When I grew up in Australia (most of 1966 to 1977), the country was more than 95% white. Now it is about 87% white and an increasing percentage of the country’s top jobs are going to Asians, who are becoming the country’s managerial class, rather like Jews in the history of Eastern Europe.
On 17 March 1984, [Australian historian Geoffrey] Blainey addressed a major Rotary conference in the Victorian city of Warrnambool. He regretted that the Hawke Labor Government in “a time of large unemployment” was bringing many new migrants to the areas of high unemployment, thus fostering tension. He blamed the government, not the migrants themselves. Criticising what he viewed as disproportionately high levels of Asian immigration, then running at 40 per cent of the annual intake, he added: “Rarely in the history of the modern world has a nation given such preference to a tiny ethnic minority of its population as the Australian Government has done in the past few years, making that minority the favoured majority in its immigration policy”.
Three days later, in response to the prediction of the “increasing Asianisation” of Australia made by Labor’s Immigration Minister Stewart West, Blainey argued: “I do not accept the view, widely held in the Federal Cabinet, that some kind of slow Asian takeover of Australia is inevitable. I do not believe that we are powerless. I do believe that we can with good will and good sense control our destiny…. As a people, we seem to move from extreme to extreme. In the past 30 years the government of Australia has moved from the extreme of wanting a white Australia to the extreme of saying that we will have an Asian Australia and that the quicker we move towards it the better”.
Blainey’s speech, along with subsequent articles and a book on the subject, ignited nation-wide controversy, especially in the Australian federal parliament which had not debated the principles of the immigration policy for many years. Most critics argued that Blainey’s views were moderate and not racist. “All peoples of the world are worthy and deserve respect”: that was the prime principle set out in the book, All for Australia, which he wrote on the topic.
However, he criticised the belief that “immigration policy should primarily reflect the truth that all ‘races’ are equal. On the contrary, an immigration policy should not, any more than a trade or tariff policy, be designed primarily to reflect that fact”. According to Blainey, the Australian government’s immigration policy was increasingly being based on multiculturalist ideology at the expense of the national interest and the majority of Australians. He argued: “We are surrendering much of our own independence to a phantom opinion that floats vaguely in the air and rarely exists on this earth. We should think very carefully about the perils of converting Australia into a giant multicultural laboratory for the assumed benefit of the peoples of the world”.
His views were to receive the support of a majority of Australian voters, both Labor and non-Labor voters, as a national Gallup poll confirmed in August.