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Cancel culture: what role does it play in the Australia of today?

Australians define a flourishing society as one of tolerance and diversity. Therefore it is unsurprising that most Australians believe cancel culture plays no part in the Australia of today. While almost half of Australians (48%) believe that when a person expresses their opinions on social, political and religious issues, they are opening themselves up for critical feedback, it is not an invitation to dismiss a person because of the beliefs they hold. In fact, seven in ten Australians (68%) disagree with cancel culture and just a quarter (26%) slightly agree with it. This suggests that Australians value the freedom to share their ideas and expect a level of tolerance in return.

Australians are aware of the consequences of cancel culture

The potential social consequences and critical feedback associated with sharing one’s opinion or belief impacts who Australians choose to share their beliefs with. For one in three Australians (30%) the rise of cancel culture has meant they are increasingly self-censoring when and with whom they share their opinions. A similar proportion (31%) slightly agree they self-censor when and with whom they offer their opinions. This suggests that although many Australians may not be actively self-censoring, there is a general wariness among Australians towards the consequences of cancel culture. The proportion who strongly/somewhat agree with this sentiment, however, has reduced slightly from 35% in 2020i to 31% today, suggesting that Aussies are becoming less concerned and reducing how often they self-censor in conversations.

Australians value the opportunity to freely share their opinions

Unsurprisingly given this decrease, more than two in five Australians (44%) are confident to share their worldview even if it is contrary to the broader public opinion. There are however few occasions where Australians would avoid doing so. Of the 57% of Australians who feel as though they need to hide at least one belief they have about a certain topic or issue, 29% would hide their belief on social issues, politics and policy issues (23%) and hiding which political party they support (23%).

Australians also demonstrate an openness to the social, spiritual and political beliefs of others where almost three in five (58%) disagree that people should keep their beliefs and opinions to themselves. This highlights how important it is to Australians to be able to freely offer their perspective without fear of being judged or excluded.