Most young people want Australia Day moved from January 26, a new poll indicates, as the prime minister comes under fire for sympathising with First Fleet settlers.
The survey of 5000 users’ attitudes to Australia Day on Yubo, a French social media platform popular with Generation Z, found 53.6 per cent believe the date should be changed.
Another 34.7 per cent of those surveyed want the date to remain and 11.7 per cent were unsure.
January 26 marks the raising of the Union Jack for the first time in 1788 after the British First Fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay the previous week.
For many, it is a day of mourning that signals the European invasion of the continent after more than 60,000 years of Indigenous occupation.
The Yubo poll suggests 92 per cent of respondents understood the meaning behind Australia Day.
While many are looking forward to firing up the barbecue with their family (23.6 per cent) or catching up with friends (18.5 per cent) on Tuesday, almost one in five said they would attend “Invasion Day” rallies.
It comes as the Australia Day date debate reignites, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison copping flak for a controversial take.
“On Australia Day, it’s all about acknowledging how far we’ve come,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Thursday.
“You know, when those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.”
Critics accused Mr Morrison, a descendant of a First Fleet convict, of drawing a false equivalence between those aboard the vessels and the experience of Australia’s Indigenous people.
Indigenous Greens senator Lidia Thorpe said it was disrespectful and offensive to compare the experience of First Nations people with those aboard the First Fleet ships.
Labor’s Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney also scolded the prime minister, saying “suffering is not a competition”.
Another of Mr Morrison’s detractors, Labor MP Graham Perrett, pointed out there were actually only 11 ships in the First Fleet.
The prime minister also had Cricket Australia in his sights after it dropped Australia Day references from promotions for Big Bash League games to be played on January 26.
“I think Australian cricket fans would like to see Cricket Australia focus a lot more on cricket and a lot less on politics,” he said.
Cricket Australia has refused to reverse its decision.