Bennelong By-Election and the “Chinese vote”

Bennelong By-Election and the “Chinese vote”

China has exploded as a by-election issue in Bennelong.

How much will it affect Saturday’s result? IDENTITY Communications reckons it’s more nuanced than the current commentary.

The Liberal Party could suffer in Bennelong as a result of the Turnbull government’s “anti-Chinese” rhetoric over the Sam Dastyari donations scandal according to Australia’s first Chinese-born parliamentarian, Helen Sham-Ho. “I think (Chinese-born voters) think the government is anti-Chinese at this point in time.” she argues on ABC Radio.

By “anti-Chinese” Ms Sham-Ho means “anti-China”. China-born residents make up a large percentage of Chinese speakers in the electorate. However, there is also a significant number of people from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan as well as second generation Chinese speaking Australians. Source: 2016 ABS Census.Bennelong Chinese country of birth

While the perceived anti-China rhetoric may impact voters born in China, arguably, it’s of less interest to those born in Australia, with lesser ties to China. China’s relationship with Hong Kong is still rocky, anti-China sentiment runs strong in some quarters. Taiwan’s relationship with China is complex at best. Arguably, standing up to China might not be such as bad thing for these groups.

What about other migrant groups in Bennelong?

China-born residents are the second largest birth place in the electorate (after Australia-born). There’s a significant gap in size to the next group, residents born in South Korea

Bennelong Chinese country of birth

The relationship between these two countries was deeply damaged last July when Seoul agreed to install the US-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense platform on its land. That led to boycott of Korean products in China. Hyundai Elantra, China’s fourth top selling car in 2016, dropped to number 18 so far in 2017. The dispute between China and South Korea over THAAD is only starting to cool.

China India supercar protest Sydney Today

The recent China-India border dispute played out in Australia with Chinese students at Sydney University protesting against the use of an outdated map depicting the border of China and India. A week earlier, members of the local Chinese community used 70th India’s Independence Day to highlight the border dispute by driving their flashy supercars around Sydney. The last stop of the drive by protest was the Consulate General of India in Sydney (image above courtesy of Sydney Today). Arguably, Indian-born voters in Bennelong might welcome a more assertive Australian stance in relation to China.

China-born vote

Of course, all this talk about homeland politics ignore the role of bread and butter local issues such as health, education, national security, etc. For migrants who come to Australia seeking a better life for themselves and their children, these issues also rank.

Regardless of whether John Alexander or Kristina Keneally wins on Saturday, the issues in Bennelong are  more complex than perceived pro or anti-China rhetoric, and who stays and who resigns.

Additional notes

As pointed out by Robert Simons, when you take into account Australian Citizenship, the above numbers may change. As there has been a dramatic increase in number of arrivals from China in recent years, this could potentially reduce the number of eligible voters born in China.


Top Languages Spoken in NSW

Top Languages Spoken in NSW

Key multicultural stats for NSW from the 2016 Census.

NSW is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse states where one in four (25%) speaks a language other than English at home. In Sydney the figure rises to one in three (36%). This is due to the high concentration of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) audiences in greater Sydney, only 8% of CALD audiences live outside of Sydney.

Top languages spoken in NSW
The top languages (other than English) spoken at home in NSW and their English proficiency are shown below. The top five languages are unchanged since 2006, however the order have changed.

Mandarin is now the state’s most spoken language, overtaking Arabic. Mandarin is up 72% since the past Census, Hindi is up by 27% and Korean by 26%. All language groups in the top 10 have recorded increases except Greek, down 6% and Italian, down 9% since the 2011 Census.

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Note: does not include English and Not Stated. Low Proficiency include “Not Well” or “Not at All”, High Proficiency include “Well” or “Very Well” in relation to English language proficiency.

Top local government areas (LGAs) ranked by the percentage of residents who speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home in NSW.

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Note: Unincorporated NSW, No usual address (NSW) and Migratory – Offshore – Shipping (NSW).

