The Anzac Spirit Growing with the New Generations
If it seems like ANZAC Day is gaining support over recent years, that’s because it is. More than 1 in 5 Australians (20%) say they will “definitely” or “probably” attend an ANZAC Day service this year and more than 9 in 10 Australians (94%) agree that ANZAC Day is a very important day for commemorating those who have and do fight to defend our country and freedoms.
In the span of a generation, ANZAC Day has grown to become not just a notable public holiday, but one of the most valued days in the Australian calendar. Indeed our research last year showed that more than a quarter of Australians (30%) feel that ANZAC Day is the most meaningful public holiday for them (just behind Christmas, the holiday which 36% of Aussies say is most meaningful).
Australia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations with almost half of all households (46%) having one or both parents born overseas. Yet the spirit of the ANZACs and their values of courage, mateship and honour are accepted as universal values and almost 9 in 10 Australians (87%) believe that ANZAC Day unites people from all backgrounds. More than 4 in 5 (82%) disagree with the statement that “ANZAC Day is an old tradition that has served its time and is not suited to our multicultural society” and most of these (51%) strongly disagree.
In an era of mobility, reinvention and innovation, ANZAC Day provides an opportunity to pause, reflect and remember. In a time of much superficiality it delivers solemnity and substance. In a culture of the “undo” button, it holds up a picture of resilience, commitment and stoicism.
In a speech at the investiture of the first Victoria Cross in a generation, to Trooper Mark Donaldson, the Governor General Quentin Bryce identified the contrast of these great and timeless values amidst our modern, busy times when she stated:
“We award you a decoration whose words are reserved for the incomparable and unsurpassed. Words whose integrity is untouched by vernacular. Words, rare and revered. Gallantry. Valour. Self-sacrifice. Devotion to duty.”
In an era of updates, upgrades and trends, Australians have responded to this unique day of looking back, even as we look forward – lest we forget.
Research conducted from 23 to 24 April, 2014, surveying 300+ Australians.