Australia now becomes the most popular destination for British emigrant, and British people now make up almost a quarter of foreigners applying for Australian citizenship. But
Not so long ago the British and Irish were forced or bribed to go there. From the day the first white settlers landed in what became Sydney in 1788m through to the early 19th century, Australia was a huge prison, the bloody and terrible terminus for thousands of British and Irish convicts, most transported for petty crimes, such as theft and prostitution.
The former prime minister, John Howard, when campaigning for the second time, was hit by his past as the news revealed that he is a descendant of convicts (what did they expect, that he was somehow linked to Mary of Scot?). But according to Ausdag, the number of free-spirits who migrated to Australia during 1780-1850s was 1.3 more than the convicts so Australians should not be recognized as criminal’s ancestor’s nation (read here).
100 years after the gold rush of the 1850s, Australia was lacked of European emigrants. So the government introduced
The White Australia Policy, the first law enacted after federation in 1901, and in force until 1973, determined that all new arrivals be white, and preferably be British.
Now I understand why my European friends, when applying for a permanent residency, only had to wait for 2 months to get their document approved, while my Asian friends mostly had to wait for a couple of years, and some put everything they had on the table, paying a lot of money to immigrant agents who can’t even guarantee whether their PR application will be granted or not. However, despite the government’s attempt to maintain the white supremacy, in 2004-05, almost 45% of 123,424 people immigrated to Australia are from Asia, and the rest are from Africa, Oceania, UK, South America, and Eastern Europe (see Wikipedia). In 2006, 50% of Australian Permanent Residents were born in Europe.The rest were mainly born in Asia. Asians ‘invasion’ has been debated for quite some time, and especially in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, there are more Asian faces and influences every day.
The country is lavish in contradictions, of course: a monarchist nation that must slowly yield to a republic, yet with large numbers still clinging to the coat-tails of the Queen of Australia; a nation of young people who, unlike their parents, worship the Anzac tradition; and a classless Australia seeded with expensive private school and controlled by powerful business and political elits. The racism – always denied – of white Australia seem most troubling for many new emigrants. It has had many disquieting manifestations. During the cold war, politicians stoked to the hysterical fear of China – the “red-yellow peril”- in justifying the nation’s involvement n the Vietnam war.
In recent years the Muslim community has felt the sharp end of white Australian hostility. Consider the leafy commuter town of Camden, near Sydney, one of Australia’s oldest pastoral communities. In December, locals impaled bleeding pigs’ head on stakes, draped them in the Australian flag and rammed them into the site of a proposed Islamic school. The most damaging expression of racism is to be found in the white’s treatment of the Aboriginals. Blacks were not even recognised as citizen until 1967, when they were granted the right to vote. Until then they were treated as a dying race, abused and forgotten. Unlike heads of cattle, they were not even counted on the census form.
Only this year in February 13 the government apologised for the first time to the black people for past injustices (read Spew-it-All).
Despite all that, asked why Britons emigrated to Australia, most cite: sun and coast living, lots of space, affordable housing (outside city centres), a generally reliable public health system, good, cheap schools, many jobs, and relative security. Some are also drawn by the natural wildernesses like Ayer Rock and Great Barrier Reef. And some admire the “fair go” and egalitarian spirit. Some simply love turning up at the office with flip-flops.
I had talked to several of acquaintances who have family members living in Australia permanently, and all of them always hear good stories and positive feedbacks from down under. BBC 1 actually has a show called Wanted Down Under, which takes a close look of a family who is considering about moving to Australia (they travel to Australia after serious discussions with Australian agents, they take a look at their designated city, the house they intend to live in, the school the children might go to, and then they’d go back to UK to decide whether they would move or not) .
My question is, if more and more Britons move to Australia, then who will be living in the UK?