NSW is home to over 216,000 people who identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander more than any other Australian state or territory. This is an increase of 25% since the 2011 Census. Seven in 10 of the community (68%) live outside greater Sydney.

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As always, get in touch if you have any questions on how to reach multicultural audiences.

Please read other IDENTITY posts for data from the 2016 Census on:

If you found this information useful, please feel free to share to your networks.

Credit: Image courtesy of SBS.

Top Languages Spoken in Victoria

Top Languages Spoken in Victoria

Key Victorian multicultural stats from the 2016 Census.

IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency has compiled key multicultural data from the latest Census:

  • Top languages spoken in Victoria, including those with low English language proficiency.
  • Top local government areas ranked by the number of residents who speak a language other than English at home.

Top languages spoken in Victoria (other than English).

Mandarin speakers in Victoria has increased by 85% in the five years between the last two Censuses (2011-2016). It has overtaken Italian and Greek to be the most spoken language, other than English in Victoria. Over the same period, Italian speakers have declined by 10%, Greek by 5%, while Vietnamese has increased by 19% and Cantonese by 7%.

[table id=7 /]

Note: “Not Stated” is not included. Low Proficiency include “Not Well” or “Not at All”, High Proficiency include “Well” or “Very Well” in relation to English language proficiency.

Top local government areas (LGAs) ranked by the number of residents who speak a language other than English at home in Victoria.

Brimbank LGA has the highest number of residents who speak a language at home with over 113,000 people followed by Casey. However, in terms of percentage of residents who speak a language other than English at home, Greater Dandenong tops the list with 64% followed by Brimbank.

[table id=8 /]

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Status by Age and Gender in Victoria.

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Let me know if there are other data you’re interested in and we’ll put them up on our website.

If you found this information useful, please feel free to share to your networks. 


How To Engage A Multicultural Audience Through BTL Activities?

How To Engage A Multicultural Audience Through BTL Activities?

Think more than just advertising when you’re planning a multicultural marketing campaign, writes Brenda Leung, IDENTITY’s Insights Manager. 

Below The Line (BTL) activities should be part of an integrated communication strategy, complementing Above The Line (ATL) components whilst being relevant and specific to the multicultural communities drivers. While ATL advertising is important in creating general awareness, a strategic non-media/public relations approach is critical to build credibility, understanding and engagement through positive environment and stakeholder participation.

An effective BTL campaign should be able to create a pull by identifying core drivers to create interest and drive urgency amongst the target audiences, encouraging action amongst the communities.

Why do BTL activities work well for CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) audiences?

When we understand the characteristics of CALD values, we will see the opportunities.

Diwali Federation Square

Diwali, Federation Square Melbourne. Image credit Indian Link

Collectivism is a predominant basic cultural element amongst many CALD communities. They value the importance of cohesion within social groups. Goals are more possibly achieved through collaborative efforts through participation from a group of people rather than individual. Understanding this mindset of “partnership” and “companionship” amongst CALD communities, group activities that involves group participation can be more effective.

Family orientated and communal group of people, especially the Asian and Middle East communities, tend to settle in suburbs that are highly populated with the people from their community, forming segregated communities. This provides location advantages in implementing local area engagement such as community/cultural events which are always taken as a chance to socialise with someone who shares the same cultural backgrounds.

Tapping into these local events is a key tactic to engage within the comforts of their environment. Taking ‘stall’ and sponsorship options at these festivals enables more effective engagement across a higher number of CALD community attendants. Some festivals attract over 100,000 people.

The presence at these local community/cultural events can be used to not only provide an official ‘information source’ of brands at grass root level, but also build awareness on ground and further drive responsiveness by engaging the target audience.

SBS Migrant Map

Credit: Where Australia’s immigrants were born, SBS

Other support tactics include multilingual letter box drop in local areas with large population size of target communities. CALD grocery stores also play a major role in information dissemination to large numbers of people. These stores frequently have bulletin boards where bi-lingual posters for local community residents are posted. Bi-lingual flyers are made available at the check-out counters for store visitors to pick up, or to be put in the shopping bags.

