White Australia Policy

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The immigration policy of Australia has been in a constant state of flux ever since Federation in 1901, when the first legislative piece, the Immigration Restriction Act, was introduced. The Immigration Restriction Act has become infamous in Australian history and throughout the world, more nefariously as the ‘White Australia Policy’. The White Australia Policy was Australia’s seemingly indestructible way of ensuring a White Australia. However, the immigration of European refugees after World War II, which aimed to defend the nation from Japanese invasion, challenged this policy. From 1901, Australia held a strong belief that coloured people, specifically Asians, were inferior and detrimental to the Australian way of life, and did all in it’s …show more content…

With the initial announcement of the plan to allow non-English Europeans into Australia, a lot of criticism fell onto Calwell. One such criticism is in the cartoon ‘The Pied Piper’ which was published in The Bulletin in 1947. It depicts Arthur Calwell, who is identified by his glasses and comic caricature, as the Pied Piper, who is playing to the people walking off a ship down stairs labelled ‘Imports’. The people arriving off the ship are wearing the stereotypical garb associated with the Jewish race, therefore representing the European displaced persons from World War II. The Pied Piper playing to these people symbolises that these ‘imports’ were not desirable for Australia, as it is known that the Pied Piper plays for rats. These criticisms meant that Calwell has to be meticulous in ensuring that Australia would increase its population whilst conservatively changing the beliefs and attitudes that the majority of Australians held towards such migrants. As seen in a photograph of the first “Happy Settlers from the Baltic” that graced the front cover of Australia national tabloid, The Age, in December 1947, Calwell and the Australian Government were careful in selecting mainly young, beautiful and white migrants to initially ‘sell’ the idea of immigration to the Australian public. Analysis of another primary source, sourced in Arthur Calwell’s Autobiography, ‘Be Just an Fear Not’ published in 1972, suggests this to be

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