Australia: Multiculturalism faces uncertain future in more polarised nation

Results of a survey for Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (somewhat equivalent to OMNI) by Andrew Jakubowicz, and some of the divisions within Australian society:

A more “traditionalist” group perhaps as high as 47% wants conservative certainties, rejecting or fearing social change. A large middle group around a third of Australians is “open-minded” about the future, but highly protective of its own lifestyles and interests. Only a “cosmopolitan” minority one in five is drawn towards new opportunities while welcoming an evolving and changing world.

Evidence from the Census for the past two decades reveals some basic information. Australians are ageing; we are more culturally diverse; we live in smaller family units or alone; we are less religious; and we consume more stuff per head.

The divisions between us – the shape of the society we desire and the threats we fear – are deepening. The focus is on apprehension about, as against desire for, diversity and innovation. The multicultural future that all expect to increase lies at the heart of these tensions.

Multiculturalism faces uncertain future in our more polarised nation.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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