Australia’s “racist” founding fathers.
“Business as usual will not do, not when West African competitors can offer our biggest customers an average capital cost for a tonne of iron ore that’s $100 under the price offered by an emerging producer in the Pilbara,” she said. “Furthermore, Africans want to work, and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.”(Gina Rinehart – September 2012)
Nothing in history ever has a simple and linear explanation. It is always easy jump to conclusions that are almost always wrong. One of the most, if not THE most, misunderstood policy in Australia’s brief history was the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 – better known as the “White Australia Policy”. The effect of the policy was to deny entry to anyone who was not of European descent and, almost as effectively, anyone who was not of British descent – at least until the “populate or perish” immigration reforms introduced after the Second World War.
It is easy, from the perspective of 2015, to look back 125+ years and conclude that Australia’s Founding Fathers were motivated solely by “racism” and that they believed that whites were further up the evolutionary tree than non-whites and that is why they excluded them. But such an assumption is based in ignorance about the world of the late 19th Century and a complete misunderstanding of Australian thinking at the time.
In the second half of the 19th Century the world was a very different place. Australia was a remote outpost of the British Empire that had been established initially as an extensive al fresco prison in which to dump the British criminal class and as a place to exile the unwanted street urchins and orphans, prostitutes, drunks, the chronically unemployable, trouble-makers, and the feckless and rebellious Irish. It was also a good place for the nobility and upper classes to send the disinherited second sons, eccentrics, and socially embarrassing relatives – the “Remittance Men” as they were known. Australia, the collection of colonies as we were in the 19th Century, was as far from Great Britain as you could get and was a long way down the list of Imperial concerns.
Britain’s greatest concerns in the second half of the 19th Century were entrenching “The Raj” in India after the Sepoy Revolt of the late 1850s; expanding its interests in China after winning the “Opium Wars”; maintaining its control of Canada and preventing any northward expansion of the United States; controlling the Caribbean; participating in the “Grab for Africa”; and dominating the sea routes to the Far East by controlling the Malay Straits and establishing a formidable fortress and naval base on the island of Singapore.
The expansion of the British Empire had two main motivators. The first was to get control of raw materials, and markets, to feed the mills of the industrial revolution and sell their products and the second, and equally important, was to maintain Britain’s pre-eminent position against the other aggressively expansionist Imperial nations that included France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia and the United States of America. The Australian colonies provided convenient ports for Britain’s merchant navy, whaling and sealing fleets, and the Royal Navy.
In the second half of the 19th Century the world was divided into Empires. With the exception of France and the Unites States, there were no democracies – and even those two were more plutocracies than democracies. Great Britain had passed a number of “Reform Bills” that cautiously extended the franchise (just in time to head off a French-style revolution) but the great majority of “subjects” had no vote and no voice in Parliament. Queen Victoria presided over a House of Commons elected by the untitled upper class and the wealthier “mercantilists” of the middle class and a House of Lords solely comprised of the hereditary aristocracy, life peers, and the Bishops of the Church of England. Great Britain was not a democracy in any sense of the word as we understand it today – though it was much more progressive than the absolute monarchies of Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, China and Japan.
In 1851 Australia was series of outposts with a non-indigenous population of around half a million – that is, it had fewer people than the City of Greater Manchester – and far less industry. Convict transportation had ended to the eastern states in 1840 while there had been a small increase in free migration during the 1840s as a result of the “Bounty Immigrant” scheme and the depression in England and the famine in Ireland. But, essentially, the whites in Australia were time-expired convicts or the children and grand-children of convicts and other deportees. In 1849 the white population of Australia decreased dramatically as a result of the California gold rush. That loss of population, mainly healthy young men, led the colonial Governor to change the law that had made all discoveries of gold and precious metals the instant property of the Crown. In 1851 Hargreaves discovered gold near Bathurst and, instead of supressing the news of the find, it was broadcast internationally. Between 1851 and 1865 Australia’s population increased nearly 6 fold. Although gold seekers came from all parts of the world, a significant number were returnees from California and Americans who had gone west in the rush of 1849.
