Arthur Calwell, leader of the Labor Party, defender of White Australia

Arthur CalwellArthur Calwell (1896-1973) came from humble beginnings. He was an ardent unionist and a strong advocate for workers’ rights, who was a union leader and a leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Calwell started his working life as a clerk in the Victorian Public Service. When the First World War broke out, he tried to join the Army, but was rejected because of his age; however, he was able to join the Army Reserve (then known as the Citizen Military Forces, or Militia), where he became a lieutenant. He joined the public servants’ union, the Australian Public Service Association, and became President of its Victorian branch in 1925. At the age of 19 he had become the secretary of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Labor Party, and was elected President of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party in 1930. He won a seat in the Australian parliament in 1940, but earned the animosity of his Labor colleagues during the Second World War when he pursued his democratic ideals in government, campaigning for the release of the Australia First Movement internees, demanding that Australians of Italian background should not be interned without a trial, and opposing conscription. Nonetheless, he was appointed Minister for Information in John Curtin’s wartime Labor government.1

When Ben Chiefly became Prime Minister in 1945, Calwell lobbied for, and got, the position of Minister for Immigration. He worked hard to promote immigration to Australia. Although there had been earlier calls for Australia to “populate or perish”, the dangers of the Second World War had brought home the necessity for the country to increase its numbers for defence purposes. Widely regarded as pushing a “populate or perish” message, Calwell endeavoured to increase the post-war immigration rate dramatically, especially recruiting migrants from war-torn Eastern and Southern Europe.2

During his time as Minister for Immigration, Calwell defended the White Australia policy against all sorts of insidious attacks. He was well aware that White Australia was under threat by capitalists on the right, who wanted cheap labour, and by globalists on the left, who sought to destroy the existence of all unique White peoples in the world. In his 1949 pamphlet, Danger for Australia, he wrote about the traitors who were intent on destroying White Australia:

“Thanks to the far sightedness and courage of Australian statesmen of an earlier age, they have been foiled once, and the people of this nation would reject them scornfully if they raised their voices aloud in opposition to our selective immigration policy. They must approach the matter slyly, using innocent words like “modify” and “discretion” to hide their real desire to break down our policy until it becomes unworkable and collapses. They must, and do, make the maximum use of well-meaning but muddled sentimentalists, and of their own very willing mercenary, the reactionary and circulation-hungry, irresponsible monopoly Press of this land.

. . . Should such schemers eventually succeed with their plans, the disaster would be one which would affect all the generations of unborn Australians. Once the very character of this nation had been destroyed, no legislation could restore it. . . . Our forefathers, who pioneered this country and dreamed of its future greatness would have toiled in vain, and our children’s children, living in a land of oppression and hatred and fear, would remember us as the generation that gave away their birthright

. . . I cannot urge too strongly that this danger is not one that threatens a few troubled years, after which matters could be adjusted. It is the shadow of a cheap-labor system that would destroy our whole way of life

. . . The danger to our White Australia Policy is real, and so close that it must be dealt with now by final and scornful rejection of the parties of the extreme right and the extreme left which threaten it — the foundation stone of the Australian way of life.”3

Calwell defended the policy against those who were trying to undermine it on a piecemeal basis by advocating the immigration of non-Whites by using a quota system. He realised that the suggested “quota system” was just another tactic of the anti-White lobbyists, who were determined to chip away at the White Australia policy bit by bit, undermining it whenever and however they could. Calwell stated in 1949:

“Introduction of a quota would simply be a form of appeasement — and appeasement has never solved any problem. There can be no half-measures in a matter such as the maintenance of the White Australia policy, on which Australians hold such emphatic views.

The ideal that this country, which was settled and developed by Europeans, should remain predominantly European was sponsored by our forefathers, and has had the unwavering support of all good Australians ever since.

. . . Underlying the White Australia policy is no suggestion of racial superiority. It began as a positive aspiration, and from it has resulted a positive achievement.

This achievement is a united race of freedom-loving Australians who can inter-marry and associate without the disadvantages that inevitably result from the fusion of dissimilar races; a united people who share the same loyalties, the same outlook, and the same traditions.

We will avoid the evils that plague America, that distress South Africa, that embitter Malaya, and that worry Fiji.

Ingredients of an explosive character are inherent in the conditions existing in all those countries, and when the explosion occurs, as it did in Durban recently, there is civil war. The evils of miscegenation always result in rioting and bloodshed. We have avoided them in this country, thanks to the foresight of our forebears and our own innate common sense.

We will continue to avoid them, if we are wise — and if we have the affection that parents ought to have for their children and their children’s children. We are heirs of a glorious past. We are also trustees for what can be an even more glorious future.4

In 1950, again defending Australia’s immigration policy from those who wanted a quota system, Calwell answered the allegation that the policy was only based upon economic considerations:

“Let there be no mistake. The White Australia policy is a racial policy. It is the sheerest humbug and the silliest form of appeasement to say that economics and not race determined the policy in the days of our fathers. It was racial in the beginning and will remain racial to the end”.5

Arthur Calwell Calwell became the leader of the Australian Labor Party in 1960, a position which he held until 1967. During that time he had to fight off the termite-like machinations of those who continually sought to undermine and destroy the White Australia policy. Whilst the Labor Party had originally been founded and developed by working class people, who had gone through the hard struggle for workers’ rights and were salt-of-the-earth unionists, the train of ideals which kept the Labor Party going in its original direction was about to be derailed by a new class of laborite, a type which was far removed from the original true and decent Australian labour traditions. In the 1960s and 1970s a new wave of people joined the Labor Party, mostly those who had been through the brainwashing process of a globalist-leftist university education, and who felt little or no affinity with their own people, but were one-world globalists and multiculturalists. Such people had begun to infect not only the Labor Party, but the Liberal Party as well.

In his autobiography, Be Just and Fear Not (1978), Arthur Calwell made it clear that he was against the changes which were made to Australian’s immigration policy by the Liberal Party under Harold Holt:

“I wish to make further reference to the speech concerning the death of Prime Minister Harold Holt made by my successor, Mr Whitlam, in the House of Representatives on March 12, 1968. He said Mr Holt had ‘brought to fruition the post-war immigration scheme begun under the Right Hon. Member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) as the first Australian Minister for Immigration in the Chifley Labor Government. Significantly, Mr Holt’s first action as Prime Minister was to announce liberalization of our immigration regulations regarding Asians.’ Mr Whitlam went on: ‘When I did subsequently go abroad, it was made very apparent to me that Harold Holt had been incomparably the best known, the best liked Australian in all the Asian countries I visited.’

This was not an occasion to lavish praise on the late Prime Minister for having changed the immigration policy which I had established on behalf of the Chifley Government, and on the supposedly wonderful effect those changes had wrought on Asian governments. Those changes can yet be disastrous for Australia.6

In the book, Calwell explained that his oft-quoted line “two Wongs don’t make a White” was not a racist slur directed against Asian people, but was a jibe aimed at Thomas White, a politician from the Liberal Party. The misquotation of his humorous remark was continued throughout his life, and even after his passing.

“It is important to me, at least, to set out the facts about a remark I made in the House of Representatives on December 2, 1947, which has been so often misrepresented it has become tiresome. On that day, I was asked a question by Rupert Ryan, brother-in-law of Lord Casey, on deportations of Malayan seamen, Chinese and other people who had contravened our immigration laws. I said, among other things, that an error may have been made in the case of two men named Wong. The Department had served a deportation notice on one of them, but it was the wrong Wong. I then said, and I quote from Hansard: ‘there are many Wongs in the Chinese community, but I have to say — and I am sure that the honorable Member for Balaclava will not mind my doing so — that “two Wongs do not make a White”.’

It was a jocose remark, made partly at the expense of the member for Balaclava, who was at the time the Hon. T W (later Sir Thomas) White. I expected that I would have been correctly reported, as I was in Hansard, and that the initial letter ‘W’ on both the names ‘Wong’ and ‘White’ would have been written in capitals. But when the message got to Singapore, either because of some anti-Australian Asian journalist or perhaps because of some Australian pressman with a chip on his shoulder, a Labor Party hater, the name of White was deliberately altered into a definition of colour, so as to read ‘two Wongs don’t make a white.’ The story has lasted to this day. I have often answered questions about it from young Chinese students at universities in Melbourne and Sydney. I notice whenever a reference is made to it in newspapers or periodicals, or whenever the quotation is used anywhere, the Singapore abomination is generally repeated. Latterly the true version is being printed.

There was never any intention in my mind to raise any question of colour. I have repudiated the whole story so often that I suppose there is nothing more I can do about it. But I put the facts on record in this book. After all, what appears in newspapers and periodicals does not attract the attention of people for too long anyway. I think that it is a truism to say that there is nothing so stale as yesterday’s newspaper. I have never withdrawn and never apologized for what was not, and was never intended to be, an insult to anybody.”7

The “two Wongs don’t make a White” remark really had nothing to do with race as such, as it was just a play upon words which was meant as a humorous pun.

Nonetheless, Calwell was not unaware of the importance of race in a nation’s destiny. In the chapter “Black Power and a multi-racial society”, in Be Just and Fear Not, Arthur Calwell said:

Some people call me a racist because I am proud of the blood that flows through my veins. I am proud of my white skin, just as a Chinese is proud of his yellow skin, a Japanese his brown skin, and the Indians of their various hues from black to coffee-coloured. Anybody who is not proud of his race is not a man at all. And any man who tries to stigmatize the Australian community as racist because they want to preserve this country for the white race is doing our nation great harm. Those who talk about a multi-racial society are really talking about a polyglot nation. Some people talk about a multi-racial society without knowing what the term really means, while others talk about it because they are anxious to change our society. No matter where the pressures come from, Australian people will continue to resist all attempts to destroy our white society.

