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Indian, Hmong and Vietnamese dance team singing Australian National Anthem (SBS )

A new study has found Australia ranks as one of the most inclusive nations in the world.

The global survey has also found migrants who become citizens, speak English and have jobs are more likely to be accepted as "real Australians" than the corresponding levels in other countries.

Australia's race-relations commissioner says the country sets a precedent for building multicultural societies in the world.

Samantha Beniac-Brooks and Jessica Rowe
Presented by
Jitarth Jai Bharadwaj
Published on
Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 15:54
File size
9.7 MB
5 min 18 sec

It has been 16 years since a man by the name of Keigo immigrated to Australia, arriving in Sydney.

And 16 years later, he says he still remembers how surprised he was at the acceptance he felt.

“I realised as soon as I arrived. I saw a lot of Asian people, or, you know, non-Caucasian people -- a lot of them. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t have any difficulty to be a part of this city.”

And a new study suggests he is not alone in those feelings.

The global survey by the French-based Ipsos Social Research Centre has found Australians hold one of the world's most inclusive views of what it takes to be one of them, in this case a "real Australian."

Ipsos's New South Wales director, David Elliott, says the results are not surprising.

 “Because we’re a very multicultural society, we get exposed to lots of different cultures and lots of different religions. So what we find is we’re quite positive in regards to those things. So, it wasn't surprising that we were high on that inclusiveness index.”

Canada and the United States topped the list of inclusive countries, followed by South Africa and France, with Australia ranking fifth for its overall inclusiveness.

The global survey looked at social acceptance of diversity as it applies to religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views and criminal background.

Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia director of policy Alia Imtoual has welcomed the findings.

"Australia is doing very well to include and welcome newcomers from a whole range of countries of origins, cultures, ethnicities and religious backgrounds."

Ms Imtoual says Australians generally are open to accepting diversity.

"Your ability to contribute meaningfully and sustainably, to be a valued member of the Australian family, is not contingent on factors such as your English-language proficiency."

But being able to speak English does help.

The survey has found respondents were more likely to accept people as Australians if they were fluent in English and had jobs.

But Mr Elliott, with Ipsos, says there is a surprising twist when it comes to self-perception.

 “We also asked people, ‘Do you consider yourself a real Australian?’ So, whilst we still had a lot of people saying they do -- so that was about 80 per cent -- when you compare that to the responses from the rest of the countries we spoke to, that puts us in the bottom 10."

Still, Australia scores well overall.

In almost 70 years, more than 5 million people have become Australian citizens.

Australia's race-relations commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, says Australia sets a great example for other countries looking to welcome diversity.

"It says that Australia is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, that we are a country that welcomes people from different backgrounds and that a 'real Australian' is not someone who has a certain race or ethnicity, it's got to do with the spirit in which you take part in the life of this nation."