Kiwi migrants least likely to identify as 'Australian'

Iwi in Aus recently organised rallies to raise awareness for discrimination against Kiwis living in Australia. Photo / Getty Images
Iwi in Aus recently organised rallies to raise awareness for discrimination against Kiwis living in Australia. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealanders living across the ditch are the least likely migrants to identify themselves as being 'Australian', a new study has found.

And it found that while most Australians support multiculturalism and recent migrants are positive about life there, there are "occasional pockets'' of community dissatisfaction where new migrants report being subjected to racism. The findings come in the latest Mapping Social Cohesion Research, written by Monash University's Professor Andrew Markus and produced by the Scanlon Foundation.

It is Australia's largest study of social cohesion, attitudes to immigration and cultural diversity.

Immigrants, the study concluded, tend to embrace multiple identities: six out of 10 considered themselves as `world citizens' as well as Australians, and also identified with their country of birth.

Those from India or Sri Lanka were most likely to identify as being Australian (75 per cent).

New Zealanders were least likely at just 32 per cent.

Report authors suggested the low number of Kiwis who call themselves Ausies, could likely be "the result of their terms of entry, which for New Zealanders provides an easy path to permanent residence but not to full citizenship''.

The study also found that 46 per cent of people from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia reported an experience of racism, and listed the prejudice high as the least desirable aspect of Australians.

A quarter (26 per cent) of New Zealanders also reported discrimination.

The Recent Arrivals survey of 2300 respondents focused on skilled and highly educated migrants who arrived between 1990 and 2010, with particular interest in the nature of contact with former home countries, and engagement with Australian society and identity.

Most - 81 per cent - were satisfied with life in Australia.

Professor Markus said the immigrant experience had been transformed by the communication revolution brought about by low-cost mobile phones and the internet.

"Some seven out of 10 recent migrants are in frequent contact with overseas relatives and friends and close to 45 per cent of migrants from a number of Asian countries visit their former home countries at least once a year,'' he said.

"However, this does not necessarily result in disengagement from Australian society.''

Professor Markus said that, overall, Australia remained a socially cohesive nation - and the immigration program, which prioritises immigrants with high levels of education and with skills in demand, is a world leader.


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