The Australia of today reflects an increasingly diverse population. This means that a willingness to listen and remain open minded is essential to building and maintaining strong relationships between Australians. Active listening plays a key role in this, creating space to learn and develop tolerance across the variety of opinions present in society today. Encouragingly, seven in ten Australians (69%) say they adopt this type of listening when hearing others beliefs and opinions, even if they differ from their own.
An exposure to a variety of views and opinions serves not only the individual but society as a whole, building connections between people and groups. Three in four Australians (76%) strongly/somewhat agree that reading or hearing opinions different to their own is important in building better understanding and connection in our diverse communities. In fact, three in five Australians (60%) believe a tolerant society is one where people can actively share their beliefs and opinions on political, spiritual or social issues.
While Australians are likely recognise the value of learning others views and perspectives, they are less likely to proactively seek opportunities to do so. Less than half of Australians (44%) strongly/somewhat agree they actively seek out and read different news sites or social media posts that differ from their own views. Less than one in three (30%) slightly agree they actively seek out information sources with views that differ from their own, suggesting they believe it is important but do not do so on a regular basis.
Gen Z are most likely to seek out information sources that differ to their own.
While Australians agree there is value in reading and hearing a variety of opinions and perspectives, it is Gen Z who are putting this into practice, being the most likely to actively seek out and read different news sites or social media posts that differ to their own. Almost three in five Gen Z Australians (57%) strongly/somewhat agree they actively seek out and read different news sites or social media posts that differ to their own (cf. 49% Gen Y, 43% Gen X, 38% Baby Boomers, 28% Builders).