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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1996  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/1996   
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Contents >> Population >> Population Composition: Expanding links with Asia

Population Composition: Expanding links with Asia

Australia's international outlook has changed in the past decade. Increasingly the focus is on Asia.

Over the past decade Australian involvement with, and focus on, Asia has increased. This has been a gradual change although the rate of change has varied for different sectors of Australian society.

Approximately 55% of the world's population lives in Asia and there are many diverse cultures and economies. It is also a region experiencing rapid economic growth with a 31% increase in its share of the world's trade in the last decade.

International trade between Australia and Asia has increased and the region now includes some of our largest trading partners. Cultural links have been fostered through the sister-city programs between many Asian and Australian towns. Cultural links have also increased as many Australians were born in Asia or have families originating from this region. Educational links have increased as many Asian students come to further their education in Australia. Business links have increased due to substantially increased investment by Australian and Asian businesses in each others' countries.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS ASIA?



Classification of Asia

The Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS) (1269.0) classifies countries into three Asian regions. Southeast Asia consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Northeast Asia consists of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan. Southern Asia consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and, since July 1995, Viet Nam. It was founded in 1967 to foster economic cooperation between the member countries.

The Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and USA. APEC was formed in 1989 out of the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council (PECC). One of APEC's major goals is to develop free trade in the region.

OVERSEAS BORN BY COUNTRY OF BIRTH

At 30 June

1985
1995P
Selected countries of birth
%
%

Asia
11.7
21.0
    Viet Nam
2.4
3.6
    China
1.1
2.2
    Philippines
0.9
2.2
    Malaysia
1.4
2.2
    Hong Kong & Macau
0.8
2.2
    India
1.5
1.9
    Sri Lanka
0.7
1.1
    Indonesia
0.7
1.0
    Singapore
0.5
0.9
    Other
1.9
3.6
Total overseas born
100.0
100.0
'000
'000
Total overseas born
3,325.6
4,122.3

Source: Migration, Australia (3412.0)


Population
In 1995 there were 866,000 Asian born Australians. They accounted for 21% of the overseas born population, and 5% of the total population. In 1985 Asian born Australians represented 12% of the overseas born population and 2% of the total population.

In 1995, the largest single Asian country of birth group, with 4% of the overseas born, was Viet Nam. In addition, just over 2% of overseas born Australians were from each of China, Philippines, Malaysia, and Hong Kong and Macau.

Settler arrivals
The number of settler arrivals varies with the economic and political situations in the countries of origin as well as on the situation in Australia (see Australian Social Trends 1994, Birthplaces of Australia's settlers). In 1995, 38% of settlers arriving in Australia (37,300) had been born in an Asian country. This represented a drop from the peak of 51% in 1991 but is still higher than at any time prior to the 1980s. In 1975, 15% of settlers had been born in Asia (8,200).

In 1995, 15% of settlers had been born in Southeast Asia, including 5% in Viet Nam. Vietnamese immigration to Australia has been in two waves with the initial flow in the late 1970s and early 1980s and a second wave in the early 1990s. The proportion of settlers from China increased from 1% in 1975 to 8% in 1995.

In addition to the 37,300 settler arrivals, in 1995 there were 45,500 long-term visitor arrivals of people born in Asian countries. These are people who visit Australia intending to stay for 12 months or more. Many of these came to Australia to study.

BIRTHPLACE OF SETTLER ARRIVALS

1975
1980
1985
1987
1989
1991
1993
1995
Birthplace
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Southeast Asia
8.6
22.4
21.3
21.2
22.7
21.6
20.4
15.0
    Viet Nam
2.1
13.2
8.9
4.9
7.7
9.1
8.6
4.8
    Philippines
2.0
2.7
4.6
7.0
5.3
5.6
5.7
3.9
    Malaysia
2.1
1.9
2.9
4.0
5.3
3.8
2.0
1.1
Northeast Asia
2.9
2.9
9.2
8.4
12.4
20.1
13.1
14.7
    China
1.1
1.5
3.9
2.4
2.6
2.9
3.9
7.6
    Hong Kong
1.4
0.8
3.6
3.3
5.6
12.4
5.8
4.6
Southern Asia
3.7
1.5
5.2
5.2
4.4
9.1
7.5
8.7
    India
2.4
0.9
2.5
2.2
2.3
5.0
3.8
4.4
Total Asia
15.2
26.7
35.7
34.8
39.5
50.9
40.9
38.5

Source: Overseas Arrivals and Departures (unpublished data)


Overseas students in higher education
Overseas students are those who normally reside overseas and enter Australia on student visas to attend formal courses. In 1993, 42,600 overseas students were enrolled in higher education courses. Nine of the ten largest source countries of these overseas students were Asian (see Australian Social Trends 1995 Overseas students in higher education). In 1994 this pattern continued with the largest source countries being Hong Kong and Malaysia (both 17% of overseas students) and Singapore (15%). Asian overseas students accounted for 72% of overseas students in Australia.

