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complete acceptance of reasoned discipline), are theirs as much as his. But he gained from his oversea experiences fresh material on which to exercise thought, new
on explanations, backgrounds hitherto hidden from him against which the foreground of his vision developed altered meanings. Given similar opportunities—not necessarily of fighting, but of travel and of using its brains—the Australian people en masse may become to the Empire, and to civilisation at large, what the Australian troops were to the Allied armies.
It would appear, then, that for the qualities of its men as well as for the magnitude of its resources, the Commonwealth is an asset of considerable value to the Empire and the British race; and that its people are at any rate beginning to depend on their own efforts to develop and to defend their country. But, whatever man's ingenuity can do with material assets, living assets can only be preserved with their own consent and on their own conditions. There remains to be considered, therefore, the one condition essential to the continued existence of the Commonwealth as a British community on friendly terms of active co-operation with its fellowBritons. This is, as the world by now may have discovered, the maintenance of · White Australia.'
About no national claim-not even the sea-power' of Britain or the · Monroe Doctrine' of the United States -has more nonsense been written by its enemies or more vagueness displayed by its friends. And yet it is based on the simplest principles of nationhood and might be expected to appeal to the most pacific of thinkers. The Monroe Doctrine' implies an “
implies an assumption of suzerainty over independent States. British insistence on command of the sea, though purely defensive in intention, involves a power of aggression which other nations have occasionally resented. The mere request for leave to live according to your own ideas in your own country, and to choose your mates from your own stock, would not at first sight appear particularly aggressive or obnoxious. And this, it must be remembered, is the whole purport of the White Australia' doctrine. It has no aggressive force. It does not imply differential treatment of any resident in the Commonwealth, whatever his nationality. It demands nothing
that its supporters do not concede reciprocally. It is not even based, as its enemies constantly assert, on belief in an innate "superiority' of the Australian, or of any 'white' race, to Asiatic or coloured' races.
It is as simple and defensible a demand as that of any married man to keep his own home for his own family.
The Commonwealth is a democracy, a community in which every adult resident of two years' standing could, before the war, obtain the franchise and exert the same influence as any other voter on the country's institutions. (The war has taught greater caution, but the ideal still stands.) In such a community, especially in one whose institutions are still in the making and have no centuries of tradition to steady them, it is all-important that a certain homogeneity of ethical standards should be preserved—that is, that the population should be agreed on at least a few basic ideas regarding, say, the position of women, public morals, religious tolerance, honesty in both civic and private behaviour, and so forth. Now, without claiming superiority for any ethical system, it can be safely said that those current in (roughly speaking) European States and their extra-European offshoots resemble each other and at the same time differ in essentials from those current among the nationalities outside Europe and the United States. It is arguable whether Hindu standards are superior to those of Europe; it cannot be asserted that they are identical or approximate. Bushido has many European admirers, but it is something quite different from any form of chivalry. The conception of a lie as something ethically wrong, not merely dangerous and unbusinesslike possibly the conception of "wrongness? itself, as distinguished from foolishness or inexpediency-is rarely and with great difficulty grafted on to the mental stock of many excellent folk with whom British colonists or traders or missionaries
are continually in contact. Australia cannot afford to admit as fellow-citizens people, however otherwise estimable, whose basic ideas on the essentials of social and political life are at variance with their own.
It is not suggested that the average Australian couches his objections to alien immigration in these terms. The average man
uses simpler and much
vaguer expressions, and would probably be unable to give exact reasons for any of his instinctive decisions or aversions. But the statement made above describes accurately the root from which his instinct springs. Our readers may prefer the authority of the Rev. Andrew Harper, who in an essay on this subject writes thus:
The “White Australia" policy is the policy which seeks to prevent the free influx into Australia of labourers and artisans belonging to races whose traditions and whose political, social, and religious ideals differ so much from ours that it would be very difficult in any reasonable time to assimilate them, and, if they came in masses, impossible. And the foundation of that policy is the conviction that such an influx always produces grave evils for both and that it cannot really be desired by either, unless as a cover for designs of conquest, either economic or territorial.' (Australia : Economic and Political Studies,' p. 444.)
Omitting the words “labourers and artisans, which in our opinion introduce a limitation that Australian opinion would not approve, this definition may stand as thoroughly representative of the Australian contention.
