If you listened to the current media commentary and the various leftist activist popping up on our screens to tell us we need to change the date you would think Australia Day is an extremely divisive issue in the wider Australia community.
Leftists believe changing Australia Day is the next social justice cause they will champion and win. They have even compared it to the fight for same sex marriage.
However there is a huge difference between the two issues, one being that the Australia public overwhelmingly supports keeping Australia Day on January 26th.
A poll released today by APMI Partners who provide market, social and economic research conducted a poll of 2,542 Australians over January 19th-22nd this year found 71% did not want the date change and only 21% said yes. 88% agreed that changing the date would not improve the lives of indigenous Australians with only 8% saying yes. 28% stated they believed the date was offensive to indigenous people with 62% disagreeing.
Another poll conducted for the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs of 1000 Australians had a similar result. 70% supported keeping Australia Day on January 26th and only 11% supported a change. 23% of people supported the moves by inner Melbourne councils to cancel Australia Day festivities and 50% were opposed. 76% believe Australians have a history they can be proud of with 9% disagreeing. 87% are proud to be Australian while 3% were not.
The left wing Australia Institute also conducted a poll released earlier this week of 1417 participants which found that although 84% of Australians believe its important for us to have a national day 56% of Australians don’t mind which day it is held. It also stated that only 38% of respondents could identify it was to commemorate the first fleet arrival. It also found that when given options for when Australia Day is held only 23% picked January 26th. 49% agreed that it should be not held on a day which is offensive to indigenous Australians with 37% agreeing January 26th was offensive.
Given that two out of three polls (only one of those was conducted by an organization you would define as right-wing) found similar levels of support of Australia Day and given that polling in Australia proves to be accurate (like it was in the same sex marriage survey) we can be reasonably confident that this confirms broad public support for January 26th as Australia Day. If we had a postal survey on Australia Day it would likely be a landslide victory for January 26th.
As we have seen over the past two weeks many indigenous leaders have come out in the media and through the Save Australia Day campaign and said that January 26th is not offensive to them and that the day is still positively commemorated in many remote indigenous communities.
However in addition to the Greens campaign, in the major political parties some politicians are starting to buckle under the pressure of the campaign being waged both in the media and on the streets to change the date. Many Labor backbenches claim January 26th is offensive and on the Coalition side former MP Ian MacFarlane has come out support of a date change.
The left will probably save most of its rage for Australia Day itself but on the basis of these polls it will be a day of celebration and pride for the overwhelming majority of Australians.