Populate or Perish Policy

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by dawsrebecca
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies
World History

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Populate or Perish Policy

After World War 2 the new Prime Minister Ben Chifley decided that Australia had to increase its population by using the slogan ‘Populate or perish’ as he felt Australia was under the threat of foreign invasion from Japan. This policy initially focused on encouraging British migrants, although with only European immigration and domestic births Australia couldn’t increase its poulation enough and therefough a change needed to happen. This policy slowly started to change the opinion of immigration in Australia. Arthur Calwell stated ‘It is my hope that for every foreign migrant there will be 10 people from the United Kingdom’. Despite this, the British Government was unable to meet this goal. It was during this time 11 million people had survived the concentration camps and many Yugoslavs, Latvians, Ukrainians and Hungarians were unable to return home. Calwell in 1947 therefore agreed to accept a minimum of 12,000 of these refugees a year and eventually Australia exceeded these numbers and resettled approximatly180 000 refugees. In 1956 non-European residents were allowed to apply for citizenship, two years later the Dictation Test was abolished and in the 1970’s The White Australia policy was eventually abolished.

How are these contributions present in society today?

Since the White Australia policy was abolished the population has steadily increased, the average yearly population growth is greater than most other countries and the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported it to be as high as almost double the average. This report also states that 66% of the population growth could be attributed to overseas migration.Australia opened its doors to immigration in large numbers, this has contributed to the vibrant multiculteral society in Australia today. As immagrints make up a large portoin of our population they have contributed to a stronger economy and a larger defence force in present day Australia.

How did these contributions make a positive impact on Australia?

It is because of this policy we have such a diversity of culture and race.This ‘populate or perish’ policy contributed to Australian society today because we have a healthy increase rate of population which helps maintain a strong economy. As well as benefiting the economy non-European migrants enriched cultural life in Australia.


Sources - Oxford big ideas australian curriculum history year 10- http://slwa.wa.gov.au/wepon/settlement/html/populate_or_perish.html-http://carlbakerstone.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/populate-or-perish-australian-immigration-policy-changes-to-populate-the-country/-http://carlbakerstone.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/populate-or-perish-australian-immigration-policy-changes-to-populate-the-country/

The 'Populate or Perish' policy made important contributions to Australia, more specifically our economy, military and multicultural society today.

How did this policy lead to multiculturalism?

How did this policy contribute to the economy and Australian military? The economy had been damaged in Australia due to the strains of war and conscription, this then emphasized our need to ‘populate or perish’. Australia was under the threat of invasion and being a small nation we needed larger numbers of men in the military as 30 000 wasn’t enough. This policy would increase our population and therefore increase the number of troops. Since Australia had the potential for mining and all it needed was men to work, potentially there were many of jobs available without a population to fulfill them. Immigration and the 'Populate or perish' policy contributed to a stronger economy and larger defence force. These migrants provided labour for Australia's reconstruction and industrialisation as well as the numbers they needed for defence.

These sources are all examples of propaganda used at the time to promote the new policy 'Populate or perish' and encouraged foreign migration.

Arthur Calwell was the Immagration Ministerwho thought of the 'Populate or perish' slogan. This is an advertisment promoting the new immigation policy, in the video Calwell emphasises how these boats were crucial.

This is a photo of wealthy immigrants arriving to Australia by plane.

Collectively Australians speak over 200 different languages.

This 1940's propaganda poster (above) was targeting the issue of possible foreign invasion.


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