Results from the 2017 Lowy Institute Poll reveal how Australians feel about refugees being settled in Australia. Almost half (48%) of the 1200 Australians surveyed believe that refugees currently in Nauru and Manus Island detention centres should never be settled in Australia (versus 45% who agree they should be settled in Australia). Moreover, almost 40% see asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat as a ‘critical threat’ to Australia’s interests.
These views towards resettling refugees may come as a surprise, given a finding from last year’s poll that was conducted at the height of the refugee crisis. The 2016 poll found a significant majority (62%) of Australians supported the government’s announcement to resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees in Australia.
Taking these two results together suggests that, when it comes to refugee resettlement, Australians are not immune from the NIMBY phenomenon.