House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Questions without Notice


3:00 pm

Photo of Fiona MartinFiona Martin (Reid, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Minister, today the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute's 2020 mapping social cohesion report was published. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison government's response to this report and how our government's policies are geared towards creating a stronger Australia?

Photo of Alex HawkeAlex Hawke (Mitchell, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for her very important question, especially considering she represents a very successful multicultural community in the inner west of Sydney, including some 20,000 Chinese-born Australians in her community. She does a great job in government advocating for them.

Today the government welcomes the Scanlon Foundation report, a very comprehensive and impressive report, which updates us regularly about how we are going as a society. The report this year shows us that Australians in some of the most difficult circumstances we have seen in a generation are more united and more optimistic about how our society is going and our future. This is important because we've seen societies across the globe challenged this year. As the Prime Minister said at the beginning of the pandemic—great upheaval, great things will be confronted and many challenges will have to be faced.

What's pleasing about the results we see in today's report is that we have increased trust in one another as Australians and we have seen people come together, which has been a priority for the Morrison government—keeping people together. The report shows strong support for Australian multiculturalism—84 per cent, up four per cent from last year's report. Seventy-one per cent of Australians now believe immigration makes us stronger and 83 per cent agree that immigration is good for the Australian economy. I'm sure all members of the House would agree with me that these are fantastic results for Australia during a very difficult year. In spite of the pandemic, we've seen increased economic wellbeing amongst Australians as well. This is in response to the government's comprehensive economic package that we have seen during the pandemic—JobKeeper and JobMaker. And 73 per cent of respondents, in spite of the many challenges that Australians have been through in terms of their jobs and economic circumstances, have reported that they feel satisfied or very satisfied with their financial situation.

It's important that we've all stayed together. This year, of course, what's important out of this report is that we keep staying together, and the Morrison government will be speaking again about social cohesion as a priority this year. Our policies are designed to keep us all together. If you look at these results, you can see that, when we have been through the bushfires and when we have been through the pandemic, Australians have actually come together in a way that we should all be celebrating.

When you look ahead this year you see we still have many challenges to face. I know all members here will look at the Scanlon report carefully, will take the good out of this and will recognise our society is better placed than everyone else because of the attitudes of all Australians. I want to thank all those Australians who have helped each other this year, who have looked after their neighbour, who have looked after their mates, and who have not only ignored the negative commentary and the divisions that we do see around the globe but focused on what makes us Australian—those Australian values of looking after each other.