The Americans brought with them dangerous political ideas about democracy and “rights” that fell on fertile ground amongst the “currency” (i.e. native born whites) who already harboured anti-establishment views and had many grievances – particularly about the allocation of land, mining rights and lack of political voice. It became clear to the Colonial Office in London that direct authoritarian rule could not be sustained in the Australian colonies and that, should they try to impose it by force, there was every chance of an uprising such as had occurred in the thirteen American colonies in 1776. London also realised that it would be very difficult to fight a revolutionary war on the other side of the world – up to five months away by sailing ship – against colonists who would probably get substantial aid from the geographically much closer and Anglophobic Americans. As a result of those facts and much more enlightened thinking in London (and the desire to keep control of the extraordinary wealth dug out of the gold fields) limited self-government was granted to New South Wales in 1855 while the colonies of Victoria and Queensland were subsequently established as separate political entities. The Swan River settlement, that became Western Australia, was treated differently and the transportation of convicts continued until 1866. Van Diemen’s Land, renamed Tasmania in 1856, was then undergoing a boom and was home to the world’s biggest whaling and sealing fleet and did a brisk trade with foreign whalers and sealers – particularly the Americans.
All this colonial history, albeit much simplified, may seem irrelevant to the White Australia Policy of 1901 but it’s not. It is vitally important to understand the forces operating and shaping the world in the late 19th Century to understand what transpired in Australia. The seaborne empires of the late 19th Century were about trade, and making money, much more than they were about national prestige or bringing Christianity to the “coloured” people of the world. Britain led the way with its Industrial Revolution that expanded exponentially from the 1830s. Britain also adopted and developed a Dutch idea that has shaped the world as we know – and that was the Joint Stock Company with “limited liability” – that is, the stock holders were not personally liable for the debts or failure of the Company. The British East India Company, which had established British rule in India, was modelled on the Dutch East India Company but it was not a “public” company as we know them today. The creation of the limited liability joint stock company and the development of the London Stock Exchange meant that anyone could buy shares in, or raise money for, development project at home and abroad. The purpose of these companies, which appeared like mushrooms after spring rain, was to make as much money as they could, as quickly as they could, for the stock holders. The morality, and effect on native populations overseas, of how that money was made was of little interest to the company directors and stock holders in Europe and the United States. The American “United Fruit Company” effectively took over the nations of Central America and turned them into plantations to grow bananas for the American market – thus giving us the derisory term “Banana Republic”.
By the time the easy alluvial gold had run out in Australia around 1865 the population had reached around three million and much of the interior had been explored – mostly in the hope of finding more gold. Instead, these pioneers found vast tracts of arable land that were ideal for grazing and cropping in the temperate climes while the tropical coast and north was ideal for growing crops and the much sought after commodity: sugar. In the far west of New South Wales they also found large deposits of silver, lead, copper and zinc which was exploited by the Australian joint stock company, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company – BHP.
Despite the enormous wealth generated by the gold rush the Australian colonies lacked two vital things: capital and labour. Australia was also a long, long way from Europe and it was much easier, and safer, for prospective immigrants to cross the North Atlantic to America than sail down the Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian and Southern Oceans, and then up into the South Pacific to make landfall in Hobart, Melbourne or Sydney. The “Tyranny of Distance” was a deterrent to the development of Australia.
The Imperial powers of Europe, particularly the British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese had solved a similar problem in the “New World” of the Americas and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th Centuries by establishing plantations worked by slaves. The slaves were almost entirely from West Africa and were rounded up by local African chieftains, such as the Ashanti Empire in what’s now Ghana, and sold to European and Arab slavers operating out of West African ports. The plantations on the Caribbean Islands, Brazil, the Guyanas, Venezuela, and the southern states of the USA were worked almost entirely by African slaves. These plantation economies were very profitable for the individuals and companies who owned them and, at the time, few people saw anything wrong with such a system. After all, slavery was very widespread and always had been (and still is today) and was endorsed by both the Bible and the Koran. But there was always the problem of making the slaves work for nothing and the constant fear of slave uprisings. The first “Black Republic” was established in Haiti on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola after a successful slave rebellion drove out the French in 1804. Similar, but less successful, uprising occurred in Brazil, Uruguay, Dutch Guyana, Mexico and the southern United States.
In 1771 a Negro slave named James Somerset, who had been bought in Massachusetts in 1769, escaped from his master, Charles Stewart, in England. He was recaptured and Stewart put him on a ship for Jamaica to be sold in the slave market there. Somerset had become a Christian in England and his Christian sponsors filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of the King’s Bench to prevent his leaving. The Court found that slavery was illegal in England and Wales with the result that something in the order of 10,000 slaves were soon set free. Slavery was also abolished in Scotland and Ireland. The anti-slavery movement, led by William Wilberforce in Great Britain, gained momentum and eventuated in the complete abolition of slavery throughout the Empire in 1834. It was also abolished in the United States north of the Mason-Dixon Line and successively by all the major European imperial powers by 1850.
