A new report paints a bleak picture of how tolerant Australians are to new migrants, particularly those from African countries or who are Muslim, finding nearly 96 per cent of South Sudanese migrants in regional areas feel discriminated against.
The report has been released a day after One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson’s return to Parliament on Tuesday, facilitated by a high vote for her party in regional areas.
In swathes of voting booths in the Queensland seats of Herbert, Hinkler and Wright, 20 to 35 per cent of people voted One Nation.
The study of 10,000 people by the Scanlon Foundation looked into individual migrant groups for the first time, with surveys completed in 19 languages. It was undertaken between September 2015 to February 2016.
It found opposition to multiculturalism growing, with about 39 per cent registering a negative score in terms of cultural and ethnical tolerance in outer regional areas and 18 per cent in cities.
“Advocacy of the benefits of Australia’s diverse immigration program and the policy of multiculturalism has not changed the level of entrenched opposition, which by some indicators has grown, with a relatively high proportion (almost 20 per cent) of the Australian born considering that the least favourable aspect of life in Australia is the high level of immigration,” the report says.
The study found 77 per cent of South Sudanese face some discrimination, peaking at 96 per cent in regional areas. These figures were followed by migrants from Zimbabwe, of which 75 per cent felt they had experienced discrimination, and 67 per cent of Kenyan migrants. This is compared to 59 per cent of Indigenous Australian respondents who experienced discrimination.
Lack of faith in law
Only 26 per cent of South Sudanese migrants said they trusted the police and 23 per cent indicated that they were unemployed.
The study found Muslim women were also a target of discrimination. “Some groups of Muslim Australians reported relatively high levels of discrimination over the past 12 months: 51 per cent of those born in Australia, 46 per cent born in Iraq, and 47 per cent of those on student visas. Also a relatively high proportion of Muslim women report discrimination, some 50 per cent higher than men,” the report says.
The report found some Muslims feel frustrated about being lumped in as a group despite ethnic, cultural and religious diversity – and believe negative attitudes are “whipped up” by politicians. Serious integration issues were also registered – while 75 per cent said they felt they belong, a small minority did not answer the question and “don’t accept [the] secular values” of Australian society.
There was some good news for those on 457 visas with most feeling content with life.
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