Australians want asylum seekers treated equally; they’re just poorly informed about “boat people”

Amnesty International reveals the results of a formal poll of 1,000 Australians across the country:

A new opinion poll conducted for Amnesty International has found that a clear majority of Australians believe all asylum seekers should be treated equally under Australian law. The survey also found that a majority of Australians mistakenly believe that most asylum seekers arrive in Australia by boat.

Good news, that most oppose the present much harsher treatment applied to refugees who’ve arrived by boat:

The results of the Nielsen poll commissioned by Amnesty International Australia show that 69 percent of Australians believe that asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat should have access to the same legal protections as those who arrive by plane.

And a sad indictment on media reporting of the issue:

The opinion poll also showed that a large majority of Australians have major misconceptions regarding the percentage of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat. On average, Australians believe that about 60 per cent of asylum seekers come to Australia by boat. More than a third of Australians believe that over 80 per cent of asylum seekers arrive by boat. In fact, only 3.4 per cent of people who sought asylum in Australia in 2008 arrived by boat – the other 96.6 per cent arrived by plane.

Won’t stop the polemicists ranting misleadingly and unfairly about “boat people” and “people smugglers” and “queue jumpers”, though.

They’re probably thrilled to see how effective their misinformation has been.

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10 responses to “Australians want asylum seekers treated equally; they’re just poorly informed about “boat people”

  1. Lynda Hopgood

    I just enlightened my offsider at work to these facts; I thought her eyes were going to pop right out of her head when our “higher/lower” guessing game made it down to 3.4%.

    Bloody lying scumbag Howard. He would have known and yet he continued to play that card. Words cannot express how overjoyed I am that he is no longer running the place.

  2. I would have hoped the survey asked two more questions.
    What is your major source of news and current affairs?
    On a scale of 1-10 how strongly do you feel about asylum seekers?
    Correlating the results to see which audiences have the poorest understanding and strongest feelings about asylum seekers would be fascinating.

  3. That would’ve been useful for attributing blame to media outlets; it’s possible Amnesty is more interested in the basic issue of persuading governments to change their stance.

  4. I would like anyone who arrives in Australia to undergo rigorous assessment regardless of their method of entry. That is just a simple checking inquiry.

  5. The sample size is simply too small to have any veracity one way or the other

  6. What, you’re a statistician now, Iain? The survey was properly carried out by Nielsen. There is a margin of error due to the sample size of +/- 3%. The results were clear even if you subtracted 6% from them.

    Honestly, Iain, before reading these poll results, what would you have estimated the percentage of asylum seekers who arrive by boat at?

    Cemil – me too. So we should shut down Christmas Island (that treats immigrants outrageously discriminatorily and far more expensively based on their method of entry) and look at how best to assess people once they’re already here. 96% of “illegal” immigrants are here in the community already.

  7. Jeremy
    Its simple maths and basic statistical theory, the bigger the sample size and the better that it is randomised the greater its veracity.
    We have a population of 21 million so a survey of just 1000 people is never going to representative enough to be truly meaningful.

  8. Gee you are a dill Iain, banging on about sample sizes.
    Comparing 1000 to a population size just shows how ignorant you are.
    If you double the sample size, margin for error goes from 3% to 2%.
    And say that there was a 3% error in your favour (highly unlikely), the figures are still conclusively in favour of Jeremy’s point.
    Fat stupid and dickhead is no way to go through life.

  9. Richard Ryan

    IMAGINE : If Howard was around, over two hundred years ago, when those convict ships arrived on our shores, when the rejects from England and Ireland set foot on this continent—-Yes I wonder, what would have his slogan mantra be—maybe we choose who comes to this country—etc. etc. with a little help from the original inhabitants of this continent.

  10. Pingback: If I ignore the facts and listen only to what the Liberal Party and its cheerleaders are telling me, this “surge” in boat arrivals is very scary indeed « An Onymous Lefty

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