Why did not Australia become a second America?
Over the years of its relatively short history, Australia has changed so much that today it is difficult to give a clear definition of the very concept of “Australian.” The depth of these changes can be judged if only because in the Sydney telephone directory the Vietnamese surname Nguyen is more common than Johnson.
It used to be easier. The word “Australian” was basically synonymous with all Anglo-Celtic. Almost all citizens had white skin and similar tastes. Typical Australians were called Donald Bredman or Frank Sedgeman. They all ate meat with vegetables and played cricket or tennis. It was a society about which many now speak of as a boring, divorced from the rest of the world, devoid of dynamism, and also racist.
However, with an average population density of approximately one person per square kilometer, one could not afford to block access to the country for non-Russians. Those who came here were initially required to be white and, well, British. However, everything changed in the 1970s, when the Labor Party came to power, deciding to end the politics of “white Australia” and replace it with a concept called “multiculture”. Australian multiculture eliminated discrimination and opened the continent to immigrants of all skin colors and races.
Since 1975, the so-called “ethnic radio” has been operating in Sydney, through which programs are broadcast in more than 50 languages. And in the 80s, the “ethnic TV channel” also came into operation. The country has over 2300 national clubs and societies, hundreds of schools for immigrant children. Councils of ethnic societies and commissions on ethnic issues have been created that monitor the equal participation of national minorities in social and political life. Good intentions, but with the practical implementation of the concept, far from all is well. Immigrants make up 60 percent of factory workers, while the most profitable jobs, such as those in the public service, are 80 percent occupied by Australians of English descent.
Now in Australia, almost all the nationalities of our planet are represented. True, the population is still 95 percent white, but the proportion of people from the UK has fallen to 75 percent. The remaining quarter of the population is a motley ethnic mixture. Natives of Asia are still in the minority, but it was they who made the most noticeable changes in the face of the country.
One journalist from the Paris newspaper “Mond”, arriving after a long break in Sydney, was amazed: “Has the city become Asian?” The faces of people you meet on the streets, restaurants, foreign signs, all this really creates a great impression. Previously, when immigrants came mainly from Europe, here, in addition to English, were primarily Italian and Greek. And now, the second language has become Chinese with all its dialects.
The Chinaization of the Fifth Continent is moving fast. In the 1988 jubilee for Australia in China, the China magazine published a curious note: “In February 1988, in the Australian city of Sydney on an area of 10 thousand square meters was laid the Chinese park“ June ”(“ Friendship ”), which became the largest park abroad in Chinese style.The park buildings occupied 1,500 square meters of area, the rest of the park is slides, ponds, landscaped areas – only 40 picturesque corners.There you can see the colorful arbors inherent in Chinese parks, pavilions, terraces, elegant bridges and bizarre stones … Park “Yiyuan” – the fruit of China and Australia builders of joint work, a symbol of friendship between the peoples of the two countries open to the 200-year anniversary of Australian education, the park has brought joy to the Australian people and made into a beautiful palette of new colors of the city. “.
Paints by paints, but joy is not so certain. In 1995, every 12th resident of Sydney was born in Asia, and in 2020, according to the demographer Charles Price, Asian blood will be in the veins of every sixth Sydney. In 1995, Henry Chang, the deputy mayor of Sydney, began the struggle for mayor in the city council election. As noted in the press, “if he eventually wins, an Australian of Chinese origin will be at the head of the city for the first time.” By the way, the current mayor of Seattle (USA) is an American Chinese.
History sometimes makes interesting experiments. Compare, for example, Australia and the United States. The emergence of these countries has much in common. Both were colonized, with both white migrants from Europe. In both cases, they were marginalized, rejected or broken with the then European civilization. In both cases, the colonies were part of the British Empire. The climate of both territories is comparable, the initial resources, too. Indigenous people, natives, and here and there did not have much resistance. The historical typology is almost identical.