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.

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‘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.

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‘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.
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‘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.