Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Rethinking the White Australia Policy

By Andrew Fraser - posted Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Over the past 30 years, Australia, along with just about every other Western society, has been transformed by a revolution engineered from the top down by the leading echelons of the corporate welfare state. “New Class” cadres of managers, professionals, politicians and academics have dismantled the foundations of Australian nationhood. The arbitration system, the protective tariff and the White Australia Policy: all have gone in order to facilitate the free flow of capital, technology and labour in a globalist economy.

The most revolutionary, by far, of these radical changes has been the decision to open Australia to mass Third World immigration. Since the end of World War II a strange alliance of Communists, Christian churches, ethnic lobbies and other pressure groups working through the corporate sector and within the centralised apparatus of state power has set out deliberately to flood the Anglo-Australian homeland with a polyglot mass of Third World immigrants.

Chief among the ideological weapons deployed in that campaign have been the interwoven myths of equality and universal human rights as enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. According to that document, “any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous”. There can therefore be “no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere”. Those who subscribed to the doctrine of racial egalitarianism were bound to oppose a colour bar on immigration to Australia as being both immoral and pointless.


Racial egalitarianism flies in the face of the more realistic premises of the White Australia Policy. The founding fathers of the Australian nation regarded racial differences as a fact of life and racial conflict as the inevitable consequence of a multiracial society. In their view, ethnic homogeneity was one of the great strengths of the Australian nation, one that ought not to be thrown away in pursuit of utopian visions of universal harmony in which lions could be re-educated to lie down with lambs.

Advances in genetics, paleo-anthropology, psychology and medical science are placing the universalist doctrines of racial egalitarianism under serious pressure. A vast range of studies in a number of disciplines has revealed real and important differences between the races in cognitive and athletic ability, behaviour and temperament. Faced with such intellectual challenges, defenders of the ruling orthodoxy are resorting to social ostracism, legal repression and even the sort of physical coercion deployed against members of the One Nation Party some years back. The time is clearly ripe for a courageous and well-informed reappraisal of the White Australia Policy and the decision to dismantle it, but Keith Windschuttles’s recent book, The White Australia Policy, is a disappointment.

Windschuttle’s rehabilitation of the White Australia Policy is premised on a familiar tenet of neo-conservatism: he maintains that the operating premise of Australian society is the proposition that all people are equal in principle and in potential. Windschuttle contends that the White Australia Policy, far from being the reactionary spawn of an irredeemably racist nation, grew out of a long-established, progressive program aiming “to extend both the freedom and the dignity of labour”.

Windschuttle insists that mainstream Australians have never subscribed to biological theories of race. He is struck by the ease with which opponents of the White Australia Policy were able to overturn it.

For decades, there was no effective political opposition to the revolution from above in immigration law and policy. Among the managerial and professional classes, a complacently “cosmopolitan” consensus reigned supreme; the political equilibrium was not upset until the meteoric rise of the One Nation party in the late 1990s. Then, for a brief, shining moment, the patriotic instincts of the more “parochial” outer suburban, white Australians found a political voice.

As a committed racial egalitarian, Windschuttle desperately wants to drive a stake through the heart of racial realism. He worries that residual forms of racial identity might someday reawaken in the hearts of white Australians. For that reason, Windschuttle happily joins the left in its attack upon race as “an unscientific category”, as a thoroughly modern, bad idea “engendered by the new social sciences and brought to maturity by the evolutionary biology of the 19th century”. Windschuttle resolutely denies that differences between “races” have a biological or genetic foundation. For him, the evident differences between the various races of mankind are the malleable product of their cultures and the particular stage each may have reached in the long ascent from savagery to civilisation. Somewhat imprudently, Windschuttle suggests that to take any other view on this question “is to betray one’s ignorance of the subject”.


There is still room for debate on the precise genetic contribution to any given racial difference in, for example, intelligence, temperament, criminality and athletic ability. But, that such racial differences do exist and that they have a biological basis is no longer open to serious scientific question. As Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele put it, “the case for race hinges on recognition that genetic variation in traits that affect performance and ultimately survival is the fuel on which the evolutionary process runs”. Without that “functional genetic variation, there can be no adaptive evolution”.

In fact, Sarich and Miele suggest the range of genetic variation between different races of Homo sapiens is much greater than for any other species, including domesticated dogs. They observe that commonly used genetic tests can determine with great precision not just an individual’s race but also “the percentage of racial background in people of mixed ancestry”.

Race exists, and it matters across a wide range of public policy issues. It is of particular relevance to any analysis of immigration law and policy. Windschuttle does recognise the seemingly insuperable cultural barriers alienating mainstream Australians from other racial groups, particularly the Chinese. Nevertheless he asserts that it is a fundamental error “to slide from the concept of culture to that of race”. Cultural differences are not inbred and immutable.

But what if Windschuttle is wrong? What if racial differences are, in large part, biologically or genetically grounded? What if even culture is not simply a social construct but, rather, a phenomenon with a substantial biological component? Windschuttle does demonstrate that explicitly racialist ideologies have had little appeal to opinion leaders in Australia. But that may mean only that Australians, like other ethnic groups tracing their ancestry to northwestern Europe, are predisposed to individualism, exogamy and small nuclear families and, as a consequence, display a relative lack of ethnocentrism.

What Windschuttle describes as a creedal commitment to racial egalitarianism may actually be a defining characteristic of a distinctive European racial identity not shared by other peoples. Kevin MacDonald explains Western “cultural” traits as an evolutionary adaptation to the rigours of life in cold, ecologically adverse climates. Natural selection worked there to favour the reproductive success of those individuals capable of sustaining “non-kinship based forms of reciprocity”.

