Public attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees

There is considerable data on what people think about asylum seekers, but we lack a deep understanding of why people hold these views. This research project investigated the basis for the attitudes Australian voters hold towards asylum-seekers, and the role the media plays both in attitude-formation and in influencing the well-being of asylum-seekers.

The project team conducted a range of focus groups designed to interrogate why people feel the way they do about refugees and asylum seekers. The resulting research report breaks new ground on this issue, and is designed to be useful to NGOs, policy makers and others.


Margaret Simons [Centre for Advancing Journalism, Faculty of Arts, UoM]

Nick Haslam [School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM]

Steve Thomas [School of Art, Faculty of the VCA and MCM, UoM]

Denis Muller [Centre for Advancing Journalism, Faculty of Arts, UoM]

Les Terry [Melbourne Refugee Studies Program, UoM]

Research outputs


Muller D. (2016) 'Islamisation' and other anxieties: voter attitudes to asylum seekers. Melbourne: University of Melbourne

Media outputs

Immigration, Asylum Seekers and Australia, Meanjin Quarterly, 75(2):59-65, Winter 2016

An afternoon of Muslim speed dating in a country of mistrust, RN Afternoons, ABC Radio National, Friday 18 March 2016

Interview with Denis Muller, Statewide Drive with Nicole Chvastek, ABC Ballarat, Friday 11 March 2016

Some voters believe asylum seekers get $10,000 and Nike shoes, The Age, Thursday 10 March 2016

Religion, not race, driving fear of asylum seekers: survey, The Citizen, Thursday 10 March 2016

Interview with Denis Muller, Mornings with Jon Faine, ABC Melbourne, Thursday 10 March 2016