As it turns out, a whole bunch of you didn’t really feel inclined to celebrate Australia Day yesterday, according to research firm YouGov, who polled 1000 Aussies in both 2016 and 2017 to see how we’re feeling about the controversial holiday.
From wanting the date changed to aspiring to become a Republic, there were a lot of sentiments that didn’t involve celebrations in 2017.
Here’s a few standout facts from the study:
Nearly a third of Australians would like to see Australia as an independent republic
The Australian Republic Movement released an ad yesterday that encouraged Aussies to ditch the Monarchy and pledge their allegiance to an independent Australia. And it seems there’s a large chunk of us that feel the same.
Republican sentiments have dampened in the past year; 29 per cent of those polled would like to see Australia as an independent republic, down from 37 per cent in 2016. However, republicanism still runs strong among men and is supported by 37 per cent of men polled (compared to 21 per cent of women).
Beyond Australian borders there is further uncertainty, as China hints at flexing its economic and political muscles and Trump’s America looks set to change course from his predecessors’.
Though half of those polled (50 per cent) think Australia should foster closer ties with both countries, a quarter (25 per cent) don’t think Australia should foster ties with either. Just 14 per cent think Australia should foster closer ties with China only, slightly more than the 11 per cent who believe that closer ties should be with the US only.
33 per cent of Aussies believe that Australia Day is lacking in real meaning
Australia Day began as a means of remembering Australia’s British history and heritage, and 33 per cent of those polled still celebrate Australia Day for this reason.
But history seems to be giving way to new interpretations of Australia Day, with nearly two-thirds of people (63 per cent) believing it’s now a day to take pride in Australia’s culture, achievements, values and identity.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) would like Australia Day to focus less on history and tradition and more on the present and future.
And while 31 per cent of Aussies celebrated with family and 26 per cent with friends, for the younger generation – think 16-24 – they’re almost twice as likely to get drunk and honour the day with friends.
But not everyone was in the party mood; as many as one in five respondents (21 per cent) didn’t celebrate Australia Day at all.
The most cited reasons for not celebrating are that it’s just another normal day (45 per cent), it represents loss and injustice towards Indigenous Australians (43 per cent) and it’s lacking in real meaning (33 per cent).
Half of Australians (51 per cent) believe the prime minister is doing worse than he promised
This week’s celebrations also mask a bleak political picture. The number of those that think prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is doing a better job than his predecessor has halved, from 51 per cent in 2016 to 26 per cent this year.
The number of those that think he is doing a worse job than his predecessor has more than doubled, from eight per cent last year to 19 per cent in 2017, suggesting that Aussies are even more unsettled by our political leadership than last year.
The number of Australians who are pessimistic about the country’s future under Turnbull’s leadership has also nearly doubled in the past year, from 19 per cent to 35 per cent. Half of Australians (51 per cent) also believe that the prime minister is doing worse than he promised, while only seven per cent believe he’s doing better.
Turnbull scored lowest in social welfare, employment and the environmen, however, he scores higher for security, international relations and small and medium business, suggesting that there are issues where citizens feel he is performing better.