The change in immigration policies by the new U.S. president does not directly change Australian regulations, but it can affect public opinion, or bring formerly unspoken opinions to the surface.
About 41% of Australians support a ban on individuals from a Muslim nation, or at least some Muslim nations. Opinions polls showed support for measures similar to President Trump’s executive order that banned people from seven different countries.
This presidential order is presently suspended pending a legal hearing. How the outcome of this might affect foreign attitudes is unknown, but the present Australian polls are not too different to polls taken back in September of 2016 – over 40% of Australians supported a ban on Muslim immigration.
The public attitude here looks to be targeted at specific cultural immigration rather than foreigners in general. 83% of the population supported multiculturalism in Australia, considering it a positive influence. Only 14% of people expressed strong negative feelings against Muslims, which is only a third of the amount that supported the Muslim immigration ban. This, combined with the fact that prospective bans often only covered some Muslim nations, strongly suggests than the issue is the threat of terrorism rather than xenophobia.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has stated that Australia has a non-discriminatory immigration policy, and will not introduce any measures that resemble the US’s proposal. At the same time he will not denounce President Trump’s travel ban, and there has been a tightening on security checks on potential immigrant’s from some countries.
Australia’s One Nation Party supports the idea of banning Muslim immigration. Opinions elsewhere vary greatly, but these is significant support for policies similar to the proposed US ban.
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