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The History Of Ethnocentrism In Australian From Confederation To Present Day

684 words - 3 pages

During the past century of Australian history, the government has made some drastic changes to certain policies. These policies, however, have not necessarily been upheld within the shifting community values, norms and customs of this time. Although Australians proclaimed to be a multicultural society, the policies, events and trends leading up to the Rudd Government election of 2007 suggest that the common community attitudes were that of ethnocentric value. Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one principle culture. This was particularly evident in the progression of immigration policies and the treatment of certain ethnic groups and refugees in particular incidents.
The immigration policies of Australia in the early 20th century demonstrated the ethnocentric notions of the Australian government and society. In 1901, Australia’s first immigration policy, known as the White Australia Policy (or Immigration Restriction Act), was passed. The policy placed restrictions on who was allowed into Australia and also gave the government the authority to remove any “undesirable” persons. This was accomplished through the use of a bias dictation test. The “undesirable” persons were defined by their skin colour or ethnicity. Therefore, the principle of a White Australia was undeniably an ethnocentric trait of Australia during this time.
The attitudes of politicians of the Australian government during the early 20th century contained a superiority of European races over others. Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia, referred to this country as the “last part of the world in which the higher races can live and increase freely for the higher civilization.” European races were considered to be superior to all other races during this time. Furthermore, in a report to Edmund Barton, the non-white races, such as Asians or Islanders, were referred to as “aliens”. This greatly enforced the notion that any person of these ethnicities did not belong in the Australian society, hence, Australia was ethnocentric.
An exceedingly ignorant generalization of these cultures existed in the Australian community and was apparent into the 1990s with Political party leader Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson...

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