Australians laid back about Australia Day – poll

While nearly all Australians (84%) think it is important that Australia has a national day of commemoration and celebration, most Australians (56%) don’t really mind when we hold Australia Day, so long as we do. And most people don’t know why Australia Day is held on January 26.

Polling, released today by The Australia Institute, asked a nationally representative sample of 1417 Australians about their knowledge at attitudes about Australia Day.

“This polling shows that while Australia Day is important to most Australians, most people are laid back about the date we celebrate on,” Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of The Australia Institute said.

The polling also revealed a lack of knowledge about the national holiday.

  • Only 38% correctly identified the events of that day as the First Fleet landing at Sydney Cove.
  • Another 11% said it was when the First Fleet established the NSW colony.
  • More than three quarters (77%) incorrectly said Australia Day has always been held on 26 January.

“The polling shows that most Australians don’t know what historical event Australia Day commemorates and most people are not aware it wasn’t always celebrated on this date. Perhaps that’s why more than half of Australians say they don’t really mind when we hold Australia Day, as long as we do,” said Bennett.

“When asked to choose which date Australia Day should be celebrated on, less than a quarter (23%) chose the current date from a range of options.”

Half (49%) agreed that Australia Day should not be on a day that is offensive to Indigenous Australians, while 36% disagreed. However, only 37% agreed that the current date of Australia Day is offensive to Indigenous Australians, while 46% disagreed.

“The national conversation about Australia Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn about and reflect on Australia’s history, especially the more than fifty thousand years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, and to ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be in the future,” Bennett said.

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