Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Australia Day or Invasion Day?

This year, coronavirus restrictions will limit crowds at events on January 26. (ABC News: Patrick Martin)

59% of Australians want January 26 known as Australia Day but a sizeable minority of 41% wants it known as Invasion Day, Roy Morgan, 25 January 2021

A majority of Australians (59%) want January 26 known as ‘Australia Day’ however a large 41% say it should be called ‘Invasion Day’ according to a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,236 Australians aged 18+ on Monday, January 25, 2021.

Victorians are divided 50-50 on the name to call the day Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Port Jackson on January 26, 1788, while in all other states majorities want January 26 known as ‘Australia Day’.

Men favour ‘Australia Day’ on January 26 almost 2:1 but Women are almost 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 almost 2:1 (66% cf. 34%).

In contrast, Australia’s women are almost evenly split on the question with a narrow majority of 53% in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 47% saying it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

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

The results of this survey are heavily correlated to age with Australians under 25 in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ by a margin of more than 2:1 (70% ‘Invasion Day’ cf. 30% ‘Australia Day’).

Their slightly older counterparts aged 25-34 are also in favour of the day being known as ‘Invasion  Day’ but by a much narrower margin of 55% cf. 45%.

However, people aged 35+ are increasingly likely to say January 26 should be called ‘Australia Day’ rather than ‘Invasion Day’. People aged 35-49 are fairly evenly split but narrowly in favour of ‘Australia Day’ (54% cf.46%) and this margin increases substantially for those aged 50-64 (74% cf. 26%) and 65+ (78% cf. 22%).

Victoria is split 50:50 on the question, WA is most firmly in favour of Australia Day

There is a large divergence on a State-based level with Victorians split 50% cf. 50% on the question of whether January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’.

All other States favour the date being known as ‘Australia Day’ with Western Australians the most in favour at a ratio of over 3:1 (76% cf. 24%).

Other States are also in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ including Tasmania (70% cf. 30%), Queensland (64% cf. 36%), South Australia (63% cf. 37%) and New South Wales (57% cf. 43%).

There is also a large divergence between Australia’s Capital Cities and those in Country Regions on the question. A narrow majority of 55% of people in Capital Cities say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 45% opting for ‘Invasion Day’. In Country Regions the difference is far starker with over two-thirds (68%) saying the day should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 32% for ‘Invasion Day’.

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

L-NP supporters favour January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ rather than ‘Invasion Day’ by a margin of 63% cf. 37% – nearly two-to-one while ALP supporters are narrowly in favour of ‘Australia Day’ (54%) cf. ‘Invasion Day’ (46%).

In contrast Greens supporters are heavily in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ (64%) rather than ‘Australia Day’ (36%).

However, supporters of Independents and Others, including Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, are heavily in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ (78%) compared to only 22% that say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ (22%).

Michele Levine CEO Roy Morgan, says the debate about January 26 has turned into an annual debate and the results from today’s special Roy Morgan survey show ‘Australia Day’ is favoured by 59% of Australians and ‘Invasion Day’ is supported by 41% – a gap of 18% points:

“Although a majority of 59% of Australians says January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ – the gap is not as large as some would have you believe and the demographic trends are significant.

“Younger Australians aged under 35 favour January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ – and this rises to well over two-thirds of people aged under 25 (70% cf. 30%). In contrast, Australians aged 50+ favour ‘Australia Day’ by margins of around three-to-one: 50-64: (74% cf. 26%) and 65+ (78% cf. 22%).

“There is also a significant gender gap on the issue with men favouring ‘Australia Day’ by a margin of almost two-to-one (66% cf. 34%) whereas women are almost evenly split (53% cf. 47%).

“Somewhat unusually for a question like this there are also significant differences based on what State someone is in. Victorians are split evenly (50% cf. 50%) on the issue but Western Australians favour ‘Australia Day’ over ‘Invasion Day’ by a margin of over three-to-one (76% cf. 24%).

“The issue has received added attention this year as the ABC posted a contentious headline for an article related to the day titled” ‘Australia Day/Invasion Day 2021 events guide for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane… etc.’. After a media storm and the intervention of the Telecommunications Minister Paul Fletcher the ABC has removed ‘Invasion Day’ from the story.

“Perhaps most surprisingly amongst all the arguments about what the day should be known as is the views of people who consider themselves Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Amongst this group 73% say the day should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to only 27% that say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ – a significantly higher level of support for ‘Australia Day’ than amongst other Australians.

Australians surveyed were asked about their view of January 26 and whether it should be known as ‘Australia Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’:

Question: “On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove. In your opinion should January 26 be known as Australian Day or Invasion Day?” Australia Day 59% cf. Invasion Day 41%.

This special Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,236 Australians aged 18+ on Monday, January 25, 2021.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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