Wednesday 15 November @ 8:30pm, SBSONE
When the Commonwealth of Australia was founded in 1901, the very last thing the nation wanted to be was multicultural. The measures taken to ensure this would be the case not only caused great human suffering, but in a supreme historical irony, actually helped create the very threat Australia feared the most – invasion from the Asian north.
Wednesday 22 November @ 8:30pm, SBSONE
The Second World War had far reaching effects on the history of the ‘Immigration Nation’. With no Asian migrants allowed and the pool of available Britons decreasing, Australia faced a crisis. Not only were there fears that Australia couldn’t defend itself, experts also believed the country would not grow economically without more people. So the nation’s first ever Immigration Minister, Arthur Calwell, made a momentous decision to bring in non-British European immigrants for the first time.
Wednesday 29 November @ 8:30pm, SBSONE
Despite causing widespread criticism overseas, in the 1950s under the Menzies government, Australia’s whites only immigration policy seemed as popular as ever. Indeed the rise of Communism in the region added extra justification to the need to prevent Asians entering the country.
My father came to Australia in 1971 on a Colombo scholarship to complete a Master of Science at the ANU in Canberra. My mother stayed behind in Cambodia to work as a midwife. Their lives changed suddenly one day in April 1975 with the start of tragic times under the Khmer Rouge. After several months working in the rice fields, my mother managed to escape across the Thai border, through the jungle, entirely on foot ...
More often than not public opinion drives public policy, but perhaps the shift from the White Australia policy to a more progressive and multicultural immigration policy is an example of public policy creating a shift in public opinion and cultural values ...
The first part of 'Immigration Nation' just reinforces my view that while the country has made some inroads on racism (hard to believe sometimes)...the country really should be called British Australia.
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