Australia Day and being Australian in 2016

January 25, 2016, 4:25 AM GMT+0

How do Aussies really feel about 26th January?

Many Australians have complex feelings about 26th January. For years now, the country has seen some impassioned debate about this holiday and what it means for – and says about – modern-day Australia. Polling company YouGov ran an online survey from 15th to 19th January 2016 and surveyed a representative sample of Australians to investigate.

Almost 90% of Australians do refer to 26th January as “Australia Day”

The majority of Australian (86%) refer 26th January as Australia Day”. A small minority (6%) prefer to use a different name (“Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, or ANA Day”), and the remainder (about 8%) have no opinion on what the day is known as.

About four in five Australians believe Australia Day is worth celebrating

78% Australian believe 26th January is worth celebrating. Among this group, the top three reasons they give to celebrate Australia Day are:

  1. It's a day to take pride in Australia's culture, achievements, values and identity (74%),
  2. It’s a day for ceremonies and traditions such as welcoming new citizens, and remembering those who have been of service to Australia (60%), and
  3. It's a day to celebrate the many different communities and cultures who make up Australia (56%).

However, one in eight Australians think 26th January is not worth celebrating. Among this group, the reasons given not to celebrate are:

  1. It's a day that represents loss and injustice towards Indigenous Australians (65%),
  2. It's just an excuse for people to party and drink (35%), and
  3. It's lacking in real meaning (25%).

Defining the essence of what it means to be Australian: A Fair Go and Mateship

More than 3 in every 5 Australians (62%) believe that “a fair go” is what defines the essence of the Australian way of life. Over half (55%) say that “mateship” is what defines it.

Other aspects that defined ‘being Australian’ included:

  • “No worries / She’ll be right attitude” (47%)
  • “The lucky country” (40%)
  • “Tall poppy syndrome” (20%)
  • “Cultural cringe” (17%)

As the school year starts again, how does Prime Minister Turnbull’s Report Card look?

Malcolm Turnbull has been Prime Minister for almost 4 months. YouGov asked Australians to score his performance in various key areas of government. Mr Turnbull scored highest in “International Reputation and Relations” but lowest in “Social Welfare”.

Respondents were asked to rate Turnbull’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 means very poor and 10 means excellent. In general, his scores hover around (or slightly above) the mid-point of the scale:

  • International reputation and relations (scored 5.88, with 27% rating him 8-10)
  • Security (scored 5.79, with 22% rating him 8-10)
  • Small and Medium Business (scored 5.51, with 18% rating him 8-10)
  • Economy performance (scored 5.32, with 14% rating him 8-10)
  • Health (scored 5.16, with 14% rating him 8-10)
  • Employment (scored 5.14, with 14% rating him 8-10)
  • Environment (scored 5.13, with 14% rating him 8-10)
  • Education aspect (scored 5.08, with 13% rating him 8-10)
  • Social Welfare (scored 4.91, with 12% rating him 8-10)

Under New Management: half of Aussies think Malcolm Turnbull is performing better as Prime Minister than Tony Abbott

Approximately half of respondents (51%) think Mr Turnbull is doing better than his predecessor, Tony Abbott. Another 27% think he’s just the same as his predecessor. Only 8% think he’s doing worse than Mr Abbott, although some 14% of respondents either don’t know or are not sure.

Generally speaking, more than 1 in 3 (36%) of Australian are feeling optimistic about the future of Australia under Malcolm Turnbull’s governance. Exactly 1 in 3 (33%) feel it will be more or less the same regardless of who the Prime Minister is. Less than 20% feel pessimistic about the future under Mr Turnbull.

Friends in the playground? Three in five Australians believe Australia should foster closer ties with both USA and China

57% of Australians think that it would be better for Australia to foster closer ties with both USA and China. 13% think closer ties with China (only) are needed and 7% think closer ties with USA are the preferred way forward. 23% believe Australia should not foster closer ties with either the USA or China.

Click here to download the infographic.