Australia is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and faiths. People from a wide range of cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds helped to build this country. Since 1945, the lives of Australians have altered dramatically as a result of the aggressive immigration strategy (Brett 2003). Today, many diverse cultures have come together to call Australia home, and the majority of those cultures have accepted the Australian way of life. This essay will first provide a brief overview of Australian immigration history, including previous policies and the period of multiculturalism that dominated for several decades, before moving on to examine government practices and changes in immigration policies before, during, and after the Howard administration. 

Multiculturalism refers to the integration of many cultures so that they can coexist happily and equitably as one. The history of human settlement in Australia began with the arrival of the first families of the existing aboriginal Australians. It is thought that Australia's first indigenous tribes migrated from an unknown location in Asia about 50,000 years ago (Brett 2003). In 1606 a Spanish explorer sailed into the Torres Strait, which divides Australia from Papua New Guinea, to begin European discovery of Australia. Soon after, Dutch, French, and English explorers arrived and began mapping the continent. Australia was widely portrayed as a faraway and unappealing country for European settlement, yet it has deliberate and socioeconomic worth in the United Kingdom. The British control of the continent provided a solution for the relocation of criminals in its overcrowded jails, as well as a base for British naval operations. As a result, the British colonization of Australia started in 1788, and the colony quickly grew as free immigrants arrived from Britain and Ireland and fresh areas were freed up for cultivation.

However, the character of Australian migration altered dramatically with the discovery of gold in 1851. This gold rush era resulted in an early migration boom and the beginning of international migrations, with people arriving in significantly bigger numbers and from far more diverse origins than ever before. Over 600,000 individuals immigrated to Australia between 1851 and 1861.

Control of immigration altered when the colonies united in 1901. The immigration limitation act, popularly known as the "White Australian Policy," was the first piece of legislation approved by the new parliament. Despite the comparatively significant number of Chinese citizens in Australia, this legislation insured that people who were not of European origin were not allowed to dwell there and also prohibited Asian migration for the next fifty years. With the onset of the First World War in 1914, migration nearly ended. Furthermore, formerly acceptable migrants from Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey were classed as 'enemy aliens,' and citizens from these nations were barred from entering the country for five years (Hodge 2006, p. 91). Churches and community groups such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army sponsored migrants, as they did after the conclusion of World War I. Small numbers also arrived on their own. As the United States attempted to curtail Southern European migration, an increasing number of young men from Greece and Italy financed their way to Australia. By the 1930s, a higher number of Jewish settlers began to arrive, many of them refugees from Hitler's Europe.

Before World War II, Australia had a homogeneous European population and remained so for some time. During WWII, however, Australia became a haven for many non-European refugees, particularly from Asian nations. Malaysians, Filipinos, and Indonesians have established themselves in the nation. Australia aggressively sought these immigrants, and because of a rising economy and big infrastructure projects like the Snowy Mountain Programme, many of them found work. There were labourers from over thirty different countries who were not all of European ancestries. Seventy per cent of the workers in the project were foreigners who saw opportunities in coming to Australia.

The ambition of former Australian Prime Minister John Curtis of preserving Australia in the hands of its white European forebears did not last. Australia began to modify its White Australia policy in the 1950s. Non-European inhabitants were granted the right to petition for citizenship in 1956. Two years later, as a further measure of exclusion, the transcribing Test was eliminated. By the 1960s, mixed-race migration was becoming more common, and Australia signed its first migration pact with a non-European country in 1966. This was a significant step forward for Australia since it was the first time that both the political government and the Australian people decided to allow diverse cultures to coexist. Although diversity was recognized by the government and welcomed by the majority of Australians, there were significant problems during that period. Political concord on diversity was destroyed when opposition leader John Howard took a different stance on multiculturalism. Howard was a firm supporter of traditional Australian values. In 1988, Howard advocated for a variety of policy reforms, including a shift in the mix of migrants and a 'One-Australia' post-arrival policy. He stated that the rate of Asian immigration into Australia should be reduced for the sake of societal cohesiveness.

Multiculturalism is increasingly being embraced by national and state governments as a vocabulary of communal relations aimed at social cohesion. In July 2000, the Council for Multicultural Australia was founded and entrusted with executing A New Agenda for Multicultural Australia. Its mission is to promote the benefits of diversity in business and to supervise the application of a public service charter in a culturally varied society. The Howard administration issued its multicultural policy statement, Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity, in May 2003. It revised the 1999 New Agenda, established strategic orientations for 2003-06, and committed to establishing a Council for Multicultural Australia.

Australia received 123,000 new settlers in 2004-05, a 40% increase over the previous ten years. Sydney attracted the greatest number of immigrants (40,000 in 2004/05). The bulk of immigrants came from Asia, with China and India leading the way. There was also a large increase in Asian student numbers, as well as a continuous high number of Asian visitors. In 2005/06, the planned immigration influx more than quadrupled compared to 1996. As of 2007, immigration accounted for slightly more than half of Australia's population increase. Immigration accounts for almost three-quarters of population growth in New South Wales and South Australia. The anticipated intake for 2007/08 was about 153,000, including 13,000 under the humanitarian programme and 24,000 New Zealanders under a unique trans-Tasman arrangement. During the Howard administration, the quota for skilled migrants increased dramatically in comparison to the quota for family reunions 

Australia's last multicultural policy, Multicultural Australia United in Diversity (2003-2006), was terminated in 2006. In late 2008, the Rudd Government launched a new multicultural advisory board.

Australia is not only far richer in experiences, but also has much stronger economic and social ties with other countries as a result of its broad multinational population. Multiculturalism has had an impact on Australian fashion, gastronomy, and culture since it defines what it means to be an Australian. Australia is proud of its multicultural society and values the range of cultures that continued global migration brings. Cultural variety affects and enriches all Australians; its success was accomplished by all Australians and should be treasured and embraced by all Australians. 

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