IPA Today

More Like Oz Day Than Not

Written by
26 January 2023
Originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph

Telstra CEO Vicki Brady recently said she would be working on Australia Day, thereby exerting pressure on the company’s 20,000 staff to conform because it “feels right to me”. How many other critical business decisions are made based on Brady’s feelings is unclear.

What is clear is that the major institutions of our society, such as corporate Australia, sections of the media, universities, schools and sporting bodie, do not just want to change the date of Australia Day.

They want to cancel the day altogether and, in doing so, remove yet another opportunity for Australians to celebrate our nation and to feel good while they are doing it. This is fundamentally at odds with the views and values of millions of mainstream Australians.

A poll published by the Institute of Public Affairs found that 62 per cent of Australians support Australia Day being celebrated on January 26 and just 17 per cent want to change the date. This means nearly four times more Australians back Australia Day than do not.

That a commanding majority of Australians still support our national day despite years of unrelenting attacks reveals the deep and enduring commitment we have to our nation and values.

Yes, it is true that support among young Australians is modest. The same poll found 42 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 support Australia Day, compared with 30 per cent who did not. But don’t forget, these are people who have just endured 12 years of indoctrination in schools, with many copping four more years of it at university. That almost half of young Australians still support Australia Day, with more supporting it than not, should give us hope.

Imagine how high the support would be if our education institutions were balanced, let alone, heaven forbid, provided a positive view of our history and culture.

And the not insignificant minority of young Australians who do not support our national day can hardly be blamed for their misguided views.

They are victims of broken educational institutions, which have been weaponised by fringe ideologues to promote divisive agendas, rather than supporting the development of well-rounded citizens.

And if we lose Australia Day, it will be ANZAC Day they come after next.

On this front, few major institutions in our society are fighting back. This is why the latest initiative by Henry Pike, the Federal Member for Bowman, south-east of Brisbane, is so critical. Earlier this week, Pike announced he would be introducing a private members bill into parliament called The Australia Day Act, which would protect our national day by prohibiting the government from changing the date without a vote of the people.

This is exactly the kind of clear thinking that Australia needs.

Daniel Wild

Daniel Wild is the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs

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