Australians moving to Asia
In 1995, 4,700 people left Australia permanently to take up residence in Asia. 48% of these were people who had come to Australia with the intention of settling. A further 19,700 Australian residents left Australia for Asian countries intending to stay overseas for 12 months or more. Overall, Asian destinations accounted for 25% of all permanent and long-term departures of residents. The most common Asian destinations were Hong Kong (7%), Singapore (3%) and Malaysia (3%).

Asians visiting Australia
In 1995, 3.7 million people visited Australia for a period of less than 12 months (short-term visits). 50% of them were residents of Asian countries. In comparison, residents of Asian countries accounted for 23% of all short-term visits to Australia in 1985.

In 1995, 1.4 million (75%) short-term visits to Australia by Asian residents were for holidays. This was considerably higher than the proportion of other short-term visitors coming to Australia for holidays (46%). 8% (150,000) of Asian visitors came to visit friends or relations compared to 30% of all other visitors. This difference is largely due to the smaller population of Asian migrants and second generation Asian-Australians.

Many short-term visitors to Australia came from Japan. In 1995 residents from this one country alone accounted for 21% of all short-term visitors. Ten years earlier, Japanese visitors had accounted for 9% of short-term visitors. 89% of Japanese visitors in 1995 came for a holiday.

More Japanese residents (783,000) visited Australia than residents of any other country in 1995. This was more than seven times the number who had visited in 1985. In addition, 202,000 Singapore residents came to Australia as short-term visitors as well as between 130,000 and 160,000 residents of each of Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The numbers of visitors from South Korea and Taiwan in particular have increased considerably. In 1985 they each accounted for less than 10,000 visitors.

SHORT-TERM VISITS FOR HOLIDAYS


Source: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (unpublished data)

SHORT-TERM VISITS TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS


Source: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (unpublished data)


Australians visiting Asia
In 1995, 939,000 Australians travelled to Asia for short-term visits. This had increased from 445,000 in 1985. The numbers of Australians visiting Asia for holidays have been fairly stable over the last ten years. In comparison the numbers of those visiting relatives and friends and those making short-term business, employment or convention trips have increased.

In 1995 Indonesia was the most popular destination in Asia, accounting for 9% of all short-term trips overseas and 24% of short-term trips to Asia. Australians were more likely to go on holidays to Indonesia than to any other Asian country. 74% of all short-term trips to Indonesia were for holidays.

The number of short-term trips made to visit friends and relatives in Asia has increased over the last decade in line with increased immigration from the region. 61% (24,800) of trips to Viet Nam in 1995 were for this reason as were 46% (23,500) of trips to the Philippines.

Business trips have also increased, with 259,000 Australian residents visiting Asia for business and employment purposes in 1995. 200,000 of these were for business alone, up from 58,600 in 1985. These trips represented 21% of all short-term trips to Asia in 1995 and 13% in 1985. In comparison, 17% of world-wide trips in 1995 and 12% in 1985 were for business. The increasing number of business trips to Asia reflects Australia's stronger economic ties with the region.

MAIN REASON FOR SHORT-TERM VISITS OVERSEAS BY AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS, 1995

Holiday
Visit friends/relatives
Business
Convention/conference
Employment
Total(a)
Total(a)
Main destination
%
%
%
%
%
%
'000

Asia
45.7
22.2
21.3
3.0
3.4
100.0
938.9
    Indonesia
73.7
5.4
12.3
2.7
2.6
100.0
222.2
    Hong Kong
38.0
23.4
26.7
2.9
4.7
100.0
156.9
    Singapore
40.2
16.5
29.0
4.8
5.2
100.0
95.0
    Malaysia
38.5
25.6
24.5
3.1
3.8
100.0
88.6
    Thailand
63.6
11.1
16.4
3.3
2.3
100.0
75.3
    Philippines
33.1
45.6
14.5
2.1
0.9
100.0
51.5
    Viet Nam
19.0
61.1
14.0
0.6
2.7
100.0
40.6
World
45.3
25.6
17.4
4.0
2.9
100.0
2,518.6

(a) Includes other reasons.

