Roy Morgan: Two-Thirds Of Aussies Say January 26 Should Be Known As Australia Day

Roy Morgan: Two-Thirds Of Aussies Say January 26 Should Be Known As Australia Day

A Roy Morgan SMS Poll into attitudes towards January 26 shows a clear majority of 64 per cent of Australians now say the date should be known as ‘Australia Day’ – virtually unchanged from a year ago. This compares to the just over a third, 36% that say it should be called ‘Invasion Day’ according to a special Roy Morgan SMS Poll conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,231 Australians aged 18+ on the weekend from Friday January 20 to Monday January 23, 2023.

Over two-thirds of men favour ‘Australia Day’ on January 26, but Women are more evenly split

There is quite a gender difference on the question with men favouring January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ rather than ‘Invasion Day’ by a margin of over 2:1 (69% cf. 31%).

In contrast, Australia’s women are more evenly split with a narrow majority of 58% in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 42% saying it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

Support for saying January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ is down slightly on a year ago for both genders.

Australians under 35 continue to favour ‘Invasion Day’ while those over 35 favour ‘Australia Day’

The results of this survey are heavily correlated to age with a majority of Australians aged under 35 in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’. A majority of 56% of Australians aged under 25 are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ compared to 44% who say it should be known as ‘Australia Day’.

There is a very similar result for their slightly older counterparts aged 25-34 with 53% in favour of the day being known as ‘Invasion Day’ compared to 47% who say it should be known as ‘Australia Day’.

Support for January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ increases for each successive age group above the age of 35. Almost three-fifths of people aged 35-49 are in favour of ‘Australia Day’ (59% cf. 41%) and this margin increases substantially for those aged 50-64 (73% cf. 27%) and 65+ (81% cf. 19%).

Interestingly, the largest shift over the last year has been for younger people aged under 25 with support for January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ growing significantly by 8% points for this age group. In contrast, the largest movement in the other direction has been for people aged 35-49 for whom support for January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ has increased by 6% points from a year ago.

ALP & L-NP voters favour ‘Australia Day’ whereas Greens voters increasingly favour ‘Invasion Day’

L-NP supporters favour January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ rather than ‘Invasion Day’ by a margin of almost three-to-one, 74% (down 2% points from a year ago) cf. 26% (up 2% points) – while almost two-thirds of ALP supporters favour ‘Australia Day’ (63%, down 2% points from a year ago) cf. ‘Invasion Day’ (37%, up 2% points).

In contrast, an increasing majority of Greens supporters are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ (63%, up 7% points from a year ago) rather than ‘Australia Day’ (44%, down 7% points).

Supporters of Independents and Others, including Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, are increasingly in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ (80%, up 12% points) compared to only 20% (down 12% points) that say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

Over two-thirds of people in Queensland and Western Australia but only 54% in Victoria are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’

Over two-thirds of people in both Queensland (69% cf. 31%) and Western Australia (71% cf. 29%) are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ instead of ‘Invasion Day’ – the highest support for retaining the holiday as it currently is of any of the six States.

Support for the existing arrangement is also strong in several States with over three-fifths of people in New South Wales (66% cf. 34%), South Australia (66% cf. 34%) and Tasmania (61% cf. 39%) in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ instead of ‘Invasion Day’.

However, in Victoria there is only a narrow majority in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ (54%) rather than ‘Invasion Day’ (46%). Support for the date being known as ‘Invasion Day’ has increased by 8% points from a year ago – the largest change in any of the six States.

There is significant divergence between Australia’s Capital Cities and those in Country Regions. A declining majority of 59% (down 4% points on a year ago) of people in Capital Cities say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 41% (up 4% points) opting for ‘Invasion Day’.

In Country Regions the difference is far starker with well over two-thirds (71%, up 2% points on a year ago) saying the day should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 29% (down 2% points) for ‘Invasion Day’.

Michele Levine CEO Roy Morgan, says support for January 26 remaining as ‘Australia Day’ has held largely steady over the last year with the support of 64% of Australians compared to 36% who are in favour of calling the day ‘Invasion Day’:

The issue of Australia Day is once again on people’s minds and similarly to a year ago just under two-thirds of Australians (64%) say they support January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 36% who say the day should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

“There is strong support for continuing to regard January 26 as ‘Australia Day’ amongst men (71% in favour), people aged 65+ (81%) and 50-64 (73%), people in Country Regions (71%) and in the states of Western Australia (71%) and Queensland (69%).

“Of the major party voters it is unsurprisingly L-NP supporters (74% in favour) who are the strongest proponents of leaving Australia Day as it is but almost two-thirds of ALP supporters (63%) also support January 26 remaining as ‘Australia Day’.

“There is softer support for retaining January 26 as ‘Australia Day’ amongst women (58% in favour), people in Capital Cities (59%), people aged 35-49 (59%) and especially people in Victoria who are almost split down the middle on the issue (54% in favour of ‘Australia Day’ and 46% who say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’).

“However, there are several key demographic groups who disagree and say January 26 should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ led by younger Australians aged under 25 (56% in favour of ‘Invasion Day’), people aged 25-34 (53%) and almost two-thirds of Greens supporters (63%).

“The issue has taken on added importance this year with the Albanese Government’s stated commitment to a referendum on ‘The Voice to Parliament’ set to be held later this year. There are even protest marches organised for Australia Day this year against the proposed referendum question by indigenous activists who say there should be a Treaty before there is a ‘Voice to Parliament’.

“A special Roy Morgan SMS Poll on the proposed ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Voice to Parliament’ taken in mid-December shows a narrow majority of 53% of Australians in favour of ‘The Voice’, just under a third, 30%, against and 17% undecided. It’s a complicated and contentious issue.

“It is worth remembering when considering this issue that Australia Day has only been celebrated nation-wide on January 26 for less than 30 years. As recently as 1994 the Australia Day public holiday was taken on Monday January 31 – the first Monday after January 26.

“The outcome of the ‘Voice to Parliament’ referendum is likely to play a key role in discussions surrounding Australia Day and whether it remains on January 26 in the years ahead.”




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