I reject, in conscience, the idea that Australia should or can ever become a multi-racial society and survive. . . . If Australians are ever foolish enough to open their gates in a significant way to people other than Europeans, they will soon find themselves fighting desperately to stop the nation from being flooded by hordes of non-integratables. Then we will also need a Race Relations Board. None is needed now. A Race Relations Board is necessary only where there are racial problems and racial tensions.

. . . Every country has the inalienable right to determine the composition of its own population. . . . The question of morality or ethics does not arise and cannot be artificially created.

. . . Powell has been saying what millions of white Britons think, and I believe. . . . The non-Europeans who are troubling the United Kingdom today will always be ‘chip on the shoulder’ citizens. Some of them will always be unhappy misfits while others will become ‘black power’ happy. The British, more than any other people, erred badly in allowing so many Asians and Africans to settle in their country under the guise of being British citizens.

. . . What I objected to was not the colour of any man’s skin, his culture or his history. I objected to the mass importation of people who will form ‘black power’ groups and menace the security of Australia when their numbers have grown sufficiently to enable them to behave as they are behaving in Great Britain and the United States. Japan, India, Burma, Ceylon and every new African nation are fiercely anti-white and fiercely anti one another. Do we want or need any of these people here? I am one red-blooded Australian who says no, and who speaks for 90 per cent of Australians.”8

Whilst he was all for a White Australia, Calwell was not a “race hater” or “racist”; in fact, he had very cordial ties with Melbourne’s Chinese community, and had learnt Chinese so as to be able to converse with them. Calwell understood that seeking to ensure the survival of one’s race did not mean one had to hate any other race; however, the hate-filled Multiculturalists commonly slandered Calwell as a “racist”, either due to their own sheer ignorance and bigotry, or because such lying slander was useful to them as a propaganda tactic.

Calwell had a vision for Australia of a land with a large White population, numerous enough so as to be able to defend the country from outside threats, with a way of life based upon social justice for the common people. He worked hard to encourage British and European immigration, and for the continuance of what he called “the sacred cause of White Australia”.9 Unfortunately his legacy was betrayed by usurpers within the Labor Party (such as Gough Whitlam) and undermined by traitors outside of the Labor Party (such as the Liberal Party leader Harold Holt).

Arthur Calwell devoted his life to the Australian people. We can only hope that the fair dinkum Australians will awake from their stupor and throw out all of the usurpers and traitors from their positions of power, return power to the people, and save the future of Australia.

See also:
Can be no half-measures about White Australia, by Arthur Calwell, 1949

Danger for Australia, by Arthur Calwell, 1949

Black Power and a multi-racial society, by Arthur Calwell, 1978

1. Graham Freudenberg, “Calwell, Arthur Augustus (1896–1973)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University

2. Graham Freudenberg, op. cit.
Populate or perish: Australian needs”, The Examiner (Launceston, Tas.), 14 February 1913, p. 6
Local and General”, The Zeehan & Dundas Herald (Zeehan, Tas.), 17 September 1921, p. 2 (see section “Populate or perish”)
Populate or perish”, The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld.), 1 May 1936, p. 6
Calwell: Populate or perish”, The Daily News (Perth, WA), 18 June 1948, p. 4
Populate or perish: Calwell’s warning”, The National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), 10 February 1951, p. 3
Obituary: Arthur Calwell: Australian first, politician second”, The Canberra Times (Canberra, ACT), 9 July 1973, p. 2

3. Arthur A. Calwell, Danger for Australia, Carlton, Victoria: Industrial Printing and Publicity Co., 1949, pp. 6-7, 22

4. Arthur Calwell, “Can be no half-measures about White Australia”, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 24 October 1949, page 2

5. “White Australia Policy “Racial Not Economic””, The Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), 15 April 1950, p. 2

6. Arthur Calwell, Be Just and Fear Not, Adelaide: Rigby, 1978, pp. 108-109 (chapter 12, “The immigration saga”)

7. Arthur Calwell, Be Just and Fear Not, op. cit., pp. 109-110 (chapter 12, “The immigration saga”)

8. Arthur Calwell, Be Just and Fear Not, op. cit., pp. 117-120, 127 (chapter 14, “Black Power and a multi-racial society”)

9. Arthur A. Calwell, Danger for Australia, op. cit., p. 16

[For further reading, see the Wikipedia entry: “Arthur Calwell”]

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