Family and Friends are the main reasons given..
Modern Jet Age travel has brought Oz closer to Europe. A three week journey on P and O ships in the 1960s has been reduced to 30 hours on Qantas, BA and the Gulf Airlines with a stop in DXB or AbuDhabi etc...
Still it is a long way and more importantly is the feeling that you are on the other side of the world.
I once thought of living in Honolulu so that I can work both in Australia and USA but it did not turn out to be practical. There was someone I knew who lived in Melbourne and commuted to his work in San Francisco on a regular basis. Five times a year to Oz was the best I could manage from Europe or YanquiLand..
Australia is a modern country with all that is First World, with an European culture to boot.
As a young man living in Australia, I asked myself the question, why is that all the literati or intellectuals and artists from Australia live overseas? A phenomenon I was later to encounter in the West Indies as well...The small number of people concentrated in just five cities does not allow for greater intellectual exchange and we have inherited a staid system of seniority from whom else but the Pommies! (I clearly remember being told that as a Junior Doctor I was not allowed to participate in the Journal Club of the Hospital, whereas as a visiting student at Miami Medical School, I often was invited to present papers at their Journal Club!)
Family and Friends are indeed a great draw. If the Brits feel strongly what about the hundreds and thousands of Malaysians, Singaporeans, Filipinos and Indians feel in Australia. In a recent article on a Business Journal, a dutch consultant had written that Asians while fitting in superficially find it hard to work well within the Culture of their recipient countries with European Culture. Add to that fact, money conscious Asians may find Australia one of the costliest place to live, since Sydney and Melbourne always top the list of expensive places to live in the world, even though they are also included in the most comfortable places to live in this world..
I feel sad for Cubans, who are strongly attached to their families who have to migrate for economic reasons to Germany for example. No wonder Cuban emigrants regularly return home, some every six months or so from Europe, because only in Cuba can one have that fundamentally Cuban life: affection, warmth, music and dance.. who cares about the food as long as we share what we have!
I always like to listen to the announcements made by flight attendants as the plane is about to land: those who live here, welcome HOME and for visitors, welcome and enjoy your time here.....
So it is, with Australia..