The Population, Migration and Multicultural Studies Network


The Population, Migration and Multicultural Studies Network was established in 2012 and functions primarily as an interdisciplinary forum for academics based at The University of Melbourne, particularly for those whose research falls within the area of Asian migration, economic migration, humanitarian migration, social cohesion and multiculturalism in an ethnically and religiously diverse society. The Studies Network continues to explore how sustainable outcomes can arise from ongoing migration to Australia, how regional collaboration can be strengthened, and how continued settlement efforts can be improved. It provides a space for outcome-focused research collaboration between various stakeholders interested in population, migration and multicultural studies. These stakeholders include community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), politicians, public servants as well as external partners and external researchers.

This Network carries the legacy of previous migration research completed by University of Melbourne-based academics and students. To honour this legacy, the 50th anniversary of the Immigration Reform Group's publication Immigration Reform: Control or Colour Bar?, which has in important ways led to the abolition of the White Australia Policy, was celebrated at the 2013 June conference.


This Network carries the legacy of previous migration research completed at the University of Melbourne by its academics and students. To honour this legacy, the 50th anniversary of the Immigration Reform Group's publication Immigration Reform: Control or Colour Bar?, which in important ways led to the abolition of the White Australia Policy, was celebrated at the 2013 June conference.

The University's historical role

The Immigration Reform Group, led by members of the University of Melbourne, played a notable role in securing the abolition of the White Australia Policy in 1973. Led by Jamie Mackie and Kenneth Rivett who co-authored Control or Colour Bar (1962), this movement contributed to the end of Australia's racially-exclusive immigration program and demonstrated the University's keen interest in leading the way in this research area. Subsequently, two major Commonwealth Government agencies with substantial resources for immigration and multicultural research were headed by University of Melbourne academics Petro Georgiou, founding Director of the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs (AIMA), from 1979 to 1987, and John Nieuwenhuysen, founding Director of the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research (BIMPR), from 1989 to 1996. A review of BIMPR in 1994 noted that its active publication program 'constitutes the most comprehensive collection of immigration and settlement research of any nation in the world' (Graeme Hugo, 1994:1).


Professor Pookong Kee

Professor Kee is the Director of the Asia Institute. He was previously Professor of the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies and Director of the Ritsumeikan Centre for Asia Pacific Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Japan. This was preceded by a three-year appointment as Director of the Chinese Heritage Centre in Singapore. Before his return to Asia in 1999, Kee was Director and Professor of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Victoria University from 1994 to 1999 and from 1989 to 1994 he served as Assistant Director of the Bureau of Immigration and Population Research (Assistant Secretary, Federal Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs). Kee has a PhD degree in Psychology from the Australian National University, a First Class Honours BA degree in Psychology and a BA with majors in Economics, Politics and Psychology from the University of Adelaide. His recent teaching and research interests include the causes, processes and consequences of the global movement of people, Asian Diasporas, and Asian-Pacific affairs generally.

Coordinator / Associate Professor Nana Oishi

Associate Professor Oishi has been conducting research on international migration for the last 25 years. She started her research career at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, and also completed her PhD at Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar. After she returned to Japan, she served a number of government committees on immigration policies as an advisor. Prior to joining The University of Melbourne in 2013, Associate Professor Oishi was Professor of Sociology at Sophia University in Tokyo. In recent years, she has been conducting research on highly skilled migration, multiple migrations and the impact of nationalism on migration policies in Japan and Asia.

Honorary Principal Fellow Professor John Nieuwenhuysen AM

Professor Nieuwenhuysen is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. He was the Foundation Director of the Commonwealth Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research (1989-1996), Chief Executive and Research Director for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (1996-2002), Foundation Director of the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements (2002-2011), Visiting Professor at King’s College London (2006-2007), and Interim Director of the Monash University Prato Centre in Italy (2012). His most recent publications include jointly edited volumes such as Nations of Immigrants: the United States and Australia Compared (Edward Elgar, 2009), Immigration and the Financial Crisis - Australia and the United States (Edward Elgar, 2011), A Home Away from Home? International Students in Australia and South Africa (Monash University Publishing, 2011), Closing the Gap in Education? (Monash University Publishing, 2010), Southern Worlds: Australia and South Africa Compared (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2009), and Immigration in Uncertain Times - an International Comparison (Queens-McGill University Press, 2012).

