Creating Multicultural Australia: Local, Global and Trans-National Contexts for the Creation of a Universal Admissions Scheme, 1945–1983

Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


Australian immigration policy was dramatically transformed during 1966–1983, with the abolition of racial discrimination in selection procedures, the expansion of humanitarian and family reunion programs and the introduction of multiculturalism. The reasons for the shift to a universal admissions scheme were varied, encompassing changing ideas about race, ethnicity and human rights, the labour and social imperatives of post-war modernisation, and diplomatic considerations. There was also a transnational context for Australian policy-making, including the examples of other 'white', English-speaking countries like Canada and the United States. Since the early 1980s, immigration and multiculturalism have been subjected to repeated public criticism, political bipartisanship has been challenged and policy-making has focused increasingly on economics and compliance concerns. The preceding period of vigorous policy activism has had an enduring legacy, nevertheless. No mainstream political party has seriously contemplated the reintroduction of racially discriminatory immigration policies. Cultural pluralism remains a lived reality and an organising principle of migrant settlement policies.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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