For instance in England, over time, individualistic social structures encouraged the emergence of the common law of property and contract and, later still, the emergence of impersonal corporate forms of business enterprise, all requiring co-operation between strangers. The distinctive culture that emerged from the interaction between the genotype of the English people and their environment can be understood as what Richard Dawkins calls “an extended phenotype”. Like the spider’s web or the beaver’s dam, the extended phenotypes of Western civilisation are part of a biocultural feedback loop linking our genes with our environment over countless generations. The extended phenotype produced by the English people found its greatest political expression in the phenomenon of nationhood.

Other races have produced their own distinctive extended phenotypes: these may not mesh easily with the biocultural interest that Anglo-American societies, in particular, have in the survival and enhanced vitality of their historically unique civic cultures. Black Africans, for example, have been present in large numbers in America, the pre-eminent civic nation, for almost 400 years without successfully integrating into the common culture of white Americans.

As well, thousands of years ago, the Chinese took an evolutionary path favouring the growth of centralised, authoritarian regimes. Not surprisingly, the Chinese today place a premium on clannish behaviour and downplaying the worth of individual creativity. The result has been a people marked by higher average intelligence - but more conformity and hierarchy - than northwestern European societies, as well as rampant xenophobia and ethnocentrism.

As the Chinese colonies in Australia grow in size, wealth and power, even their Australian-born members may be reluctant to dissolve their ancient collective identity into an individualistic society of strangers owing allegiance to nothing beyond a modern paper constitution, now divorced from its own ancestral roots.

A multiracial society forces white Australians to bear other, more subjectively painful social, economic and political costs. At the high end of Australia’s immigrant intake, a growing cognitive élite of East Asians threatens to become similar to “market-dominant minorities” such as the overseas Chinese in South-East Asia, Jews in Russia or Indians in East Africa.

Faced with competition from a growing East Asian population, white Australians will find themselves outgunned. Western-style “old boy” preference networks are only weakly ethnic in character, and thus permeable, making them no match for the institutionally-directed, in-group solidarity or “ethnic nepotism” practised by other groups. Endowed with an edge in IQ and a temperament conducive to rigorous régimes of coaching, rote learning and stricter parental discipline, young East Asians already dominate the competition for places in universities and professional schools. Within two to three decades, it is not unreasonable to expect that Australia will have a heavily Asian managerial-professional, ruling class that will not hesitate to promote the interests of co-ethnics at the expense of white Australians.

At the low end of the market for Third World immigrants, tensions are already appearing between white Australians and the growing numbers of black, sub-Saharan Africans settled here by the transnational refugee industry. One can safely predict that, no matter how large this particular Third World colony becomes, black Africans will never become a “market-dominant minority” in Australia. On the contrary, experience practically everywhere in the world (pdf file 534KB) tells us that an expanding black population is a sure-fire recipe for increases in crime, violence and a wide range of other social problems (pdf file 399KB). Unfortunately, experience also demonstrates that any such suggestion will produce nothing short of a hysterical reaction among Australian journalists and academics.

For Australian intellectual and cultural elites, it does not seem to matter that support for such observations can be found in countless academic and official sources. After all, it is hardly news that violent criminals of any race are likely to be people with low IQs who display poor impulse control. Nor is it difficult to establish that, on average, black sub-Saharan Africans score around 70-75 on IQ tests while white Europeans have a mean score of 100 and East Asians about 105. It is equally well-known that young black men have higher levels of serum testosterone - often associated with impulsive behaviour and poor judgment - than whites or East Asians.

Australians will ignore these racial realities at their peril. Windschuttle, confident that immigrant groups will lose their distinctive racial identities as they become assimilated into the individualistic norms of Western culture, sees no cause for concern in the ethnic replacement of white, Christian Europeans by Chinese or Muslim newcomers. Like his former academic colleagues, Windschuttle looks upon both “racial prejudice” and “religious intolerance” not as essential ingredients in collective identity but as embarrassing social diseases.

Given the relentless and revolutionary assault on their historic national identity, white Australians now face a life-or-death struggle to preserve their homeland. Whether effective resistance to their displacement and dispossession can be mounted is another question. Unlike other racial, ethnic or religious groups well-equipped to practice the politics of identity, white Australians lack a strong, cohesive sense of ethnic solidarity. As a consequence, ordinary Australians favouring a moratorium on non-white immigration cannot count on effective leadership or support from their co-ethnics among political, intellectual and corporate élites.

Unfortunately, so long as the postmodernist boundary between fact and fiction remains in the eye of the beholder, the truth about the threat of open borders becomes a mere matter of opinion. Organised social and political life in the Western world is largely driven by the psychic power of carefully crafted illusions. It may take a serious systemic breakdown to free us from the self-destructive taboo against discussion of innate group differences.

The orthodox doctrine that race is only skin deep is only one of the official fictions underpinning the transnational system: more fundamental is the myth of endless economic growth. Seen through the eyes of the managerial class, Australia is an economy, not a country. Nevertheless, a folk memory still survives of a time when Australia was the homeland of a particular people of British stock with their own particular way of life. Should the globalist economy first falter and finally fail, régime change may yet become possible for this and other Western countries. It may well be that only a miracle can save us now. All the more reason, then, to recall that God helps only those who help themselves. The capacity to act remains the key to our political salvation.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Article edited by Margaret-Ann Williams.
If you'd like to be a volunteer editor too, click here.

This is an edited extract of Associate Professor Andrew Fraser's paper entitled Rethinking the White Australia Policy. The paper in full can be found at

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

192 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Andrew Fraser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Law, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Related Links
Fraud, lies and deception: how a university defrauds taxpayers - On Line Opinion

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 192 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy