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PM says Dutton playing politics on Israel-Hamas war response – as it happened

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There are significant parts of Deakin’s history which are at odds with how we see Australia and the world now. In Deakin’s time and in his thinking, Australia’s place in the world was based on exclusion, and on the idea of a ‘British race’.

Excluding so-called “undesirable” migrants through the Immigration Restriction Act, and deporting Pacific Island workers through the Pacific Island Labourers Act, were efforts, he believed, that would maintain a unified and strong Australia.

Never mind that many of the indentured Pacific Island workers, at that time, had been kidnapped or tricked into coming to Australia.

In 1901, Deakin said that in a century’s time, it was likely that, quote: “Australia will be a white continent with not a black or even dark skin among its inhabitants.”

And, I quote: “The yellow, the brown, and the copper-coloured are to be forbidden to land anywhere.”

I wonder what Deakin would think of 21st century Australia, if he could walk through the streets of Melbourne. Of a multicultural Australia, where half the population are born overseas, or have a parent born overseas. Of an Australia which embraces its place in the Indo-Pacific region; that sees itself as part of the Pacific family.

Of an Australia which celebrates the fact that it is home to the world’s oldest continuing culture.

And an Australia that is just four days out from a referendum which seeks to enshrine a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.