AN overwhelming majority of Australians have nominated Australia Day as the most significant day on the national calendar.
Almost nine in 10 people plan to celebrate the national holiday commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 in some way, a survey by the National Australia Day Council shows.
It found 93 per cent of people named Australia Day as a day of importance – more than any other national celebration.
More than five million Australians plan to attend public events on 26 January including breakfasts, concerts, fireworks and celebrations of indigenous culture.
Council chief executive Warren Pearson said on Tuesday the survey found many people felt celebrating Australia Day fulfilled a need to be part of a national community.
“Whether it be through attending major events, taking part in a local community celebration or simply getting your friends and family together, Australia Day plays a significant role in our sense of belonging, unity and identity,” he said in a statement.
“However you choose to celebrate Australia Day in 2012, consider what it is you appreciate most about being Australian and how you can live in the spirit of Australia Day all year.”
As well, four out of five people said Australia Day events were an important way to demonstrate pride in their country.
Important characteristics those surveyed thought should be celebrated included freedom, Australia’s unique landscape and environment, cultural diversity, and acceptance of others.
“People are also increasingly conscious of the role Australia Day can play in uniting many different Australians,” Mr Pearson said.
“With 72 per cent believing it’s important to recognise indigenous people and culture as part of the day and 69 per cent saying it’s important to recognise the contribution of ethnic communities.” – AAP