A new national survey conducted by the Australian Population Research Institute has found that nearly three quarters of those surveyed agreed that immigration levels should be reduced, while almost half said they were in favor of a partial ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries.
The Population Research Institutes survey—which canvassed more than 2000 people—found that 54 per cent expressed support for a significant reduction to Australia’s annual migration intake, with the organization attributing the shift to public concerns surrounding a perceived declining quality of life and an unfounded fear of the rapid demographic changes that Australia’s ethnic and religious population has continued to undergo.
This perspective was reiterated in a report that accompanied the survey, which was coauthored by the president of the Australian Population Research Institute, Bob Birrell, and the organization’s vice president Katherine Betts.
“Australian voters’ concern about immigration levels and ethnic diversity does not derive from economic adversity,” the report read.
“Rather, it stems from the increasingly obvious impact of population growth on their quality of life and the rapid change in Australia’s ethnic and religious make-up.”
“The willingness to take a tough, discriminating stance on Muslim immigration is not limited to a small minority, but extends to almost half of all voters,” it said.
Approximately 54 per cent of the people survey claimed that they want to see Australia’s annual immigration intake—which reached 389,000 for the period leading up to March of this year—slashed to just 190,000 per year, representing a reduction in the number of new migrants arriving yearly by almost 200,000.
However, 74 per cent of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement that Australia is “already full”, with many respondents erroneously misattributing responsibility for complaints over hospital capacity, road congestion, less affordable housing and a leaner job market to newly-arrived migrants.
Of the 2000 people surveyed, 48 per cent also said that they would support a partial ban on Muslim immigration. The survey found that the strongest supporters for a ban on Muslim immigration were One Nation voters, who accounted for 89 per cent, while 50 per cent of Liberal voters also agreed.
The report states many of those surveyed expressed fears that Australia is losing it “culture and identity” thanks to immigration, saying that it sometimes “felt like a foreign country”.
“The willingness to take a tough, discriminating stance on Muslim immigration is not limited to a small minority, but extends to almost half of all voters,” the report read.
“Such is the extent of these concerns that they could readily be mobilised in an electoral context by One Nation or any other party with a similar agenda, should such a party be able to mount a national campaign.”
“If this occurs, the Liberal Party is likely to be the main loser.”
The study also noted that the results were heavily influenced by the data sample, which was comprised almost entirely of Australian-born citizens.
It found that they were “much more likely to take a tough line on immigration numbers and ethnic diversity than are overseas-born persons (unless they are UK-born)”.
The CEO of Absolute Immigration, Jamie Lingham, largely attributed the survey’s results to the public’s skewed perception Australia’s permanent migration program, saying that student and backpacker visa holders are much more likely to cause issues for local workers.
“Overpopulation is a global problem—not just one that is exclusive to Australia—and our view is that this has less to do with race, and more to do with contribution and integration to the local community. Given the amount of different nationalities that have arrived in Australia over the years, all have experienced their own levels of isolation, abuse and victimization from ‘local’ Australians, as part of a strong history of multiculturalism and racism,” Lingham said.
“When we talk about migrant numbers, there is no mention of reducing the 320,000 student visas approved every year, or the 161,000 working holiday makers who are currently in Australia. Not to forget the 8.5 million tourists that contribute to our economy on an annual basis. We would suggest that the overwhelmingly negative view of migrants is likely centered around the significant presence of temporary visa holders in Australia, rather than those who are aiming for permanent residency.”
“The reality is that Australia has an aging population and a declining birth rate, these are two facts that we cannot deny or avoid. The impact of these trends will mean that at some stage Australia will need to either automate jobs, send work offshore, or use migration as a tool to ensure that we can sustain our current way of life and avoid further taxes to support the elderly.”
“We believe that Australia’s challenge will be to use our unique position on the planet to attract the best and the brightest individuals who want to contribute to nation building, as opposed to supporting migrants that do not actively or willingly participate in building on the significant foundation that previous immigrant populations have created,” he said.
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