In Australia during the 1851-1865 period there had been an influx of Chinese to the gold fields. This coincided with agitation for democracy, self-government, and reform to restrictions on expansion of settlement and land ownership. The Chinese who arrived were almost exclusively men who had been forced to come to work off debts owed to feudal lords back in China. They did not own the gold they extracted and did not spend it here. Instead, it went to the head-man of the gang who exported it all back to China. The Chinese, many of whom had family held as collateral against their debts in China, had no interest (for obvious reasons) in participating in the democratic movement of the white miners while the way they were treated by their overseers appalled anyone with progressive ideas about freedom, individual rights, and democracy. The fact that the majority of Chinese did not even attempt to assimilate or join in the struggle for democracy, but kept to themselves and sent all their gold back to China, soon created animosity that led to calls to stop the Chinese arriving. Various methods were tried, like imposing a poll tax on arrivals in Sydney, but the Chinese simply landed in Adelaide and walked across to Victoria and New South Wales. Anti-Chinese feeling – not because they were Chinese as such but because they refused to join with white miners in their demands for democracy and equality – led to a series of riots culminating in the Lambing Flat Riots of 1861. Those riots and the progressive restriction of Chinese entry to Australia were not, as historical revisionists would have us believe, simply white “racism” against non-whites but were an expression of revulsion at the feudal system of de-facto slavery imposed on the Chinese by their overseers here and their Lords back in Imperial China. China in the 1860s was a feudal empire where slavery was common and the great bulk of the people had no rights at all. There were a number of Chinese who did run off from the gangs and went on to establish the successful market gardens, restaurants, laundries, and “China Towns” that have been a feature of Australian cities and towns since the 1850s.
From 1865 onwards there was plenty of foreign capital looking for places to invest and Australia was an attractive proposition. There was a huge demand for wool, grains, skins, whale oil, preserved meats and animal products, timber, and tropical commodities. But the problem was a great labour shortage. Local and international capital envisaged creating a plantation economy to supply the raw materials for the mills of Britain and Europe – much as they had done in the Caribbean and on the mainland of North and South America; but the white Australians weren’t going to work plantations for local or foreign masters when they could graze and plant their own land and keep the profits for themselves. Slavery was no longer an option as it had been abolished by all the Imperial powers and the United States had just fought a bitter and brutal civil war to abolish it forever in the plantation-based economy of the Confederacy. Many Australian colonials were also emancipated convicts or the descendants of convicts and knew well what it was like to work under the lash and on the chain gangs – and they weren’t going to have that sort of injustice and exploitation inflicted on them, or anyone else, ever again. The last convict ship unloaded its human cargo in Western Australia in 1866.
To overcome the problem of a complete dearth of cheap labour in Australia while also avoiding outright slavery, but at the same time creating an extensive plantation-based economy, the “companies” came up with the idea of “indentured labourers” being imported to work the proposed plantations. They didn’t need to get them from Africa as there was a huge supply of cheap labour in India, China, Japan, Malaya and the Melanesian Islands. In the boardrooms of Europe, America, and here, it seemed like an ideal solution to the problem. After all, it was working well in the plantations of Malaya, French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies, Ceylon, India, California, Hawaii, Fiji, New Caledonia, South Africa, British East Africa, French West Africa, the Belgian Congo, and the German colonies in Africa. The American railway network in the western states had been built by Chinese coolies so why not bring coolies to Australia?
Here in the Australian colonies there’d been a system, since the arrival of the First Fleet, of granting great tracts of land to the better classes of immigrants that had then been worked by “assigned servant” convict labour. Thus there were a number of “great estates” that had produced something of a colonial aristocracy, who saw themselves as being very separate from, and socially far above, the uncouthed ruffians descended from the convicts and working-class villeins who’d turned up during the gold rushes. They did not identify with the egalitarian and democratic ethos of colonial society but saw themselves as a “ruling class” that desperately wanted acceptance “at home” amongst the snobs and aristocracy in England. They were very much in favour of the idea of making Australia an extensive plantation ruled over by a colonial aristocracy and seriously proposed the idea of creating a hereditary system of Earls, Counts, Barons and Dukes ruling perpetually through an hereditary colonial House of Lords. The idea was much mocked as the “Bunyip Aristocracy”. The dream of a colonial hereditary aristocracy was soon shelved but the idea of a plantation economy was not.
