Australians Believe Multiculturalism is Good, but Discrimination Prevalent

October 22, 2013

Immigration and discrimination in australia | visareporter

Although a large majority of Australians believe that multiculturalism is good for the country, only a small minority think that boat people should be eligible for permanent residence in the country. In another bleak revelation, only one quarter of the Australians, think the government is trustworthy. These are among the key findings of a recent annual survey on social cohesion, population and immigration issues conducted by researchers of the Monash University. 

Even though general indicators were positive, the survey finds that Australians have mixed feeling about immigrants and immigration, says Professor Andrew Markus, who conducted the sixth edition of the annual Scanlon-Monash Mapping Social Cohesion study.

Interesting another recent survey among new migrants including Chinese and Indian had found they are more optimistic about Australia, compared to old migrants and local middle-class population.

Discrimination widely prevalent 

The study finds that one in five Australians have faced discrimination over the past year. This discrimination is even more pronounced in the case of recent immigrants; in which case, one in three, say they have been discriminated against.

Interestingly, the study also reveals a sense of antipathy prevalent in the society, with only one quarter of all Australians saying, that they trusted the government.

The annual survey maps social cohesion in the country, evaluates perspectives on population and immigration issues.

 “Eighty-four per cent of people said that multiculturalism has been good for Australia... in contrast to that, only 18 per cent of people thought that those arriving by boat and claiming asylum should be eligible for permanent residence,” says Professor Markus.

“That’s really a characteristic of Australians ... high level of support for immigration, for the humanitarian program, but not for people coming by boat,” he said.

“There’s a big issue there,” Professor Markus says.

Issue compounded by ‘collapse of trust’

The issue gets compounded if the “collapse in trust” in government over the past four years is taken into account.

“In 2009, 48 per cent of people said you could trust government in Canberra ‘almost always’ or ‘most of the time’. That fell in one year to 30 per cent, and now it’s 27 per cent.”

It is for the government to turn this situation around before the social attitudes invade social cohesion, feels Professor Markus.

“We’re not getting negative indicators about people’s sense of belonging, sense of worth, sense of justice,” he said.

“But if this were to continue and not be turned around, I think there would be an issue going forward.

“If the politicians don’t have a high level of respect and support, it’s going to be much more difficult to get that message accepted,” Professor Markus points out.


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