Findings from the 2013 survey of Victorians’ attitudes to race and cultural diversity

Racism Culture Multiculturalism Public opinion Victoria

Presents findings on Victorian community attitudes towards racism, race, ethnicity and culture.

Executive summary

Victoria has a strong track record of nurturing cultural diversity and working towards equality for all. However, prejudice, racebased discrimination and intolerance remain common, resulting in negative health, social and economic consequences for affected individuals and groups and for the wider community. In particular there is a link between exposure to selfreported discrimination and poor mental health. Race-based discrimination is also among the barriers to closing the gap in health, social and economic status between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal Australians.

Responses to racial, ethnic and cultural diversity are shaped by influences in our social context, such as the beliefs of significant others, the messages we read or hear in the media, what we are taught in school and the values and skills we acquire in our families and communities. This context can be changed and strengthened, so there is great potential to work together to reduce racism and promote acceptance of diversity. Such efforts are ongoing within the community.

Understanding community attitudes is an important component of these efforts because attitudes influence social norms, which in turn influence behaviour. Community attitudes towards racism, race, ethnicity and culture can therefore be seen as a barometer of our progress in creating environments that are inclusive and welcoming of racial and ethnic diversity.
In July 2013 the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and its partners undertook a telephone survey of a cross-section of 1250 Victorians over the age of 18 years. Participants were asked a series of questions during a 10-minute telephone interview regarding their attitudes toward various aspects of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity.

This is the second such survey, the first being conducted in 2006 using a similar methodology and survey instrument.

The aims of the 2013 survey were to:

  • benchmark attitudes toward racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in Victoria
  • monitor changes in these attitudes between 2006 and 2013
  • strengthen understanding of the factors shaping attitudes.
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