In the narrative of the left, Australia was a boring outpost of the British Empire until Gough Whitlam became prime minister, formally ended the White Australia policy, instituted multiculturalism and gave Aborigines land rights. Whitlam’s brief government was certainly a cultural watershed, but not everything that happened before 1972 is irrelevant and not all that happened afterwards is admirable. Australia was never quite the antipodean England of left-wing mythology. People from Africa, Asia and many of the countries of Europe were aboard the early convict fleets, as would be expected in a representative sample of London’s jails. In the 1830s, after the Myall Creek massacre, white men were hanged for the murder of Aborigines. Among the Gold Rush influx were thousands of Chinese, quite a few of whom stayed after the gold they’d chased ran out. The first decade of Australia’s national existence, which brought the passage of the ‘White Australia’ legislation, also saw our first Chinese-speaking MP, Senator Thomas Bakhap.
Topics : Battlelines Quotes