White Australia policy

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The White Australia policy comprises various historical policies that intentionally restricted "non-white" immigration to Australia from 1901 to 1973.

Competition in the goldfields, labour disputes and Australian nationalism created an environment of racial antagonism during the second half of the 19th century which led to the passage of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1901, one of the first Acts of the new national parliament upon federation. The passage of this bill is considered the commencement of the White Australia Policy as Australian government policy. Subsequent acts further strengthened the policy up to the start of World War II.

The policy was dismantled in stages by several successive governments after the conclusion of World War II, with the encouragement of first non-British and later non-white immigration. From 1973 on, the White Australia policy was for all practical purposes defunct, and in 1975 the Australian government passed the Racial Discrimination Act, which made racially-based selection criteria illegal.

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