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Australian’s Welcome Immigrants but want them to speak English, Poll Shows

Thursday, 30 April 2015

If you move to Australia from a non English speaking country you will be widely welcomed but also find that the majority of Australians expect you to speak in the language, a new poll suggests.

The survey on national identity from the Australian National University also found Australians believe foreigners should have respect for political institutions and laws and being born in the country was the least important factor.

Overall the latest ANU poll found overwhelming support for immigration, finding it is both good for the economy and for society, although there was significant support, 65%, for stronger measures to exclude illegal immigrants.

It also found that Australians are overwhelmingly proud of their country and proud of its achievements in sport, science, arts and literature.

‘The poll shows how Australians identify with their country and place, and how they feel about the major issues associated with the Australian identity,’ said lead researcher Dr Jill Sheppard, from the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods.

‘We found Australians are largely welcoming of those born overseas. Australians identify more strongly with their country than with their local town or state, and are feeling increasingly close to the Asia-Oceanic region,’ she explained.

At the same time, the poll has found a continued drop in support for a Republic and rising opinion in favour of the Royal family since the 1999 Republic referendum. Support for the Republic has fallen from 66% in 1998 to 54% in the latest poll.

In the past two years, those strongly in favour of retaining the Queen as head of state has climbed from 15% to 25%, demonstrating Australians are growing more favourable towards the Royal family.

Growing support for the monarchy, however, did not translate into support for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to restore knights and dames to the Australian Honours system. It found Australians emphatically disapprove of the decision, with 58% opposed and only 29% in favour.

Overall 92% are very proud or somewhat proud of being Australian and 92% believe the ability to speak English is important to being Australian while more Australians, 48%, identify with Asia/Oceania, up 15 points since 1995.

Some 86% believe immigrants improve Australian society and cultures, 83% believe immigrants are good for the economy, and 26% nominated the economy and jobs as the most important political issues facing Australia.

Source: Australia Forum

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