Nearly 7 out of 10 Australian voters do not think Australia needs more people, and only 23 per cent favour growth via an active immigration policy, according to a survey recently completed by the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AusSSA) at the Australian National University.
AusSSA included a series of questions about attitudes to population in a questionnarie posted to a random sample of voters in December 2009. More than 3,100 responses were received when the survey closed at the end of February 2010. The population data was analysed by Swinburne University researcher Associate Professor Katharine Betts, whose 16-page article “Population Growth: what do Australian Voters Want?” is published in the latest issue of Monash University’s People and Place journal.
Other findings included: Women are more likely to want a stable population than men (75 per cent compared to 62 per cent); voters living in Queensland are more likely to say no to growth (73 per cent) than voters in other areas, and voters living in the ACT are the least likely to say no to growth (50 per cent)
“Voters who wanted growth tended to give economic reasons, such as boosting general economic growth, offsetting the effects of ageing, and a need to import skills,” Professor Betts said. “In contrast, voters who wanted stability emphasised the need to train our own skilled workers, rather than take them from other countries, and the need to protect the environment. Stresses on the natural environment, water resources, and urban congestion were all high on their list of concerns.”