The Scanlon Foundation’s Multiculturalism Discussion Paper has been tracking people’s views across more than a decade of surveys.
Data shows Australians are generally very accepting of cultural diversity and immigration, but the level of support varies across generations, geographical locations and demographic groups.
Research Professor at Monash University Andrew Markus says this report looks in detail at research that’s been going on over the past 30 years.
“There’s very high levels of support. 85 per cent of people think that multiculturalism is good for this country and those sort of high figures, people have been obtaining for 20 or more years but what is particularly interesting in the findings that we’re releasing now is that we look more closely at that proportion who say that it’s been good for Australia – we disaggregate those figures – we try to make sense of those figures in more detail.”
Professor Markus says the research shows current support for immigration is at relatively high levels, compared to 30 or 40 years ago.
“There does seem to be a pattern of greater support for immigration. When it comes to some other issues, such as different ethnic groups, at the level of the data that we have it’s more length of time in Australia and people are more positive towards people who’ve been here for 20 or 30 years and similarly amongst the immigrants themselves, there’s more differentiation among the recent arrivals in terms of the support that they’re looking for from government.”
Centres such as Sydney and Melbourne have the highest level of support for multiculturalism, with younger people also more inclined to be in favour.
But the research not only casts light on external perceptions, it also shows how recent migrants feel about settling in the country.