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Thoughts of an elitist republican

Bolton, G. (2005) Thoughts of an elitist republican. The Sydney Papers, 17 (1). pp. 105-109.


Throughout my life, I have had great difficulty reconciling my democratic principles with what happens when the democracy votes the wrong way. Leaving aside the crudities of party politics, I feel, for instance, that had a plebiscite been held in 1947 when it was proposed to expand our immigration policy by admitting people from the continent of Europe and displaced persons, that the majority would probably have said ‘No, no, keep us British.’ And we know that because, in 1948, some Melbourne sociologists did an opinion poll and their figure was 54 per cent for the number of people polled who wanted only English as immigrants. Only 38 per cent favoured Irish immigrants and the rest were well under 20 per cent. I’m sorry to say that the Germans I believe were ahead of the Israelis, but that was public opinion as it was found. Similarly, in the 1970s, when the White Australia policy was gradually diluted and eventually abandoned, I’m sure if that had been put to a plebiscite the answer would have been ‘No, no, don’t change things.’

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: The Sydney Institute
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