Australia: Marriage equality 'most significant' event in Australian history

Even though same-sex couples have only had the right to legally wed for a few weeks, Australians think achieving marriage equality was the most significant in the country’s history.

The Australian Parliament passed marriage equality into law in December last year after 13 years of campaigning by marriage equality advocates. The parliament changed the Marriage Act after a national postal survey on the issue revealed more than 60% of Australians supported same-sex marriage.

But a new survey has shown which historical events Australians believe have made an impact on the country.

The ‘Life in Australia Historic Events Survey’ asked people aged between 18-93 years old to nominate events in their lifetime they felt have had the greatest impact on the country.

Achieving marriage equality was top of the list with the 30% of respondents saying it was the biggest moment for Australia. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US came a close second with 27% of people saying it had a big impact on Australia. Read more via Gay Star News

The Life in Australia™ Historic Events Survey: Topline Report

Australians Name the 10 Most Significant Historic Events of Their Lifetime

Momentous world and local events shape our view of the world and our view of Australian life. The perception that change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate may be due to the tumultuous times we live in and fuelled by the information age and the ubiquity of social media and the 24-hour news cycle. In Australia, the fact the nation has seen five changes of Prime Minister between 2007 and 2015 may also contribute to the perception we live in a rapidly changing world.

Whatever the perception is regarding the pace of change, we are undoubtedly living through turbulent times both domestically and internationally in terms of our environment, society and economy. While it may seem at times that we are being continuously buffeted by current events, it is also the case that, via the internet, the past is more accessible than ever before. One illustration of this is the continuing boom in family history and genealogy.

In the lead up to Australia Day 2018 researchers at the Social Research Centre, in collaboration with colleagues from the Australian National University, thought it opportune to reflect on our shared history and the nation-shaping events that have occurred in our lifetime, and to consider which particular aspects of our past are the most significant in terms of how we understand our identity and our place in the world. To this end, we asked 2,074 members of the Social Research Centre’s Life in Australia™ panel to nominate up to 10 historic events in their lifetime that, in their view, have had the greatest impact on the country. The youngest survey participant is aged 18 years and the oldest 93 years.

The event that topped the list as the most frequently mentioned (at 30%) was same-sex marriage – no surprise considering the timing of the survey late in 2017. Same-sex marriage just shaded the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon on September 11 2001 (at 27%). Others that made the top ten were Kevin Rudd’s Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples (13%), the Port Arthur Massacre (13%), the Sydney Olympics (12%), the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government (12%) and the Vietnam War (11%). In single figures, but still in the top ten, were the Apollo 11 moon landing and the arrival of the internet, both at 9%, and Australia II’s America’s Cup victory, the Global Financial Crisis and the election of Julia Gillard as the first female prime minister, all at 8%.

Read the full report via ANU