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Racism in Australia

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MIGRANTS say they like life in Australia even though many have experienced racism and believe we're not the "caring, friendly and hospitable" people we like to think we are.

More than a third of recent arrivals have been discriminated against because of their skin colour, ethnicity or religion, a comprehensive survey backed by the Federal Government shows.

And while almost two thirds of migrants said they liked their new lives Down Under, barely any nominated Australians as the reason for their happiness.

The "Mapping Social Cohesion" report, authored by Monash University's Professor Andrew Markus for the Scanlon Foundation, revealed that racism remains a problem in Australia.

Migrants who arrived in Australia between 2000 and 2010 nominated racism and discrimination as one of the things they least liked their new home, along with the cost of living and tax rates.

More than 41 per cent of migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds said they experienced discrimination in the last year and many said they feared walking alone at night or becoming a victim of crime.

Asked what they did like about Australia, only 3 per cent of migrants nominated having caring, friendly and hospitable neighbours as their first choice.

That was remarkably different from a similar survey 15 years ago, which showed that friendly Aussies were the most appealing part about moving Down Under.

And only 31 per cent of recent arrivals thought Australians could be trusted, while 51 per cent said "you can't be too careful".

Even migrants from New Zealand weren't overly enthusiastic — only 1 per cent said our friendly nature was the thing they liked the most about Australia, while 18 per cent said they least liked the racism and discrimination they experienced here and 39 per cent were worried about becoming a victim of crime.

Professor Markus told 3AW radio that migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds were most likely to be affected.

"It's particularly people from Asia, India, China — a range of countries from Asia where there is high levels of reported discrimination," he said.

Asked what they liked most about Australia, 24 per cent of migrants nominated the Australian lifestyle as their first choice, 18 per cent said the standard and cost of living here, 12 per cent said human rights and freedoms, and 9 per cent liked the weather.

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