Date: 
Wednesday 29 October 2014

Australia remains a cohesive society with one of the highest levels of positive sentiment towards multiculturalism and immigration in the western world, according to the Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion survey.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane welcomes the findings of the survey, released today, while noting the prevalence of racism in neighbourhoods and shopping centres.

According to the survey, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that multiculturalism “has been good for Australia”.

“There remains strong and broad public support for multiculturalism. It confirms how Australia has been a multicultural success story. Our experience of immigration has been a nation-building one,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

However, Dr Soutphommasane expressed concern about the survey’s findings concerning discrimination.

This year, 18 per cent of respondents said they had experienced discrimination because of skin colour, ethnic origin or religion. The most often reported location of discrimination was the neighbourhood (58 per cent), followed by shopping centres (42.8 per cent) and at work (39 per cent).

“These findings remind us that racism occurs in everyday places, to everyday people. Casual racism appears to be the new face of prejudice and discrimination.

“The public response to recent incidents of racial vilification shows that the majority of Australians reject hate and division. But we can’t be complacent about stopping racism wherever it occurs,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

Photo: Flickr