He also questioned the ABC’s survey methodology.
Gerard Henderson, columnist with The Australian, has previously criticised the Australia Talks survey as “intellectually dishonest”, saying the respondents were part of the “ABC family” as they were ABC viewers or readers.
An ABC spokeswoman rejected suggestion the survey only represented ABC viewers.
“It’s an understandable misconception that Australia Talks reflects the views of existing ABC audiences – but that isn’t the case,” she said.
“Australia Talks is in fact probably the most comprehensive and representative poll of the attitudes of all Australians on this variety of topics that has ever been conducted.”
She said the latest survey included “more than 60,000 Australians from every federal electorate in every State and Territory, comprising a diverse cross-section of Australians that is fully representative of modern Australia”.
“Participants were drawn from people who have completed the interactive online application Vote Compass – this is a broad group, and one that we know reaches beyond traditional ABC audiences due to the way Vote Compass reaches different audience segments on social media,” she said.
“A series of pre- and post-stratification statistical weights were then applied to the sample in order to model inferences that are representative of the entire Australian population.
“The weights control for example, selection effects using census and other population-level estimates for sex, age, education, language, geography and partisanship (based on vote choice in the 2019 federal election).”
There is growing support to change the date. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
‘No one in charge’ at ABC
The Australia Talks survey findings stand in stark contrast to two recent polls which found little appetite among the Australian public for changing the date.
An Ipsos poll of 1222 people nationally, conducted for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers in January, found fewer than one-third of Australians supported the move, while nearly half were opposed.
Another poll of 1038 people, conducted by research firm Dynata on behalf of the conservative Institute of Public Affairs think tank, suggested 69 per cent supported celebrating Australia Day on January 26, while only 11 per cent thought the date should be changed.
The IPA’s poll was the fourth year it had asked the question.
Over that time support for January 26 dropped from 75 per cent and 69 per cent, but the percentage wanting to change the date remained steady at around 11 per cent.
IPA director of communications Evan Mulholland described the wording of the ABC’s survey question as “push polling”, saying it “highlights ABC staff’s animosity towards Australians and the Australian way of life”.
“Australia Talks has found that Australians are racist and now that they don’t value our national day – exactly the kind of obsessions you would get from an inner-city taxpayer-funded behemoth not subject to pressures of the private media market,” he said.
“ABC management claim to have control over selection bias, but it’s clear from what they’ve decided to ask that the ABC is a staff run collective with no one in charge. You will never hear the ABC talk about what unites Australians, our spirit of egalitarianism and love for our country.”
Mr Mulholland highlighted the ABC’s “embarrassing backdown” earlier this year after an article used the terms “Australia Day” and “Invasion Day” interchangeably.
“The ABC is an identity politics-obsessed, agenda-driven staff collective that we pay for,” he said. “It is about time we had an honest debate about privatising the ABC or turning it into an opt-in subscription service.”