On 22 April, My Vote Matters began collecting responses for its third annual survey of the political views of Australian Muslims. Less than a week later, on 28 April, we received our 200th submission, effectively making our survey the largest of its kind to date. Now, after having analysed the results, we are sharing our findings with the public. It is our hope that this research will compel politicians to actively consider the interests of the Muslim community when making policy decisions, in addition to further motivating Muslims to share their views with their political representatives.
We asked respondents for their age, sex and ethnicity. Whereas ages were fairly evenly distributed, there was a slight imbalance in the sex of participants, with 63% identifying as male. At the same time, there was a diverse representation of ethnic groups, including Southern and Central Asians (59%), North African and Middle Easterners (23%), Sub-Saharan Africans (5%), South-East Asians (4%), North-Western Europeans (2%) and Southern and Eastern Europeans (2%), in addition to those of mixed heritage (6%).
Respondents represented an extremely diverse range of ethnicities, reflective of the broader Muslim community
Australian Muslims were asked how concerned they were about right-wing extremism (RWE). 46% responded that they were "extremely concerned", 34% said they were "very concerned", 17% reported being "somewhat concerned" and just 3% claimed to be "not concerned at all".
They were also asked whether they felt their political representatives cared about RWE. The overwhelming majority (80%) said no. Likewise, when questioned if the Federal government was doing enough to combat the far-right, 95% of respondents said that they were not. A similar number (93%) also believed that RWE was on the rise.
As with RWE, the majority (53%) of Australian Muslims say that they are "extremely concerned" about Islamophobia, with a further 30% and 14% being "very concerned" and "somewhat concerned", respectively. Again, only 3% claim to be "not concerned at all".
82% of respondents did not feel that their political representatives cared about islamophobia, and substantially greater numbers (94%) thought that the government was not doing enough. 88% also claimed that Islamophobia was on the rise.
When asked if they were concerned by security agencies targeting individuals based on their religious identity, 37% responded they were "extremely concerned", closely followed by the 29% who reported being "very concerned" and the 31% who were "somewhat concerned". Just 7 respondents, or 3%, said they were "not concerned at all".
Respondents were asked whether legislation should be passed to protect the ability of Australians to live by their religious principles. 96% answered yes.
They were also requested to select up to four religious rights and freedoms that were important to them. Most (86%) chose the right of parents to raise their children in line with their religious teachings, followed by the right of employees to publicly express their faith (80%), the freedom for faith leaders to teach religious doctrine (75%) and the freedom for faith-based schools to implement policies in line with their religious traditions (71%).
Australian Muslims were presented with nine voter issues and asked how important they were to them on a scale of 0 to 3, with 0 being "not important at all" and 3 being "extremely important".
Social justice, foreign affairs and healthcare top voter issues for Muslims
Social justice ranked most important with an average score of 2.59, closely followed by foreign affairs (2.58), healthcare (2.57) and islamophobia (2.56). Religious freedom, education and the economy received slightly lower scores of 2.47, 2.47, and 2.43, respectively. The lowest-rated issues, however, were the environment (2.27) and aged care (1.79), which were also the only two issues to receive a median score of 2, rather than 3.