• Jackie Huggins represents more than 9,000 individuals and 180 organisations as the co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. (NITV)Source: NITV
A new survey from "a very conservative side of Australia", has been questioned by the head of the peak body representing Indigenous people.
Ella Archibald-Binge

17 Jan 2019 - 2:10 PM  UPDATED 17 Jan 2019 - 2:10 PM

Indigenous leader Jackie Huggins has cast doubt on a new poll which suggested most people are happy to continue celebrating Australia Day on January 26

Polling commissioned by right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs revealed three-in-four-people want the date to stay the same.

The results also showed just 10 per cent of 1000 people surveyed want to change the date of the national day.

It follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s crackdown on Australia Day dress codes and a plan to force local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

But Jackie Huggins, co-chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, said the figures were "skewed".

"The fact that they are emanating from a very conservative side of Australia... sometimes when you have polls like that they are fairly skewed into a foregone conclusion really," she told NITV.

"I don’t weight too much agreement on those polls at all, and certainly the people I talk to want to see a change in date – particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

By contrast, Dr Huggins said a survey of around 2000 people conducted by her organisation last year found that around 85 per cent of Indigenous Australians supported a change of date. 

"Every year we see this debate come up, and we see the same old arguments, but at the end of the day our people are still feeling very much aggrieved by celebrating – being forced to celebrate – on the 26th of January," she said. 

The Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman said she was not hopeful that the date of the national holiday would change soon.
"We’re not very encouraged by the current government and the opposition still saying that the 26th of January should be the date that it is celebrated on," Ms Huggins said. 

"I think it’ll take a long time, perhaps even another generation, to really come to grips with the history of our country and what has happened."

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