The debate rages, Flashpoint styleNovember 24, 2021
This isn’t the first time we’ve polled the opinions of West Aussies about the date we should celebrate Australia day – we’ve done it three times now. But this time, we have a slightly bigger platform to share what we’ve found with the community, with our friends at Channel 7’s Flashpoint using our poll results to stimulate some debate among their panel of high-profile guests.
Our exclusive polling found 65% of West Australian adults think the date should remain the same, on January 26th. Interestingly, this is exactly the same result who supported keeping the date the same when we asked two years ago – it looks like a lot of people have made their mind up on this issue, but it’s nonetheless a divisive one.
It’s also a generational one… the youngest cohort we spoke to of 18-39 year-olds are the most in support of changing the date, with a desire to keep it the same increasing with age.
Just over half (56%) of 18-39 year-olds think we should keep it the same, compared to two thirds (67%) of 40-59 year-olds and three quarters (75%) of over 60s.
Check out the snippet from Monday night’s Flashpoint below.
Our survey respondents were also pretty split on whether they thought changing the date would acknowledge the pain associated with the date for Indigenous Australians. 45% thought it would, with 37% disagreeing (the rest on the fence or unsure it would help). This followed a similar pattern with age, with younger West Aussies more likely to think it would be a positive gesture for Indigenous Australians.
But despite the debate, a lot of us still plan on getting out and taking part in the Australia Day celebrations. Among the 1000+ we polled, 70% said they were planning on attending some sort of formal celebration event on January 26th – notably a little more than the proportion who think the date should stay the same.
Whatever side of this fence you find yourself on, January 26th will roll around every year, and it’s unlikely the debate will settle any time soon – so check back in here in about 12 months or so…