Australia Day: Polling Has Found Growing Support to Change the Date

Change the date australia day

Each year pollsters love to take a temperature gauge of the national attitude towards our national day. While it’s almost always a minority opinion towards changing the date to something less genocidal, that minority is growing.

A new survey from YouGov has found that just 56% of respondents wanted to keep Australia Day on January 26. 35% wanted to change the date, while the remainder are undecided.

The data was used in the press to once again sure up support for Australia Day and its celebrations however that support is clearly weakening.

In 2004, polling showed that just 15% wanted the date changed, while 75% preferred to keep it the same. Almost two decades later, those figures are narrowing.

It also depends on where you are and who you are as to whether or not you think a date change is a good idea.

YouGov’s polling found that 44% of people in Victoria want the date changed, the highest proportion of any state or territory, while only 26% of those in Western Australia favour the change.

Amnesty International Indigenous Rights Campaigner Maggie Munn has said that these results indicate that more and more people are coming to understand the impact and the history of celebrating the nation on this date.

Younger generations appear to favour the date change most strongly, lending a certain air of inevitability to the idea. That of course is not guaranteed, as the day has only been a national holiday since 1994 and generations do appear to grow more conservative as they grow older.

The live-streaming app Yubo, popular amongst Gen Z, has found that 54.3% of those surveyed want the date change, while an additional 19.6% want it abolished completely. Just 26.1% said that it should remain.

This chimes with the YouGov results, which found that 49% of Gen Z want the date changed, the largest of any generation. This slips down slightly to 46% of millennials, however, it is still far above the 25% of baby boomers and 17% of the silent generation.

Polling has found a majority of support for changing the date before. In 2021, the Australia Talks National Survey found that 55% of Australians want the date changed, a shift of 12% from 2018. These results should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the statement, “given the historical significance of that date for Indigenous people” was not exactly balanced.

Still, the tide does very well appear to be turning. With a raft of Invasion and Survival Day events planned for the big day tomorrow and an increase in attendance expected, despite the COVID case numbers, it seems as though Australia’s are beginning to shift the significance of that date themselves.

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