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Gov firm on non-discriminatory immigration

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016 Elise Scott

The federal government is standing by Australia's non-discriminatory immigration policy, as a new poll shows almost half of voters want to ban Muslim immigration.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says the poll proves her party reflects the views of the silent majority of regular Australians.

"Unlike the other parties, who refuse to talk honestly about issues like immigration and Islam, One Nation would like to give the public a voice," Senator Hanson said in a statement on Wednesday.

The minor party wants a national vote on whether to ban Muslim immigration.

But treasurer Scott Morrison - the former immigration minister - insists he's not distracted by the Essential poll showing 49 per cent of Australians would support blocking Muslims from moving to the country.

"We've always had a non-discriminatory immigration program in this country which has produced the most successful multi-ethnic society in the world," he told Sky News on Wednesday.

The poll showed more than a third supporting the ban felt Muslims did not integrate into Australian society, with others citing concerns about terrorism and lack of uptake of Australian values.

Senator Hanson last week called for a ban, saying that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims who had "a culture and ideology incompatible with our own".

The call was rejected by senior government figures including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who stressed Australia was the world's most successful multicultural society.

While admitting the country had "issues around some of these matters" Mr Morrison said no country managed immigration as well as Australia.

"We ask people to come to this country who want to make a contribution, not take one," he said.

"Immigration has become one of the real pillars ... of our economic success."

The poll also found 62 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement about Senator Hanson: "I might not personally agree with everything she says but she is speaking for a lot of ordinary Australians" and 65 per cent said she "talks about issues other politicians too scared to tackle."

The poll found 60 per cent support for the Muslim immigration ban among coalition voters, 40 per cent from Labor and a surprising 34 per cent from Greens voters.

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim blamed the support for a ban on the Labor and Liberal parties getting too close to extremists like Senator Hanson over the past two decades.

But he says he's seen no evidence of Greens support for a ban.

"Not one Greens voter or member that I have spoken to in almost 15 years as a Greens MP believes that Australia should ban Muslim immigration," he told AAP in a statement.

Federal Labor cautioned against the findings, with leader Bill Shorten saying Australia was an immigrant country that would rely on people working together into the future.

"Other than our first Australians we all came from somewhere else," he said.

"I don't want see this country scapegoating minorities for the challenges of the bigger issues."

It was the argument of "crazy fundamentalist" Islamic extremists to say Muslims couldn't support western Liberal democracy.

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