Immigration Restriction Act 1901
Parliament of Australia
An Act to place certain restrictions on Immigration and to provide for the removal from the Commonwealth of prohibited Immigrants
Date of Royal Assent
23 December 1901
Edmund Barton (5 June 1901)
1905, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1920, 1924, 1925, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1940, 1948, 1949
Migration Act 1958
The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which limited immigration to Australia and formed the basis of the White Australia policy which sought to exclude all non-Europeans from Australia. The law granted immigration officers a wide degree of discretion to prevent individuals from entering Australia. The Act prohibited various classes of people from immigrating and provided for illegal immigrants to be deported.
Because of opposition from the British government, a more explicit racial policy was avoided in the legislation, with the control mechanism being a dictation test, which required a person seeking entry to Australia to write out a passage of fifty words dictated to them in any European language, not necessarily English, at the discretion of an immigration officer. The test was not designed to allow immigration officers to evaluate applicants on the basis of language skills, rather the language chosen was always one known beforehand that the person would fail.
The initial bill was based on similar legislation in South Africa.
1 Provisions of the Act
1.2 Dictation test
2 Dictation test is found wanting
3 Changes to the Act
6 External links
Provisions of the Act
The Act specifically prohibited various classes of people from immigrating, including people with infectious diseases and people who had recently been imprisoned.
The Act automatically allowed certain classes of people to enter Australia, such as all members of the British Army or the Royal Navy, the captain and crew of any ship visiting an Australian port, any person sent on the business of a foreign government, family members of permitted immigrants, and former residents of Australia.
Prospective immigrants were allowed to apply for a Certificate of Exemption, issued by the Minister for External Affairs (or a representative), which would exempt a person from the provisions of the Act such as the dictation test for