The 'necessity' of a socially homogeneous population: the ruling class embraces racial exclusion

Griffiths, Phil (2015) The 'necessity' of a socially homogeneous population: the ruling class embraces racial exclusion. Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (108). pp. 123-144. ISSN 0023-6942


In 1888, the colonial governments of Australia came together to agree on a policy of racial exclusion – aimed at preventing Chinese immigration. This article argues that key figures in the colonial ruling class feared the development of a racially divided population and shows them drawing on the mainstream liberal theory of anti-slavery, and John Stuart Mill’s theory that representative government required social homogeneity, to construct and legitimise their position. While anti-slavery has long passed as a major element in public policy, Mill’s argument for homogeneity shaped Australian justifications for White Australia through much of the twentieth century and, arguably, still informs elements of contemporary immigration policy.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2015 Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2016 06:10
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 03:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: White Australia, homogeneity, assimilation, class, race, racism, John Stuart Mill, slavery, social control, liberalism
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified

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