What can we believe about mass-media reported surveys that give us counterintuitive information about how we are supposed to feel about high immigration and population growth? This article concludes that we need to check with each other, rather than rely on what the press 'reports'.
The publisher of On Line Opinion recently changed its name to The Australian Institute for Progress, as "part of a major change in direction for the organisation". Although they intend to "continue to publish On Line Opinion", they have announced that their "major work will be policy development." (Source: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/display.asp?page=membership)
The new institute has come out with the results of an online survey of 1349 people which, it claims, showed that Australians were 'deeply divided' on immigration policy, notably regarding how refugees are processed and about immigrants from Islamic countries. These discourses suit the mainstream press because they are conflictual with each other.
The survey reporter noted that “Left-wing voters are humanitarian and see immigration almost entirely in terms of refugee policy,” and that Right-wing voters were more focused on economic and skills aspects of immigration.
It also claimed that 69 per cent of Australians 'support high migration'.
What is perhaps most reliable in this report is the fact that it got so much publicity. The mass media in Australia keenly supports any surveys that show support for high immigration. It is very difficult for groups or individuals who question high immigration to get any sustained publicity, whereas groups and individuals (for example authors of pro-immigration books) easily attract funding and publicity from that power-elite that derives focused benefits from high immigration.
We can expect a lot more propaganda for high immigration, confusing economic immigrants with refugees and giving the impression of growing support for high migration.
Commonsense, however, should give pause, since the 'developed world' is currently going through a period of extremely high and uncontrolled immigration and citizens in many countries are obviously very worried by this trend, despite attempts by the mass media to pretend otherwise.
We should be highly suspicious of reports that tell us that 'most of us' support high immigration. The correct way to ascertain what your fellow citizens really think is to talk to them.