Saturday, September 14th, 2013 - Roy Morgan Research
When was the last time you heard someone bemoan the decline of traditional values in Australian society?

When was the last time you heard someone bemoan the decline of traditional values in Australian society? Chances are it’s been awhile: substantially fewer Australians are concerned about this issue than they were a decade ago. But we’re not quite at the live?and?let?live stage yet.

In 2003, 69% of Australians aged 14+ agreed that ‘the fundamental values of our society are under threat’. By 2012, this figure had fallen by almost a fifth to 57.8%, according to the results of the latest Roy Morgan State of the Nation report. It’s a dramatic drop, true, but doesn’t negate the fact that most of us still feel some resistance to changing social values.

Similarly, the number of Australians who believe religion should be taught once a week in state schools has decreased from 66.5% in 1998 to 58.4% in 2012. While this will be seen by some as progress, it can’t yet be considered progressive.


Conservative attitudes declining


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), June 1998 – Sep 2012; 12 month moving average. Base: Aust. population 14+

Is sexism making a comeback?

Furthermore, the report reveals a recent shift towards a more conservative outlook when it comes to women and their role in society. The proportion of Australians who believe ‘women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country to men’ has grown by 25% since mid?2010, from 7.11% to 8.9%.

Although this is a fraction of the 20% who shared this belief 25 years ago, it represents a turnaround that can’t be ignored.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“These results provide an interesting glimpse into Australia’s current state of mind.

“State of the Nation 13 suggests we’re gradually becoming more comfortable with the move away from traditional values of previous generations, even relaxing our attitude to religious education — which seems appropriate in our diverse and multi-faith society.

“The distinct change in attitudes towards women’s roles seems to coincide with the election of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and subsequent dissatisfaction with her leadership. However, a similar trend is seen in the US, so a more likely explanation is that this shift is signalling the start of a return to conservative views in the face of a difficult economic environment.”

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