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Nearly two-thirds of Australians (65%) say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ – up 6% points on a year ago

Roy Morgan SMS Poll conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,372 Australians aged 18+ on the weekend from Friday January 21 to Monday January 24, 2022.
A special Roy Morgan survey into attitudes towards January 26 shows an increasing majority of 65% of Australians now say the date should be known as ‘Australia Day’ – up 6% points from a year ago compared to just over a third, 35% (down 6% points) that say it should be called ‘Invasion Day’ according to a special Roy Morgan SMS Poll conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,372 Australians aged 18+ on the weekend from Friday January 21 to Monday January 24, 2022.


Men clearly 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 (70% cf. 30%).

In contrast, Australia’s women are more evenly split with a narrow majority of 60% in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 40% saying it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

Support for saying January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ has grown for both genders compared to this time a year ago.

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 almost 2:1 (64% ‘Invasion Day’ cf. 36% ‘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 54% cf. 46%.

However, people aged 35+ are increasingly likely to say January 26 should be called ‘Australia Day’ rather than ‘Invasion Day’. Almost two-thirds of people aged 35-49 are in favour of ‘Australia Day’ (65% cf.35%) and this margin increases substantially for those aged 50-64 (75% cf. 25%) and 65+ (85% cf. 15%).

Support for saying January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ has grown across all age groups over the last year, increasing by the most for people aged 35-49 (up 11% points to 65%) and increasing the least for people aged 25-34 (up 1% point to 46%) – and still in a minority point of view for that age group.

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 over three-to-one, 76% cf. 24% - while almost two-thirds of ALP supporters favour ‘Australia Day’ (65%) cf. ‘Invasion Day’ (35%).

In contrast, a majority of Greens supporters are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Invasion Day’ (56%) rather than ‘Australia Day’ (44%).

Supporters of Independents and Others, including Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ (68%) compared to only 32% that say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

Over 60% of people in all States are in favour of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’

Over three-fifths of people in all six States favour January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ instead of ‘Invasion Day’. Support for ‘Australia Day’ is strongest in Queensland (68% cf. 32%), New South Wales (67% cf. 33%) and Western Australia (66% cf. 34%).

Support for the date being known as ‘Australia Day’ is slightly lesser in South Australia (64% cf. 36%), Tasmania (62% cf. 38%) and Victoria (62% cf. 38%).

Support for January 26 has increased the most from a year ago in Victoria, up 12% points to 62% and New South Wales, up 10% points to 67%.

In contrast, support for January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’, has decreased in Western Australia, down 10% points to 66% and Tasmania, down 8% points to 62%.

There is something of a divergence between Australia’s Capital Cities and those in Country Regions on the question. A rising majority of 63% of people in Capital Cities say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 37% opting for ‘Invasion Day’. In Country Regions the difference is far starker with over two-thirds (69%) saying the day should be known as ‘Australia Day’ compared to 31% for ‘Invasion Day’.

Michele Levine CEO Roy Morgan, says support for January 26 remaining as ‘Australia Day’ has increased to 65% of Australians (up 6% points from a year ago) in 2022 compared to only 35% (down 6% points) that say the date should be known as ‘Invasion Day’:

“Nearly two-thirds of Australians (65%) have thrown their support behind January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ – and support is stronger than a year ago across many key demographics.

“Over two-thirds of men (70%) and three-fifths of women (60%) say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ – both of which have increased from a year ago. All Australians aged 35+ as well as solid majorities in all six States also prefer ‘Australia Day’ to the alternative of ‘Invasion Day’.

“Supporters of both major political parties also say January 26 should remain as ‘Australia Day’ including 76% of L-NP supporters and 65% of ALP supporters – in line with the national average.

“However, there are significant demographics in which a majority of people would prefer the date was known as ‘Invasion Day’. Most notably these include young people under the age of 35. Almost two-thirds of people aged 18-24 (64%) and a narrow majority of 54% of people aged 25-34 say the date should be known as ‘Invasion Day’.

“This result is replicated for supporters of the Greens – a clear majority of 56% say it should be known as ‘Invasion Day’. Greens supporters were also the most likely to suggest neither name was appropriate for the day with just over one-in-seven (15%) saying a new name was needed.

“When people are asked why they hold these views supporters of the date being known as ‘Australia Day’ say the date is a positive and inclusive day to bring everyone together in celebration of the country, they refer to the date marking the beginning of the story of modern Australia and reject the notion that there was anything resembling an invasion begun on that day.

“For those who say that January 26 should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ they say the date marks the beginning of the invasion of Australia and the oppression, dispossession, abuse and genocide of the indigenous people of this continent. They also point out that the date does not signify the birth of the nation of Australia, but rather the birth of an English penal colony and point out that there are other more unifying dates that should be considered to move away from the divisiveness of this date.”


Australians surveyed were asked about their view of Australia Day:
  • Question 1: “On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove. In your opinion should January 26 be known as Australia Day or Invasion Day?” Australia Day 65% (up 6% points from a year ago) cf. Invasion Day 35% (down 6% points).
  • Question 2: “And why do you say that?”
This special Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 1,372 Australians aged 18+ on the weekend of Friday January 21 – Sunday January 23, 2021. Of those surveyed 4% of respondents suggested neither or something else for the day.

Question 1:
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?
By Gender & Age

Jan. 25,
2021

Jan. 21-24,
2022

Gender

Age

 

Men

Women

Under 25

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Australia Day

59

65

70

60

36

46

65

75

85

Invasion Day

41

35

30

40

64

54

35

25

15

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

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?
By States & City/Country

 

Areas

States

 

Australians
18+

Capital
Cities

Country
Regions

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Australia Day

65

63

69

67

62

68

66

64

62

Invasion Day

35

37

31

33

38

32

34

36

38

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


 

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?
By Party Vote (Federal)


 

Electors

Party Vote

 

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Ind./Others

Can’t say

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

Australia Day

67

76

65

44

68

59

Invasion Day

33

24

35

56

32

41

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100


Question 2: And why do you say that?
Respondents who were asked whether they thought January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’ were then asked: “And why do you say that?”

Those in support of January 26 being known as ‘Australia Day’ say it is a day for everyone to celebrate the country and bring people together and shouldn’t be known as ‘Invasion Day’

For the 65% of Australians who say January 26 should be known as ‘Australia Day’ the key themes to emerge were that Australia Day is a positive day for everyone to celebrate this country, because it was not an ‘invasion’ but a ‘colonisation’, because it’s the day that marks the beginning of what became known as Australia and because that day has always been celebrated that way and should continue to be.

Many people supporting Australia Day say it’s a positive and inclusive day for everyone to celebrate this country.

