It was carried out through two main policies, the Immigration restriction act which only allowed non whites in after they had passed a dictation test in a european language of the officers choice. The other policy was the pacific island labourers act which endeavored to rid Australia of Pacific Islanders who were brought to Australia to labour on the sugar farms. This was done deporting all not born in Australia and stopping all entry to Australia for the rest of the Pacific Islanders. The Aboriginal Protection Act was put in place to safeguard a dying race.
However it was an act that effectively took away aboriginese to look after themselves, they were put onto reserves, isolated aboriginal communities, where they had no right to vote, receive basic wages or get pentions. This isolation further segregated whites and aboriginals. The final part to the act was to take away Aboriginal parents rights to looking after their own children. This ment custody, maintenance and education was all controlled by the board. Basically this act was put in place to control the demise of aboriginese. The inferior race is doomed to wither and disappear.
These policies reflected white Australian views in three main areas: racially, economicly and politicly. Racially whites thought that non white people were a lesser race. They percieved them to be dirty, foul, uncivilized savages. One politician at the time said, when refering to the chinese His house is rarely washed out, the windows never open¦ In short his house is a den and his yard a sewer¦their crime is that they are a cheap race- cheap to a degree that is destructive of the white race It is this superior race mentality that is reflected in the two policies of early 1900.
Further to this, not only did people think that they were a lesser race but that their presence somehow brought the white race down. The bulletin was at the forefront of this racist mentality. Every issue included cartoons degtrading and villifying the black race. Economic impacts had a huge sway over public opinion against blacks. Australian workers were afraid that non-white people coming from Asia would take all the jobs from Australian born people.
This was inflamed during the gold rush when massive amounts of Chinese miners came in and made huge amounts of money, taking it away from Australians. Further to this, there was a fear that non white people would work for less money and in poorer working conditions, undermining the trade unions and the labor movements push for more money and better conditions. Economically in regard to Aboriginals, White Australian views made getting a job extremely difficult. No job that was not laboring was ever given to an aboriginal, who were believed to be uneducated and useless for jobs that required thought.
Indeed the feelings were so anti Aboriginal at the time that one politician in his speech declared There is no scientific evidence that aboriginals are even human In an environment where you are treated like animals under the guise of an Aboriginal Protection Act, there is no hope for a better life if you were born aboriginal. Political views were also a factor when these policies were drawn up. Australia was a huge continent largely uninhabited at the time and politicians were afraid of, as one man put it The Asian invasion.
To our north were the very close neighbors of Indonesia, Papua, Singapore and South East Asia as well as the massive presence of China. Politicians feared an influx of Asian people into Australia- they felt that it was a chance to create a completely white society Free of the crime and disease that our mother country has been subject to from those Asian immigrants Propaganda supporting this was rife in the towns of Australia, Posters showing disease, crime and opium brought to Australia by scary looking Asians to defenseless white children were common.
The turn of the century in 1900 was a turning point for Australians, Federation was our proudest hour and many great changes were made. But to only look at the good things and ignore our mistakes would be a grave mistake. As a nation today we frown on Racism and condemn racists, however it has been a long time coming and we have made too many mistakes. The notion that white skin makes you a more superior person was a notion held by the majority of Australians even up to only 30 years ago.
Indeed the White Australia Policy was in use up to 1973, with related policies ending as late as 1982. Australias the treatment of Aborigines has been terrible for 200 years which has led to a great deal of understandable bitterness in the Aboriginal community. What is important for a nation is to learn from our mistakes and bad policies. Australia today is a proud multicultural society and reaps the rewards of this. As a Wise man once said The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.