But another survey, also released today, shows Australians are split over whether Australia should follow the US president in banning travellers from a group of Muslim-majority nations.
More than 50 per cent of Liberal and National voters surveyed in one poll, published by The Australian today, are in favour of copying the Trump’s plan to suspend visas from Muslim-majority countries.
Overall, voters were split on the issue, with the poll of more than 1700 showing 44 per cent supporting similar measures and 45 per cent opposing such action.
Meanwhile, an Essential poll of more than 1000 people found 41 per cent of Australians supported a “ban on people from Muslim countries from entering Australia” and 46 per cent were opposed.
Again, support levels for the hardline measure were strongest among Coalition voters, with 48 per cent supporting it.
Australia should not discriminate on the basis on religion or race but rather on nationality, Christensen said.
“I think we need to have a look at those countries where there’s a high level of radicalism, a high level of terrorist activity, and do pretty much similar to what they’re doing in the US,” he told ABC radio.
“There’s always going to be some exceptions to the rule, I accept that, but perhaps that’s the way to go.”
Christensen said people trying to escape war and persecution and war in Iraq should stay and fight instead.
“Iraqis should stay over there and assist in their country actually getting back to a democracy and getting back some sort of sane state rather than fleeing,” he said.
Labor MP Sam Dastyari said such a ban would fly in the face of Australian values.
“We are a nation of migrants, we are a nation who should be proud of being tolerant of understanding and of embracing people who want to come to this country,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Malcolm Turnbull ought to be much stronger in speaking out against the “horrendous attack on minorities” waged through Trump’s ban, he said.
“This polling today is an opportunity for the prime minister to show some leadership,” Dastyari said.
Government minister Scott Ryan played down the polls, saying Australia’s more selective immigration policy was based on those in need and in the national interest.
“I don’t think there is a great comparison in any way between Australian and Amercian immigration,” he told Sky News.
“Ours has been the most successful in the world under the coalition.”
Opposition frontbencher Matt Thistlethwaite was heartened an overwhelming majority of Labor voters did not support the Trump-style ban.
It was up to the government to explain to the Australian people how restricting immigration would be bad for the economy and Australian society, he said.
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