The World in One Place
As in other predominantly English—speaking countries in the West, the vast majority of Australia's population comprises immigrants. While vigorous attempts have been made over the years to plan and control immigration, it has proven extremely difficult to balance the ethnic composition of the population with economic needs. In this chapter immigration in Australia is examined, including its chronological development, waves of policy change, statistical trends, the countries of origin of Australia's immigrants, services provided for them on arrival, reasons why people come to Australia, and the costs and benefits of immigration. Several historical periods in Australia's immigration are identified beginning with the period of nation building and the assimilationist white Australia policy (1901–1973) followed by multiculturalism, which persists today though the thorny question of asylum seekers complicated by the events of 9/11 looked set to threaten Australia's image of itself as a country in which diverse cultures live together harmoniously.
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