Source: Overseas Arrivals and Departures (unpublished data)

SHORT-TERM VISITS FOR BUSINESS(a) AND EMPLOYMENT



(a) Includes visits for conferences and conventions.

Source: Overseas arrivals and departures (unpublished data)


International investment
At 30 June 1994, Australia had $130 billion invested overseas, and other countries had $370 billion invested in Australia. This had increased from $201 billion in 1988. Despite the fall in Asia's share of international investment in Australia, from 22% to 20%, there was an overall increase in the amount of Asia's investment in Australia from $43 billion to $76 billion. Asia's share of Australia's international investment increased from 9% to 17% ($7 billion to $22 billion) over the same period.

Much of Australia's investment interest is still in the UK and the USA. The proportions of Australian investment in these countries were 20% and 24% respectively at 30 June 1994. Correspondingly these countries were also the largest investors in Australia.

Japan was Australia's largest Asian investor holding 13% of overseas investments in Australia at 30 June 1994. However Japan's share of overseas investment in Australia has been decreasing since a high of 18% at 30 June 1990. Australia's investment in Japan continues to rise. At 30 June 1994, 8% of all Australian investments abroad were in Japan.

AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT POSITION

Foreign investment in Australia
Australian investment overseas


At 30 June 1988
At 30 June 1994
At 30 June 1988
At 30 June 1994
Selected countries
%
%
%
%

ASEAN
4.1
2.5
2.1
5.1
    Indonesia
* *
0.1
0.1
0.5
    Malaysia
0.2
0.3
0.2
1.6
    Singapore
3.4
2.1
1.5
2.4
China
* *
0.6
* *
0.2
Hong Kong
2.4
3.9
2.8
2.7
Japan
14.9
13.2
4.5
8.2
Korea, Republic of
* *
0.1
* *
0.5
Total Asia
21.5
20.4
9.5
17.0
USA
20.2
23.0
27.9
24.2
UK
22.0
20.1
17.5
19.5
$million
$ million
$million
$ million
World
200,792
370,262
74,619
130,181

Source: Balance of Payments and International Investment Position (5363.0)


International trade in goods
In 1994-95, 63% of Australia's exports in goods went to Asia and 39% of Australia's imports in goods came from Asia.

Japan is Australia's largest trading partner, receiving 24% of Australia's exports in 1994-95 and providing 17% of Australia's imports. Japan has been Australia's largest trading partner since 1954. However, over the last decade, Australia's share of Japan's trade has decreased. Japan is the largest trading partner of many countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia has increased trade with the ASEAN nations over the last decade. Exports to ASEAN countries grew from 8% of all exports in 1984-85 to 15% in 1994-95. Over the same period imports from ASEAN countries grew from 6% of all imports to 9%.

Part of the growth in Australia's trade with Asia is due to the Asian economies growing faster than our other trading partners', and so increasing their share of Australia's trade. However Australia's share of trade with many Asian countries has actually decreased over the past decade because their trade with other countries has grown at an even faster rate than their trade with Australia. For example, Australia's share of Japan's trade decreased from 4.1% in 1984 to 3.3% in 1994. One major exception to this was Indonesia, where Australia's share of trade increased from 1.8% to 3.4% between 1984 and 1994.

AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN GOODS

Australian exports
Australian imports
Australia's share of country's trade(a)



Selected countries
1984-85
1994-95
1984-85
1994-95
1984
1994
%
%
%
%
%
%

ASEAN
7.7
15.5
5.7
8.6
2.4
2.2
    Indonesia
1.5
3.2
1.3
1.6
1.8
3.4
    Malaysia
2.1
3.0
1.1
1.9
2.7
2.3
    Singapore
2.7
5.4
2.5
3.0
2.9
1.9
China
3.7
4.4
1.3
4.9
2.2
1.7
Hong Kong
2.9
3.9
2.3
1.2
1.9
1.1
Japan
27.7
24.3
22.8
17.1
4.1
3.3
Korea, Republic of
4.0
7.8
1.6
2.7
2.5
2.5
Asia
50.7
62.8
38.3
39.0
3.0
2.4
UK
3.2
3.4
6.8
5.9
1.2
1.1
USA
12.0
6.9
22.1
21.5
1.4
1.1
World
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
1.3
1.2
$million
$million
$million
$million
World
28,874
66,984
29,021
74,620
. .
. .

(a) Total trade of each country or group with Australia as a proportion of the total trade of each country with the world, in $US. Total trade is the sum of imports and exports.

