"Australian Values - Respect, freedom, Equality and more..."
It's a pretty tricky thing to articulate the Values of a country but in Australia it's actually quite easy. That's because there ARE a distinct set of values and they have even been written down.
But ask an Aussie what they think the values of Australia are and you might get something slightly different from the "official version"
This page aims to give you the official version as well as some of the other values that the Australian's hold dear to their heart
The Australian Values Statement
Did you know that anyone wishing to stay permanently in Australia or anyone wanting to become a citizen of Australia must take a test and sign the Australian Values Statement?
The test is aimed to familiarise new immigrants to life in Australia. They need to have an understanding of the history of Australia, how the government and legal system operates as well as the values and symbols of Australia. Knowing some of their famous cricketers is also all part of the test!
The Australian Values Statement that needs to signed means that whilst diversity of cultures and backgrounds is welcomed in Australia (how can it not be given its a migrant country...)signing the statement is a commitment to the overriding Values, laws and people of Australia.
The Australian Values - As defined by the State Government
Whilst these are the official values issued by the state government, I think most Australians would agree that these are the right values for Australia:FREEDOM
This gives everyone in Australia the right to freedom of Speach So within reason you can say whatever you think without fear of reprimand. That said there are laws to stop people making false statements i.e. you could be sued for defamation if you make false allegations against someone.
These laws also govern the media e.g. magazines, newspapers, radio and TV channels. But it does mean anyone can lobby for laws to be changed or for new ideas to be heard.
Freedom of Association is another aspect to Australian Values. It means you are free to join any associations you like provided that association is legal. Then you can protest as a group against the government if you so wish.
Freedom of Religion - You are free in Australia to practice any religion you like as long as those practices don't break any Australian laws.EQUALITY
This means that all Australians are treated equally under the law. It means that no matter what your race gender or religion, you are given the same opportunities.
For example women are able to join the military and hold positions in government. There is much discussion still about the "glass ceiling" for women in business and the fact that pay for women is still at least 10% lower than for men.
Australia is a democracy and this means that politicians are elected by the people of Australia into the government. These are the only people who can make laws in Australia and they act on behalf of their constituents in the town where they were elected.
Australian Values - What The People Would Say
Ask an Australian about Australian values and they would probably come up with a couple of the points above but they are more likely to talk to you about the following:
Being a migrant country there is a high level of tolerance for others faith, culture and beliefs. Go to any of the major Australian cities and you'll find suburbs dedicated to certain nationalities e.g. The Italian Quarter in both Melbourne and Sydney are bustling vibrant areas. The Australians love visiting these suburbs to enjoy the melting pot of cuisines and shops on offer and meet the local Australian Italians.
A FAIR GO - This really comes down to equality but articulates better the fact that it's about supporting others who have worked hard for what they have. I.e. they have not been given special priveleges due to their social class.
It doesn't mean that everyone has to earn the same amount of money. It just means that there is respect for someone who has made it happen themselves - quite a different mentality to the British whose society is very much built on a social class system.
EASY GOING - The Australians are laid back. There aren't many airs and graces and they tend to say what they think - they are more direct than many nations. This is very refreshing but can take a bit of getting used to depending on where you are from! They want to enjoy life and place a huge emphasis on the outdoors
FRIENDLY COMPETITION - The Aussies love their sport, particularly Aussie Rules Football, Rugby and Cricket. Winning is important but Supporting the underdog is also very important - perhaps stemming back to the hardship encountered by many convicts who first landed here.
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