Australia remains a highly cohesive society with upward movement in four of the five domains of social cohesion, the exception the domain of social justice and equity. In the 2014 there was some evidence of a lessening of concern over issues of immigration and cultural diversity. While in the ranking of problems facing Australia, the most significant change was the decline of the asylum issue. The survey recorded the lowest level of concern over immigration across the seven Scanlon Foundation surveys. Just 35% consider that the immigration intake is ‘too high’ while 58% agree that it is ‘about right’ or ‘too low’. This is possibly the highest current level of positive sentiment towards immigration in the western world. The results indicate marked differences across the population.. Within third generation Australians, opinion is divided on the extent of integration to be expected of immigrants, and while there is broad acceptance of diversity there is clear indication that a large proportion are undecided or lacking firm views when issues of integration are considered.

Within the SMI, the index of acceptance/rejection, after sharp downward movement in 2013, has stabilised, but remains the lowest ranked of the five domains. Reported experience of discrimination remains close to the highest level recorded in the surveys: 19% in 2013, 18% in 2014. Questions on attitude to Christian, Buddhist and Muslim faith groups find that, as in past surveys, a very small proportion are negative towards Christian and Buddhist faiths (close to 5%), but a proportion almost five times higher (close to 25%) towards Muslims. There are also concerns over the working of Australian democracy. Trust in government remains well below the level recorded in 2007-2009.While there is a high level of agreement (88%) that democracy, is the best system of government, just 15% agree that the system ‘works fine as it is’.

Video Content

Watch to view the launch of the 2014 Mapping Social Cohesion report.


(1/4) Santilla Chingaipe opens the Mapping Social Cohesion report launch as the Master of Ceremonies. The honorable Bruce Atkinson describes how the Mapping Social Cohesion report will inform public policy.


(2/4) View key findings of the 2014 report and listen to Professor Andrew Markus speak to the report’s findings, the methodology and how it compares to past results.


(3/4) Watch a discussion of the report among panelists including Assistant Commissioner of Victorian Police, Andrew Crisp; Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox; SBS Journalist Santilla Chingaipe and General Manager, Stakeholders Relations, AMES, Adam Baxter.


(4/4) Telmo Languiller, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Multicultural Affairs, closes the proceedings of the 2014 Mapping Social Cohesion Report launch.