 1937) was a long serving Australian politician and leading political opponent of the White Australia policy.Harold Holt
Harold Edward Holt, (5 August 1908 – 17 December 1967), was an Australian politician who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1966 until his presumed drowning death in 1967. He was the leader of the Liberal Party during that time.
Holt was born in Sydney, but lived in Melbourne from a young age. He was the first prime minister born in the 20th century. He studied law at the University of Melbourne and eventually opened his own legal practice. Holt entered parliament at the Fawkner by-election in 1935, standing for the United Australia Party (UAP). He was a protégé of Robert Menzies, and was added to cabinet when Menzies became prime minister in 1939. Aged only 30 at the time of his appointment, he held a series of minor portfolios until the government's defeat in 1941, under both Menzies and Arthur Fadden. Holt's tenure was interrupted by a brief stint in the Australian Army, which ended when he was recalled to cabinet following the deaths of three ministers in the 1940 Canberra air disaster. He joined the new Liberal Party upon its creation in 1945.
When Menzies regained the prime ministership in 1949, Holt became a senior figure in the new government. As Minister for Immigration (1949–56), he expanded the post-war immigration scheme and relaxed the White Australia policy for the first time. He was also influential as Minister for Labour and National Service (1949–58), where he handled several industrial relations disputes. Holt was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in 1956, and after the 1958 election replaced Arthur Fadden as Treasurer. He oversaw the creation of the Reserve Bank of Australia and the decimal Australian dollar, but was blamed for a credit crunch that almost cost the Coalition the 1961 election. However, the economy soon rebounded and Holt retained his place as Menzies' heir apparent.
Holt became prime minister in January 1966, elected unopposed as Liberal leader following Menzies' retirement. He fought a general election later that year, winning a landslide victory. The Holt Government continued the dismantling of the White Australia policy, amended the constitution to give the federal government responsibility for indigenous affairs, and took Australia out of the sterling area. Holt promoted greater engagement with Asia and the Pacific, and made visits to a number of East Asian countries. His government expanded Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, and maintained close ties with the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson. While visiting the White House, Holt proclaimed that he was "all the way with L.B.J.", a remark which was poorly received at home.
After just under two years in office, Holt disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach, Victoria, in rough conditions. His body was never recovered, and he was declared dead in absentia; his disappearance spawned a number of conspiracy theories. Holt was the third Australian prime minister to die in office, and was succeeded by John McEwen on an interim basis and then by John Gorton. His death was commemorated in a number of ways, among them by the establishment of the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre.Immigration Restriction Act 1901
The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which limited immigration to Australia and formed the basis of the White Australia policy which sought to exclude all non-Europeans from Australia. The law granted immigration officers a wide degree of discretion to prevent individuals from entering Australia. The Act prohibited various classes of people from immigrating and provided for illegal immigrants to be deported.Because of opposition from the British government, a more explicit racial policy was avoided in the legislation, with the control mechanism for people deemed undesirable being a dictation test, which required a person seeking entry to Australia to write out a passage of fifty words dictated to them in any European language, not necessarily English, at the discretion of an immigration officer. The test was not designed to allow immigration officers to evaluate applicants on the basis of language skills, rather the language chosen was always one known beforehand that the person would fail.The initial bill was based on similar legislation in South Africa.Immigration history of Australia
The immigration history of Australia began with the initial human migration to the continent around 80,000 years ago when the ancestors of Australian Aboriginals arrived on the continent via the islands of Maritime Southeast Asia and New Guinea. From the early 17th century onwards, the continent experienced the first coastal landings and exploration by European explorers. Permanent European settlement began in 1788 with the establishment of a British penal colony in New South Wales. From early federation in 1901, Australia maintained the White Australia Policy, which was abolished after World War II, heralding the modern era of multiculturalism in Australia. From the late 1970s there was a significant increase in immigration from Asian and other non-European countries.
Australia is also a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and recognises the right of asylum.Lorenzo Gamboa
Lorenzo Abrogar Gamboa (11 November 1918 – 25 September 2012) was a Filipino-American man who was excluded from Australia under the White Australia policy, despite having an Australian wife and children. His treatment sparked an international incident with the Philippines.
