Since the government raised the terror alert level to high, there has been a spike in the nation’s concern about terrorism.
In October, 17% of people said terrorism and national security was the most important issue facing Australia – up from 1% in June, just four months ago.
The Mapping Social Cohesion report, commissioned by The Scanlon Foundation and Monash University, also found that the experience of discrimination is close to the highest level ever recorded by the surveys, which began in 2007, at 18%.
Of those who said they had experienced discrimination, 30% indicated that it was a frequent occurrence, at least once a month.
Professor Markus, author of the report, said “This translates to 5% of our population experiencing discrimination on a monthly basis.”
The report also showed that negative views toward Muslims are almost five times higher than negative views toward the other religions.
And while the survey findings revealed while the proportion of negative views towards immigrants settled in Australia constitute a small minority, 4%-11%, there was a significant exception of those who indicate negative attitude towards Muslims at 44%.
With rising unemployment figures, there was an expectation that an increased proportion of Australians would agree that the immigration intake was too high, yet the reverse occurred. The report found that 35% agree that the intake is ‘too high’, while 58% consider that it is ‘about right’ or ‘too low’.
The overall trust in the Australian government has increased from 26% in June to 36% in October – the highest level recorded since 2009.
Along with this 71% of people strongly agree with the importance of maintaining the Australian way of life, also at its highest level since the Scanlon Surveys began. In June, the figure was 49%.
Marks said “Most people have a positive identification with Australia, agree that there is economic opportunity and reward for hard work and are generally satisfied with their personal financial circumstances. Taking all things into account almost nine out of ten people are happy with their lives.
“Most people also have a high level of positive identification with Australia – a fundamental prerequisite for a cohesive society. Looking specifically at third generation Australians, only three per cent of people feel that they don’t belong,” he said.
Overall the majority of the population agree that multiculturalism has been good for Australia.
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