Community/Religious leaders and professionals are highly regarded by the CALD communities, who initiate engagement with new schemes, products and services, playing an important role during their process of decision making.

Influencer engagement can be done by identifying the key spokespeople from the community and engaging them to support key messages, providing a solid basis in building the credibility. Their presence at interviews and local events can provide the local and in-community face of the campaign to engage with the public.

The CALD audience are closely-knit groups of people, in conjunction with the ease and comfort factor in dealing with people within their network. Members in personal, community, religious or social groups are regarded as one of the most reliable sources of information. We want to get the target communities to engage with the campaign through creating greater understanding and awareness, subsequently it helps create a multiplier effect through word of mouth with friends and family.

There is visible dependency on own community media as a core information tool amongst the CALD communities, which should be leveraged. This kind of media outreach activities, such as media release and live reads, can significantly impact the success of changes in awareness and attitudes as the ethnic media are credible and trusted information sources.

CALD communities are passionate, and non-advertising tactics can facilitate an emotional connection with your campaign.

NITV And IPG Mediabrands Announce Unique Indigenous Partnership

NITV And IPG Mediabrands Announce Unique Indigenous Partnership

Justified criticism about the lack of diversity is good. We think providing positive solutions is better. 

Rightly, the lack of diversity in the Australian media and advertising industry have been pointed out by organisations and individuals; not enough diversity on our screens, in our TV commercials and in the staff that creative and media agencies hire. For decades, multicultural marketing agencies have highlighted the benefits of multicultural marketing. The industry has long argued that advertisers should invest more advertising budget to multicultural or “ethnic” marketing.

NITV IPG Mediabrands Partnership

L-R: Wei Ng (IDENTITY Communications), Mark Ella (NITV), Danny Bass (IPG Mediabrands), Glenn Hamilton (NITV), Thang Ngo (IDENTITY Communications).

IDENTITY Communications are hugely proud to lead an IPG Mediabrands-wide initiative aimed at increasing investment in Indigenous media as well as improving employment opportunities Indigenous Australians. The NITV and IPG Mediabrands partnership announced this week is a first in Australia. The partnership is supported and sponsored by Danny Bass, IPG Mediabrands CEO.

We’re hugely proud to play a role that takes the debate beyond debate and criticism, to providing one solution to this complex issue. Details of the Indigenous partnership between NITV and IPG Mediabrands are contained in the media release below.

IDENTITY will be announcing other Australian first multicultural marketing initiatives in coming months.



May 23, 2017: Australia’s National Indigenous Television network (NITV) and IPG Mediabrands have announced a unique partnership to raise awareness of the potential of Indigenous audiences within IPG Mediabrands’ client base. The partnership aims to increase investment from Mediabrands on NITV to help support more production of Indigenous content on the network.

NITV is a free-to-air channel led by and focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The channel commissions or acquires content primarily from the Indigenous production sector. It was founded in 2007, then launched as part of SBS in 2012 and currently reaches more than two million unique viewers a month. It is available in 95% of Australian homes.

The agreement is a first in Australia. NITV will help Mediabrands businesses develop a greater understanding of Indigenous communities and help develop insights, strategies and connections for client teams. Mediabrands will help NITV unlock greater investment into Indigenous media and create opportunities for improved representation across the marketing industry.

NITV Executive, Mark Ella said, “Australia’s Indigenous audience are sometimes stereotyped by advertisers who overlook the rich diversity of our people. This partnership will help us to understand what clients are looking for and bring the potential of our audiences to Mediabrands’ clients in an authentic way. It is a true partnership that offers both sides unique benefits.”

Danny Bass, CEO of IPG Mediabrands Australia, said there was both a need and a responsibility for the Media Industry to be far more inclusive of Indigenous people and minorities. “Our industry is a major contributor to helping shape the culture of Australia and that culture has been shaped in great part by our Indigenous People. The partnership with NITV is a two-way lens for brands and Indigenous people to influence each other in the digital world. More broadly, Mediabrands is fully committed to providing roles for Indigenous people within our business.”