Gamboa enlisted in the United States Army in 1941, and was evacuated to Australia the following year after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. He married an Australian woman, Joyce Cain, and fathered two children, both born while he was serving overseas. He was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1945 and joined his family in Australia, but was refused permission to settle permanently and forced to leave the country. Gamboa became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 1946 and rejoined the army. He applied to re-enter Australia in 1948, but was refused even a visitor's visa. Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell stated that allowing Gamboa into the country would promote miscegenation, and granting an exception because of his U.S. citizenship would force the government to allow in racially undesirable groups like African-Americans.
In 1949, following Gamboa's chance encounter with journalist Denis Warner, the Australian media began to criticise Calwell's handling of the issue and pressed for him to be allowed to reunite with his family. The "Gamboa case" sparked outrage in the Philippines. President Elpidio Quirino said that Filipinos had been "deeply humiliated" by the Australian government's actions, and the Philippine House of Representatives passed a bill that would have banned Australians from the country. After a change of government at the 1949 federal election, the new immigration minister Harold Holt overturned Calwell's decision and allowed Gamboa to rejoin his family; he was not able to settle permanently in Australia until 1952. The incident had a lasting impact on Australia–Philippines relations.Migration Act 1958
The Migration Act 1958 is an act of the Parliament of Australia. Its long title is "An Act relating to the entry into, and presence in, Australia of aliens, and the departure or deportation from Australia of aliens and certain other persons." The act is the current legislation governing immigration to Australia, and has been amended a number of times. The 1958 act replaced the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 which had formed the basis of the White Australia policy, abolishing the infamous "dictation test" and replacing it with a universal visa system (or entry permits), as well as removing many of the other discriminatory provisions in the 1901 act.Multiculturalism in Australia
Multiculturalism in Australia is today reflected by the multicultural composition of its people, its immigration policies, its prohibition on discrimination, equality before the law of all persons, as well as various cultural policies which promote diversity, such as the formation of the Special Broadcasting Service.According to the 2011 census, 26% of the population were born overseas and a further 20% had at least one parent born overseas. Aboriginal Australians make up approximately 2.5% of the population. Australia's diverse migrant communities have brought with them food, lifestyle and cultural practices, which have been absorbed into mainstream Australian culture.Historically, Australia adhered to the White Australia Policy. The policy was dismantled after World War II by various changes to immigration policy.Māori Australians
Māori Australians are Australians of Māori heritage. The Māori presence in Australia dates back to the 19th century when Māori traveled to Sydney to trade, acquire new technology, and learn new ideas. The Māori population in Australia remained marginal until the 1960s. During the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, thousands of Māori would emigrate from New Zealand to pursue employment opportunities in blue collar occupations such as shearing, construction, manufacturing, and mining. In 2013, there were approximately 140,000–170,000 people with Māori ancestry living in Australia. Māori Australians constitute Australia's largest Polynesian ethnic group.Papua New Guinean Australians
Papua New Guinean Australians are the citizens and residents of Australia who were born in Papua New Guinea (PNG) or have Papua New Guinean ancestry.
Papua New Guinea was administered by Australian until 1975, formally divided into the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea (a League of Nations mandate). The indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea were nonetheless subject to the White Australia policy, and only limited numbers were allowed to enter the rest of Australia – notably to work in the Queensland pearling industry.The number of Papua New Guineans in Australia is considered relatively small, given the countries neighbour each other and PNG's status as a former Australian territory. Other Pacific island countries have much larger populations in Australia. At the time of the 2011 Australian census, there were 15,460 people of Papua New Guinean descent in Australia and 26,787 Papua New Guinea-born people residing in the country. The gap between the two figures reflects the fact that many of those born in PNG were the children of Australian expatriates; only 8,752 (less than one-third) of Australian residents born in PNG reported that they were of Papua New Guinean ancestry.Philip Dalidakis
Philip Dalidakis (born 25 February 1976) is an Australian politician. He is a Labor member of the Victorian Legislative Council, having represented Southern Metropolitan Region since 2014.Dalidakis was born in Melbourne. His father was born in Greece and his mother is Jewish. His maternal grandparents escaped from Germany to Shanghai in 1939, and Dalidakis's mother was born there, later migrating to Australia. He is married with three children. Before entering Parliament he was executive officer of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries, and later deputy chief of staff to Senator Stephen Conroy.On 31 July 2015, Dalidakis was appointed as Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade in the Andrews Ministry.
