Post war immigration to Australia

Post war immigration to Australia

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, established the Federal Department of Immigration and thereby launched a large scale immigration program. Chifley commissioned a report on the subject which found that Australia was in urgent need of a larger population for the purposes of defence and development and it recommended a 1% increase in population through increased immigration. cite journal |last=Price |first=CA |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1998 |month=September |title=POST-WAR IMMIGRATION: 1945-1998 |journal=Jornal of the Australian Population Association |volume=15 |issue=2 |pages=17 pp |id= |url= |accessdate= 2008-07-23 |quote= ]

The first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, commenced promoting mass immigration with the slogan "populate or perish".cite web|url =| format = pdf of 7 pages|title = Immigration to Australia During the 20th Century – Historical Impacts on Immigration Intake, Population Size and Population Composition – A Timeline |publisher = Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia) | date = 2001| accessdate = 2008-07-18] 182,159 people were sponsored by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) from the end of World War II up to the end of 1951 to resettle in Australia from Europe -- more than the number of convicts transported to Australia in the first 80 years after European settlement.cite web|url =|title = What is the Fifth Fleet?|last = Tündern-Smith|first = Ann|publisher = Fifth Fleet Press| date = 2008-05-23|accessdate -= 2008-07-21]

Arthur Calwell coined the term "New Australians" in an effort to supplant such racist terms as pommy (Englishman) and dago.

The 1% target remained a part of government policy until the Whitlam government of 1972 to 1975, when immigration numbers were substantially cut back, only to be progressively restored during the course of the Fraser government (1975 to 1982).

Some 6.5 million people have migrated to Australia from other countries since 1945.cite web|url =| title = Fact Sheet 2 - Key Facts in Immigration|publisher = Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia) | date = 2008| accessdate = 2008-07-21] This total comprises 3.35 million males and 3.15 million females. This represents a significant proportion of the overall population increase experienced by Australia in that time, having gone from 7 million in 1945 to the present 20 million.cite web|url =| title = Fact Sheet 2 - Key Facts in Immigration|publisher = Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia) | date = 2008| accessdate = 2008-07-21]

Initial policy

In keeping with previous governments, both Chifley and Calwell had a preference for promoting the immigration to Australia of mainly British settlers and initially had the the ambitious target of nine in ten. It soon became apparent that this would be impossible to achieve given that Britain's shipping capacity was quite diminished from pre war levels. As a consequence, Calwell had to look further afield to maintain overall immigration numbers, and this meant relying on the IRO refugees, particularly since the USA was willing to provide the necessary shipping. In the context of the then still extant White Australia Policy, this decision was acceptable to Calwell, and future Prime Ministers.

The British component remained the largest component of the intake until 1953. Between 1953 and late 1956, those from Southern Europe (in particular, from Italy) outnumbered the British, and this caused some alarm in the Australian government, causing it to place restrictions on Southern Europeans sponsoring newcomers and to commence the "Bring out a Briton" campaign. With the increase in financial assistance to British settlers provided during the 1960s, the British component was able to return to the top position in the overall number of new settlers.

Later policy

In 1972 Whitlam announced a completely non-discriminatory policy, which effectively put an end to the "White Australia Policy". This announcement occurred in the context of a reduced overall intake. During the Fraser government, with the increasing intake of Vietnamese refugees in the advent of the Vietnam War, Australia experienced the largest intake of Asian immigrants since the arrival of the Chinese gold miners during the gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s. In 1983, the level of British immigration was below the level of Asian immigration for the first time in Australian history, a situation that remains to the present day.

International agreements

Financial assistance was an important element of the post war immigration program and as such there were a number of agreements in place between the Australian government and various governments and international organisations.cite web|url =|title = Fact Sheet 4 - More than 60 Years of Post-war Migration |publisher = Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia) | date = 2007| accessdate = 2008-07-18]

*United Kingdom - free or assisted passages. Immigrants under this scheme became known as Ten Pound Poms.
*assisted passages for ex-servicemen of the British Empire and the United States. This scheme later covered ex-servicemen or resistance fighters from The Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium and Denmark.
*an agreement with the International Refugee Organization (IRO) to settle at least 12,000 displaced people a year from camps in Europe.
**Australia accepted a disproportionate share of the refugees sponsored by the IRO in the late 1940s and early 1950scite journal |last=Neumann |first= Klaus| year=2003 |month= |title= Providing a ‘home for the oppressed’? Historical perspectives on Australian responses to refugees|journal= Australian Journal of Human Rights|volume= Volume 9 |issue= Number 2|publisher = Australian Human Rights Centre: Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales |pages= |issn= 1323-238X |url=|accessdate=2008-07-19 ]
*formal migration agreements, often involving the grant of assisted passage, with the United Kingdom, Malta, The Netherlands, Italy, West Germany, Turkey and Yugoslavia.
*there were also informal migration agreements with a number of other countries including Austria, Greece, Spain, and Belgium


Not all of those enumerated would have arrived as post-war migrants, specific statistics as at 2006 are not available.


ee also

*Immigration history of Australia

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