Deep-seated attitudes to migration pose problems for new PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has inherited a nation deeply divided on issues around immigration, refugee policy and arrivals from Islamic countries, research by the Australian Institute for Progress has revealed.

A national survey has shown that Australians are not only polarised on immigration, but they are very much “talking past” one another – using the same words to indicate radically different things.

Australian Institute for Progress Executive Director Graham Young said the deep division in attitudes to immigration and even different interpretations of basic concepts made this a complex issue not just for the new PM and his government, but for the community at large.

The two most divisive aspects of immigration policy were the way Australia deals with refugees, and immigration from Islamic countries.

This is based on an online qualitative survey of 1,349 Australians, and is the subject of a major report “Australian Attitudes to Immigration”, released today.

“From our research a strong majority of Australians favours immigration levels as high as, or higher than, at present by 69 per cent to 27 per cent,” Mr Young said. “But that’s where the agreement stops.

“Australians are very much ‘talking past’ each other on this subject – using the same terms and words for vastly differing concepts.

“Left wing voters are ‘humanitarian’ and see immigration almost entirely in terms of refugee policy. They tend to ignore the hundreds of thousands of non-refugee immigrants settled here each year.

“Right wing voters tend to be ‘utilitarian’ and see immigration almost entirely in terms of the benefits of increased size and economic capacity that skilled and targeted immigration can bring.

“This is particularly true amongst non-Greens minor party voters, whose preferences the government will need to be re-elected. These voters are also the most opposed to multiculturalism.”

Mr Young said that non-Greens minor party voters, and Coalition voters, were also very strongly opposed on balance to Muslim immigration.

“This partly reflects different attitudes to citizenship. Many left wing voters see citizenship as a right that you receive by being physically present in Australia. We’ve labelled this concept of citizenship ‘camping’.

“On the other side of the debate the ‘team’ approach means that voters think that migrants should have to sign up to pre-existing mainstream values before they will have earned citizenship.”

The research also found:

• Liberal Party (40 per cent) and non-Greens minor party voters (43 per cent) are most likely to want a decrease from current levels of immigration, but are still, on balance, in favour of current or higher levels of immigration.

• Greens and Labor voters who favoured increased migration did so due to a perceived need to take more refugees;

• Other reasons given for increasing the migration intake included skills, economic activity, the benefits of a larger community for economic and defence purposes, and greater diversity.

• Opponents of continued increases in immigration cited environmental issues, social security costs, housing and infrastructure, nationalism and abuse of 457 visas as key opinion drivers.

• But overall, the issue most likely to be mentioned as being a problem for those opposed to increasing immigration was a perceived failure of immigrants to assimilate.

Mr Young said that whether or not these perceptions reflected reality, they had to be dealt with because they were real to voters.

“It’s important that politicians and communities understand where Australians stand, and the nuances of the way they express themselves.

“We will be using this qualitative research as a guide to formulating quantitative research to determine how real the concerns about immigration from Islamic countries is, including concepts of citizenship amongst refugees, whether they intend to integrate or not, and how important religion versus other factors is to them.”

Download the full report by clicking here.

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+3 #11 RE: Deep-seated attitudes to migration pose problems for new PMDion Giles 2015-12-13 13:34
Following up on comments it would be helpful if the Malthusian lobby specified what they believed was an appropriate number of inhabitants. And stuck to it.

To cope with excessive births and the multiple wives racket the baby bonus could be revised: A sum for the first child of a given father, half that sum for the second child, nothing for the third and a levy increasing exponentially for every successive child thereafter. Base this scale on the mother only if the father can't be identified.
+3 #12 Mr Australiamartin newell 2015-12-13 17:36
Aboriginal people have had their land taken from them.Now our Governments want to cut their welfare benefits and give to foreigners who claim to be refugees,etc etc.
Australian youths now have to pay to be educated.Where is Australia heading?
+2 #13 Mr Australiamartin newell 2015-12-13 17:49
There used to be nothing wrong with Muslims in Australia.
Australia successfully adopted many Turkish and Bosnian Muslims during the 1980's.
Radicalisation of the Muslim world has happened only in the last two decades.

In Turkey women used to walk the streets with just a scarf covering their hair or nothing.
Today women are spat at or cursed if they walk in the street without head covering and a skirt to the ankle.
The wives of the PM and President of Turkey used to act like Europeans now they appear only with head covered.
+3 #14 MrE Stewart Beveridge 2015-12-17 10:43
Regardless of Radicalisation or otherwise, Muslims, at the current rate of Reproduction will out-breed almost everywhere else. In some areas it will take longer than others but Gadhafi said that there was no need for invasion of Europe, Islam will out-breed them, or words to that effect. Europe, at the present rate, is certain to be part of the Caliphate within 20 years or less.
The previous comment about Child Benefits has some merit but the Policy of ZPG will have a drastic effect on our Western Civilisation (Christian or otherwise) if the rate does not increase to 2.5 Children or more per family compared to 8:1 for Moslems.
As a immigrant since 1970, I found no problem (once I had corrected the misconception that I was a Pommie) as I was prepared to work and assimilate. Those who won't assimilate, be willing to work and obey our Laws and Culture, should not be here.
+2 #15 Deep-seated attitudes to migrationCheryl 2016-03-03 22:30
With all the violence between ethnic groups
for control of countries around the world,
It confounds me as to why people think that
It can't or won't happen here.

It's already happening in a small way with
The Muslim supporters attempting jihadi attacks in Australia
And running to join Isis to kill our soldiers.
Not to mention the racial riot at Cronulla.

It will only escalate as the ethnic groups grow larger.
Riots can quickly descend into armed rebels hell bent on

That's what happened when the so called moderate rebels
Revolted in Syria. They started it. Notice they are Sunni rebels
more interested in fighting and deposing Assad than in fighting
Isis. Blood is thicker than water.