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Australian Immigration and Politics

Immigration and elections in Australia. Immigration is a sensitive subject in many countries, including Australia. Like a lot of economic policy, high levels of immigration are part of the technocratic consensus that voters don’t really have much say about because whichever side is in government it’s going to happen anyway.

Yes, both parties went into last year’s election ranting about how they’d bring it down, but you and I know they didn’t really mean it.

Last year George Megalogenis noted that if Robert Menzies had followed contemporary public opinion polls, Greeks would not have been part of the post-war immigration program and former John Howard advisor Arthur Sinodinos (and George too, presumably) would never have been born.

Paul Kelly has described (in 1997, no link) how the slow dismantling of the White Australia policy from the mid-1960s began via the practical route of bipartisanship rather than recourse to the voters.

Keeping Australia white is as part of Australian history as tariffs and the living wage. The “white” imperative was actually associated more with the “progressive” than “conservative” side of politics……..”

 

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