Will there be a reprise of the White Australia Policy?Mar 24, 2023
With the publication of the series, “RED ALERT” in the two leading newspapers in Australia, predicting that China will invade Australia in three years, the constant push from the ASPI, and the increasingly strident rhetoric from the China hawks in both major political parties, will the Australian security apparatus be encouraged to re-establish a “Chinese Section” to place under surveillance the over 1 million Australians with Chinese ancestry?
On the 12th May 1944, during the Second World War, the then Director General of Security, (the “fore-runner” of ASIO) W.B. Simpson, established the “Chinese Section”, issuing a “Most Secret Directive” to all his agents. In this he stated,
“The Chinese Section owes its existence mainly to the probability that Chinese are being used as enemy agents or at least as couriers, but when creating it the possibility was not overlooked that many Chinese in Australia are being used in furtherance of some national, if perhaps at the moment embryonic, policy. “ “The twelve groups of Chinese to which particular attention will be paid’’, that is, to be placed under surveillance, included- “refugees from Japanese occupied territories; Chinese survivors from lost ships; Chinese called up by Manpower for national service; Chinese employed by Allied services; Chinese deserters from ships; Chinese restaurants, as they were known to be shore contacts for visiting seamen and known to harbour deserters; Chinese seamen manning ships; Chinese drug rings and gambling organisations; Chinese societies with cultural, patriotic, or other objects; Chinese banks and trading houses, as it was known that Chinese aliens used these to transmit sums of money to relatives in occupied territories.” (National Archives of Australia: A373,11380)
The National Archives of Australia also records surveillance on at least two Chinese families whose sons served loyally in the second AIF fighting the Japanese, and whose daughter was awarded an Air Force Emblem for Civilian Service by the 14th United States Air Force.
Over 500 Chinese seamen and refugees from Japanese occupied territories were interned as potential “enemy aliens”. Some were later recruited into the 7th Employment Company of the Australian Army serving as non-combatants. They too would have been included in the list “for particular attention”.
That China was then part of the Allies fighting the common enemy, the Japanese army, and that over 1200 Chinese Australian men and women served in the Australian armed forces in that war, some gave their lives, did not in the minds and actions of the Director General of Security, see the Chinese in Australia as loyal citizens, but as potential enemy agents.
With the publication of the series, “RED ALERT” in the two leading newspapers in Australia, predicting that China will invade Australia in three years, the constant push from the ASPI, and the increasingly strident rhetoric from the China hawks in both major political parties, will the Australian security apparatus be encouraged to re-establish such a “Chinese Section” to place under surveillance the over 1 million Australians with Chinese ancestry? Will the paranoia of the cry – “reds under every bed” of the 1950s be heard again, and a new updated version of the White Australia Policy be introduced to contain this “threat” to Australia’s Sovereignty? Will the anti-Chinese, “Yellow peril” cartoons of the defunct racist magazine “The Bulletin” re-surface in our newspapers and other media outlets, extending the graphics accompanying the ”RED ALERT”?
The more things change, the more stay the same?