Threats to a nation’s comfort zone

The White Australia policy did have a good motive. It was intended to keep the nation white and British, while no man would disdain any kind of work, and would be well paid. The worker thus stood tall, equal to everyone else. Such an approach is surely worth emulating elsewhere. See chapter 1 in ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’

So, evolved the ‘fair-go’ ethos of the nation. Apparently, this philosophy did not then apply to the indigene, or anyone else – including the ‘ABC’, the Australia-born Chinese who had been in the country for generations.

When I arrived, many of the locals seemed to be in some fear of the ‘yellow hordes from the North’ who would invade them any day, the foreign faiths surrounding them, and (I kid you not) invasion by the Martians. So, there it was – a century and a half of discomfort, overlaid by a borrowed mantle of Christian colonial superiority. There was generally no guilt about the indigene (‘Why can’t they be like us?’). All this was fed by a popular racist periodical, now defunct.

The impacts of the coincidental arrival of Europeans and Asian students on Australians is discussed in my ezine articles on culture shocks ( and my website ( To be fair, it has to be accepted that one cannot flood a nation with foreigners to a large extent or for ever. My sympathies were with the Anglo-Australians whose comfort zone had been shaken, as I had been sympathetic to the Malays whose land was filled by a large variety of other Asians by the British.

The British established rubber estates in Malaya with Indian labour, tin mines with Chinese labour, and civil administration with Ceylonese like my father; the latter brought in more than an adequate command of the English language. Today, the Malays have regained control of their land, unlike the Australian indigenes who have yet to be empowered. In the meanwhile, the Chinese are reported to be buying up Australian assets most rapidly. More change is clearly afoot!