The idea was to import a million or more coolies from India, China, Japan, South-East Asia and Melanesia to work the sugar plantations in tropical Australia and to provide a cheap workforce for the shearing sheds, grain farms, docks, and factories of the southern states. Why pay a white man a pound a week when you could get a non-white coolie for a shilling (or less)? Not only would the implementation of the idea provide the needed labour but it would also be very cheap and generate huge profits for the companies. Not only that, but swamping Australia with cheap non-white indentured labour would destroy the uppity notions of the white working class and force them to compete for work at the same rates, and under the same conditions, as the coolies. This would be a salutary lesson to the sort of radical ideas that infected Australian colonial thinking and was having an influence amongst the factory fodder and toiling proletariat in Europe and America.
In the last quarter of the 19th Century the plans to import coolies to work in the tropics was put into practice. The theory was that Melanesians from the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides were genetically better suited to working the tropical sugar plantations than were whites – who were mostly unavailable anyway. “Blackbirding” ships went to the islands and offers were made to give the islanders what seemed to them like a good deal – iron axes, clothing, beads and trinkets – and the promise of more if they’d come and work for a while on the plantations. The islanders, or Kanakas as they were called, had no understanding of what the deal actually involved and soon found themselves in a strange country, unable to speak the language, unable to get home, and kept in virtual bondage on plantations with no rights at all. None of the promises were kept.
In the more populous south the idea of Australia being an extensive plantation worked by imported non-white coolies was vigorously resisted. The experience with the Chinese and of convict labour was still fresh in the collective memory while the granting of self-government meant that the lower orders of society had a political voice and political power. They had seen what had happened in the Americas and elsewhere with plantation economies based on slavery and did not want a repeat of that here. They wanted to maintain wage rates and living conditions and were not about to allow the local and foreign ruling classes to strip them of their bargaining power by flooding the country with indentured coolies whose working and living conditions would be not much better than outright slavery. Many could also see that a large influx of cheap labour would drive the local working class to compete at the same level and thus the dream of establishing a working man’s paradise would be over.
Australia was singularly fortunate that, by the beginning of the 1890s, the “common man” actually had political power via the franchise and elected his own representatives to the various colonial Parliaments. In a world ruled mostly by absolute monarchs and the hereditary aristocracy, Australia was unique in being governed by “the workers” the majority of whom were also literate and numerate. In Australia almost the entire population, from the top professionals to the lowest ditch-diggers, were directly connected with the convict “assigned servant” system or had come from the disenfranchised and oppressed classes of Britain, Europe and America. Here people, men and women, could breathe free and truly believed that “Jack was as good as his master” and there was no way they were ever going to allow British or foreign Imperialists, aristocrats, or the filthy rich share-holders to establish a plantation system in this country worked by exploited whites or anyone else. The only way to stymie foreign plans for exactly that was to pass legislation that would deny such exploiters the one resource they needed – and that was the importation of a huge coolie workforce. That’s why the various colonial laws restricting immigration were made consistent and became the “Immigration Restriction Act” that was the first legislation ever passed by the Australian Federal Parliament and became known as the “White Australia Policy” – even though it did not deny anyone entry on the basis of race.
Between 1901 and 1914 Australia was “the most democratic country on earth” and led the world with social reform that, for the first time in world history, gave the common man a real opportunity to rise above the station of his (or her) birth. A place where a man really could be judged on the content of his character, his own abilities and innate worth, rather than on whom his father was or the “Public” school that he’d attended – or his accent. At that time visitors to Australia were often appalled by the lack of “respect” and “reverence” Australians showed to their social betters and their refusal to doff their hats or tug their forelocks to anyone or to “know their place”. Australians had also developed a distinctive accent that, unlike anywhere else in the English speaking world, is the same regardless of geographical location or social status. George Bernard Shaw could never have written “Pygmalion” if he’d been born and raised in Australia; that could only have been written in, and about, a class riven society such as Britain where people are instantly judged, and assigned a social role, by their accents. Australia at that time, just over a century ago, also had a very powerful union movement that ensured that employees, regardless of the complexity of the work done, received a liveable wage and had a real and tangible opportunity to own their own home or piece of land and made sure there were schools for their children and hospitals for their sick and pensions for those of them who were old or infirm. Those ideas were “revolutionary” in the world of the first decade of the 20th Century. Australia also elected, for the first time in world history, a Labor Government made up of men who wouldn’t even have had the vote in Britain (or most countries in the world) at that time.