In August 2018, it was reported that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was going to sue Dalidakis after he on Twitter accused Dutton of supporting the White Australia policy and of race baiting.Dalidakis was not returned to Cabinet upon the re-election of the Andrews Labor Government; his portfolios of Small Business, Innovation and Trade going to former Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek and former Attorney-General Martin Pakula, respectively.Philippines at the 1956 Summer Olympics
The Philippines competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. 39 competitors, 35 men and 4 women, took part in 30 events in 7 sports.A resolution was filed at the Philippine Congress which seeks for a Philippine boycott of the 1956 Summer Olympics as a protest against the White Australia policy which targeted immigrants with an Asian background. The country nevertheless participated at the Games.
The Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF) named the 39 athletes and four coaches in a special luncheon meeting at the Philippine Columbian Clubhouse. Antonio de las Alas, PAAF President, heads the Philippine delegation to Melbourne.Post-war immigration to Australia
Post-war immigration to Australia deals with migration to Australia since the end of World War II. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia (1945–1949), established the federal Department of Immigration to administer a large-scale immigration program. Chifley commissioned a report on the subject which found that Australia was in urgent need of a larger population for the purposes of defence and development and it recommended a 1% annual increase in population through increased immigration.The first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, promoted mass immigration with the slogan "populate or perish". Calwell coined the term "New Australians" in an effort to supplant such terms as pommy (Englishman) and wog.
The 1% target remained a part of government policy until the Whitlam Government (1972–1975), when immigration numbers were substantially cut back, only to be restored by the Fraser Government (1975–1982).Some 4.2 million immigrants arrived between 1945 and 1985, about 40 per cent of whom came from Britain and Ireland. By 2007, some 6.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945. This total comprises 3.35 million males and 3.15 million females. This represents a significant proportion of the overall population increase experienced by Australia in that time, having gone from 7 million in 1945 to the present total of over 23 million. 182,159 people were sponsored by the International Refugee Organisation (IRO) from the end of World War II up to the end of 1954 to resettle in Australia from Europe—more than the number of convicts transported to Australia in the first 80 years after European settlement.Progressive Conservative Party (Australia)
The Progressive Conservative Party was a far right Australian political party that contested the 1980 federal election. Its stated aims included the reintroduction of the White Australia Policy, an end to Asian immigration to Australia, the cessation of foreign aid, and higher tax concessions to non-working mothers. Its candidates included the former independent Western Australian Senator Syd Negus.Racism in Australia
Racism in Australia traces both historical and contemporary racist community attitudes, as well as political non-compliance and governmental negligence on United Nations human rights standard and incidents in Australia. Contemporary Australia is the product of multiple waves of immigration, predominantly from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Laws forbid racial and other forms of discrimination and protect freedom of religion. Demographic analysis indicates a high level of inter-ethnic marriage: according to the Australian Census, a majority of Indigenous Australians partnered with non-indigenous Australians, and a majority of third-generation Australians of non-English-speaking background had partnered with persons of different ethnic origin (the majority partnered with persons of Australian or Anglo-Celtic background, which constitutes the majority ethnic grouping in Australia). In 2009, about 25.6 per cent of the estimated resident population of Australia comprised those born overseas.Indigenous peoples of Australia who had lived in Australia for at least 65,000+ years before the arrival of British settlers in 1788, were dispossessed from their land in 1788 by Britain, which claimed Eastern Australia as its own on the basis of the now discredited doctrine of terra nullius. Initially, indigenous Australians were in most states deprived of the rights of full citizenship of the new nation on grounds of their race and restrictive immigration laws were introduced to preference white European immigrants to Australia. Discriminatory laws against indigenous people and multiethnic immigration were dismantled in the early decades of the Post War period. A 1967 Referendum regarding Aboriginal rights was carried with over 90% approval by the electorate. Legal reforms have re-established Aboriginal Land Rights under Australian law and in the early 21st century, indigenous Australians account for around 2.5% of the population, owning outright around 20% of all land. Intense focus on the impact of historical policies like the removal of mixed ethnicity Aboriginal children from their Aboriginal parent resulted in a bipartisan Parliamentary apology to Aborigines carried in 2008. Aboriginal health indicators remain lower than other ethnic groups within Australia and again are the subject of political debate.
