It’s the climate, not immigration, that keeps Australians awake at night

Good detailed report on the latest annual survey by the Scanlon Foundation, showing some similarities with Canadian public opinion and divisions:

Something happened in 2017. Australia is second only to Canada in welcoming immigration on a large scale. Our faith in the benefits of accepting newcomers of all faiths and races is rock solid. But a couple of years ago we began to grow impatient about the government’s management of the immigration program, impatient in particular about overcrowding in our cities.

This is the verdict of the Scanlon Foundation’s 2019 Mapping Social Cohesion report, published on Tuesday. The mission of the foundation for the past decade or so has been to measure how this migrant nation hangs together. In that time an extraordinary 50,000 of us have been polled to track the hopes and fears that sweep Australia – and not just about immigration.

The author of the reports, Prof Andrew Markus of Monash University, finds most Australians now share “an underlying concern about the government not properly managing the situation – the impact on overcrowding, house prices, environment”.

But in 2019 Markus fears impatience with government management might imperil majority support for Australia’s immigration program. “This has not yet occurred, but the potential is evident.”

We are not Europe. Asked every year to name the most important problem facing their countries, Europeans have lately nominated immigration. “It’s sort of cooled down a bit now,” says Markus, “but even to the present day when people are asked what’s the main issue for the EU, they still nominate controlling population movement and immigration.”

Not in Australia. We always put the economy at the top of the list. Immigration came in fourth in 2019, nominated by 6% of us. In second place on the list, after an abrupt rise, is the environment and climate change.

Source: It’s the climate, not immigration, that keeps Australians awake at night

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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