Xenophobic Deja Vu

It is not the bad qualities, but the good qualities of these alien races that make them so dangerous to us. It is their inexhaustible energy, their power of applying themselves to new tasks, their endurance and low standard of living that make them such competitors.

Ruddock? Howard? Menzies? Cast your mind back further.  The above quote was part of a speech Alfred Deakin made as Attorney General to federal parliament on 12 September 1901 entitled ‘The Commonwealth of Australia shall mean a white Australia’. 

The speech was in support of the proposed Immigration Restriction Act 1901 which later passed and formed an approach to immigration commonly known as the ‘White Australia Policy’.

In 1903 Deakin became Australia’s second prime minister.

From 1901 until Gough Whitlam’s government passed the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975, Australia’s migration program was based on racial selection criteria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *