Historicising Australian Deportation of 'Suspect' and 'Undesirable' Migrant Communities


The overall aim of the paper is to present evidence on the factors underpinning historical deportation cases, by exploring the reasons, explanations and patterns related to deportation in Australia. The purpose is to consider whether these historical factors are antecedent to current forms of deportation occurring in Australia, and to bring to the fore potential recurring patterns. Deportation is currently conceptualised by border criminologists as a punitive tool of discipline and control, within the realm of penal powers. Some of this work on the ‘deportation regime’ asserts that certain migrants, or groups of migrants, are undesirable: their identity, (not)belonging and punishment have become inherently intertwined, and their mobility has become politicised and criminalised. This article theorises that deportation has been used in Australia, now and in the past, to expel individuals who are viewed as detrimental to the ‘health’ of the host society. The ‘deportation categories’ demonstrate that migrants’ desirability has historically been a temporary condition, shifting over time in line with the state’s requirements. They also demonstrate the historical regime of criminalisation of undesirable others enacted through Australia’s border control regime.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2023-03-01
Pages:1 to 16
Section:Special Issue: Historical Criminology
Fetching Scopus statistics
Fetching Web of Science statistics
How to Cite
Marmo, M., Smith, E. and Varnava, A. (2023) “Historicising Australian Deportation of ’Suspect’ and ’Undesirable’ Migrant Communities”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 12(1), pp. 1-16. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2740.

Author Biographies

Flinders University

Associate Professor Marinella Marmo is the Director of Teaching Program of Flinders Criminology. She holds a PhD in Applied Social Science (University of Lancaster, UK) and an LLB Hons (Università di Salerno, Italy). She is a multiple award-winning tertiary education academic, and she has published extensively in the area of critical criminology and human rights.

Flinders University

Evan Smith is a Lecturer in History in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University in South Australia. He has published widely on political extremism, social movements, national security and borders in Australia, Britain and southern Africa. His latest book is an edited volume with Jayne Persian and Vashti Jane Fox titled Histories of Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australia (Routledge, 2023).

Flinders University

Andrekos Varnava, FRHistS, is a Professor of History at Flinders University and an Honorary Professor at De Montfort University. He is the author of four monographs, the latest is Assassination in Colonial Cyprus in 1934 and the Origins of EOKA (Anthem Press, 2021). He has edited/co-edited 16 collections and published over 60 peer reviewed articles/book chapters, including in English Historical Review (2017), The Historical Journal (2014), Journal of Modern History (2018) and Historical Research (2014, 2017 & 2022).