Australian Immigration Policy Is The Definition Of An Egalitarian Country

Australian Immigration Policy Is The Definition Of An Egalitarian Country

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It is a self-proclaimed notion that Australia is the definition of an egalitarian country. Contrary to this belief, in many aspects of Australian immigration policy it could be said that we are backtracking on many of the progressive changes that started between the 1950 's and 1970 's. Since the early 2000 's we have seen a return to a much harsher style of border protection, not unlike that of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, which was brought into place as one of the first and most defining laws passed by the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia. With these tougher restrictions we also saw a dividing public discourse. Media portrayal of overflowing boats and political rhetoric from both major parties has only reignited the fear of others which was once thought buried under the birth of a more multicultural, fair-go Australia. This essay will explore these changes to immigration policy, the way in which politicians and media alike have influenced the spread of panic and other public reactions to 'boat-arrivals ', and hope to show how this new fear echoes historical ones of communism and the 'yellow peril '.

Earlier governments had slowly been etching away at the White Australia Policy, but it wasn 't until the Whitlam Government hammered in the final nail by formally abolishing the policy in 1972. Australia had also became a signatory on the UN Refugee Convention. As a country it had seemed as if we were making our way towards concreting such themes of mateship and equality into our society. However, many of these advances were undermined when John Howard remarked at the Coalition 's election campaign launch in 2001 that “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. As a response ...


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...ralian way of life is being saturated by the arrival of refugees. That we 're at risk of losing our cultures, our religions, and our democracy. The media and politicians have both used the plight of 'boat people ' for significant gains in their prescribed areas, whether that be more viewers or more votes. As McMaster (2002, p.280) puts it, “the unfortunate result is that the asylum-seekers have been demonised and, like the 'hordes ', defined as the 'other ' – to be feared and used as scapegoats in the name of border control and national security”. Once again we are becoming a society fearful of the opportunities, ideas and experiences which other people bring. But it is not these refugees that we as society should fear, but the control and influence those with power have over us. It is not refugees hurting our Australian culture, but our treatment of them that is

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