The Faculty of Arts Asian Scholar Professor Binod Khadria

Binod Khadria, Professor of Economics and Education at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, and Director of the International Migration and Diaspora Studies (IMDS) Project is  presently visiting The University of Melbourne as the Faculty of Arts Asian Scholar at the Asia Institute. He has been a recipient of the Times and Fulbright Fellowships, and a visiting professor at universities in various parts of the world. He sits on the editorial boards of several international journals. His publications include The Migration of Knowledge Workers: Second-generation Effects of India's Brain Drain (Sage, 1999). In 2009, he launched the India Migration Report: Past, Present and the Future Outlook (now in 2nd reprint), followed by India Migration Report 2010-2011: The Americas (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012). He can be contacted at email

Associate Dr Pamie Fung

Dr Pamie Fung is a Research Officer working on the Asian-Australian Public Policy Project in the Asia Institute at The University of Melbourne. She has taught migration history at The University of Melbourne. Fung’s interest in Indigenous and migrant communities led her to examine a dispute between the British Museum, Melbourne Museum and the Koori community over a set of rare Aboriginal bark etchings. In 2013, she completed her PhD thesis, which documented and examined the history of Australia's government migrant hostels through a case study of the Midway hostel in Melbourne’s western suburbs. She interviewed post-war migrants and refugees to explore arrival experiences and government practices of managing newcomers at these sites. Her thesis contributed knowledge on the care of new migrants and refugees.

Associated academics

Dr Karen Block

Karen Block is a Research Fellow in the McCaughey Centre, Melbourne School of Population Health. Karen has an interest in qualitative methodologies and mixed methods research and is currently working on a range of projects involving children and young people with a focus on social inclusion, health inequalities, evaluating complex interventions and working in collaborative partnerships with the community. Her doctoral project, 'Refugee Youth, Social Inclusion and Health', aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the issues impacting on social inclusion for newly-arrived adolescent and young adult refugees in Australia and to inform policy and program development relating to service provision for this population. This research is supported by an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship and a Sidney Myer Health Scholarship.

Professor Deborah Ann Cobb-Clark

Professor Cobb-Clark is the Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and Ronald Henderson Professor. Prior to this, Cobb-Clark has held positions at the US Labor Department, Illinois State University, and the Australian National University where she was Associate Director of the Research School of Social Sciences. Her research centres on the effect of social policy on labour market outcomes including immigration, sexual and racial harassment, health, old-age support, education and youth transitions. She is currently leading the innovative Youth in Focus Project analysing the pathways through which social and economic disadvantage is transmitted from parents to children in Australia. She has published more than four dozen academic articles in leading international journals such as American Economic Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and Labour Economics. Cobb-Clark is a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA) as well as the Hub Coordinator for the Australian Hub of the Princeton Global Network on Child Migration.

Professor John Daley

Professor John Daley is one of Australia's leading strategists. He has 20 years' experience at the intersection of the public sector, private enterprise, and academia. His diverse background includes law, finance, education, and workers' compensation. Previous roles include The University of Melbourne, the University of Oxford, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, consulting firm McKinsey and Co, and most recently ANZ where he was Managing Director of the online stockbroker, E*TRADE Australia. John has a DPhil in Public Law from the University of Oxford, and degrees in Law and Science from The University of Melbourne.

Professor Kate Darian-Smith

Kate Darian-Smith is Professor of Australian Studies and History in the Australian Centre at The University of Melbourne. She has been also been Director of The Australian Centre (1998-2005; from 2010-current). Since 2000 she has held senior administrative positions within the Faculty, including Deputy Dean, Associate Dean (International and Graduate Studies), and in 2010 she was the Acting Head of School of Historical Studies. In 2010 Darian-Smith was appointed to the Humanities and Creative Arts Research Evaluation Committee of the ARC Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Initiative. She is a member of the Executive of the International Australian Studies Association (InASA) former President (2002-2007) and Vice-President (2008-2009) and has held numerous ARC grants over the past decade. She is currently Chief Investigator on a number of ARC-funded research projects including 'Conciliation Narratives and the Historical Imagination in the British Pacific Rim Settler Societies'. Darian-Smith is editor of a number of books including Diamond Dog: an Anthology of Contemporary Australian Short Stories which Reflect Multicultural Society, and Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures.

Professor Ruth Fincher

Ruth Fincher is Professor of Geography at The University of Melbourne, President of the University's Academic Board 2013–2014, and Vice President of the International Geographical Union. In 2008 Professor Fincher led the establishment of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) as its Interim Director. Previously Fincher was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (2003-2006) and Professor of Urban Planning (1997-2006), also at The University of Melbourne. She was elected Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Australian Geographers in 2009. With research and teaching interests in the urban outcomes of immigration and multiculturalism, diversity and difference in cities, gender issues, inequality and locational disadvantage, Fincher is widely published internationally. Her co-edited books include Creating Unequal Futures? Rethinking Inequality, Poverty and Disadvantage, Australian Poverty: Then and Now, Cities of Difference, and Planning and Diversity in the City: Redistribution, Recognition and Encounter. Professor Fincher was Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Project 'Transnational and Temporary: Place-Making, Students and Community in Central Melbourne'.

