Stu's Stories as at 2022

51 | P a g e My Part in the Abolition of the “White Australia Policy” Until the advent of computers (and my learning how to use them in the late 1990s), all my writing was done on a portable electric typewriter and no copies were kept. There is one exception and that is the letter to appear in this story. As far as I am concerned, the letter shown here is the most significant of all the letters I have written over the years, as I now know it helped bring about the abolition of the “White Australia Policy”. I came across my “draft” copy and the last (I think) of the Immigration Minister’s replies amongst some old papers and I have scanned and used the originals to show the authenticity of them, even if it does make them a little more difficult to read. Although I addressed it to the then Prime Minister, it was passed on and answered by his Immigration Minister, Hubert Opperman. These particular letters are reproduced here to give the authenticity to my claim to have ‘‘kick-started’’ the alterations to the Australian Immigration Policy and the eventual abolition of ‘‘The White Australia Policy’’. This policy was introduced to Australian immigration laws about 1897, and made law in 1901, to stop the influx of Asian immigrants (or anyone who could not claim white European heritage) into Australia. This discrimination really got up my nose, as the existing policy was responsible for the enormous influx of the dregs of England and Europe who, in many, many cases, thought they were superior to us Australian Colonials ‘‘who owed those from the old country’’ a free living, thus becoming a drag on the Australian economy. There were a number of letters in between these two as can be seen in Opperman’s reference to material not included in my ‘‘original’’. Anyway, following is the story which gives me great satisfaction in that it shows for fact that I did ‘‘kick- start’’ the cause of multi-culturalism in Australia. Today, I can look out across shopping centres, church choirs, Australian entertainers and in all walks of Australian life and see the mix of nations and know that I helped bring this about. If I achieve nothing else major in my life, I believe I did help ‘‘Advance Australia’’! THE STORY It was in 1965 that I started a series of back and forth letters with Canberra over their intransigent attitude to allowing Asians to stay in Australia. Many students, including Asians from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines came to Australia to study under what was termed (I think) the Colombo Plan, financed by the Australian taxpayer. However, once they graduated, the Asian students were not allowed to apply for settlement in Australia but had to return to their respective countries. The problem with this was that there was no work for them at home, so many moved to Canada where they were welcomed with open arms. After spending some time in Canada they could get a work permit to work in the USA.