Part B: The Immigration Restriction Act

The Immigration Restriction Act, which was passed by the Australian Parliament in 1901, was one of the first laws made after Federation.  It began the White Australia policy, which allowed the Australian Government to restrict entry into Australia on the grounds of race.  While nearly all parliamentarians were in support of the policy, there was some debate about the best way to enforce the policy.

Listen to the following recordings from parliamentary debates at the time and list some arguments for and against the White Australia policy.  Once again, some of the views and language expressed in these sources is reflective of discriminatory attitudes and policies at the time.

The following sources are all taken from Hansard, which is the record of what is said in the Australian Parliament.

Click on the play button to hear the speeches.

Source A: Alfred Deakin, Attorney-General (Liberal Protectionist Party), 12 September 1901.

Play audio file
Show transcript

Source B: Bruce Smith (Free Trade Party), 25 September 1901.

Play audio file
Show transcript

Source C: John Watson (Labor Party), Friday 6 September 1901.

Play audio file
Show transcript

Source D: Donald Cameron (Free Trade Party), 12 September 1901.

Play audio file
Show transcript

Using the sources above, list some arguments for and against the White Australia policy.