Migrants not interested in Commonwealth or Republic status; emotional and intellectual investment largely focussed towards their financial security.

Melbourne, July 5: Most newly-arrived migrants and refugees believe in low taxes, leaving the GST rate where it is and that Australia is still a land where hard work is rewarded, according to a new survey.

While taxes and GST rate high on migrant’s opinion, yet majority did not have a view on whether Australia should become a republic, within respondents from more than 30 countries.

A whopping 41 per cent weren’t sure, while 35 per cent of respondents favoured Australia becoming a republic, but 24 per cent said we should keep the status quo.

Commissioned by settlement agency AMES Australia, the survey concluded that migrants believe in climate change, putting the environment before the economy, affordable health care and marriage equality, the survey found.

When asked about aspects of Australian society, a majority – 52 per cent said Australia should have marriage equality while 30 per cent were against the move.

The survey, titled: ‘Political Opinions: Findings from a short survey of AMEP students’, asked a series questions about Australia’s economy, government and society of more than 300 new migrants studying advanced levels of English.

The survey found that most respondents – 40 per cent think high taxes hurt the economy while 25 per cent said they didn’t and 35 per cent weren’t sure.

The highest number of respondents – 46 per cent said a 15 per cent GST was not reasonable while 20 per cent said it was.

And 47 per cent of respondents said Australia should raise taxes on the rich while 28 per cent disagreed.

An overwhelming 84 per cent agreed that Australia was “a land of opportunity where if you work hard you will have a better life” while just 6 per cent disagreed.

But 45 per cent said that a strong economy was not more important that environmental issues while 35 per cent said it was.

The survey found 84 per cent agreed that Australians should have a right to affordable health care.

Little wonder then that Labor’s Medi-scare campaign worked in Election 2016”, said Dr Bhanupriya (last name withheld) of Melbourne.

“The expectation from the government support system by new migrants is evident in the survey figures”, including the 49 per cent who agreed that government should help needy people even if it meant Australia going deeper into debt; compared to 34 per cent who disagreed.

A general conclusion drawn from the survey showed that

  • Australia’s health-care system was an incentive for migrants to Australia, and that
  • most new comers’ emotional and intellectual investment was largely favoured towards their own financial security in Australia.


AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said the findings were interesting.

“What this survey shows is that new-comers to Australia care about the country and have an investment in the society and its success,” Ms Scarth said.

Ms Scarth believes that the survey showed that “Australia’s civic society; our democracy and our institutions are important for migrants”.

However, her belief was in contrast to AMES survey’s own figures where a majority of migrants did not have a view on whether Australia should become a Republic or remain part of the Commonwealth.

The survey however, recorded figures in favour of marriage equality and climate change but showed heavy reliance on health-care and supporting needy even if that meant Australia would be deeper in debt.

The survey exemplifies refugee Hashmat Najid who voted for the first time in his life in the 2016 federal election.

The 22 year old is an ethnic Hazara and would never have been allowed to vote in his homeland of Afghanistan nor in Pakistan where his family sought refuge from the bloody Afghan civil war.

“It’s important to me that I can vote because this country has a very good political system where everyone is equal,” Hashmat.

Hashmat’s view on Australia’s debt levels and its credit rating or Commonwealth status was not recorded, although Australia’s government supported education system and issues of immigration and refugees are important for Hashmat.

Ramakrishna VenuGopal

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