This led to some discussion in the comments thread of when the decision to change course on immigration policy was made in Australia. I pointed out that it was made during the war cabinets in WWII. Although the Labor Party initiated the changes, they were supported by the Liberal Party.
The shift toward a multiethnic nation was supported by Arthur Calwell. Calwell believed in diversity as a matter of social justice:
As a school boy in Melbourne Calwell grew up in the shadow of his mixed Irish and Welsh ancestry. His wide reading in American history, into the lives of the English Chartists, Fabian Socialists and the nationalist struggles in Ireland and Continental Europe imbued him with a strong sense of history in which Australia was to be seen as an inheritor of the ideals enshrined in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. In newspaper articles, speeches made as president of the Victorian Labor Party during the 1930s, and later after election as federal member for Melbourne in 1940, Calwell's deep concern for social justice was invariably linked with the creation in Australia of an ethnically mixed society through large-scale immigration.
...in a confidential note addressed to Chifley in 1944 he wrote of his determination to develop a heterogeneous society
Calwell, it is true, wanted to draw a particular line the sand: he wanted a diverse, heterogeneous, ethnically mixed society drawn from different European sources rather than non-European ones. But that's not a line that was ever going to hold. If it is thought socially just to build a society based on the principle of diversity, then the "moral" thing was always going to be to go the next step and to open up to non-European immigration.
Last year, the Labor minister Simon Crean gave a speech on Calwell's legacy:
He firmly believed in the principles of fairness, equality and social justice...Arthur Calwell successfully argued for the acceptance of a more heterogeneous society...In doing so he brought the union movement and the nation with him...His conviction to the cause was underpinned by his values and his commitment to equality, fairness and social justice...He not only led the debate on immigration—he was responsible for laying the fundamental foundation of modern Australia—an Australia that is inclusive, diverse and tolerant.
Calwell is a classic example of someone who wanted to take a radical principle to a certain point and then no more. But the next generation inevitably wanted to push on further and Calwell's objections were brushed aside.
As Simon Crean recognises, the principle that led to the open borders of today was put in place in the 1940s by men like Arthur Calwell, a Catholic Labor man who wanted to follow the example of the American melting pot. It didn't require the influence of the continental European cultural Marxists.