Post-War Australian Immigration

Gabriel Atchison '93 English 34

In 1945, Prime Minister Chiefly and the Labor Party rose to power in Australia. Sensing a need for economic change, Chiefly sought to change Australia from an agricultural nation to an industrial one. The Department of Immigration was set up, and the Australian government prepared to pay for the transportation of these immigrants. As a result of the war, there were large numbers of displaced people and refugees to whom this offer would benefit. Most of the immigrants came from Great Britain. Immigrants also came from Austria, Greece, and other parts of Europe. Southern Europeans, and people of color were discouraged from immigrating. Jews were often less accepted than Germans, even though Germans were considered 'the enemy' during World War 2.

In 1947, the Australian Government offered to pay for Europeans to immigrate under certain conditions. The immigrants would have to work for two years at a job the government had appointed. This meant that skilled people were often put to work doing menial jobs. There was an increasing anti-immigrant prejudice. The workers feared that immigrants would take their jobs. Immigrants had many effects on the developing post-war Australia. One of the most effective was the increase in Anti-Labor sentiment, which caused the overthrow of the Labor Party in 1949. Australia's population doubled in less than thirty years.

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