Surrender Australia? Essays in the Study and Uses of History: Geoffrey Blainey and Asian Immigration

Surrender Australia? Essays in the Study and Uses of History: Geoffrey Blainey and Asian Immigration

Surrender Australia? Essays in the Study and Uses of History: Geoffrey Blainey and Asian Immigration

Surrender Australia? Essays in the Study and Uses of History: Geoffrey Blainey and Asian Immigration

Excerpt

Professor Geoffrey Blainey is Melbourne University's best-known historian outside professional circles.He was born in 1930 and was raised in Victorian country towns before completing his education at Wesley College and Melbourne University.His first book was The Peaks of Lyell, published in 1954. A stream of books followed, among them some of the most widely read works in Australian history, including The Tyranny of Distance, Triumph of the Nomads and The Rush that Never Ended. He began teaching at Melbourne University in 1962, was appointed Professor of Economic History in 1968 and Professor of History in 1977, and became Dean of Melbourne's Faculty of Arts in 1982. He has served on numerous public bodies including the Australian Heritage Commission, the Australia Council and the Australia—China Council. Who's Who in Australia reports that he is a member of the Melbourne Club, University House, the Melbourne Savage Club and the Melbourne Cricket Club.He is thus both a senior member of the academic profession and an active participant in public affairs.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s Blainey began to have doubts about the implications of Australia's policy of multiculturalism for immigration.Through 1982 and 1983 he gave hints of his concern but he was, he says, 'merely thinking aloud, and was not even aware of the road I was travelling'. He began to see 'lessons' of Australian history, as he understood and had depicted that history in his own works, which he believed to show current immigration policy to be unwise.He subsequently described this process of growing concern in his book All for Australia (Methuen Haynes: North Ryde: October 1984, pp. 21-24).

When Blainey spoke to the Warrnambool Rotarians in March 1984 about Asian immigration, he may or may not have anticipated the uproar which followed.In a speech which was reportedly about the multiculturalism of Australia's past and its success in accommodating successive waves of immigrants, he added his view that there were now too many . . .

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