A tale of two diversities: ‘Eastralians’ and the west

A tale of two diversities: ‘Eastralians’ and the west, by Bernard Salt.

New census figures show an emerging difference in migrant modality across our continent’s hemispheres. The biggest single migrant group in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory remains the English.

However, the eastern seaboard is heading in a very different direction. The largest single migrant group in Queensland is the Kiwis whereas in NSW it is the Chinese and in Victoria the Indians. There is still a solid English bedrock to these states but the demographic topsoil has shifted. The west, meaning everything west of Broken Hill and the Diamantina, is our very own frontierland forged generations ago with strong residual connections into Britain. …

The east is carving out a new trajectory with strengthening linkages to Asia, India and the Pacific. Here is a macro demographic trend that if left for decades to fester and ferment could underpin a redefinition of the once reasonably united Australian people.

The east, cosmopolitan and outward looking, perhaps stressing and straining to deliver social cohesion; the west increasingly aware of its differences with the “Eastralians” and ever resentful of injustices both real and perceived. Then again, perhaps it is naive of the Australian people to think that social and political cohesion can be retained forever across the Australian continent. After all the continent is so big that distinctive cultural clusters are bound to evolve.