According to the Social Progress Index, Australia’s education, medical care and nutrition levels have helped the country, but low levels of tolerance and inclusiveness kept Australia’s overall ranking below Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands. New Zealand also rated higher than Australia on rights and tolerance, whilst both struggled with improving environmental quality.
Australia was also pushed down to ninth from fourth position last year because its inclusion of immigrants was among the lowest in the top 10, according to Gallup World Poll data.
The Turnbull government announced immigration measures in April this year that will see further tough restrictions on skilled migrants and has been widely criticised by the international community for the treatment of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.
The index measures the performance of 128 countries across three dimensions – basic human needs such as water and shelter, well-being such as health and education and opportunity such as equality, personal rights and access to advanced education.