March 3, 2011
The 12-year study, conducted by several leading universities, surveyed 12,512 people across the country and found that 23.3 percent were negative towards Jews.
Almost half, 48.6 percent, were negative towards Muslims, and 27.9 percent were negative towards Indigenous Australians, also called Australian Aborigines .
Still, the survey’s head researcher, Professor Kevin Dunn, said overall the results of the Challenging Racism Project were positive, showingAustralia’s multicultural society was alive and well. “About 87 percent of Australians say that they see cultural diversity as a good thing for society,” he said.
But Professor Andrew Markus, the former head of the Centre for the Study of Jewish Civilization at Monash University in Melbourne, said the results “may be seriously flawed.” The length of time it took means some of the data is a decade old, he said.
Markus also said he had “major problems” with the conclusions about people being anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim because they were only asked how concerned they would feel if one of their close relatives were to marry a person of Jewish/Muslim/Asian/Aboriginal descent.
“A respondent can be concerned about a close relative marrying a member of another faith or culture without being anti that faith,” Markus said.