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Evaluate The Social And Economic Change Within Australian Society Resulting From The Impact Of Calwell's Immigration Policy

2121 words - 8 pages

Immigration in the postwar period was is an important part of Australia's national identity. The massive influx of immigrants ensured a change in culture whose impact resonated decades into the future. The economic impact of the immigration also has both short term and long term consequences which have helped to shape the Australian economic structure as we know it. The Minister of Immigration, Arthur 'Cocky' Calwell, from the years 1945 - 1949 was in charger of implementing a range of these immigrations polices. A socialist Labor Minister under the Chiefly Labor government he marketed the phrase "Populate or Perish" with reference to Australia's small 5 million people population and the fear of 'Asian Invasion' or 'Yellow Peril' still rampant in post World War II Australia. This notion of populate or perish was however incredible insightful of him, Australia was under populated at this time. With 2.3 people per square kilometer there were copious amounts of land free to be used. Shortly after gaining his position a white paper detailing the Labor government's ideals on immigration, on there was a proposed net increase of 2% of the population per annum, and this is what the Labor government set out to do. By the year 1966 over 2 million Australians were born overseas. However, as stated before, this mass immigration did not come without its own social and economic features.An overpopulation in urban areas, particularly inner city Melbourne and Sydney became a common feature of the early immigration years. A ration based economy during the war years had left Australia with a housing shortage, and with this mass migration housing for them to live in once established was in short supply. This was compounded in the 1960's, where instead of 1/6 of migrants going directly into food producing in rural areas, around 1/100 migrants entered into primary production. This housing crisis meant that rent was high and there was a tendency for large families to all live in a small house or apartment.Thos overpopulation was not the only effect of immigration however. The influx of people meant that Australia economy flourished. Immigrants provided Australia with huge quantities of cheap unskilled labour (Only ¼ out of the non-British immigrants were skilled) which is exactly what Australia's economy needed at the time, this labour was even enforced by compulsory work for 2 years . When Menzies came to power in 1949 he started a trend towards manufacturing and secondary production over the previous agriculture and rural production. This was due to the need for Australia to become a larger player on the world market and the discovery of new resources such as iron ore, uranium Bauxite & coal. This meant an increasing in factories and manual labour - exactly what the immigrant were able to do.The strengthened economy of Australia due to these workers encouraged capital investments from overseas markets - often drawn to Australia by family and friends who...

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