Ninemsn (Sydney), September 29, 2008
Forty per cent of Australians believe some ethnic groups do not belong in the country with one in 10 having outwardly racist views, a new study shows.
NSW tops the list with racist views, but lead researcher on the project Kevin Dunn puts it down to Sydney being the focus of international migration to Australia.
The study, led by human geography and urban studies Professor Dunn and his team from the University of Western Sydney, reveals racism in Australia has waned over the years but the figures remain high.
He will unveil the state-by-state statistics on Friday at the 4Rs international conference—Rights, Reconciliation, Respect and Responsibility—at Sydney’s University of Technology.
Challenging Racism: The Anti-Racism Research Project has randomly surveyed about 12,500 people in different studies during the past eight years.
Prof Dunn attributes the results to people’s overarching views.
“It’s an indicator of a narrow view of what constitutes Australianism,” he told AAP.
People were asked which cultural/ethnic groups do not fit into Australian society.
NSW topped the list with 46 per cent of survey respondents saying some ethnic groups should not be in the country. The ACT had the lowest such response with 28 per cent.
Prof Dunn said people also revealed who they singled out the most.
“The most often-mentioned groups were Muslims or people from the Middle East.”
The overall figures surge to 65 per cent for people over 65 but drop to 31 per cent for those aged 18 to 34.
“It’s too high, isn’t it,” Prof Dunn said.
“We’ve got to bring that down.”
On average, about one in 10 people said it was not good for people of different cultures to marry and about the same number said not all races are equal.
“It’s only about one in 10 people now in Australia across the different states that would have that sort of view—the racial supremacists for instance,” Prof Dunn said.
“That’s still quite high I suppose—there’s a lot of concern that comes out of that.”
He said NSW ranked highest in most categories but attributed that to Sydney being the country’s focus for immigration.
“There’s just more cultural diversity here—there’s more opportunity for cross-cultural contact and that means some of them will not be positive ones.”
Prof Dunn and his team will release regional results within each state sometime early next year.
They will also recommend strategies to lower Australia’s level of racist views, which he said remain low by international standards.