May 16, 2008, the Australian:
AUSTRALIA is undergoing an unparalleled movement of people and ethnic change through "hidden immigration", but lacks a comprehensive policy to deal with it, according to an eminent demographer.Thanks to anonymous commenter.
Monash University professor Andrew Markus said raw immigration numbers masked the magnitude of a demographic revolution that had produced a population where one in four residents was born overseas.
At 24 per cent, the overseas-born proportion of the population is twice that of the US at 12 per cent, and three times that of England and Wales at 8 per cent, where racial tensions have flared again.
"Opinion polls in England in July 2007 and March 2008 indicated that immigration and race issues are the main concern of electors," Professor Markus said.
He said that while Australians had been tolerant and migrants committed to their new home, strong political leadership was required to convince the nation of the benefits to all of high immigration to avoid a backlash ...
"The elements of a policy to promote social cohesion within communities characterised by diversity of language and culture are well known - and difficult to implement," he said. "At present, Australia lacks full clarity of vision, coherence and consistency - while the largest movement of people in the country's history is under way."
Speaking to The Australian yesterday, Professor Markus said that although many Australians regarded the rate of immigration as high, they probably had little idea that the transformation was far bigger than they imagined ...
"With the uneven distribution of the overseas born, this translates to 34.5 per cent of Sydney's population, 31 per cent of Melbourne's, and over 70 per cent in some urban localities," Professor Markus said.
He proposed several measures towards a national policy to make immigration work.
These included challenging disadvantage in education and employment, tackling institutional discrimination, and a "consistent set of policies to be implemented at the community level to promote inter-cultural understanding, bridge building and participation".
See also: Permanent migrants on the rise