Professor Brian Galligan

Brian Galligan has been a Professor of Political Science at The University of Melbourne since 1995, and was formerly a Professor in the Research School of Social Science at the Australian National University. He is a graduate in Economics and Commerce from the University of Queensland, and has a Masters and PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto. His publications include Human Rights in Asia, 'Multiculturalism, National Identity, and Pluralist Democracy: The Australian Variant', and The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics and Australian Citizenship. Professor Galligan has been Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Projects 'The politics of rights: Australia in comparative perspective', and 'A scholarly and comprehensive account of Australian politics: The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics'. He has also been Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Projects 'Resettling Visible Migrants & Refugees in Regional and Rural Victoria and Federalism in Australian schooling: Its impact upon quality and equity'.

Professor Ghassan Hage

Ghassan Hage is The University of Melbourne's Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory. Hage has published widely in the comparative anthropology of nationalism, multiculturalism, racism and migration and is the author and editor of many works including White Nation and Against Paranoid Nationalism. His most recent work is the edited volume Force, Movement, Intensity: The Newtonian Imagination in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. He is currently working on two ARC supported projects, 'The experience and circulation of political emotions concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict among Muslim immigrants in the Western world', and 'The Politics of Negotiation' as a critical way of re-conceiving inter-cultural relations'. Hage has been Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Projects 'Outside-Domestication: Towards an anthropology of the spaces of negotiated being', and 'The Western Nation-State, Cultural Pluralism and the Transnational Circulation Of Political Emotions in the Shi A Lebenese Diaspora', and Chief Investigator on the Linkage Project 'Multiculturalism and Governance: Evaluating Arts Policies and Engaging Cultural Citizenship'.

Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne

Professor Hawthorne is Associate Dean International in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Hawthorne's work is informed by 20 years research on global health workforce demand, foreign credential recognition, skilled migration, and international student flows. In 2006 Professor Hawthorne was appointed to an Expert Panel of Three by Federal Cabinet to conduct a detailed review of Australia's skilled migration program. This was followed by completion of a major Australian study on international student flows, skilled migration and employment outcomes (2006-2010). She is currently Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Project 'Building an Ethical and Sustainable Model for Health Professional Recruitment to Australia: A Case Study of the Philippines'. Her publications include 'Labor Market Outcomes for International Student Migrants to Australia', 'International medical students and migration: the missing dimension in Australian workforce planning?', 'The Growing Global Demand for Students as Skilled Migrants', 'The Impact of Economic Selection Policy on Labour Market Outcomes for Degree-Qualified Migrants in Canada and Australia', and 'UNESCO - Migration and Education: Quality Assurance and Mutual Recognition of Qualifications, Summary of Expert Group Meeting (Nine Country Audit)'.

Professor Brian Howe

Brian Howe is a Professorial Associate in the Centre for Public Policy. He was Deputy Prime Minister of Australia (1991-1995), a member of the Federal Cabinet (1984-1996) and held a range of Ministerial portfolios in the fields of Defence, Social Security, Health, Housing and Community Services. His administration of these portfolios was distinguished by a number of major policy initiatives in Social Security reform of family payments and the introduction of Child Support, in Health the National Mental Health Strategy and the Commonwealth Dental Scheme. He was also responsible for important Commonwealth State initiatives such as the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement and the Building Better Cities program. He teaches in the Centre for Public Policy's postgraduate program, has worked on several ARC funded research projects, is writing a series of monographs on Australian religious leaders and is completing a short book summarising the Centre's work on reinventing social policy.

Dr Gao Jia

Gao Jia is Senior Lecturer at the Asia Institute as well as Acting Director (until November 2013) of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, The University of Melbourne. He is also Assistant Dean (China) within the Faculty of Arts. Dr Gao Jia is a graduate of Renmin University of China where he was a lecturer in social psychology and sociology. He played a leading role in numerous research programs there before coming to Australia in late 1988. He completed his PhD in human geography at The University of Melbourne on the so-called Chinese student issue of the late 1980s and early 1990s. His thesis remains the most comprehensive and systematic study of this largest intake of onshore asylum seekers in Australian immigration history. Dr Gao Jia's current research interests include sociological studies of post-1978 China and the new Chinese migrant community in Australia. He has carried out continuing longitudinal research on the experiences of new Chinese migrants in Australia since 1988, and his most recent publications on the topic include (2010) 'Negotiating state logic: How Chinese students obtained residence in Australia', Omnes: The Journal of Migration and Society, (2011) 'Seeking residency from the Courts: The Chinese experience in the post-white Australia era', Journal of Chinese Overseas, (forthcoming) Chinese Activism of a Different Kind: The Chinese Students' Campaign to Stay in Australia. London: Brill.

