Poll shows Aussies want immigration capped Australia News!

Poll shows Aussies want immigration capped

Australia Day

Australians want a cap on immigration, yet believe racism is a big problem / Getty Images

  • Aussies want immigration capped
  • Yet believe the country is more racist
  • Congestion, housing "starting to bite"

AUSTRALIANS are spooked by record high immigration and also believe the country is increasingly racist, according to an exclusive Sunday Mail poll by Galaxy.

Two-thirds of respondents - 66 per cent - think the Federal Government should cap immigration rates. Of these, 72 per cent of Australians polled favour an immigration cap, while 55 per cent of those who live here but do not consider themselves Australian also favoured an immigration cap.

Leading immigration expert Dr Bob Birrell said the figures show "the tide is turning".

"It's a significant finding because it suggests public discussion of congestion and house prices may be beginning to bite," Dr Birrell said.

In the past four to five years, polling indicated Australians were reasonably comfortable with immigration levels, which are based on a Government target of around 190,000 a year.

The results come as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott used an Australia Day Council address during the week to raise immigration issues, stand by the tough stance on boat arrivals in the Howard era and suggest he favoured more migration to boost our population.

"My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia," Mr Abbott said.

Dr Birrell said the economic shock of the global financial crisis, increasing house prices and continuing controversy over illegal immigration would have played a part in changing opinions. He also pointed to the fact that only 55 per cent of foreign-born Australians were in favour of an immigration cap, compared to 72 per cent of locally-born Australians.

Dr Birrell said Australian-born people took a more negative view of immigration, because they did not like their culture threatened by change.

"(Many people) like things the way they were when they came into this world. Some see it as a threat to their inherited culture," he said.

More than half the respondents felt Australia had changed for the worse in the past 20 years.

But the poll also shows we're basically happy with our flag, our national anthem, and with the standard of living.

Galaxy polled 1000 residents nationwide on Thursday and Friday, and found that we rate meat pies as our favourite national dish and think Australian history lessons should be compulsory in secondary schools.

And the poll, taken when Prince William was in Australia, shows we are confused about whether the nation should remain under a monarchy, with 44 per cent in favour of a republic, 27 per cent opposed, and a whopping 29 per cent undecided.

And, perhaps reflecting recent controversy over the violence inflicted on Indian students in Melbourne and Adelaide, 52 per cent of respondents think we are a racist nation, 45 per cent say we're not and 3 per cent are undecided.

And while 63 per cent rate the standard of living the best thing about Australia today, only 5 per cent rated multiculturalism the best thing.

The Galaxy poll found:

52 PER CENT of respondents think Australia has changed for the worse in the past 20 years, while 39 per cent think we have changed for the better and 9 per cent have not noticed any change;

OLDER Australians noticed the biggest change, with 67 per cent aged over 50 saying they think the country has changed for the worse;

60 PER CENT think the Aussie notion of a fair go still applies, with young people aged between 18 and 34 the most optimistic and 68 per cent of that age bracket agreeing the country still gives people a fair go;

HALF the respondents think we are not sympathetic to the plight of Aborigines, compared to 37 per cent who say we are;

60 PER CENT want us to stick with Advance Australia Fair as our national anthem, with only 14 per cent voting for Waltzing Matilda;

45 PER CENT are against the idea of removing the Union Jack from the Australian flag, while 27 per cent support it and 28 per cent are undecided;

37 PER CENT consider meat pies our national dish, ahead of roast lamb (28 per cent), lamingtons (12 per cent) and pavlovas (11 per cent);

Galaxy principal David Briggs said that while Australians felt they had much to be thankful for, "there is concern within the community that the nation is changing for the worse, with too much focus nowadays on careers and wealth," said.

He said Asian respondents had been the most optimistic, with 62 per cent of those who considered themselves of Asian ethnicity saying they believed Australia was changing for the better.

The findings come as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd implored Australians to keep up the fair-go spirit. In Brisbane yesterday to hand out Australia Day awards, he said Australians were noted for their "fair go" attitude and should put their differences aside.

"It doesn't matter where you come from, whether you've grown up rich or poor, whether you've grown up in the country or the city, whether you've been to the finest private schools or the humblest state school," he said.


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