LONG SYNOPSIS: It is the dawn of the 20th century and Australia is a social laboratory. A great experiment is underway to become the most progressive and egalitarian nation in the world. The country is busy initiating radical reforms and noble ideals, entrenching basic freedoms and rights of fairness and opportunity. At Federation in 1901, Australia stands as a beacon to the world - A new nation with a Utopian vision. But at the heart of this great bright experiment lies a dark paradox - The notion that to contrive a country of such cutting edge ideals you must be a country that is exclusively white. It is a fundamental contradiction that will take almost a century of extraordinary evolution to try and overcome. Immigration Nation - The Secret History of Us - will track this dramatic saga through AustraliaGÇÖs untold immigration story. The series will chart how the dream soon becomes a nightmare for some. The insecurities of those at the helm dictate that at the start of the 20th century this vast continent is driven by fear and racism. As the White Australia Policy is enforced, ethnic groups are deported and barred from entry. Vibrant communities are left fractured and Asian populations dwindle dramatically. Obsessing with the Motherland and its Anglo heritage, Australia isolates itself from its nearest neighbours. The seeds are sown for the nationGÇÖs greatest fear to be realised - invasion from the north. The bombing of Darwin by the Japanese highlights the vulnerability of this vast and sparsely populated land. But this is a story far greater than a nationGÇÖs darkest traits and fears. This is a story of surprising twists and turns and delicious ironies that reveal how Australia became what it is today. A country built on immigration. As the nation reels from World War Two, the great experiment that started at Federation is about to enter its next crucial phase. A Department of Immigration is born and its inaugural minister, Arthur Calwell, has a clear message for the Australian people, GÇÿWe must fill this country or lose itGÇÖ. Fearful for itGÇÖs future and security, Australia embarks on one of the most dramatic immigration programmes the world has ever seen. Migrants from war torn Europe arrive en masse. It is social engineering on the grandest of scales. The country will be fundamentally transformed forever. But the gatekeepers to the nationGÇÖs borders have to take Australia and its people with them on this radical journey of change. The new arrivals must be white. And the Utopian dream is kept alive through stealth and propaganda. The message is clear, GÇÿyouGÇÖre welcome but on our terms and only if you adopt this country as your ownGÇÖ. It is the age of assimilation. The world is changing and the 1960 brings with it civil rights movements and activism in the U.S and beyond. A White Australia is questioned from without and within. This is a time when the influence of the immigrant population grows and those behind the scenes in the corridors of political power rage against the system and transform a nation once again. 1975 and AustraliaGÇÖs atavistic fears of invasion from the north are realised. But the incomers are migrants and refugees from war ravaged Vietnam. Testing deep-rooted insecurities to their limits, it will be this humanitarian crisis that is finally the force to open the borders to Asian immigration and crushes the White Australia Policy forever. Immigration Nation GÇô The Secret History of Us, is of course a story that comes full circle. The story of how Australia dared to dream of what it could become. The story of a nation forced to confront its fears GÇô The story of a vast land that has ultimately succeeded in living out the very dreams of its founding fathers not by closing its borders but by opening them.
Australia's untold immigration story