The Regrettable Demise of the Journal 'People and Place'

By David North on April 20, 2011

It is sad to report that People and Place, an Australian academic quarterly, has published its last edition.

Its fields were international migration, demography, and how trends in those areas impacted Australia; from time to time it published articles suggesting that unlimited immigration was not in the best interests of the current residents of Australia. (Disclosure: some years ago it published an article of mine on the sweatshops in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the then-prevailing odd arrangements in U.S. immigration law that allowed them to flourish.)

People and Place was one of those rare immigration-oriented publications that gave equal weight to the arguments of the restrictionists.

In sad contrast, think of the orientation of the allegedly neutral immigration publications in the U.S.; they are International Migration Review, a quarterly published by an arm of the Roman Catholic Church; Interpreter Releases, a weekly trade paper for the immigration bar; and Immigration Daily, an electronic publication also aimed largely at the interests of immigration lawyers. All three lean heavily in favor of mass migration.

While People and Place did not have a widespread U.S. readership, and rarely had articles about America, I always welcomed the arrival of the green-bound publication and its insights on Australian immigration policies – the nation has many of the same issues that we have regarding immigration.

Further, as a sometime visitor to that nation, and as a politics junkie, I enjoyed its articles about the interplay of migration and Aussie politics. The last issue, for instance, carried a wonderful article entitled "The Jewish Community and the 2010 Federal Election: Melbourne Ports and Beyond", Melbourne Ports being a federal electoral district.

It turns out that the Jewish vote in Australia is rather small, compared to that in the U.S., and that it often supports the Liberal Party (the misnamed conservative force in that nation.)

The editors (Katharine Betts of Swinburne University of Technology and Bob Birrell of Monash University) had an opportunity to say goodbye to their readers in a final editorial. As I read between the lines, People and Place died because of a lethal combination of governmental cutbacks of university funding, and the loss of a power struggle with other academic forces.

It is a shame to lose the quarterly after 18 years of solid service.