Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

‘Contradictory views’: How Australians feel about migration and multiculturalism

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun1,2024
Key Points
  • Almost half of Australians think the country’s migrant intake as too high, according to a new Lowy Institute report.
  • At the same time, nine in 10 Australians believe the nation’s culturally diverse population is a positive thing.
  • Australians were also polled on issues like China, the upcoming US election, and nuclear energy.
Almost one in two people believe there are too many migrants moving to Australia, even though the vast majority of Australians believe cultural diversity is a boon for the nation.
A new poll released by the Lowy Institute on Australian attitudes revealed that 48 per cent of respondents said the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year was too high.
This result was only a slight increase from the last time the question was asked in 2019, and remains six percentage points lower than its 2018 peak, but it still reflects an 11-point rise since 2014 — months after the government launched .

The number of people who believed the migration intake was “about right” has also dropped from 47 per cent in 2014 to 40 per cent in 2024.

Despite this, nine in 10 Australians still believe the nation’s culturally diverse population has been positive for Australia, when is a product of decades of immigration, report author Ryan Neelam said.
“We find that people can hold contradictory views in their mind at the same time, but it may not be explained as a contradiction,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
“People see the country’s identity as being a multicultural one, but when it comes to the immigration rate it looks like they’ve become less open towards that.
“It is such a large, complex issue … depending on which part of the issue you ask about, people could have views that seem quite different.
This political debate is now playing out as the nation endures a cost of living crisis, with the major parties introducing policies that .

Trump’s popularity rises, US’ drops

Two-thirds of Australians would prefer to see Joe Biden re-elected as US president.
But almost one in three (29 per cent) support , an increase from when he previously ran for president (23 per cent in 2020, and 11 per cent in 2016).
Meanwhile, Australians’ positive feelings towards the United States have fallen to their lowest levels since Lowy’s annual poll began two decades ago.

More than 80 per cent say the US alliance is important to Australia’s security but 75 per cent also believe the alliance makes it more likely Australia will be drawn into a war in Asia.

Trust in China slowly recovering

The poll also showed Australians’ perceptions of China have shadowed a broader stabilisation of the diplomatic relationship.
In 2022, China’s favourability hit record lows with just 12 per cent of Australians trusting Beijing to some degree.
But the election of a Labor government has provided a circuit breaker in tensions and Australian politicians have re-engaged with their Chinese counterparts as Beijing .
The 2024 opinion polls haven’t rebounded to the highs of 2018, when more than half of Australians said they trust China, but they show 17 per cent of Australians now trust China to act responsibly in the world.

However, a potential military conflict in the South China Sea and one between the United States and China over Taiwan have been identified as two of Australia’s biggest threats over the next decade.

Support for nuclear energy increases

On home soil, have shifted.
In 2024, 61 per cent of Australians supported its use when almost the same proportion of people opposed building nuclear power plants 13 years earlier.
Neelam says contextual factors may have played a role with the Fukushima nuclear accident fresh in Australian minds in 2011 and the Opposition spruiking nuclear power in 2024.

“It’s a combination of some distance between the last disaster, advancement of technology, changing community attitudes and the ongoing threat of climate change,” he said.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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