It’s Official: Australians Hate Asylum Seekers
Have we finally had enough? Has the demonisation of asylum seekers by both major parties finally cracked our resolve? According to the results of a new poll, it appears that Australians now hate asylum seekers more than ever before…
The plight of asylum seekers fleeing persecution and torture is garnering little support with a new poll suggesting that most Australians don’t believe asylum seekers who arrive by boat are genuine refugees.
And, despite condemnation from human rights groups, the UNHCR and Amnesty International over its handling of asylum seekers, most Australians want the Abbott government to treat boat arrivals more harshly.
The nationwide opinion poll by UMR Research confirmed that that 59 per cent of people think that the majority of asylum seekers, heck, let’s call them “illegals,” are not genuine refugees.
The poll, based on a nationally representative sample of 1000 online interviews, indicated that a mere 30 per cent of Australians believe that most asylum seekers are genuine refugees and a further 12 per cent are “unsure.”
A strong majority of Australians, some 60 per cent, also want the Abbott government to “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers.”
People advocating harsher policies against “these illegals” were mostly older Australians aged over 70 years (68 per cent), and self-employed people (71 per cent).
Unsurprisingly, people from Queensland and Western Australia are more supportive of a more severe approach (65 per cent and 64 per cent respectively) than in the comparatively more civilised States of Victoria and NSW (both 62 per cent).
Only 30 per cent of Australians think asylum seekers should not be treated more severely, while 9 per cent are unsure.
A majority of Australians – 59 per cent – oppose refugees receiving government welfare assistance.
Only 27 per cent believe that refugees should receive government support.
The latest polling results come as Fairfax Media reports that the Abbott government is buying up to 16 hard-hulled lifeboats – similar to those carried by cruise ships and oil tankers – to which asylum seekers will be transferred and returned to Indonesia if their vessels are unseaworthy.
The poll shows the government’s current treatment of asylum seekers is approved of by 48 per cent of Australians and 39 per cent disapprove.
The poll does not show, however, how many of those who disapprove, also believe the government’s policies are too lenient or too harsh.
According to the Australian Parliamentary Library’s research service, between 70 per cent and 97 per cent of asylum seekers arriving by boat at different times have been found to be genuine refugees.
The UMR polling, conducted in the second week of December, shows that public sentiment about asylum seekers is at odds with official assessments.
Residents in NSW (61 per cent) and Queensland (66 per cent) are more likely to reject the description of most boat arrivals as refugees than Victorians (54 per cent).
There is also a significant division in attitudes in metropolitan and regional Australia with people outside major cities less likely to see asylum seekers as refugees (25 per cent against 33 per cent of people in cities.)
People aged under 30 years (35 per cent) or who are university educated (39 per cent) are more likely to think people travelling to Australia by boat are genuine refugees.
People who are self-employed (70 per cent), aged between 50-69 years (65 per cent), or over 70 years (67 per cent), or who have a TAFE or trade qualification (66 per cent) are more likely to think asylum seekers are not genuine refugees.