New poll: Huge majority of Aussies want immigration cut

By Leith van Onselen

A new survey by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has found that the majority of both rich and poor Australians want immigration lowered from current extreme levels until infrastructure catches up:

The majority of both rich and poor Australians support cutting the immigration intake to relieve population pressures on infrastructure…

The research, Australian Attitudes to Immigration: Coming Apart or Common Ground? is based on polling by YouGov Galaxy that surveyed the opinions on immigration-related topics of 500 Australians who live in the top 10% of metropolitan postcodes by income and education, and 500 who live in the bottom 10%.

Research authors Dr Jeremy Sammut and Monica Wilkie say the polling shows that attitudes to key immigration questions in both the most affluent and least affluent suburbs are not starkly polarised and are far more similar than they are different…

The results indicated that, with respect to immigration levels, there is greater support for current intake among Australians who reside in higher income postcodes and less support among Australians who reside in low income postcodes. But rather than revealing social polarisation, the results suggest that attitudes to immigration levels are more similar than different. Hence, a near-majority in the highest decile postcodes (46%) and a majority in the lowest decile postcodes (57%) believe that current levels of immigration are ‘too high’.

But more importantly, the overwhelming majority — 65% in the highest decile and 77% in the lowest — believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up. This concern about a growing population’s impact on infrastructure is consistent with the Lowy Institute’s 2014 polling which found of those respondents  who believed the current number of migrants was ‘too high’, an overwhelming majority (72%) stated the  reason as: “Australia’s cities are already too crowded.”…

The polling showed that there is a ‘postcodes effect’ with regards to how strongly people support an immigration cut.  Nearly half of those in the least affluent (49%) postcodes strongly agreed with an immigration pause or cut compared with 36% in the most affluent postcodes.

The explanation for this may be that immigration impacts differently on high- vs low-decile postcodes because migrants mostly settle in the less affluent — but more affordable — suburbs in metropolitan areas. Residents in the least affluent postcodes are more likely to be impacted by population pressures on public transport and public schools, and hence feel more strongly about the need to allow infrastructure to catch up with demand. Yet more than one-third of those in the most affluent suburbs also strongly agree, suggesting that immigration-related congestion is an important issue for those residents…

As Figure 3 shows, there is widespread support in our cities for ‘giving priority’ to migrants who agree to settle and work in regional areas in both the most affluent postcodes (78%) and the least affluent postcodes (72%)…

There is even greater support, again regardless of postcodes, for requiring migrants to attain proficiency in English…  80% of Australians in the most affluent postcodes and 86% in the least affluent postcodes agree that, “the government should require migrants to reach a minimum standard of English language proficiency before granting them permanent residence.”

Almost all recent opinion polls show that Australians want immigration to be cut, including:

  • Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
  • Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
  • Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
  • Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
  • Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year; and
  • CIS: 65% in the highest decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up.

The only outlier is a Fairfax-Ipsos poll from October showing 23% of respondents backing an increase in the migrant intake and 29% approving the current intake, versus 45% wanting the migrant intake to be cut a little or a lot.

In aggregate, these polls comprehensively show how out of touch Canberra’s politicians and their growth lobby mates are with the Australian populace. Community support for mass immigration has unequivocally collapsed.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist


  1. …And regardless of whether these people will vote lib or lab, they won’t get a cut.

    Realistically, a cut is at least 6 years away.

  2. Interesting CIS is a right leaning ‘think tank’ like the IPA.
    The Coalition might actually listen if the message comes from the CIS.

  3. It just shows that neither The Rich or The Poor have a clear understanding of how the country has financed itself.
    As recently departed NZ PM John Key loosely noted (after he’d gone, of course!) “It was only rising house prices and increased immigration that kept our figures in the black over the time of my premiership”

    • Australia has a soufflé economy. GDP pumped up by debt and the growth of the parasitic property sector. Will be interesting watching it deflate.

      • We are only a few years away from large cheques being mailed to households — none of this $900 nonsense.

        Deflation is what’s in store and an attempt at inflation will be the response.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        A $900 per week cheque for all citizens untill house prices stabalise,….then stop sending them untill prices start to fall again.
        Lower Interest rates as economic stimulus,…pfft!,….vote for weekly $900 cheques instead!

      • Actually @EP that might work better than this trickle down nonsense. Where it’s assumed low rates = business growing = pay the plebs more… mailing out directly to the punters would be inflationary in the short term anyway and may help lower the debt.

      • yeah, but trickle down is about enriching the rich. Sending cheques to everyone doesn’t make the rich any richer at all. IF anything it makes them comparatively less rich than they were.

      • yeah, but trickle down is about enriching the rich. Sending cheques to everyone doesn’t make the rich any richer at all.

        Yes it does, money flows upward.

        But give it to poor people and at least it might do something useful before it gets to them.

