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Subject: Cultural Studies »

Andrew Markus about Prof Geoffrey Blainey's claims about Australian immigration

Andrew Markus.

Historian Andrew Markus assesses Prof Geoffrey Blainey's claims about Australian immigration



Date Added:

17 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

7.4 MB






Geoffrey Blainey one could argue, certainly if one looks at his own writings and speeches, was concerned about balance and he was concerned about the pace of developments. He was not someone who came out and said, “Look we should go back to the White Australia Policy. What we need is restrictions and as we had in 1901.” His concern was that the pace of developments was really not rational. And we had gone from a situation, say in 1965, when there could be no permanent settlement from Asia to a situation in less than 20 years, where a majority of the intake was from Asia. And he argued that this was moving too quickly. And by so doing, it actually threatened the whole policy – the policy of diversity and tolerance by moving too quickly.


And so what he called for was controls to limit that very rapid shift. Not to go back as I say, to total restrictions but a balanced approach. The problem with that is while one may say that there’s rationality behind such a policy, the problem is that it says, that in actually determining who may come in, we’re going to treat different groups differently. We’re not going to look at you, Mr Smith and you Mr Brown, as individuals, we’re going to see you again as representative of a cultural group. And we’re not going to be so much concerned about your level of education, English language competence, capacity to contribute by finding employment immediately, but we’re actually going to put people in categories and blocks. And we’re going to treat those different categories differently.


It’s a very difficult line to cross and once you, again, move along that path, it opens up all sorts of possibilities and in a way it legitimises a policy which says: there’s various things that we’re taking into account, including your cultural, ethnic, racial background, whatever that might mean. And that’s why it’s very problematical.


He’s made various predictions. Do a)- b) follows: a) wasn’t done and b) didn’t follow. Basically what he said –


End transcript