  • ‘That day was the start of Australia as we know it now. We survived as a nation through tough times. Australia Day should be an inclusive celebration of the whole nation.’
  • ‘It’s a day of inclusion for all Australians.’
  • ‘Australia Day is for all Australians to celebrate this great country.’
  • ‘Let’s celebrate the positives instead of this ‘Century21 BS’ trying to reinvent bygone times. People in 1788 lived decent lives by their rules.’
  • ‘It’s a day to honour and celebrate all Australians inclusively.’
  • ‘Australia is home to many races and we need a day to remember and celebrate together.’
  • ‘Easy – we are Australian and should be inclusive not separate as some would like it.’
  • ‘No one alive today had anything to do with the invasion and Australia Day is inclusive of all.’
  • ‘Because it needs to be inclusive and adapt to the needs of first nation’s people.’
  • ‘Because I am inclusive, not racist.’
  • ‘It’s a name given to the country, inclusive of its complete history, which should acknowledge all peoples.’
  • ‘It should be a day inclusive of all Australians.’
  • ‘Well, I don’t believe in ‘Invasion Day’ but I would like to see more inclusiveness and reconciliation with Australia Day as well.’
  • ‘Australia Day is a positive thing, ‘Invasion Day’ sounds so negative. Why would we celebrate negativity?’
  • ‘Because all Australians should celebrate as one.’
  • There is a large strand of people who support the day being known as ‘Australia Day’ vehemently reject that the day should be considered as ‘Invasion Day’ because they argue there was no such invasion….
  • ‘Because we are all Australians and it should be called ‘Australia Day’ or ’Discovery Day’ – certainly not ‘Invasion Day’. All Australians should be treated equally.’
  • ‘Because there was no invasion – it was a colonisation.’
  • ‘Because we never invaded we settled. Otherwise we would still be rubbing two sticks together, luckily it was not the Dutch or Portuguese.’
  • ‘Captain Arthur Phillip was part of an expedition – not an invading army.’
  • ‘I am sick and tired of kowtowing to the Aborigines. They were invaded and defeated, end of story.’
  • ‘I didn’t invade. Such a negative term when we should be celebrating all of Australia.’
  • ‘I don’t celebrate ‘Australia Day as the day we were discovered or invaded, I look at it as a day to celebrate our amazing and beautiful country and how glad I am to live here.’
  • ‘I don’t think we invaded – there were no intention of fighting for land at that time – they were exploring.’
  • ‘It was discovered. Never invaded.’
  • ‘Captain Arthur Phillip and his crew did not invade Australia. They landed on what they thought was an uninhabited land. After establishing their colony, the country we know as Australia was eventually founded.’
  • ‘Rewriting history is rubbish. The settlers did not invade in our understanding of the word and if you accept that it was, then every country in the world has been invaded.’
  • ‘Rubbish they were invaded.’
Many respondents referred to the fact the day marks the beginning of what became known as Australia..
  • ‘The beginning of modern Australia.’
  • ‘We are all Australians. We are all equal and as one. Australia Day signifies the beginning of European settlement which has these days evolved to mutual respect between all races in Australia.’
  • ‘The arrival of the First Fleet was the beginning of Australia as one nation.’
  • ‘Australia is what it is, history and all. January 26th is when Australia began. The beginning is ugly, it was an invasion, but it is our country’s history.’
  • ‘It is the beginning of British settlement which is the key contributor to modern Australia – e.g. parliamentary democracy, rule of law, English language, Christianity etc.’
  • ‘It is the beginning of the modern history of Australia.’
  • ‘It marks the beginning of the nation of Australia.’
  • ‘It’s the beginning of Australia as a nation and its very important to me!’
  • ‘I see no reason to change it. We can celebrate the beginning of our awesome country.’
  • ‘It is the anniversary of the beginning of modern Australia.’
  • ‘It was the beginning of modern Australia. Of multicultural Australia.’
  • ‘It marks the beginning of the modern era of our nation. We do so need to reconcile with first nations peoples, but that can and should be done separately.’
There are also many people who say the day has always been celebrated as the national day and should continue to be celebrated as such going forward….
  • ‘Always was, always will be.’
  • ‘January 26 has always been Australia Day.’
  • ‘It’s always been Australia Day. Why change it?’
  • ‘Always has been.’
  • ‘It’s always been known as that.’
  • ‘Because it’s always been Australia Day. Australia Day is more than just what happened in our history, it’s about celebrating Australia and its culture. Beers, BBQ, beach, friends and community. If we keep changing our culture, what’s going to be left?’
  • “It’s always been that and when Australia began to be a bigger country with many cultures and experiences it marks a time when civilization was brought to our wonderful nation.’
  • ‘I’ve always regarded January 26 as Australia Day and as a proud Australian I want to celebrate all this day without all the other stuff attached to it.’
  • ‘I’ve always known it to be Australia Day and at that time one ship was not an invasion in my opinion.’
  • ‘That is what it should be – it always has been.’
  • ‘That’s what it’s always been and it should be a day to celebrate our country.’
  • ‘We’re all Australians. It’s always been ‘Australia Day’ until the “WOKE” section looked for something to change.’
  • ‘I’ve always known it as Australia Day and I’m happy with that.’
  • Those who say January 26 should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ refer to the significance of the date as the start of an invasion that led to massacres, atrocities, dispossession and oppression
  • For the 35% of Australians who say January 26 should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ the key themes to emerge were that the day marks the date when the country was invaded, a day that precipitated massacres and hardship for the indigenous population – the beginning of a genocide, because it represents a day that Australia became a colony – not a country and that the date is divisive and the national day should be celebrated on a different date.
  • The most common theme to emerge from those who refer to the day as ‘Invasion Day’ is because that is the date that signifies the start of the invasion/colonisation of the British…
  • ‘Because that is what it was – an invasion.’
  • ‘That date holds more significance to the First Nations people of this country, it is at its core an invasion day. Changing the date would allow everyone that calls Australia home, indigenous or not, to celebrate what we have now without disrespecting the experience of the past.’
  • ‘The British conquest should not be celebrated. To ignore the fact others were here first is pretty rich.’
  • ‘The British invaded this country in that day.’
  • ‘The day the British invaded Australis.’
  • ‘The day white people invaded Australia, declared its inhabitants animals so they could steal the land.’
  • ‘It was invaded – the land was inhabited by Aboriginal people.’
  • ‘Australia was invaded and its original people were murdered.’
  • ‘Australia was invaded – there was no treaty.’
  • ‘Australia wasn’t established on that day. It was invaded. There are other dates we could celebrate.’
  • ‘Because after invading, sovereignty was never ceded.’
  • ‘Because Australia was invaded and colonised.’
  • ‘Captain Arthur Phillip invaded a land that was already inhabited by the Aboriginal people.’
  • ‘Because he invaded an already inhabited land.’
  • ‘He quite LITERALLY invaded a land that belonged to someone else and claimed it for his commonwealth. When people are accepting of wrongdoing in society its called sociopathy!’
  • ‘Because it is an accurate reflection of what occurred on that day in history – it was the day the English invaded this part of the world.’
Many respondents who call the day ‘Invasion Day’ refer to the beginning of a genocide of Australia’s indigenous people and ‘massacres’, atrocities, dispossession, abuse and oppression against them…

