White Australia alone? The international links of the Australian far right in the Cold War era

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the 1960s, as Australia underwent significant social change at the tail end of Sir Robert Menzies’ prime ministership, the far right started to slowly re-emerge, having been quite dormant in the immediate postwar years as the conservative Liberal–Country Party pursued an anticommunist agenda and the continuance of the “White Australia Policy”, the highly restrictive immigration control system that had been in place since Federation in 1901. With the beginnings of the political and cultural radicalism of the late 1960s in Australia, predominantly the movement against the Vietnam War, the far right started to mobilize to combat this social change and to push against the incremental reforms of the Liberal government after Menzies’ retirement in 1966 (such as the gradual weakening of the “White Australia Policy” and the backing of the referendum on Aboriginal rights
in 1967). This reaction against the domestic politics of the Liberals (which saw a succession of four prime ministers between 1966 and 1972) played out against the global political backdrop of the Cold War and the process of decolonization across Africa and Asia. The fight against communism and for a white Australia was seen as part of a wider worldwide struggle against communism and multiracial democracy that supposedly linked “white” people in Europe, North America, and settler-colonial societies in the southern hemisphere (such as South Africa, Rhodesia, Australia, and New Zealand). Similar to other far right movements across the Anglophone world, there was a feeling that traditional right-wing political parties, such as the Conservatives in the UK, the Republicans in the US, and the National Party in New Zealand, had betrayed their support base, and in Australia, as elsewhere, the far right started organizing to reverse the perceived slide towards liberalism in the Cold War era.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal white nationalism
Subtitle of host publicationFrom apartheid to Trump
EditorsDaniel Geary, Camilla Schofield, Jennifer Sutton
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)978-1-5261-4707-3, 978-1-5261-4706-6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


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