Toleration or trust? Investigating the acceptance of 'boat people' among young Australians

Jacqueline Laughland-Booy, Zlatko Skrbis, Bruce Tranter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There has been intense debate in Australia regarding how asylum seekers who arrive by boat should be treated. Some call for compassion towards those prepared to risk their lives to seek protection, whereas others believe boat people should not be allowed into the country. This article uses data from a large representative sample of young people in Queensland, Australia, to understand the acceptance of asylum seekers by young people in Australia. The findings suggest that young Australians are more accepting than the Australian adult population. Several social and political background factors were also found to be associated with the belief that boat people should be permitted into Australia. Fewer factors, however, are associated with the trust young Australians have in people from another country. This suggests that while some young Australians may believe boats carrying asylum seekers should not be turned away, fewer might be prepared to enter into trusting relationships with boat people should they resettle in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195 - 217
Number of pages23
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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