Australia, a country built on the backs of migrant workers, now claims to be a beacon of human rights and equality. But not so long ago, racism reared its ugly head in the form of the "White Australia policy" – a policy designed to keep people of colour out.

Australia began the 20th century as a "social laboratory". It lead the world by initiating reforms and innovations that entrenched basic freedoms, fairness and opportunity decades before they were tried in Europe, Britain and the US.

Yet at the heart of this experiment lay a dark racist policy, and it would take more than 100 years to resolve a fundamental contradiction.

"Immigration Nation", a three-part special series on Al Jazeera, is the story of how Australia has met its challenges, and how it still tries to overcome a legacy of social exclusion.

With thousands of immigrants arriving on the shores of Australia, immigration remains a burning issue.

Episode one
Episode two
Episode three

 

Immigration Nation can be seen at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2000; Monday: 1200; Tuesday: 0100; Wednesday: 0600.