Sunday 24 April 2022

Arthur Calwell Was The Problem Not The Solution

Over at XYZ a well written and well research article has appeared, The Democratic Labour Party: A Poisoned Legacy. In this article the author Australian Nativist makes the argument that if the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) had not split from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) then when Arthur Calwell became leader of the ALP the White Australia policy could have been saved. Which would or at least could mean that the world of mass immigration and multiculturalism that we live in today might not exist.

However I am not convinced when it comes to Arthur Calwell, or to the idea that the ALP could ever have saved us. 

It is certainly true that Arthur Calwell, who lead the ALP in the 1966 election, was the last major politician to support a White Australia. He was very open and forthright on this point. But like his opponent in that election, Sir Robert Menzies, he often spoke in support of both mass immigration and for restrictive immigration. Well how can you speak in support of both?

Yes these both did.

I will quote from Sir Robert Menzies book Afternoon Light: Some Memories Of Men And Events published in 1967.  

The first quote is from a letter to the Prime Minister of South Africa, written on the 2 July 1960, page 201:

In Australia, as you know, we have a very strict immigration policy, primarily because we don't wish to see created in our own country the tremendous racial problems which you have to encounter.

Page 225

Throughout its history, the Commonwealth of Australia has had - and both sides of the Parliament have supported it - a restrictive immigration policy designed in substance to build up a homogenous population, and to avoid the creation of internal racial problems of a kind which are to be found in the United States and in South Africa, and are, indeed, beginning to emerge in Great Britain.

Page 286

In the United States of America, the word 'liberal' is used in contradistinction to 'conservative', but it seems in recent years, to have acquired a special connotation. When I resided in America for some months in 1966-7, I thought that it threated to become a word which had special reference to racial relations; to 'civil rights'; to the vexed questions of 'integration' and 'segregation'

Thanks to a wise immigration policy, we are free of this problem in Australia, and I hope that we shall never permit ourselves to acquire it.

 Yet on page 59 of his book, Sir Robert writes this:

It had for many years been the settled attitude of the Trade Union Movement that there should be no assisted migration into Australia so long as there was any unemployment in Australia.......

It was in the face of these difficulties that Arthur Calwell convinced not only his colleagues but also the Trade Unions that a large immigration programme should be taken in hand. This was a bold and courageous action. It could have been taken successfully only by a Minister who was known as a life-time Labour man of the strictest orthodoxy, and was both well-known and extremely popular at the centre of unionism, the Trades Halls.

The very large immigration which was then begun, and continues to this day, has been a great factor in Australia's national development and the enrichment of her social life. My own party enthusiastically favours it. But I doubt whether it could have got off to such a good start so soon after the war had it been compelled to encounter trade union resistance.

What must never be forgotten is that Arthur Calwell was Australia's first Immigration Minister, he pushed it behind the scenes. He got the Trade Unions to support such a policy and he got the Labor Party to support such an idea. He also got the Liberal party to support the idea. 

Sure it was supposed to be White immigrants, but that is never where these ideas stay. Each idea is build to support the next idea. So that in time the small breach that has been made in the dam becomes a tidal wave that never ends. The idea that the man who created mass immigration into Australia was our savour is not an idea that can stand on it's own. 

I did an entire podcast on Arthur Calwell and another on Sir Robert Menzies

Melbourne Traditionalists Episode Twelve (27 minutes)

Sir Robert Menzies - The Melbourne Traditionalists Episode Thirteen (27 minutes)

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  1. Great article Mark. Cocky Calwell strikes me as a very strange man, the sort who would simply say, "oh well, as long as they're white" when determining policy and hence let almost anyone in from the wartorn slums of Europe. He seems to have been hit hard by fear of the Japanese in WW2 and was driven by the idea of urbanising and densely populating Australia. Its a little controversial but I don't believe BA Santamaria was much better, as he seems to have been involved in some shady schemes with other Italian and Catholic interests.

    To this day many of the people let in by Calwell still identify as somewhat different to ordinary Australians - you can certainly detect a bit of difference in people who arrived after WW2.

    It is hard to understand sometimes how the Labor party could have gone from the staunch men of 1901. I do wonder to what extent the international influence of 1917 played a part in this changing character.

    1. I think the reason things changed is the splits of 1916 and 1931. Each split moved the Labor Party to the left as well as changing it from a working class party to a middle class party.

  2. I totally agree with this. We were never going to keep the WAP. But we could have always resisted mass immigration. By having mass immigration you let in enough outsiders to support bringing in other outsiders. The outsiders can even be racial people, but each category will support bringing in a related category. And on and on it goes, until you get to Somalis.