Daniel Peters, Daily Mail, October 25, 2017
Three quarters of Australians believe the country doesn’t need any more people and almost half support a ban on Muslim immigration.
A survey of more than 2,000 people, by the Australian Population Research Institute, also found 54 per cent want a reduction in the annual migrant intake.
The independent organisation claims the results are driven by a rapid change in Australia’s ethnic and religious make-up and concerns over quality of life.
‘Australian voters’ concern about immigration levels and ethnic diversity does not derive from economic adversity,’ academics Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell wrote in a report based on the survey.
‘Rather, it stems from the increasingly obvious impact of population growth on their quality of life and the rapid change in Australia’s ethnic and religious make-up.’
Australia’s population increased by 389,000 people to 24.5 million in the year to March, largely due to the arrival of new immigrants.
Most people who migrate to Australia are skilled workers (68 per cent) and about a third make the move to be with family.
But 74 four per cent of those surveyed believe Australia is ‘already full’, with most pointing to roads congestion, hospitals capacity, affordable housing and fewer jobs as evidence.
Some 54 per cent want Australia to cut its annual immigrant intake of about 190,000 people and 48 per cent backed a partial ban on Muslim immigration.
However, another 27 per cent were undecided about a partial ban, while a quarter opposed it.
The strongest support for the partial ban came from One Nation voters (89 per cent), with more than 50 per cent of Liberal voters agreeing and just over a third of Labor supporters.
‘The willingness to take a tough, discriminating stance on Muslim immigration is not limited to a small minority, but extends to almost half of all voters,’ the report said.
More than half of those surveyed feared Australia risked losing its culture and identity, with a similar number saying it had changed beyond recognition and sometimes ‘felt like a foreign country’.
Australia’s political and economic ‘elites’ had ignored rising concerns about immigration, the report said while noting rising support for anti-immigration parties across Europe.
‘Such is the extent of these concerns that they could readily be mobilised in an electoral context by One Nation or any other party with a similar agenda, should such a party be able to mount a national campaign,’ the report said.
‘If this occurs, the Liberal Party is likely to be the main loser.’
The survey was largely based on the views of Australian-born respondents, who were ‘much more likely to take a tough line on immigration numbers and ethnic diversity than are overseas-born persons (unless they are UK-born)’, the report noted.