The White Utopia of Australia

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Australia is a country known to be proud because it’s a multicultural nation. However, the state also has another story that describes its origin. In the mid-1970’s immigration to Australia had restrictions especially to the whites since it had legislation known as ‘The White Australia Policy; that governed preferential treatment particularly to the British (Stanely 45). During this time, Australia had a population of 3.8 million by the year 1901, where 97% was the white population. The founding fathers of Australia later developed an objective and created the white utopia (Stanely 51). This brought questions like are Greeks White? Are Italians white? This essay will show why Australia was a utopia country and not a model State.

In the 20th century, the answer to whether Australia was named as white utopia was a no. The government of Australia had struggled with that question because the white Australian policy facilitated the social construct of the race of whiteness in all nationalities (Rowse 50). The Italians, for instance, fought for the introduction of the new White Australian policy. Years down the line, the history of Australia has always been on the indigenous people until the arrival of Captain Cook who renamed the nation as ‘an uninhabited Land’. Terra Nullius who was a legal myth was about to be rejected by ‘Mabo’ decisions made by the High courts in 1992 (Rowse 57). Nullius later stated that the absence of the Australian people on the English content had brought controversial issues on the settlement and conquest, but Nullius methodology remained strong in Australia today just as it popped in 2014 when Tony Abbott the Prime minister said Australia was unsettled before the arrival of the British ships (Rowse 59). The English language, in this case, was considered as the only language in the twentieth century that was fortified in trade and transport in America’s global supremacy

The British had a tremendous impact in Australia that is even seen today after their arrival in 1877. Predominantly, the British Union Jack changed the features of Australia's flag and settled as the Queen of the nation’s head of state (Putnis 29). The British models also developed Australia’s political and legal systems by providing the national language. Until the Second World War, the British remained the only nation that influenced Australia's culture by dominating the development of societies (Putnis 35). Most citizens in Australia that were born either had the British settlements or were born in Britain. Years later, Australia thought that the settlement of the British colony was nothing much. However, the British culture dictated most of their modes of food, fashion, entertainment, social values, and sporting culture. The settlement of the British, however, made things brighter in Australia. They began by establishing a government system that managed their administrative affairs. Since Australia was an independent country, it was primarily influenced by Britain

White Australia began its goals in 1788 during the colonisation era. The new Australian white settlers saw the Aboriginal citizens as a remnant of the history. For instance, in the 19th century, the white settlers saw the Aboriginal people as sub-human creatures who should donate their land to the English (known as rightful owners) (Weinberg 780). It was until the 1967 referendum that the Aboriginal Australians were considered as human beings during the official census (Weinberg 784). Today most white Australians have no idea that their country slavery. In fact this situation was known as the ‘indentured servitude’ because it was less spoken of by the historians. However, when the accounts of the Australian colonial ships are analysed as they moved from island to island, it revealed that tens of thousands of people were taken to the plantations to work as slaves. Most of them were taken from their homes by force either to work as slaves or for a small remuneration. Between the 1860’s onward, the primary driver of slavery in Australia and the South Pacific Island was because Britain demanded cheap cotton.

The market for cotton worldwide was thrown into turmoil since free labour was no longer a determining factor because most slaves came from the American South (Diesendorf 80). The textile industry in the British Empire was also suffering because of the abolishment slavery in the UK in 1833 because other choices were made when it came to sourcing cheap cotton. The greatest success in Australia is when they established the legal framework to make it a racist nation. The law also created the country’s independence from the colonies of the British Empire by the year 1901 (Diesendorf 89). After that, the formalisation of the racist immigration law that was meant to shape Australia’s population for the next 70 years was passed by the first Australian parliament due to the colour of its citizens.

 However, Japan never liked the idea and complained about the dignity of human beings known as the ‘inferior race’ as described by the Australian government which in return affected the relationship between the two generations. According to Kate Laing (p.220), Australia was not just avoiding the people of colour from migrating to their country but also preventing mass deportation since their arrival in the 19th century. The White Australia Policy had great ironies especially when it was displaced twice because many people that went to Australia never wanted there (Laing 225). The study also estimated that in 1908, approximately 9,000 Pacific Islanders were deported from Australia when the people of colour were being shipped from the shores of the country in collaboration with England while they were also shipping the white people (Laing 232). The question of whether Australia was a white utopia country can be answered as yes because the majority of them were turned into slaves by the British.

Australia as a Model Country

Australia is considered to be a model nation because the laws it applied were copied by other countries (Roll 447). In 1996, for instance, Martin Bryant a 28 years after finishing his café along Port Arthur at the seaside resort pulled out a semi-automatic rifle. Within a few minutes, he shot more than 20 than people killing about 12 people and injured about ten (Kleespies 130). During this time, Australia was considered to have the worst mass shooting in history having shot more than 100 people within one year. Since then Australia decided to come up with its law to ban assault rifles by tightening the gun law licensing through the creation of the uniform registration standards. Since then, the gun advocates in Australia was later duplicated in the U.S after the massacre killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary school (Kleespies 139). However, the will of Australians to give up their guns brought a fundamental difference between the U.S and Australia because of the difference in the gun cultures. This is what makes Australia to be seen as an inspiration but not a model. Carol Roll also argued that the U.S would have changed their laws a bit to make the nation a bit safer than Australia (P. 454). The author also claimed that to generate the assault weapon ban, the country should expound more on the background checks like having proper checkups on gun owner and how the weapons should be purchased.

Works Cited

Diesendorf, Mark. “A Critique of the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Policies.” Advances in Global Change Research Climate Change in the South Pacific: Impacts and Responses in Australia, New Zealand, and the Small Island States, 2000, pp. 79–93., doi:10.1007/0-306-47981-8_5.

Laing, Kate. “‘The White Australia Nettle’: Women’s Internationalism, Peace, and the White Australia Policy in the Interwar Years.” History Australia, vol. 14, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 218–236., doi:10.1080/14490854.2017.1319736.

Putnis, Peter. “Australia in the British Press.” Media Information Australia, vol. 35, no. 1, 2009, pp. 28–35., doi: 10.1177/1329878x8503500106.

Roll, Carol. “Foreign Direct Investment Flows by Country: Australia.” Australia as a Model Country, 2012, pp. 445–563., doi: 10.1787/9789264185722-table6-en.

Stanley, Timothy. “Utopia and the Public Sphere.” Religion after Secularization in Australia, 2014, pp. 44–56., doi:10.1057/9781137551382.0016.

Wanberg, Kenneth. “Australia 1788–2001.” The Continuity of Legal Systems in Theory and Practice, 2014, pp. 776–866., doi:10.5040/

November 13, 2023


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