Thursday 16 May 2013

Multiculturalism and Mass Immigration II

Multiculturalism and Mass Immigration II

The Government at first wanted only British or Irish but the post war refugees in Europe needed new homes and Australia along with other nations were persuaded to take in refugees from populations they didn’t really want. It turned out to be the thin end of the wedge as the numbers of people wanted couldn’t be supplied from the British Isles, the net widened into Northern Europe into Eastern Europe and then into Southern Europe. People from all these lands had settled in Australia before but always in very small numbers compared to the British. So they assimilated very quickly, but the new numbers were large and that created worries. People started to complain that the new immigrants were not British, how could they be loyal to our Constitutional Monarchy when they had no ethnic ties to it or understanding of it, how could they remain loyal to Australia’s heritage and traditions when they didn’t share them either. The Government replied by saying that the numbers were small and that in time they would assimilate to our way of life.  

In 1999 a referendum was held to decide if Australia should become a Republic, the areas with the most immigrants voted for a Republic. Those areas predominately Australian born voted to keep our Constitutional Monarchy, which we thankfully remain.

The post war years from 1945-1973 were boom years, there were recessions but they were short lived and then the boom times were here again, good wages, full employment, cheap houses, they were golden years, Australia really was the "lucky country". Along with that came mass immigration, the jobs just seemed to always be there and slowly the amount of immigrants increased and the number of countries widened. Slowly but steadily the white Australia policy was dismantled, there was little discussion outside of Parliament. the people were never asked their opinion it was told to them. The remarkable thing was that no matter what the immigration policy Australia had it was endorsed by both the Left and the Right, hardly any disagreement was heard on the issue. Political rhetoric was different but they mostly voted the same way on this issue when it mattered in the Parliament. 

In 1973 the most left wing Government in Australia's federal history was elected into office and it ended what remained of the white Australia policy. From now on Australia's immigration policy would be decided by things other than race or ethnicity. This same Government also introduced the policy of multiculturalism. This was highly controversial and was attacked for decades, but again, in the Parliament were it mattered, the Left and the Right voted together. To show how controversial it was there were inquiries nearly every year for two decades on exactly what multiculturalism meant, the result was always to say it was not going to change Australia's culture (English language, the rule of law, the Constitutional Monarchy) but that it existed to help immigrants keep some of their culture alive with limited Government help. If that was really the policy it would not have been nor would it remain so controversial. 

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