Why, then, is this unaggressive and justifiable desire to choose their bed-fellows so frequently denounced as un-Christian, deprecated as un-British, and regarded as a stupid and selfish interference with beneficent Imperial policies ? Partly, no doubt, because some of its advocates have used arrogant language and instituted insulting comparisons—such as Europeans understand well enough to neglect-against a neighbouring Asiatic nation that resents them. Putting aside, however, the caricatures, always somewhat larrikin' in dialect, of the Sydney Bulletin,' it may safely be said that White Australia has been unpopular in England (where, outside the Commonwealth, its unpopularity chiefly matters) because it runs counter to the ideas of three important classes of Englishmen-missionaries, merchants, and diplomatists. The missionary deplores a doctrine which seems to him to defy his own doctrine of Christian brotherhood-as if brotherhood could only be proved by letting your brother share your dining-room, The merchant interested in Eastern trade persuades himself that his trade
is somehow being affected; Japanese restrictions on European residents do not worry him, but Australian restrictions on the Japanese are a perpetual irritation. The diplomatist—including in that category the higher officials of the Indian and Colonial Offices as well as of the Foreign Office in the first place hates to have his arrangements interfered with by a few people in a distant colony, and in the second place finds it embarrassing to have to placate Oriental susceptibilities, continually offended by the assumption that Australians think all Asiatic races inferior.'
Australians, for their part, are candidly contemptuous of the Englishmen who so misread them-far more contemptuous than the most ill-bred Australian ever was of the Asiatics themselves. Against a certain clique or caste of Australian residents who, either to imitate English feeling or because they want Asiatic labour to bring down local wages, misrepresent and abuse the creed, the Australian feeling is one of anger rather than contempt. Unfortunately, their attention is so fully taken up with arguing about the justice of their desires that they give too little thought to the practical difficulties in the way of securing them. For this, after all, is the soundest argument against a White Australia,' that it can only be secured-until the League of Nations inaugurates its new paradise-by a population large enough to occupy the Commonwealth's empty spacesincluding especially the Northern Territory, confessedly unfit for the habitation of Europeans-or at least by a system of defence strong enough to make any would be occupant think twice about the cost of occupation, such a system of defence, again, depending on a sufficient population. Every man holds his creed for himself; the Baptist cannot fairly ask the Taoist to protect him against conversion to Islam; and Australia cannot demand that England should protect her against Asiatic immigration so long as England is unconvinced of the need of a •White Australia.' It was that discovery, more than any other cause, that brought the Australian Navy into being; the demand for a local squadron, until then confined to a few far-seeing publicists, became popular and insistent when The Times' one January morning declared that the Commonwealth must not count on the
British Navy to support a policy repugnant to British India. It is improbable that England ever will be genuinely convinced of the correctness of the Australian view, home-keeping Englishmen somewhat lack imagination, and do not readily envisage, in a community of fifty millions easily digesting a few thousand immigrants (and those usually of the better sort), the prospects of a community of five millions faced with the influx of ten times their number, mostly of the baser sort. The surest policy for Australia under these conditions is, in the first place, to convince Britain that she is in earnest about her creed, by spending every penny she can on the most efficient defence her experts can devise; in the second place, to convince the Empire that she is worth support, even if slightly wrong-headed, because she contributes to the confederate Britains something not only worth having but actually essential to their continued confederation.
And this—to return to our original subject of discussion-is what Australia has, often no doubt unconsciously, been doing during the last ten years. From 1910 onwards she was establishing the beginnings of a defence scheme as sound as good advice and the temperament of her people could make it; the war caught her only halfready, but even so proved beyond dispute the value both of her new war-ships and of her new army. For the moment, now the war is over, both naval and military efforts are at a standstill. The squadron at minimum strength awaits the decisions of an Imperial Conference before resuscitation; the citizen army, its constitution and training-scheme vastly improved by experience gained in the war, will revive sooner. As for the second part of her policy, Australians hope that their share of the fighting, both on sea and on land, has shown the Empire something of their quality. They believe that the Anzacs, the men who took Mont St Quentin, the men who rode with Chauvel through Palestine, are worth helping in the work they are now set to do. If the rulers of the Empire are of the same opinion, the unfailing support of White Australia' is not too high a price