In that first decade of the 20th Century Australians were the richest and freest people in the world and in all human history. The wealth distribution between the rich and poor was also the narrowest and we had avoided a war of independence, a civil war, serious uprisings or any of the other great societal conflicts that plagued older and more traditional societies. But while we avoided all those things and the horrors of the Industrial Revolution with its 5 year-olds down mines and cleaning the cotton mills, the little match girls and chimney sweeps, the share-cropping system, and the factory fodder living in a company hovel and working a six day week for one day’s pay and forever in debt to the company store, there was an element, both domestic and foreign, who still hankered after a coolie-worked plantation system that would bust the unions, drive down wages, and chase the common ruck from the Halls of Power that “rightfully” belonged to them on the basis of their birth and inherited wealth. Australians were the bastards of the British Empire, a collection of lower-class upstarts descended from criminals and street sweepings that needed to “compete” in a reverse-auction for work and political power – for their own good – against a few million coolies imported from around Asia and the Pacific Islands. But they failed. The White Australia Policy lasted on the statutes until the mid-1960s when it began to be watered down and then finally abolished by the Whitlam and Fraser Governments and was replaced, without any popular support or, heaven forbid, a referendum of the people, with Al Grassby’s policy of “multiculturalism” – an idea that had been around since the days of the Roman Empire and has a 100% failure rate everywhere it had ever been tried – and is failing everywhere it’s been implemented over the last 50 years.
The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere. It was also about stopping the creation of ethnic-racial enclaves and ghettoes, inter-religious schisms and conflict, and from destroying the “working man’s paradise” that had been created by the native-born, the “currency” lads and lasses, of Australia. We did not want the racial and ethnic conflicts that plagued every part of the Americas and the Caribbean or the rigid class structures of Europe or the oppression of ethnic minorities as was normal in the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, American, Russian, Chinese and Japanese Empires of the time. We only wanted people who believed as we did: that a man should have dignity, a say in government via a universal and compulsory franchise, and a fair share of the wealth of the nation; that people should rise in society on their own merits and find their own station in life regardless of who their father was; that women should have the same rights to an education, inheritance, personal wealth and social advancement as anyone else; that no man, woman or child should ever be a slave or a serf or work in indentured bondage; that anyone could say what they damned well liked without fear of exclusion, impoverishment, the knout, the cell, the chain-gang, or the gallows. The only way to ensure all those revolutionary freedoms was to keep one commodity in short supply – and that was labour. The White Australia Policy was about self-preservation and the continuance of a social experiment that had been a spectacular success.
I started this essay with a quote from Gina Hancock when she addressed the Sydney Mining Club in September 2012. Here it is;
As you can see, the idea of turning Australia into plantation worked by coolies has never died. Almost inconceivably Australia’s richest person, and one of the richest in the world (with a personal fortune estimated at around $30,000,000,000) is seriously suggesting that Australians, that’s you and me and our children and grand-children, should compete with Africans for the right to dig up iron ore WE OWN to make her even richer and she’ll pay us LESS than two dollars a day for the privilege! Does that seem fair to you? Is it reasonable for Ms Rinehart to think it’s fair to pay workers a rate that, if they spent nothing at all and saved every cent, would have to work for around forty-one million years to amass a fortune equal to hers?
Just imagine that we didn’t have the sort of political institutions we do have and it was possible for her to import half a million Africans to work her mines for her at $2 a day, do you think she’d do it? Do you think others like her would do it? Do you think they’d care one jot, one tittle, one iota, what effect that would have on Australian society and our living standards now and forever? All that matters to Gina Rinehart and people like her is to make as much money as possible – for herself; and to hell with the rest of us. Do you think that the boardrooms in the great capitals of Europe, America and Asia (and here) have not thought of the profits they could make from creating a huge plantation to grow export crops, and develop mines, across northern Australia – all worked by two-dollar-a-day coolies they could conscript from Africa, the Middle-East, South and South East Asia and elsewhere? Wouldn’t that create healthy competition for every other job in Australia and really throw the economy into over-drive? After all, the Chinese work for $30 a week while you can pick and choose workers in Bangladesh who will fight each other for a job paying $20 a month and work under conditions little different from slavery. Why not have the same system here? After all, if it all turned to shit and there was civil strife, war and mayhem, Ms Rinehart and her ilk would soon be on their private jets heading off for Switzerland and other such places where they’ve probably squirreled away enough money to make the average Australian’s eyes bleed with the sight. Haven’t we just seen a Four Corners investigation on the way foreign workers with 417 visas have been ruthlessly exploited by unscrupulous employers? If they could get away with it, and employ nothing but 417 workers to the complete exclusion of white Australians and under the conditions exposed by Four Corners, how common do you think it would become?
