Kirk, Neville (2008) Traditionalists and Progressives: Labor, Race, and Immigration in Post-World War II Australia and Britain. Australian Historical Studies, 39 (1). pp. 53-71. ISSN 1031-461X

The intersection of labour, race, and immigration is a neglected area of comparative history and this article suggests its potential. This article draws particularly on the papers of Arthur Calwell who, as a leading figure in the Australian Labor Party, was unyielding in his defence of ‘White Australia’. Calwell used the 1958 riots against West Indians in Nottingham and London to bolster his opposition to the admission of non-whites. His attitudes are contrasted with the views of selected figures in the British labour movement who championed class over race, and upheld the virtues of the multi-racial British Commonwealth. These differences are held up as a mirror to the contrasting attitudes of Australian and British labour towards race and immigration. These differences, however, narrowed considerably during the late 1950s and 1960s as the ALP abandoned its traditional commitment to ‘White Australia’, and the British labour movement modified its earlier support for ‘coloured’ immigrants and their presence within Britain.

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