Immigration into Australia after World War II
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Post-war immigration to Australia
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, established the Federal Department of Immigration and thereby launched a large scale immigration program. Chifley commissioned a report on the subject which found that Australia was in urgent need of a larger population for the purposes of defence and development and it recommended a 1% annual increase in population through increased immigration
The first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, commenced promoting mass immigration with the slogan “populate or perish”. 182,159 people were sponsored by the International Refugee Organisation (IRO) from the end of World War II up to the end of 1954 to resettle in Australia from Europe—more than the number of convicts transported to Australia in the first 80 years after European settlement.
Arthur Calwell coined the term “New Australians” in an effort to supplant such racist terms as pommy (Englishman) and wog.
The 1% target remained a part of government policy until the Whitlam government of 1972 to 1975, when immigration numbers were substantially cut back, only to be progressively restored during the course of the Fraser government (1975 to 1982).
Some 6.5 million people have migrated to Australia from other countries since 1945. This total comprises 3.35 million males and 3.15 million females. This represents a significant proportion of the overall population increase experienced by Australia in that time, having gone from 7 million in 1945 to the present 22 million+
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