  4. What do people expect to happen if they keep voting for the 2 major parties that both support a Big Australia?
    It’s time to stop putting your blind faith in ALP and LNP and start realising that both are in bed with the Harvey Norman’s, the Woolies, the Coles, the property developers, that rub their hands with glee at the population explosion that is and has occurred.
    Wake up and make your vote count for something different, like lower immigration FFS. Stop voting for the big 2.

    • Who are you going to vote for that has the ability to actually lower immigration without the support of at least one of the big 2?

    • Don’t just vote for a party that will cut mass migration, make life hard for the major parties by putting the major parties last (including the Greens) and put the sitting member last of all. If enough people do this in marginal seats, government will change hands at every election, and politics will be a far less viable career.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      I often bring up at my Labor party meetings, that both the major parties continue to receive a lower and lower percentage of the primary vote and use this a a segway to bring up public discontent at Immigration numbers, housing affordability and stagnant wage growth and how we as the Labor party have a duty to address the negative effects of all this stuff, especially for the working class and disadvantaged.
      The powers that be though, the leadership, seem obsessed with funding election campaigns and taking the advice of their pollsters and spindoctors only,…having to listen to the rank and file membership is clearly an annoyance to them, when they (the membership) are not being deployed in support of, head office selected Candidates.
      I have persistently lobbied for efforts at recruiting more members, esp women (80-90% males at both branches I regularly attend) but in almost 4 years in the Party I have seen NO genuine effort at recruiting new members,…you see Heaps and heaps of fundraising events but no recruitment events.
      I think this is intentional, to keep the Rank and file numbers low and “manageable” enabling party big wigs and elected “representativies” to run their own show unchallenged and unaccountable to a large and demanding membership.
      This phenomenon will arise in any political party of today,…simply hoping for some “New party” to vote for that will behave less corrupted isn’t really going to work,…unless the elected representatives of that Party are held to account more often than an election every 4 years.

      The low number of people, who are members of a political party in this country is a shameful indictment of our citizenry and their attitudes towards Democracy.

      • Given the labor party success, have you considered they may know something you don’t?
        The reality as I see it is funding is what gets parties elected, not membership, and this is also what the minor parties will always lack unless they sell their souls to big business.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        If our parties are to be nothing more than election winning machines then we have already lost.
        The labor Party like all the other parties could eaisly be taken over by mear 10s of thousands of new members.
        A new party would need millions of votes to govern,….millions.
        What do you think the path of least resistance is?

      • If you ever do succeed in “taking over” the labor party, the parliamentary members can simply leave it and form their own party from scratch taking their donations with them. Having seen how well the other minor parties fare at an election I suspect they would be far more successful than the members they left behind.
        But keep fighting the good fight.

        PS we lost when Westminster democracy became a thing, or possibly long before then.

  5. Not just a cut to the PR intake. (50,000 or less)
    That does nothing.
    What’s needed is an immediate exit of at least 1.5 million of the 2.2 million Temporary Visa & 440,000 illegal working Tourist visitors – all third world & unskilled, here as migrant guestworkers.
    Who should never have been allowed in and are in visa breach, working & living illegally.
    That’s what is needed.

    • Interesting notion. Would help to increase employment remuneration, reduce unemployment and also reduce transit congestion and rent. The skills shortage verses wanting to reduce employee costs need to be explored. FTA is only going to exacerbate this.

    • Correct. Get rid of at least half of the students working illegally and taking up house space and bidding up home prices.

      I’d say keep the backpackers for fruit picking, but don’t let them do traffic control (which is a well-paying job many low-skilled Aussies or skilled Aussies between gigs would be happy to have).

  6. All these people don’t seem to be helping retail or house prices, even food service is really slow, so what’s the point of it all, Sydney is completely destroyed,

  7. Give your first or second preference in the Senate to the Sustainable Australia Party. (SAP). We need somebody to talk sense in that circus.

    • Sustainable Australia Party should get a go this time around, just to see if they’re useful. I don’t know whether they will be or not, but I think trying them out is worthwhile, especially as public sentiment swings against the unsustainable velocities of immigration and private housing construction in major cities.

  8. A (green voting) friend on FB last night posted a screenshot of Jill Stark, listing Sustainable Australia = anti immigration xenophobes. I quickly replied saying Sustainable Australia are not anit-immigration.
    His response was ‘they want to scale it back for no good reason’

    I want to reply with something punchy and succinct as he is very left militant green – any ideas?

    • Australia is stealing educated people from countries that need them just to line jerry Harvey’s pockets – or tell the freak to OPEN YOUR EYES MORON

    • I just googled her. Heading off to Ubud after posting about Sisto, horses dying at the Cup and gay marriage. Virtue-signalling cliche. Oh yes and she is using her mental health issues as a platform. Need I go on?

    • If the world lived at Australian standards of living, the highest in the world, we require 5.2 planet Earths.
      So why bring more people here to increase their ecological footprint ?

    • How about something dead honest like: ” You’re a useful idiot for the 1% ” and give him a link to Macrobusiness for the details.

