Indians are now the focus of racist attacks in Australia than in the past when people from east Asian descent were the primary targets, a major social survey has found.
The targets of racism in Australia have changed and the Indian community is now most often singled out rather than people of east Asian descent in the past, despite official attempts in recent years to calm anger over a spate of attacks on Indian students, researchers found, the Sydney Morning Herald reported..
According to the survey, only 12.2 per cent Australians had "very positive" feelings towards the Indian immigrants in 2012 whereas 4.7 per cent had very "negative feelings" towards them. Last year only 3.8 per cent people had admitted being "very negative" about the Indian community.
The findings show Sydney is home to a higher percentage of people born overseas than Melbourne, but they are typically poorer and concentrated in fewer suburbs than those in the southern state.
The stocktake of attitudes towards immigrants in Australia's two largest cities offers a rare and fascinating insight into the community's experience of a growing national population up 3 million in the past decade, a figure that includes births as well as the migrant intake.
The survey findings also warned of broader problems creeping into immigrant neighbourhoods in both cities, with people born in Australia more likely to feel vulnerable in their homes than those of non-English-speaking backgrounds.
The research is built on data collected over several years by Monash University, backed by the Scanlon Foundation and the Australian Multicultural Foundation. The extensive surveys, drawing on a sample of 15,000 people, also delves into the fears and aspirations right across the country with the economy, the quality of politicians, and boats ferrying asylum seekers ranked as the three most serious problems facing Australia.
"Many immigrants are actually more positive about Australia than the Australian-born because their reference point is where they come from," study author, Andrew Markus, told The Age.
Attacks on Indians have escalated in Australia in the past few years with nearly 100 such cases reported in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008.