The solution to world poverty and income inequality does not lie in driving down the income and living standards of the Australian and other western working classes to the level of Bangladesh; the solution lies in raising the incomes and living standards of third-world countries to Australian levels. Allowing a flood of third-world workers into Australia and the West can only result in the impoverishment of all, the end of social mobility, and the destruction of the economic and political power of the existing working and middle classes. It is a recipe for disaster.
Curiously the Socialists, Marxists, Greens and the Labor party also champion an open borders immigration/refugee policy and the importation of as many people as possible from cultural backgrounds completely antithetical to the Australian ethos. They are working hand-in-glove with their avowed ideological enemies. But like the pilgrim and the thief sharing the road to Canterbury, they have very different purposes in mind. The aim of the Marxists (of all levels of fervour) is to reduce the white population of this country to a minority and ensure a steep decline in living standards. Only when our “selfish, xenophobic and racist” ideas about self-preservation have been irrevocably ruptured by making us an ethnic and cultural minority in this country; living cheek by jowl with other races and ethnicities in an extensive series of ghettoes and enclaves; will we finally rise up and destroy the economic, social, cultural and military hegemony of the capitalist class and their running dogs. The Marxist goal is to engineer defeat on all fronts and smash the average Australian’s bourgeois dream of becoming petty capitalists running their own businesses, plying their trades, owning property and being reliant on anything other than a benevolent state that will decide every aspect of life for everyone. Only when all those ideas of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries about personal freedoms, personal dignity, individuality, irreverence, indiscipline, that made Australians unique in the world, are irredeemably crushed can they impose their dreams of a truly equitable and refulgent Communist society – where everyone (except those at the top of the Party) gets an equal share of next-to-nothing – just like they got in the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc countries, Maoist China and still in North Korea.
When I look at the Australian Labor Party today, a party I was once committed to, I can’t help feeling a great sense of loss and anger. There’s no way the great heroes I respected so much in my youth like Jack Lang (whom I met when he was about 98), Ben Chifley, Billy Hughes, Arthur Calwell and many others would even get pre-selection in today’s ALP. There’s no way an engine driver like Chifley would ever get pre-selection over a GPS educated homosexual with a degree in Singing and Sewing with no life-experience in anything – but having the right social connections. There’s no way anyone with the attitudes to non-assimilable immigrants like Arthur Calwell would even be allowed to join the party let alone rise to leadership. Imagine the furore if any of today’s political leaders said, “No-one wants a chocolate Australia” or “Two Wongs don’t make a white” as Calwell did in the 1960s.
The whole party has been gentrified and moved light-years from the people who created it and in whose interests it’s supposed to serve. It’s full of ideologues for whom working class Australians are a philosophical construct – and could that have been more clearly demonstrated than when Julia Gillard went on safari to Rooty Hill RSL to observe working class Australians in their natural habitat? They’ve all deliberately forgotten that the No# 1 policy of the Australian Labor Party, enshrined supposedly forever when the Party was formed, was “A White Australia” – and that was adopted for the reasons I have outlined above. About two years ago former ALP President Warren Mundine wrote an article explaining why he had resigned from the ALP. He said that when he went to ALP meetings and talkfests he was often the only person there who had ever known hardship or who had ever worked on the factory floor. He had nothing in common with the elitist champions of the working class wearing their old GPS school ties and sipping chardonnay. I think it was another fellow I once sat with at lunch fairly regularly, Laurie Carmichael, who said that there was a time when the ALP was composed of the cream of the working class but that, since the mid-60s, it had been progressively hi-jacked by the shit of the bourgeoisie. If it wasn’t Laurie, he certainly said something very similar. Both were right.