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Pride and Prejudice: What Influences Australians’ Attitudes towards Changing the Date of Australia Day?
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  • Eliza Mortimer-Royle,
  • Stephanie Webb,
  • Sarven McLinton,
  • Michael Watkins,
  • Yvonne Clark
Eliza Mortimer-Royle
University of South Australia

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Stephanie Webb
University of South Australia
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Sarven McLinton
University of South Australia
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Michael Watkins
University of South Australia
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Yvonne Clark
University of South Australia
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Abstract

Australia Day, celebrated on January 26, is rooted in Australia’s colonial history and causes pain for many of Australia’s First Peoples. This study was the first to investigate predictors of Australians’ attitudes towards the date, whilst exploring whether intervention may improve attitudes towards a date-change. An Australian community sample ( N=559) were recruited through social media for an anonymous survey. Participants indicated their support for date-change, and responded to a variety of demographic (e.g., Age) and sociodemographic (e.g., Racism) questions, then being randomly allocated to an intervention statement, indicating their final attitudes post-intervention. Findings suggest sociodemographic factors were more important predictors than demographics, with Racism ( β =.50***), Traditionalism ( β =.18**), Patriotism ( β =.13*) and Age ( β =.10*) significantly predicting participants’ date-change resistance. Racism demonstrated the most predictive strength, underscoring the importance of a date-change, with those open to change often identifying any alternative date should not offend First Peoples. In addition, intervention produced significant improvement in participants’ date-change attitudes, among those able to become more open to a date-change; however, differences were not present between intervention conditions. This illuminates the factors predicting Australians’ attitudes towards Australia Day, whilst demonstrating a potential path towards date-change through intervention.
If you wish to learn more about this study, please contact the primary author at [email protected].