At IPG Mediabrands the partnership with NITV will be led by the group’s multicultural division, IDENTITYCommunications. Thang Ngo, Managing Director of IDENTITY Communications, said, “Diversity and representation are topical issues in the industry. This partnership moves beyond debate and criticism to solutions that aim to make a tangible difference.”

The partnership allows for joint internship programs and NITV support in development of an IPG Mediabrands Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The partnership is effective immediately.


5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

IDENTITY Communications are predicting the multicultural marketing industry in Australia will change dramatically in 2017.  Here’s why.

We’re not talking about terminology and semantics which have changed over time such as NESB (non-English speaking background) and LOTE (languages other than English) being replaced by CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse), refugee with asylum seeker, ethnic marketing with multicultural marketing

Beyond descriptors, we believe there are five key trends in multicultural marketing that will change the industry forever. And it will happen in 2017.

Multicultural Marketing

1. Census 2016
The multicultural industry relies on Census data to quantify the size of the opportunity. Size and English language proficiency are two data points referenced frequently by multicultural agencies. While Census 2016 isn’t in itself a trend – it’s the trend in the data that will make a big splash.

We predict when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the full 2016 Census data on 27 June, the multicultural opportunity will be more compelling than ever before. We’re predicting it will show the Chinese speaking community in Australia will pass 1 million people for the first time and that Mandarin, followed by Cantonese, will be the two most spoken languages in Australia (other than English). Our modelling suggests Australia’s population will increase by 11% between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, however, the China-born population will increase by 90% during the same period.

2. Data, Insights & Strategy
While Census 2016 will help multicultural marketing agencies get in front of the client, the general lack of CALD data and insights to inform strategy will continue to be a major set-back. Roy Morgan, with relatively small migrant sample sizes, is of limited help. There are still no independent media consumption data sources for in-language print, radio and TV (most print publications are not audited) and consumer insight research is severely lacking for CALD audiences.

Similarly, it’s not enough to respond to a client brief with a media schedule. Those days are over. Clients expect data, insights and strategic thinking to inform the agency’s recommendations.

Multicultural marketing is more than translation and agencies that invest in data, insights and build up their strategic offering will gain a significant competitive advantage.

3. Collaboration & Consolidation
Multicultural agencies have tended to work independently of ‘mainstream’ media and creative agencies. That’s another agency in addition to media, creative, digital, PR, social and search agencies for a time-poor client to manage. There’s been a trend back to the full service agency model, and we believe it will impact the multicultural marketing sector. Multicultural agencies that understand how mainstream agencies work and can collaborate seamlessly, will reap the rewards. Similarly multicultural agencies that are part of a larger mainstream marketing communications group will benefit by being a part of that group’s comprehensive offering.

4. Shift from Traditional Media
The shift from in-language traditional media to digital, social and mobile is on. It’s no longer enough to spend the bulk of a client’s budget on ethnic print or radio channels. And increasingly, it’s not enough to recommend a couple of Facebook and WeChat posts as add-on. Programmatic, data, retargeting, building ‘look alike’ audiences, community management, influencer marketing, search and SEO are expertise that will distinguish successful multicultural marketing agencies from the also-rans.

5. Multicultural is dated?
Just as multicultural replaced ethnic, CALD replaced NESB, there’s an argument that multicultural is an out-dated concept. Supporters of the change argue that multicultural often refers to different ethnic backgrounds, but if we’re talking about embracing diversity what about sexual orientation, indigenous, age, ability, etc. In California, Latinos have outnumbered Whites since 2015 – what’s multicultural and what’s mainstream in this context? Rather than differentiating with multicultural, should we not look at cultural marketing that recognises similarities and differences? Some say polyculturalism should replace multiculturalism.

Whatever term we’ll end up using in the future, the undeniable truth is that cultural diversity is here to stay and clients are looking to their agencies for effective strategies to reach this valuable and growing market.

That’s our view. Do you agree? Are there any other trends in multicultural marketing that you’ve picked up? We’d love to hear your thoughts.