Professor Simon Marginson

Simon Marginson is a Professor of Higher Education in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), The University of Melbourne. Marginson works in sociology and socio-cultural studies, political economy, political philosophy and history. He specialises primarily in higher education policy and organisation, and comparative and international higher education. In the last decade he has carried out an empirical, scholarly and conceptual inquiry into globalisation and higher education. This has included research on university rankings, and international student rights and security. The last culminated in the co-authored book International Student Security (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Marginson has written three policy papers for OECD and done policy research work for government in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan and Ireland as well as Australia. Simon has won publication awards from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and a Critics Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association (AESA).

Dr Antje Missbach

Antje Missbach studies transit migration in Indonesia. In particular, she looks at asylum seekers, recognised refugees and undocumented migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Burma/Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Somalia on their way to Australia. While many existing studies concentrate on the receiving host country and the prevalent conditions for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants there, she pays attention to the political, social and legal conditions affecting people in transit. Examining decision-making processes and preparations both for orderly and irregular onward journeys during their time in transit, which often last two years and longer, explains strategies of adaptation chosen during the entire migration process and helps to understand the variety of migratory experiences. In 2012, she spent 10 months conducting fieldwork in three sites in Indonesia, which are among the most important hubs for transit migrants. Lately, she has also grown a stronger interest in the facilitators of irregular migration processes ('smugglers') as well as the socio-political impacts of growing numbers of transit migrants on Indonesia as transit country.

Professor Nikos Papastergiadis

Nikos Papastergiadis is a Professor in Cultural Studies and Media & Communications at The University of Melbourne. He was educated at The University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the School of Culture and Communication he was Deputy Director of the Australian Centre at The University of Melbourne; Head of the Centre for Ideas at the Victorian College of Arts, lecturer in Sociology and recipient of the Simon Fellowship at the University of Manchester. His research interests include Cultural theory, theories of migration and mobility, multiculturalism, postcolonialism, contemporary arts practice, new media, art and urban transformation. He is currently a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded research projects 'Multiculturalism and Governance: Evaluating Arts Policies and Engaging Cultural Citizenship' and 'Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere'. Papastergiadis' publications include 'Can There Be a History of Contemporary Art?' in Discipline 2012.

Professor Paul Smyth

Paul Smyth is Professor of Social Policy at The University of Melbourne, and General Manager of the Research & Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) in Fitzroy, Melbourne. This joint position involves leading research and the development of policy around partnership solutions to Australia's social problems. His work combines policy development and research at the BSL with teaching and research at the University's Centre for Public Policy. He was previously the Director of Social Policy at the University of Queensland. Prior to this he was senior researcher at Uniya, the Jesuit social research and action centre in Sydney. As Professorial Fellow in Social Policy, he is the coordinator of the Masters of Social Policy program. Smyth's research areas include contemporary Australian social policy, local governance and social inclusion as well as international perspectives on social inclusion. He is on advisory councils for the Centre for Work and Life, University of South Australia, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and Volunteering Australia.

Associate Professor Sara Wills

Associate Professor Wills is a Senior Lecturer in Australian Studies in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and currently the Associate Dean (Advancement) in the Faculty of Arts. She has been the Director of the Australian Centre (2009-2010) and, alongside her academic career, has worked in museums and publishing. With research interests in migration studies, history and memory, Wills teaches in an interdisciplinary context, and has a strong commitment to the value of both humanities and social science approaches in the Arts. Wills is currently the Chief Investigator of the ARC funded research project 'Narrating Trauma and Displacement', which examines the historical and cultural experiences of Iran-born men in Australia. She has most recently contributed chapters to the international edited collections Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing with 'Difficult' Heritage (Routledge, 2009), Diasporas: Concepts, Identities, Intersections (Zed Books, 2010), Migration and Insecurity: Citizenship and Social Inclusion in a Transnational Era (Routledge, 2012), and Cultures in Refuge: Seeking Sanctuary in Modern Australia (Routledge, 2012).

