The majority of the Australian public now favour closing the country's borders.
22 May 2012
Majority oppose Australian immigration
A recent survey of 2,000 people revealed that 51% now oppose Australian immigration measures and would support closing Australia's borders to all illegal immigrants.
A similar survey carried out in 2005 showed just 41% of people opposed Australian immigration but rising numbers of asylum seekers and an increasing population have caused some views to change.
The survey, carried out by Quantum Market Research for AustraliaSCAN, showed just a third of people who thought immigration made the country a 'more interesting and exciting place' with two-thirds of people believing migrants should 'adopt the Australian way of life' when they arrive in the country.
"People are concerned that the present rate of population growth is not sustainable and is going to make Australia a poorer place to live rather than a better one," said Dr Bob Birrell from Melbourne's Monash University.
The report's findings come just days after three boats carrying a further 250 asylum seekers arrived in Australian waters over the weekend, including the biggest single boat in two years. While a Senate estimates hearing was informed yesterday that asylum seeker numbers were falling, this trend is in stark contrast to a rising number of global asylum seekers.
The Australian opposition has been quick to blame the government for the public's falling faith in the immigration policies.
"So long as Labor continue to crash confidence as a result of their failures on our borders, they will continue to crash community confidence in our immigration programme," said opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison.
"That's why the Coalition will reinstate proven border protection policies to stop the boats, getting our borders back under control and restoring the integrity in our immigration programme."
The government responded to Mr Morrison's comments by defending the current immigration programme as beneficial to Australian culture and economy.
"Our immigration reforms are delivering a sustainable level of migration, while responding to labour market needs," said a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application with the Australian High Commission.