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Australia ‐ Emergence of a Modern Nation Built on Diversity and ‘Fair Go’.

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This paper examines the Australian concept of ‘fair go’ and links it to the contemporary attitudes to asylum seekers arriving by boats. It suggests that the concept has evolved over the time to cover new categories of people. It also demonstrates that the concept cuts both ways. It further suggests that the attitudes towards unauthorised boat arrivals are closely linked to three historic foundations, namely: a progressive social justice ethos of early colonial days; a post Second World War departure from being a parochial British outpost to a more self-assured and cosmopolitan nation of today; and a government controlled immigration system. The paper concludes that the ‘fair go’ is proving to be a mixed blessing for the boat people as many Australians would see them as ‘tall poppies’ paying money to unfairly disadvantage ‘genuine’ refugees complying with Australian immigration laws.
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Keywords: Australia; boat people; history; immigration; refugees; ‘fair go’

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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