Half a century ago, Australians proudly pointed out that 98% were of British descent. Today, this country boasts the epithet ‘the most multicultural country in the world.’ Big cities have become cosmopolitan centers. But the majority of the residents still speak only English.
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Until the repeal of the White Australia Policy in early 1972, most settlers were from Europe. All the others were seen as not good enough to live on the smallest continent. This Immigration Act, made at the beginning of the twentieth century, is not a bright spot in Australian history. But it had a lot of influence on the formation of this country as one of today’s economic forces.
In Short about White Australia
Since the arrival of the first settlers, Australia has begun to build and develop. Since the territory was still unknown during the gold rush, many nations began to inhabit it. British Monarchy colonized this new continent at the end of the 18th century. But it was still open for others.
There had been periods when the country had troubles. Still, the general drift since the mid-nineteenth century had been toward progress, refinement, and civilization. The British Crown dominated this remote continent, and they wanted to point out that. A goal was creating a British Monarchy outside the Isle.
Soon, the Crown’s tolerance for newcomers of non-European origin reached the limit. The federation devised an act called the White Australia Policy in 1901(see here for more information). Since then, immigrants’ entry into the country became more difficult. Also, the stay of those already living in Australia was under the question.
For the authorities of that time, the policy of ‘White Australia’ represents a continuity with the ideals of the perfect society. They tried to make the new colony by the British monarchy’s standards. The Crown thought of the white race as superior. People of European (Anglo-Saxon) origin were only good enough to bring prosperity.
Was It Wrong?
There is no reason to doubt the facts based on this policy; the results were more than noticeable in a short time. Until World War II began, the prevalence of non-white races was measured in per mille. There had been moments when the country had fallen in industrial development. Still, the living standard remained high.
But this set of action didn’t bring desired results. Instead of being a vibrant and progressive nation, Australia became dry and unproductive. Authorities misused this policy to exclude many people from the country. As such, the idea of white superiority has been proven ahistorical. The White Australia Policy didn’t last long enough to see the long term consequences of its implementation.
After World War II, the Western world countries started massive actions to abolish White Australia. They became aware of the importance of diversity. The United States and European countries used their political influences to stop racism and xenophobia in Australia. It was a step away from the oppressive and exclusive policies of the British Monarchy towards a more multicultural, tolerant, and friendly country.
Some aspects of the white superiority myth may still exist. But the idea that everyone should be like them is absurd. Whether that is a product of White Australia or merely an ideology driven by political correctness is unclear. Still, one thing is sure – this set of immigration acts was used in the wrong way. But that doesn’t neglect its influence on modern Australian society.
After the repeal of the Immigration Act, Australia breathed a sigh of relief. After implementing this policy for decades, the goal was to solve the mess behind it. The priority was to create a country that was reflective of all cultures. New reforms should make all nations flourish within the democratic society.
Nowadays, Australia brags with cosmopolitanism. It has great immigration policies and laws which protect people from all cultures. These acts have been extended to those seeking refuge in this country rather than just entrance.
Different cultures and beliefs gained respect and deserved place in Australian society. Governments after 1972 succeeded to attract different ethnic communities to the country. They also help them interact and assimilate to a new way of living.
Governments have been elected over the past few decades were eager to keep the cosmopolitan spirit. They have introduced major programs that promote diversity within the population. These reformed policies actively encouraged the entrance of skilled people from multicultural backgrounds. That was a strong incentive for immigrants to settle in Australia and take control of their future.
Proponents of white superiority justify the discriminatory acts such as the White Policy. It imposed the assimilation to half-casts, making them neglect their national identity. That greatly changed the demographic picture of the smallest continent.
Today, assimilation is a matter of choice. Everyone can do it without losing cultural identity. No one feels pressured to fit into Australian society at all costs. People do this because they feel the need and connection to this way of life.
There are pockets of minorities in Australia that still struggle with integration and assimilation issues. The federal government has taken a vital role in ensuring that Australia’s openness remains a vibrant one. They created programs to address the problems facing some minorities and their integration.
The acceptance of diversity has helped build bridges between white and non-white races. Accepting different cultures was a significant step toward keeping the pace with the Western world. It helped this country to keep an advanced economy and a high standard. That has been the crux of Australia’s welcoming policy towards other nations.
Multiculturalism has been a significant ingredient of Australian society for more than a century. It incorporates the enduring values that have made the Land Down Under so prosperous and a beacon of peace and freedom. The continued existence of multiculturalism is a testament to its success. It succeeded to preserve Australia through periods of change and turmoil.