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Write about the Populate or Perish.



With the end of the World War II, the government of Australia took the significant step for implementing the changes related to migration. The near invasion of Australia by the Japanese was the time when Australia required rethinking about their ideal population. Australia has been the country that has been founded on the colonial ideologies by the white supremacy and the cultural homogeneity (Farquharson, K., 2015). These were the main ideologies that shaped and supported the settlers in Australia with the aboriginal population of the country. These ideologies were also responsible in shaping the migration system, migration policy and Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, which was also called as White Australia Policy. Australia perceived itself as the white country and white people and separated themselves from “Asians”.

After the end of the World War II, Australia needed the skilled migrants for the reconstruction and industrialization of Australia. The country also required the human capital for the nation’s defense. Therefore, the country required to “Populate or Perish”. The slogan was given for the post war migration. According to the Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Australia was the target of the powerful enemy and the threat of invasion could arise again. Therefore, the Prime Minister believed that Australia should populate as soon as it can before someone else decide to populate it. The near invasion of Japan was the national experience that stressed on rethinking on the racist White Australia Policy (Birrell, Hill, and Nevill, 1984). After dismantling the White Australia Policy, the migration policy of the country shifted to skills rather than race. Austrlian has been positive about the idea of increasing its population by providing entry to the skilled migrants, but mainly preferred the European migrants, who were the skilled miners, factory workers and construction workers.

The European migrants brought customs, languages and better experience that was different from the British migrants (Madden, J.A., 2015). The number of the British migrants decline, while Australian government started recruiting people from different sources. The government of Australia started providing agreement for the assisted tradesman and unskilled laborers. The government also started bringing displaced people from Eastern Europe and Baltic States. These people were brought under the care of the International Refugee Organization. In the year 1949, the large scale immigration had started that included the immigrants from the non-English speaking parts of Europe. Populate and Perish was not just about increasing the population of the country, but it was also to increase the socio-economic status of the country through skilled workers.


Government of Australia started accepting migrants from the Western and Southern Europe because of their trade qualification and skills. The skills and knowledge of these migrants helped in developing the industrial projects of Western Australia. Some of the most significant industries were “Chamberlain tractors, the Wondowie charcoal, iron and steel industry, the Kwinana oil refinery, steel rolling and cement manufacturing projects and the alumina industry at Pinjarra” (Brett, 2007, 13). Australia has been the country that has been racially selective, which was formally abolished by Whitlam government in the year 1973. The white socio-cultural dominance in Australia was a major matter of concern with “too many abortions”. Aborting women were seen as the threat to the security of the white socio-cultural hegemony (Millar, E., 2015).

The migrants, who were brought to Australia and were kept in the refugee camps, those immigrants were placed in Holden Camp at Northam, where they received shelter and food and also assistance from the Commonwealth government. The “New Australian” received assistance in the form of English language classes and vocational training, so that they could effectively settle in their new homeland (Armillei, R. and Mascitelli, B., 2017). After the WWII and complexities of the modern visa system, The Australian Government continues to focus on the migration policy that helps in selecting the specific migrants, who are young, wealthy and healthy. The migration policy of Australia still supports British hegemony and white dominance; continues the selective mass immigration for strengthening the military and economics of the country and continue to have the control of State (Armillei, R. and Mascitelli, B., 2017).

Australia is the country that has faced and continued to practice racism, discrimination and inequality. The government of Australia mainly focused on making a white country, where the people should only be white. The gender inequality also prevailed (de Lepervanche, 2013). The discrimination was also seen in the immigration policies. Australian government restricted the entry of the migrants from India and China and preferred that only white people should enter the country and give birth to white males that would increase the population of this small country (Soldatic, K., 2015). The policy of 1970 for restricting the entry of the non-white people in the country did not worked effectively, as many Asian entered Australia and made it a multicultural country (Armillei, R. and Mascitelli, B., 2017).

The law of against the non-Europeans was slowly abolished and non-European were allowed to settle permanently in Australia with some restrictions. The restriction from the Asian immigrants was removed in the year 1966 (Armillei, R. and Mascitelli, B., 2017).. In the year 1973 the White Australia Policy was replaced by the multicultural policy. In the late 20th century, the demographics of the country changed due to the increase in the number of Chinese and other Asian immigrants. After 1970’s there was the decline in the number of the European and Italian immigrants, because Europe and Italy changed their financial condition and those people stopped looking outside their country for employment. However the slogan of populate or perish was mainly fulfilled by the European migrants, who became the main drivers of the population growth and also growth of diversity in Australia.  Therefore, Australia is considered as the multicultural society, because it accepted the people from various cultures to become the permanent settlers in Australia. Racism and discrimination also remained high due to cultural diversity in the nation, but cultural diversity played a significant role in the development and growth of Australian economics.



Armillei, R. and Mascitelli, B., 2017. From ‘White Australia Policy’to ‘Multicultural’Australia: Italian and Other Migrant Settlement in Australia. In Living in Two Homes: Integration, Identity and Education of Transnational Migrants in a Globalized World (pp. 113-134). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Birrell, R., Hill, D. and Nevill, J., 1984. Populate and perish? The stresses of population growth in Australia.

Brett, J., 2007. The country, the city and the state in the Australian settlement. Australian Journal of Political Science, 42(1), pp.1-17.

de Lepervanche, M., 2013. Racism and sexism in Australian national life. Sydney Studies in Society and Culture, 4.

Farquharson, K., 2015, July. Australian Racial Ideology: From Cultural Homogeneity to Multiculturalism? In 22nd International Conference of Europeanists. Ces.

Madden, J.A., 2015. British migrants in post-war South Australia: expectations and lived experiences (Doctoral dissertation).

Millar, E., 2015. ‘Too Many’ Anxious White Nationalism and the Biopolitics of Abortion. Australian Feminist Studies, 30(83), pp.82-98.

Soldatic, K., 2015. Post-colonial re productions: Disability, indigeneity and the formation of the white masculine settler state of Australia. Social Identities, 21(1), pp.53-68.


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