Associate Professor Audrey Yue

Yue is an Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at The University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the University, she worked as a Senior Research consultant with the Australian Key Centre for Media and Cultural Policy on the project, Floating Life: The Media and Asian Diasporas (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001). Her publications include 'Doing Cultural Citizenship in the Global Media Hub: Illiberal Pragmatics and Lesbian Consumption Practices in Singapore', 'Urban Screens and Transcultural Consumption Between South Korea and Australia', Ann Hui's Song of the Exile, '"Westie" Films and Doing Transnational Action', 'Asian Sex Workers in Australia: Somatechnologies of Trafficking and Queer Mobilities', 'Urban Screens and Spatial Regeneration: Evaluation Strategies for Cultural Participation', 'King Victoria: Asian Drag Kings, Postcolonial Female Masculinity and Hybrid Sexuality in Australia', 'Same-Sex Migration in Australia: From Interdependency to Intimacy', and Mobile Cultures. She is Chief Investigator of the ARC funded research projects 'The History of Asian Australian Cinema: Diaspora, Policy and Ethics', 'Multiculturalism and Governance: Evaluating Arts Policies and Engaging Cultural Citizenship' and 'Large screens and the transnational public sphere'.

Advisory committee

We are also thankful for our partner organisations and key individuals as they advise and guide our Network activities and promote engagement with the broader policy and public community.


  • Mr Arnold Zable
  • Dr Bulent Hass Dellal
  • Professor Charles Coppel
  • Mr Chidambaram Srinivasan ('Srini')
  • Dr Gao Jia
  • Ms Hutch Hussein
  • Dr Irene Bouzo
  • Mr Josef Szwarc
  • Dr Meredith Martin
  • Ms Padmini Sebastian
  • Professor Paul Smyth
  • Mr Peter Khalil
  • Mr Ross Barnett
  • Professor Ruth Fincher
  • Assoc. Professor Sara Wills
  • Assoc. Professor Tamara Kohn


Immigration in Diversified Australia

Today and Tomorrow's Challenges

Thursday 20 June and Friday 21 June 2013, The Spot Basement Theatre, 198 Berkeley Street, University of Melbourne



In 1962, Melbourne University Press (MUP) published a volume by the Immigration Reform Group entitled Immigration: Control or Colour Bar? The Background to 'White Australia' and a proposal for change. It played an important part in the national debate which led to the dismantling of the White Australia Policy. Fifty years on, the Asia Institute-based Population, Migration and Multicultural Studies Network is commemorating the significant achievement of this publication and the Immigration Reform Group's influence during the 1960s.

In its opening sessions, the conference will take as point of departure the developments in the areas of migration flows, policy and research since the abolition of the White Australia Policy. Subsequent sessions will be dedicated to examine and discuss current and future issues pertaining to population, migration, and multiculturalism in Australia.

While Australian society today is considered to be harmonious, controversies surrounding population, migration, and multiculturalism persist. This conference aims to provide an important framework for a review of the developments, achievements, and challenges which continue to surround and impact on Australia's management of flows and settlement.

The conference brings together regional, national and local researchers, practitioners and community agents to ask how we ensure sustainable and resilient societies in light of inevitable population growth and the increasing ethnic and religious diversity that follow.

The Studies Network hopes that this conference will recapitulate the Immigration Reform Group's impact in highlighting Carlton's migration history, but move on to tackle broader state, national and regional issues. We recognise that community input and support are essential in order to achieve tangible conference outcomes. We are thus grateful to have as partners Foundation House - The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, The Australian Multicultural Foundation, The Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria, and SBS - Special Broadcasting Services.

Finally, many of the founding members of the Immigration Reform Group were academics and students from the University of Melbourne, while other members were associated with the University.

The Asia Institute-based interdisciplinary Population, Migration and Multicultural Studies Network is proud to commemorate the achievements of this group as it coincides with the University of Melbourne's 160th anniversary celebrations.
We look forward to welcoming you to the conference.

Conference reception at Queen's Hall, Parliament House

The conference's evening reception will be held at the Victorian State Parliament where the 1855 Act to restrict Chinese immigration, Australia's first, was enacted.
The reception will take place from 7pm to 9pm and is by invitation only.

Key sessions

  • Migration to Australia in a Historical Perspective The Origins of the Colour Bar
  • Access to Public Goods and Social Equity How to Identify and Address Needs?
  • Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Australia How to Facilitate Inclusion and Understanding?
  • Our Humanitarian Program Now and in the Future?
  • The Power of Stories The Migrant Experience
  • Sustainable Migration Into the Future
  • Australia and the Asian Century The People Movement Connections