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Articles on White Australia policy

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Mrs Chan Harr, Marjorie Wong Yee, Annie Kwok, Norma Wong Yee, Ida Kwok, and Patty Wong Yee on their arrival in Sydney from Hong Kong on the SS Changte, 8 March 1938. ACP Magazines Ltd Photographic Archive, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales (ON 388/Box 043/Item 035)

‘Your government makes us go’: the hidden history of Chinese Australian women at a time of anti-Asian immigration laws

In 1901, there were almost 30,000 Chinese men in Australia but fewer than 500 women. Despite their small numbers, emerging research reveals surprising stories of Chinese Australian women's lives.
Japanese internees starting to leave the train which brought them from Hay on their way to the Loveday Internment Camp Group in the Barmera area (1943, Renmark, South Australia). Australian War Memorial/Photo: Hedley Keith Cullen

Friday essay: Japanese Australian veterans and the legacy of anti-Asian racism

Reflecting on the wartime treatment of two Japanese Australians (or Nikkei) raises the spectre of our racist past - and can prompt us to consider the vulnerabilities of Asian Australians today.
The ‘White Australia’ ideology was commercialised and used to sell things from soaps and games to pineapple slices. Multicultural Research Library

Australian politics explainer: the White Australia policy

While contemporary Australia is proud of its multicultural status, the White Australia policy shows this wasn't always the case.
No progress will be made on asylum policy until the major parties move to a positive bipartisanship. shutterstock

On asylum seekers, our history keeps repeating itself

Australia's history of dealing with asylum seekers has been a long and chequered one, paving the way for the hardline bipartisanship we see today.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott watches the signing of the free trade agreement with China, which he now accuses Labor of opposing for ‘racist’ reasons. Reuters/Lukas Coch

Playing the race card in the China trade deal debate

Charges of racism against Labor for querying aspects of the free trade deal with China are a mark of how much Australian attitudes have changed and how adversarial politics fuels hyperbolic attacks.
Australian veterans of the Pacific theatre in WWII attend a VJ Day memorial. AAP

The war in the Pacific: fighting the good fight, or something else

Sometimes an historian will challenge one of the key ideological myths of Australian capitalism. Henry Reynolds does it in his work on the colonial treatment of Aborigines, a treatment some go so far as…
Refugees fled the Crusades. This is a detail from St Dominic and the Albigenses by Pedro Berruguete. Flickr/derechoaleer

Why lessons from the past can help us understand the refugee debate

Given the often hysterical media coverage of the refugee debate you could be forgiven for thinking that people seeking refuge in other countries is a new phenomenon. Not so. Refugees have been around since…

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