Policies of multiculturalism were pursued in the post-war period and first Eastern and Southern European, then Asian and African immigration increased significantly. Legislation including the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Commonwealth Racial Hatred Act (1995) and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act (1986) outlaw racial discrimination in the public sphere in Australia. In recent decades, anti-immigration political parties like the One Nation Party have received extensive media coverage, but only marginal electoral support and successive governments have maintained large, multiethnic programs of immigration. As in other Western nations, tensions in the aftermath of events like the September 11 attacks and Bali Bombing by radical extremists contributed to strained ethnic relations in some Australian communities.Sikhism in Australia
Sikhism is a minority religion followed by 0.5 % of the population of Australia. It is the fastest growing religion in Australia since 2011. The Sikhs form one of the largest subgroups of Indian Australians with 125,000 adherents according to the 2016 census, having grown from 12,000 in 1996, 17,000 in 2001 and 26,500 in 2006. Most adherents can trace their ancestry back to the Punjab region of South Asia, which is currently divided between India and Pakistan.South Sea Islanders
In an Australian context, South Sea Islanders refers to Australian descendants of Pacific Islanders from more than 80 islands in the South Seas – including the Melanesian archipelagoes of the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu – who were kidnapped or recruited between the mid to late 19th century as labourers in the sugarcane fields of Queensland. Some were kidnapped or tricked (or "blackbirded") into long-term indentured service. At its height, the recruiting accounted for over half the adult male population of some islands.
There were 60,000 people who were kidnapped or “blackbirded”
These people were generally referred to as Kanakas, which means "man", although many Islander descendants now regard the term as pejorative and an insulting reminder of their ancestors' exploitation at the hands of white planters.
With time, owing to intermarriage, many Australian South Sea Islanders also claim a mixed ancestry, including Aboriginals, Torres Strait Islanders and immigrants from the South Pacific Islands.
Of some 55,000 to 62,500 Islanders recruited, around 10,000 remained in Australia in 1901. The majority were repatriated by the Australian Government in the period between 1906 and 1908 under the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901, a piece of legislation related to the White Australia policy. There was resistance to repatriation, and controversy regarding the manner in which it was done.Those exempted from repatriation, along with a number of others who escaped deportation, remained in Australia to form the basis of what is today Australia's largest non-indigenous black ethnic group. Today, the descendants of those who remained are officially referred to as South Sea Islanders. A 1992 census of South Sea Islanders reported around 10,000 descendants living in Queensland. Fewer than 3,500 were reported in the 2001 Australian census.The question of how many Islanders were "blackbirded" is unknown and remains controversial. The extent to which Islanders were recruited legally, persuaded, deceived, coerced or forced to leave their homes and travel to Queensland is difficult to evaluate and also controversial. Official documents and accounts from the period often conflict with the oral tradition passed down to the descendants of workers. Stories of blatantly violent kidnapping tend to relate to the first ten or so years of the trade.Tsebin Tchen
Tsebin Tchen (Chinese: 陈之彬; pinyin: Chén Zhībīn) (born 10 March 1940) is a former Liberal member of the Australian Senate from 1999 to 2005, representing the state of Victoria.Tchen was born in Chungking, wartime capital of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (more commonly known amongst Chinese as the War of Resistance). His father was then a junior diplomat with the Chinese Government and was posted overseas when Tchen was two years old. Tchen followed his father to various postings and never returned to China to live, except for two years (1954–56) in Taiwan, where the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek had fled after losing the mainland in the Chinese Civil War. His father continued to represent the Republic of China government until 1975 when he retired to live with Tchen in Australia. In 1958, Tchen gained a student visa to Australia to study—at that time, the only way for Asians to enter Australia due to the White Australia Policy. Eventually, he obtained a master's degree in town planning at Sydney University.From 1966, Tchen worked as a New South Wales government town planner in Sydney. Harold Holt succeeded Robert Menzies as Prime Minister in 1965 and effectively ended the White Australia Policy by altering the immigration law to allow Asian migration. After weighing up his choices, Tchen decided to remain in Australia, and gained citizenship in 1971.Tchen was interested in Australia history and had come to the view that one of the factors that brought about the anti-Chinese attitude in Australia that culminated in the White Australia Policy, was the often self-imposed isolation of the earlier Chinese community.
Segregation in countries by type (in some countries, categories overlap)
Ancestral background of Australians and overseas-born Australians