The changing political economy of Australian immigration

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 2006, 97 (1), pp. 7 - 16
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Immigration has been a significant and controversial part of Australian history since 1947, but the nature and composition of Australian immigration and the policies and philosophies of immigrant settlement have changed considerably over that time, particularly in the last few decades of globalisation. The aim of this paper is to assess the changing political economy of Australian immigration in two senses. First, the paper presents an overview of the major changes to the dynamics of the Australian immigration experience that have accompanied globalisation. Second, the paper investigates how the political economy of Australian immigration developed in the 1970s differs from a political economy of contemporary Australian immigration. The paper argues that the traditional political economy emphasis on immigration as providing a reserve army of unskilled migrant labour must be replaced by a version of political economy that not only includes labour across all permanent and temporary categories but that also has a stronger focus on immigrant settlement and migrant lives, including debates about national identity. In order to do this, the paper argues, it is important for traditional political economy to draw on new sensibilities and insights about the contemporary immigration experience that emerge from interdisciplinary insights drawn from disciplines outside the traditional political economy foundations. © 2006 by the Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG.
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