Source: International Merchandise Trade Australia (5422.0); International Monetary Fund Directory of Trade Statistics Yearbook, 1995


International trade in services
There has been high growth in trade in services over the last decade. On a world-wide scale Australian imports of services are higher than exports but in Australia's trade with many Asian countries, the reverse is true. In particular services exports to Japan have continued to increase while services imports have declined in proportional terms. Much of the increase in trade in services with Asian countries has been through tourism and overseas students. As a consequence of this, travel has been the largest service provided to most Asian countries.

AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN SERVICES

Exports
Imports


1984-85
1993-94
1984-85
1993-94
Selected countries
%
%
%
%

ASEAN
12.7
15.2
9.8
12.6
    Indonesia
2.5
3.3
1.6
2.7
    Malaysia
3.4
3.5
1.8
2.6
    Singapore
3.8
5.5
4.3
4.7
China
0.9
1.5
0.9
1.7
Hong Kong
3.0
4.4
5.4
4.3
Japan
12.0
17.3
9.6
7.7
Korea, Republic of
0.2
2.5
0.2
1.4
UK
13.3
9.2
18.5
17.0
USA
15.7
12.5
15.6
14.4
World
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
$ million
$ million
$ million
$ million
World
5,836
18,688
9,570
19,497

Source: Balance of Payments: Detailed Regional Series (5338.A); Balance of Payments and International Investment Position (5363.0)


Federal government
In line with strengthening economic and cultural links with Asia, the Federal government has also increased ties with Asian nations. Australia is a member of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation) and in 1994-95 '...continued to place high priority on the successful development of APEC, given its potential to advance Australia's regional and global national interests.'1 In December 1995 the government announced a new security alliance with Indonesia. This calls on both nations to consult with each other on external security issues.

In 1995, 2,338 people were employed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australian overseas missions. 40% of them were employed in Asia, comprising 28% locally engaged staff and 12% Australian-based staff. These proportions have gradually increased since 1985 when 31% of DFAT overseas staff were employed in Asia, 21% locally engaged and 9% Australian-based. This proportional increase occurred despite an overall decrease in the number of overseas staff employed by DFAT throughout the world.

At 30 June 1995, there were also 31 Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID, formerly AIDAB) staff at Australian missions in Asia, an increase from 24 in 1990 and 18 in 1985. Australian aid to the Asian region in 1994-95 totalled $565 million, 38% of Australia's total aid for the year.

In 1994-95 Indonesia had the largest proportion of DFAT overseas staff in an Asian country at 5%. Between 1985 and 1995, China experienced the largest increase in staff numbers becoming the second largest DFAT overseas post in Asia in 1995. Laos and Viet Nam experienced the largest proportional increases in staff with Laos more than tripling and Viet Nam more than doubling.

Visits to Laos and Viet Nam by Australian ministers have also increased over the last few years, from none in 1985-86 to 4 visits each in 1993-94. Thailand also experienced a large increase in the number of visits, from 2 to 7 over the same period. Overall the proportion of ministers' overseas visits to Asian nations has increased, from 36% in 1985-86 to 48% in 1993-94.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE STAFF(a)

At 30 June

1985
1990
1995
Selected countries
%
%
%

Asia
30.7
33.2
40.3
    Indonesia
4.1
4.2
5.3
    China
2.0
3.7
3.9
    India
4.1
4.1
3.8
    Japan
2.7
3.2
3.5
    Thailand
2.9
2.7
3.3
    Malaysia
2.7
2.9
2.5
    Hong Kong
1.9
2.2
1.8
    Singapore
1.9
1.9
1.8
    Philippines
1.9
2.0
1.8
    Laos
0.4
0.4
1.8
    Viet Nam
0.6
0.7
1.7
Total overseas staff
100.0
100.0
100.0
no.
no.
no.
Total overseas staff
2,702
2,855
2,338

(a) Comprises Australian-based staff in missions, high commissions, embassies and consulates, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded locally engaged staff.

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report

FEDERAL MINISTERIAL VISITS(a)

Year to June

1986
1989
1992
1994
Selected countries
no.
no.
no.
no.

Indonesia
3
4
6
10
Japan
4
9
7
9
Thailand
2
4
8
7
Singapore
4
3
10
7
Hong Kong
5
6
12
5
Laos
-
1
3
4
Viet Nam
-
1
3
4
Malaysia
2
1
5
3
China
4
6
4
2
Total trips to Asia
16
22
35
29
Total overseas trips
45
58
83
61

(a) Includes all official ministerial visits made. As a minister usually visits more than one country in one trip the components do not add to the total. For some trips not all the countries visited in Asia were specified.

Source: Department of Administrative Services (unpublished data)


Endnotes
1 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Annual Report 1994-95.


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