2016 Mapping Social Cohesion Report

The 2016 Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Survey is the ninth survey undertaken in an annual series, which – for the first time in Australian national social research – provides detailed longitudinal data on social cohesion, immigration and population issues.

‘To what extent do you have a sense of belonging in Australia?’, 2007-2016

Results from this year’s survey show that, overall, Australian society remains stable and highly cohesive, with 91% of Australians reporting a sense of belonging and 83% of Australians agreeing that ‘multiculturalism has been good for Australia.’

However the survey results are not without some negative indicators.

‘Would you say the system of government we have in Australia works fine as it is, needs minor change, needs major change, or should be replaced?’, 2014-2016

Conducted in July-August 2016, immediately after the federal election, the survey points to an Australian public growing increasingly disengaged with the current political system.

A combined 34% of Australians indicated either ‘no interest’ or ‘not much interest’ in the Federal election, and 31% of Australians believed the current system of government ‘needs major change’.

Just 31% of respondents believed that the government in Canberra can be trusted to do the right thing ‘almost always’ or ‘most of the time’ – down from 48% in 2009.



‘Do you support or oppose legislation for…’, 2016 (percentages)

Low level of trust in the federal parliament may in part reflect government’s failure to address issues supported by a majority of electors, such as medicinal marijuana use and marriage equality.


‘Have you experienced discrimination in the last twelve months because of your skin colour, ethnic origin or religion?’ Response: ‘yes’, 2007-2016

The proportion of respondents indicating experience of discrimination on the basis of skin colour, ethnicity or religion also increased from 15% in 2015 to 20% in 2016 – the highest level recorded in the Scanlon Foundation surveys.