Stu's Stories as at 2022

52 | P a g e The stupidity of this Australian policy was that we were educating all these young men for the benefit of other countries. I found that if the student was Caucasian he stood a good chance of being able to stay in Australia. This was all because of the ‘‘White Australia Policy’’ that had its beginnings in the late 1800’s and became law in 1901. I must admit, it was probably because I had very close Asian friends amongst these students, that it came to my notice. The stupidity of educating all these students for the benefit of Canada and the USA, along with the politicians’ belief that they, as Caucasians, were better than the Asians, really got me mad. The two letters reproduced here were the only ones to survive my many travels and moves, buried in a box of other papers. As you can see when you read the government’s reply to one of my letters, that Opperman continued to claim there was no such thing as the ‘‘White Australia Policy’’. (Even though it was well-known and enshrined in government policy.) Over the years I always liked to think that I had a hand in ‘‘stirring the pot’’ that started the process of abolishing it. The truth of this was vindicated when a search on line brought up the articles by Hubert Opperman (who made the claim that there ‘‘was no White Australia Policy’’) that stated changes were made to the immigration policy allowing immigration of all races who ‘‘could show they would be a benefit to Australia’’. The wording virtually mirrors that which, 12 months earlier, I had advocated so strongly. Even then, he refers to it as the ‘‘non-European Policy’’ rather than its correct designation of ‘‘White Australia Policy’’ when introduced. (Typical arrogant politician who did not want to admit his claim was wrong.) The following Opperman quote is an extract from government records: ‘‘After a review of the non-European policy in March 1966, Immigration Minister Hubert Opperman announced applications for migration would be accepted from well-qualified people on the basis of their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily and their possession of qualifications positively useful to Australia.’’ Note: He refers to it as “the non-European policy”, not what it was: “The White Australia Policy” - as if everyone didn’t know. Shades of my proposal! It took nearly 12 months, but it got there! The White Australia Policy abolition, changed in 1966, was finally officially abolished altogether in 1973. This change was not broadly publicised by the media. They, like me, could not have envisaged the dramatic effect this simple change would have on Australian society. The beginning of Australia as one of the best multi-cultural societies in the world. Yes, there are elements we could do without, but these would more than likely have eventuated regardless of whether Australia remained “white only” or became the multi-cultural society it is. Radical elements can evolve from any society. Following are the copies of my first letter (dated 5 July 1965) and Hubert Opperman’s last to me (dated what looks like 23 August 1966) - still declaring there was no White Australia Policy. (Note he refers to another of my letters dated 17 August 1965, proving the exchange of other letters in between those shown.)

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