Nearly Half of Australians Back Hanson’s Muslim Immigration Ban
22 September 2016 at 10:42 am
Nearly half of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration, according to a new poll.
A survey, conducted by Essential Research, has revealed that 49 per cent of people said they would support a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, with 60 per cent of Coalition voters, 40 per cent of Labor and 34 per cent of Greens backing the ban.
The main reason given was because “they do not integrate into Australian society” (41 per cent) followed by the “terrorist threat” (27 per cent).
Just 40 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed said they would oppose it, with stronger opposition coming from younger voters – 58 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds, compared to just 33 per cent of over 65s, disagreed with the ban.
The release of the poll on Wednesday comes a week after Pauline Hanson caused outrage with her maiden speech in the Senate during which she claimed Australia was “at risk of being swamped by Muslims”.
Echoing fears aired in her 1996 address about multiculturalism, she claimed Australians were “fearful” and that Islam could not have a significant presence in Australia if “we [were] to live in an open, secular and cohesive society”.
“We have seen the destruction that it is causing around the world,” Hanson said.
“If we do not make changes now, there will be no hope in the future. Have no doubt that we will be living under sharia law and treated as second-class citizens with second-class rights if we keep heading down the path with the attitude, ‘She’ll be right, mate.’”
Research director at Essential Media, Andrew Bunn, told Pro Bono Australia News the poll showed there was more support for Hanson’s views than expected.
“We were surprised,” Bunn said.
“We expected there would be some underlying support for it, [but] in fact we were so surprised we ran it [the poll] again, that is the following week, to test it and we got exactly the same answer.
“So what it is saying is that these sorts of views are not fringe views, these are mainstream views.
“I think, sort of the purpose in releasing it was to demonstrate that these are not views we can ignore and to a certain degree Pauline Hanson is reflecting the views of a large number of people and a larger number of people than we might have thought.”
Bunn said the poll was conducted in August before Hanson’s maiden speech, but it referred to statements she has previously made.
“So the poll was actually conducted after the election but certainly before her maiden speech where she made those statements more explicitly,” he said.
“But we actually asked a question attributing the statement to Pauline Hanson and so certainly it was very much associated with the view she has put in.”
As many as 62 per cent said they might not personally agree with everything Hanson said, but thought she was “speaking for a lot of ordinary Australians”.
The majority (65 per cent) also agreed Hanson talked about issues that other politicians were “too scared to tackle”.
And 48 per cent said given the rising number terrorist incidents around world there should be a national debate on Hanson’s call to ban Muslim immigration.
In contrast, 45 per cent said Hanson’s views did not reflect Australian values and “she should not be given so much media coverage”.
Speaking on Wednesday, Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane called on society to resist political attempts to divide Australians according to race or religion in the wake of Hanson’s speech.
He said “all good citizens” had a responsibility to stand up for tolerance and decency.
“Our society is diminished by inflammatory rhetoric or appeals to xenophobia,” Soutphommasane said.
“We expect our political representatives to set the tone for our society, not to be targeting particular groups with hostility.
“We should be forthright in speaking out against political appeals to fear. And we should resist political attempts to divide Australians according to race or religion.”