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Only 5.7% of Australians say ‘Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country to men’

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 1997 – March 2019. Base: Australian population aged 14+, n=average of 50,000 per calendar year.
Roy Morgan’s long-term analysis of important social trends reveals that social views on a variety of topics have stabilised, and in some cases reversed, in recent years.

In early 2019 a clear and increasing majority of 59.2% of Australians agree that ‘The fundamental values of our society are under serious threat’. Although this is a clear decline from when this question was first asked just over 15 years ago when over two-thirds of Australians (69%) agreed, the long-term downward trend has reversed in recent years.

Since 2003 there has consistently been a majority of Australians holding the view that ‘the fundamental values of our society are under serious threat’. However it was a view that was in decline until it bottomed at 55.9% in late 2013. Since then it has increased and stabilised in the range of 59-61% over the last four years.

This increased concern about fundamental values has not manifested in an increased focus on religion. In contrast, early 2019 marks the first time fewer than half of all Australians (49.8%) agree that ‘Religion should be taught once a week in Government schools’. This view has been on a long-term decline for over 20 years. In mid-1998 two-thirds of Australians (66.5%) agreed with the statement and as recently as mid-2014 a clear majority (56.5%) also agreed.

When it comes to who should run the country, a shrinking minority of only 5.7% of Australians (4.6% of women and 6.9% of men) agree that ‘Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country to men’. As recently as mid-2012 as many as 9.1% of Australians agreed with this view which was little changed to over twenty years ago in mid-1998 (9.5%).

Australian views on fundamental values, religion and the role of women

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 1997 – March 2019. Base: Australian population aged 14+, n=average of 50,000 per calendar year.

Australian views on social issues and trends and attraction to new things


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 1997 – March 2019. Base: Australian population aged 14+, n=average of 50,000 per calendar year.

Belief on progressive viewpoint stabilises while fewer Australians attracted to new things

Since 1998 when 32.1% of Australians considered themselves progressive Roy Morgan has noted that a (slowly) increasing proportion of Australians agree they have a ‘Progressive viewpoint on social issues and trends’. This has been steady at almost 42% for more than a year since late 2017.

The proportion having a ‘Progressive viewpoint’ increased in the late 1990s before a long period of stability between early 2000 (35.3%) and mid 2012 (35.1%) and a renewed upward trend since early 2012. The recent stability coincides with the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey conducted in late 2017. Roy Morgan correctly forecast that 61.5% of Australians would vote yes to allowing same sex marriage – the final figure from the survey was 61.6%.

A view that has declined in recent years is agreement with the view that ‘I’m attracted to new things and new ideas’ a view now shared by 35.6% of Australians in early 2019.

A peak of 39.5% of Australians ageed that they are ‘attracted to new things and new ideas’ in mid-2016 just before the last Federal Election in July 2016 resulted in a narrow victory for the L-NP Coalition led by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

These two views have a long track-record of very similar levels of agreement for Australians stretching back until the 1990s. However in the last two years, as fewer Australians agree they are ‘Attracted to new things and new ideas’, there has been a noticeable divergence open up between the two views. The gap of over 6% is the largest ever seen between the two views.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan says more Australians than five years ago agree ‘The fundamental values of our society are under serious threat’ while fewer than in 2016 at the last Federal Election agree they’re ‘Attracted to new things and new ideas’

“Media commentators and analysts have spent the last week dissecting and trying to explain the ‘unexpected victory’ of the L-NP at the Federal Election. A deeper look at the underlying attitudes and beliefs of Australians may provide a partial answer for why Australians chose to reject the ALP with its ‘change agenda’ and re-elect Scott Morrison and the L-NP Government for another term.

“In mid-2016, when there was a significant swing to the ALP Opposition at the 2016 Federal Election, a record high 39.5% of Australians agreed they were ‘Attracted to new things and new ideas’, however the latest figures from early 2019 reveal this has since fallen to only 35.6%.

“Although this is not a huge difference, the key factor is that the upward trend line has been comprehensively broken over the last three years as Australians are now slightly less open to new things and new ideas.

“There has been a similar trend (in the opposite direction) for another view with more Australians than five years ago agreeing that ‘The fundamental values of our society are under serious threat’ – now 59.2%, up from 55.9% in late 2013.

“Agreement with this view had consistently trended downwards for over a decade from 2003-2013 but this long-term trend ended in 2013 and now nearly 60% of Australians are again concerned about the fundamental values of Australia.

“Both of the recent trends for these statements support a more conservative overall viewpoint however it’s not all bad news for ‘progressives’ in Australia. An equal record high 41.8% of Australians now say they have a ‘Progressive viewpoint on social issues and trends’.

“However, perhaps the most encouraging take out from this analysis of long-term views on social trends is that only 5.7% of Australians say that ‘Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country to men’ – down from 9.1% in mid-2012. 

“Over the last few years there have been significant milestones achieved by Women in important political roles in both Australia and near neighbour New Zealand.

“NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian became the first woman to win a State Election in NSW only two months ago and in late 2017 Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk became the first woman to win consecutive State Elections in Australia while Jacinda Ardern became the youngest Prime Minister of New Zealand in over 150 years with her victory at the 2017 election.

“The increasing acceptance of women in significant leadership roles is a great sign for younger women entering the workforce and indicates that the sky is increasingly the limit for young Australians of both genders in mid-2019.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2