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