      • There was a story on here recently about a World Wildlife Fund report saying that Australian animals are under more pressure than ever before from unchecked population growth. Try sending him that if he says he is a Green. What about the increase in air pollution from a bigger Sydney or Melbourne? The bloke sounds like a halfwit

    • Why not quote directly from the SAP website?

      “Sustainable Australia is opposed to discrimination of immigrants based on race (ethnicity) or religion”. That and their proposed 70k rate (the 20th century average), suggests that they are neither anti-immigration, nor xenophobes.

      It could be that the Greens candidate is fear-mongering because SAP has taken their traditional policy base.

    • “Mmm yeah, the extra numbers and desal required will really make the brown coal stations viable again. I think I’ll buy shares.

    • Tell him they want to scale it back for many good reasons, including high unemployment and inadequate infrastructure.

  9. Expect smoke and mirrors to help both parties through the next election. Give with one hand and take with the other. We all know (or maybe we don’t) the economy is juiced on population growth so there is no way either Lab / Lib will do anything serious on this front.

  10. There was an article late last week about hundreds of IT contractors getting the chop from a federal government agency.
    And I just noticed that the sub-continent cohort at the place I’m working seems to have diminished – a number of empty desks there now.
    What’s going on?

      • The federal LNP have frozen all NPP funding this FY. They are desperate to take a budget surplus to the election.

        Home Affairs were the Dept in question in the article but many others are similarly starved of capital for IT projects.

  11. Anyone who goes to the next election with “CUT IMMIGRATION” as their slogan is going to get a huge chunk of votes.

    • The property lobby will be on the phone to the editor as we speak explaining in no uncertain terms that advertising in his/her esteemed organ is about to be pulled

  12. The current ‘born to rule’ coalition clearly believes that they are clever enough to not cut immigration while fooling the public into thinking that they are. Just goes to show you how unfit to rule they are.

    Only problem is that the ALP isn’t any better.

  13. Last week, I voted early – the Vic election is slated to take place on 24 Nov 2018 – and SAP’s slogan is now “stop overdevelopment”.

    So they went from Stable Population Party (23 Sep 2010) to Sustainable Population Party to Sustainable Australia Party (pre 2 July 2016)

    Their election symbol went from “lower immigration” to “stop overdevelopment”. What are they doing?

    I voted for them last week but they need to change the logo to say “reduce immigration” and preference the shooting and fishing party.

  14. Everyone I will be campaigning for the NSW State Election and Federal Election for Sustainable Australia Party.
    Mark Latham will probably grab a good chunk of votes for One Nation if he is still around for NSW. But the mentality has to change at Federal Level for voters as they dictate the immigration rate. Stop voting majors.

    • Best of luck, but remember these coming elections are just the opening shots of a long war of attrition.

  15. It has been speculated the government is set to cut the cap on the Immigration Program by 30,000.
    Bit disingenuous, given Immigration Program numbers have already dropped by about 22,000 last year due to tightening of visa laws, making it difficult for overseas students to move on to work visa (457) at completion of their course,

    Cuts will only be real if they use a net overseas migration figure, which includes temporary entrant numbers, otherwise any cuts to the Immigration Program will be simply replaced by increases to the temporary program.
    Furthermore, given the size of the mass immigration progam of the past 20 years, the cuts need to be equally large – a net overseas migration figure of 40,000 per a year maximum.

    However back to reality;
    ” Community support for mass immigration has unequivocally collapsed.” Yep.
    But, it seems the treacherous government doesn’t work for the community – they work for big business and the multiculturalism globalist ideologies.

    • They do some minimal level of voter support to stay in power and do their donors bidding so a big enough drop could force their hand.

  16. SAP to appoint the next prime minister of AUSTRALIA – its a revolution !!! Get on board 🙂 “Make Australia Better not Bigger ” ?

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Good slogan, ” MAKE AUSTRALIA BETTER NOT BIGGER” those Nordic counties must have preempted your advice.

    • SAP is only about 400% short of the required candidates if they won every single seat they had a candidate for to get the premier of victoria. i imagine they will be even more short in the federal election.

  17. Like clockwork, the LNP comes out and rules out immigration cuts:

    1 hour ago

    “We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth, we need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people.”

    Australia doesn’t have an immigration target, but rather a ceiling, he added.

    Take 25 million more people? The ball is in your court, Gladys.

    What ceiling? There is no cap. When AUS had 10 million people, they never said AUS will have 25 million people. Now that AUS has 25 million people, they are refusing to admit that they want AUS to have 100 million people.

    • When he says ‘Australia can take a lot more than 25 million’, that’s saying he wants it to be at least 50 million. Most of the electorate would like to see it stabilise below 50 million, so I think he’s said pretty clearly (for a politician) to the electorate where his position is in relation to the community’s position.

  18. Once bubble bursts and populatio n drops and most of poor semilegal immigrants leave who is going to deliver your food for 50c and clean your house for $50?
    We have to cut those people working in bullshit job industries like finance, rea, marketing, … who dont contribute to the society, suck money out of everyone and make crowds on roads (these people are usually not recent immigrants)