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COVID-19 helps shift public perceptions of marginalised Aussies

20 May 2020 at 5:28 pm
Luke Michael
The pandemic is changing the way Australians view others

Luke Michael | 20 May 2020 at 5:28 pm


COVID-19 helps shift public perceptions of marginalised Aussies
20 May 2020 at 5:28 pm

The pandemic is changing the way Australians view others

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, more than one in five Australians now feel more positively towards people with mental health issues, those who are unemployed, or those experiencing homelessness, new data shows.

Essential Research recently surveyed 1,073 people to gauge the public’s response to the pandemic and how it has shifted perceptions of different groups of people.

Unsurprisingly, it found that 56 per cent of people feel more positively towards health workers and care staff due to the crisis.

But the pandemic has also changed community attitudes towards traditionally stigmatised groups as well.  

Around a fifth of Australians now feel more positive towards people with mental health issues (23 per cent), those who are unemployed (21 per cent) and people who are homeless (21 per cent).

The CEO of the Community Council for Australia, David Crosbie, believes through the bushfires and the COVID-19 crisis, there has been growing emphasis on the role of place and local community. 

He told Pro Bono News there was now a much stronger appreciation of first responders, emergency and health care staff, cleaners and other frontline workers.

“I don’t think this increased appreciation will quickly dissipate,” Crosbie said.

“Our views of our communities and our respect for many frontline workers will be more positive.”

But Crosbie is not confident that this increased empathy for marginalised people will necessarily translate into sustained changes, or increased support for the charities that help these groups.

“In a post COVID-19 recovery phase where governments will be focused on building business capacity and creating employment, I expect the charities sector and the various caring professions to be seen as non-essential to economic rebuilding,” he said.

“Even if there is increased support for first responders and caring professions across our communities.”

The full survey findings can be seen here.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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