  • ‘It was a day that signified the beginning of the end for so many lives and the rich culture of the traditional owners. The British had the audacity to declare it ‘Terra Nullius’ (nobody’s land) when it was anything but. It’s a day at the heart of untold suffering and heartache.’
  • ‘January 26 signifies a day of mourning for a lot of people and is a day that started so much oppression and murder against our first nation’s people. I am not a first nationer and believe there are so many reasons to celebrate being Australian – but that date and what it signifies is not one of them.’
  • ‘Recognition of the sorrow that it caused. That is said with the hope of another day signifying unity.’
  • ‘That date marks the start of a genocide against the people who already lived here. Sovereignty was never ceded – so therefore it was an invasion.’
  • ‘We should not be celebrating the day that marked the start of the oppression of our indigenous people. It signifies division, destruction and colonialism. It is simply wrong to suggest that this day stands for harmony among all Australians – it’s only been on this date since 1994, so it could easily be changed.’
  • ‘Australia Day is not inclusive. It is damaging and ignores most of our history, culture and people. January 26 was the start of a genocide – not a reason to celebrate.’
  • ‘Australia was already populated by a group of people and the subsequent take over and violence/ genocide to the first nation’s people was an invasion – not something to be celebrated.’
  • ‘British colonists came to a country where there were already people, claimed it was unpopulated, and proceeded to commit genocide. Sounds pretty invasion-y to me.’
  • ‘It began the genocide of First Nations People and the attempted destruction of a culture of people.’
  • ‘The landing is directly connected to European colonists illegally appropriating land in this country, committing multiple genocides, and the displacement and oppression of indigenous peoples.’
Another theme to emerge was that many said the date of January 26 does not refer to when Australia became a country (January 1, 1901), but rather when the country became a British colony….
  • ‘Because that day does not signify Australia as a nation – only the start of an English penal colony.’
  • ‘The landing at Sydney Cove marks the arrival of the Europeans – not the formation of Australia. It has no significance for the rest of Australia. ‘
  • ‘Australia as we know it today came into existence at Federation, plus the continent has always been inhabited by First Nation’s people. What Cook did on behalf of British Empire was invade, not discover.’
  • ‘To call January 26 Australia Day is incorrect – the communities did not join to become Australia that day.’
  • ‘Australia Day should be inclusive. When was the Federation formed? In 1901? Invasion Day is only one part of the story and is also divisive…. not inclusive.’
  • ‘It’s not the day Australia was federated. It should just be called January 26.’
  • ‘Find a new day when all can celebrate, maybe the foundation of the Commonwealth. Oh, but that holiday is taken! Try the first meeting of Federal Parliament perhaps?’
  • ‘Because it represents the date Australia became a colony, not a country.’
  • ‘That date marks the colonial occupation and slaughter of the original inhabitants.’
  • ‘Australia as a nation has little to do with the landing on January 26, that was a UK colony, not Australia.’
  • ‘It marks the date of the colonisation of the states, not the date we formed a unified country. Australia Day should be a unifying day for ALL Australians.’
There was an additional slice of people who acknowledged how the day is regarded by many and argued that it was time to move on from such a divisive date and find a new one to celebrate……..

  • ‘We have plenty of other days that we could celebrate that wouldn’t hurt or offend people.’
  • ‘January 26 is not a day of celebration for our First Nations people. We should have another date that is more reflective of our diversity that would be more appropriate.’
  • ‘There are other, more unifying dates, on which we can celebrate our continent together.’
  • ‘We can celebrate Australia Day on any other day.’
  • ‘Another day should be chosen to celebrate all Australians coming together, not this date which is so hurtful to first Australians and their allies.’
  • ‘As January 26 is hurting other people and they would like it changed then it should be.’
  • ‘Pick another date for Australia Day.’
  • ‘It is an inappropriate day for Australia Day which can be held on another suitable day.’
  • ‘We can choose another meaningful day to celebrate Australia Day. Perhaps when we reconcile with the First People’s of this land we can celebrate Australia Day on that day.’
  • ‘Colonisation wasn’t peaceful and January 26 has only recently become a national Australia Day public holiday. We need a day that everyone can feel included in.’

About Roy Morgan
Roy Morgan is Australia’s largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state, as well as in the U.S. and U.K. A full-service research organisation, Roy Morgan has over 80 years’ experience collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

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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%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

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