SINCE 2007 the report has explored Australians’ attitudes on issues including immigration, discrimination, trust in government, and sense of belonging.
A key objective of the national survey is to inform our understanding of the social impact of Australia’s increasingly diverse cultural makeup. The survey represents the only independent and detailed longitudinal study of Australian attitudes to social cohesion and population issues.
Eight new immigration questions in this year’s survey provide deeper insight into the perceived value of immigration to the nation, and the potential issues influencing public opinion on immigration numbers.
Despite a period of sustained population growth, and increased concern over Australia’s immigration intake, the Scanlon Foundation’s 2018 Mapping Social Cohesion Report finds continued acceptance of cultural diversity, and a large measure of stability across key indicators of social cohesion.
In 2018, close to eight in ten Australians agree that immigrants improve Australian society by bringing new ideas and cultures, and that immigrants are good for Australia’s economy. Eighty-five percent agree with the proposition that ‘multiculturalism has been good for Australia’.
At the same time, close to five in ten Australian’s are worried about the impact of immigration on overcrowding cities; housing prices; and government management of population growth.
- When asked, ‘What do you think of the number of immigrants accepted into Australia at present?’ 43% of respondents indicated ‘too high’; 35% ‘about right’; 17% ‘too low’; and 5% ‘no opinion/don’t know.’
- Among those who indicate that they would vote for the Coalition, a majority (54%?56% across the two modes of surveying) consider the immigration intake to be ‘too high;’ among Labor voters, support for a decrease is in the range of 36%?43%.
- In Melbourne, 33% of respondents indicate immigration is ‘too high’, compared to 51% in Sydney
- 82% of all respondents agree that ‘immigrants improve Australian society by bringing new ideas and cultures,’ and 80% agree that ‘immigrants are generally good for Australia’s economy.’
- While 64% agree that migrants should change their behaviour to be more like Australians, a similar 65% support the notion that Australians should do more to learn about ethnic customs and cultures of migrants.
- Half of all respondents are concerned about the impact of immigration on overcrowding in Australian cities (54%) and about the impact of immigration on house prices (50%).
- 48% of respondents have a negative view of the way Australian governments are managing population growth.
- While reported experience of discrimination ‘because of skin colour, ethnic origin or religion’ remains relatively high in 2018 at 19%, it has not increased since 2016.
- 23% of all respondents hold negative attitudes towards Muslims. This finding has remained within the range of 22-25% since 2010.
SOURCE: Markus, Andrew. “Mapping Social Cohesion: The Scanlon Foundation Surveys 2018.” Scanlon Foundation, November 2018.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia