White Australia
By
S. Angelo
Head Teacher History
East Hills Girls Technology High School
2007
Immigration Restriction Policy
History
– Racist attitudes
Economics
Fear
History
19th C. Australia had a long history of bad
relations between white and non-white people
Discrimination against Aborigines had existed
since Europeans settled here
Gold Rushes led to large numbers of Chinese
coming to Australia – generally hard working,
they were often accused of being evil and
corrupt
Racist Attitudes
Darwin’s theory of the Survival of the Fittest gave
the idea that humans are superior
White people saw themselves as being better
than non-white people
White people had been invading and taking over
many lands where the black population became
virtual slaves – Africa, India and many pacific
islands
Economics
Asian workers would work for less money than
white workers
The attitudes of trade unions was that it was
important to protect the rights of Australian
workers – so they did not want Asian or black
workers here
The Working Man’s Paradise would only exist if
cheap labour was kept out
FEAR
Many Australians at the time were afraid of
– Religions other than Christianity
– Coloured immigrants “polluting” our white
“purity” with interracial marriages
– what they did not know or understand
– Australia filling up with Chinese people
Features of White Australia Policy Part 1
1901 Immigration Restriction Act
– Suspect migrants were given a ‘dictation test’
– Immigration officers could choose the language for
the test
– if they could not pass the test they were excluded
– This way exclusion was based on education and not
race
Features of White Australia Policy Part 2
1906 Pacific Islanders Labourers Act
– Allowed pacific islanders who were brought to
Australia since 1879 to be returned to their native
countries - Kanakas
– Forced out many workers who had made their
homes in Australia – especially Queensland
1901 Post and Telegraph Act
– Prevented non-whites from handling Australian mail
Questions/Activities
1. Why did the Australian colonies/states want a
White Australia Policy?
2. What aspects of White Australia were
associated with the reasons for Australia
federating in 1901?
3. What features of White Australian life made it a
“Working Man’s Paradise”?
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