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Australia: Immigration Restiction Act Aka White Australia Policy

2203 words - 9 pages

In this essay I will propose that colonialism and the ‘Immigration Restriction Act aka White Australia policy’, are not dead, not just yet anyway. I will briefly outline some of the tensions in the community which led to the implementation of this policy in 1901. I will also investigate how the media of the day helped this policy along. I will then go on to explain how this policy, which was enacted to stop non Europeans entering Australia, effected the Indigenous population throughout the life of said policy. I will then go on to see if some points from this policy are being revived in today’s political environment, or is it just coincidence that these new legislations seem to align themselves with the 'White Australia' policy of yesteryear. Also I will briefly examine if these new policies breach the ‘Human Rights Act’. One in particular, Operation Sovereign Borders, designed to stop refugees entering the country illegally. By the end if this essay I should be able to answer the question posed above.
The Immigration Restriction Act was the main component of a package of legislation acknowledged by the new Federal Parliament in 1901. It was premeditated to exclude all non-European migrants and also the Indigenous population who were deemed as not being Australian. This package also incorporated the ‘Pacific Islander Labourers Act and Section 15 of the 1901 Post and Telegraph Act’, which provided that ships hauling Australian mail, and therefore funded by the Commonwealth, should provide work for white labour only. The attitudes were in line with Australian nationalism of the late 1800s. And was a move to control non-European immigration to most of the Australian colonies dating back to the 1850s.
The beginning of the 'White Australia' policy began with the mining boom of the 1850s. The white miners' anger towards the hard-working Chinese diggers ended in violence in Victoria and New South Wales. These two colonies governments initiated restraints on the immigration of Chinese people. Later, it was the turn of hard-working indentured labourers from the Pacific South Sea Islands known as 'Kanakas' in the northern region of Queensland.
The employees of factories in the south became strongly opposed to all forms of immigration which might threaten their employ; predominantly by non-white people who they thought would accept an inferior standard of living and also would work for lower wages. A number of influential Queenslanders felt that they would be expelled from the impending Federation if the 'Kanaka' trade did not stop. Leading NSW and Victorian politicians advised that there would be no place for 'Asiatics' or 'coloureds' in the Australia of the future.
In 1901, the new federal government voted for an Act ending the employment of Pacific Islanders and other non-white people. The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 obtained royal approval on the 23rd December 1901. It was depicted as an Act 'to deliver certain limitations on immigration...

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