The report on the findings of the sixth Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Survey, conducted in 2013, has recently been published. This report builds on the knowledge gained through the five earlier Scanlon Foundation surveys conducted in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion provides an overview in the five core domains of social cohesion: belonging, worth, social justice, participation, and acceptance and rejection.
The 2013 Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion was at the lowest level recorded and registered the second largest change since the 2007 benchmark survey. There was a marked increase in reported experience of discrimination, as well as a decline in political participation.
In terms of important problems facing Australia today, asylum issues have risen in importance to rank third, selected by 12 percent of respondents – a marked increase from six percent in 2010.
In a question asked in the last four Scanlon Foundation surveys, respondents were asked for their view concerning “policy for dealing with asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat”. Four options were specified, with the extremes being “their boats should be turned back” and “they should be allowed to apply for permanent residence”. In 2012 there was almost equal support for the turn back and eligibility for permanent residence options: 23 percent and 26 percent respectively, a difference of three percentage points. In 2013, 18 percent supported eligibility for permanent settlement, 33 percent the turn back option, a difference of fifteen percentage points. A total of 77 percent indicated that boats should be turned back, or arrivals should be detained and deported, or residence should be allowed, but only on a temporary basis.