Australian culture is generally the western related culture. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world, but with a population of 24 million, the population is relatively small. This makes it one of the least populated landmasses in the world. However, it is also very urbanized and people are clustered in relatively small areas around large cities. Many Australians enjoy a high standard of living and sufficient social and economic security to obtain a reasonably optimistic view of the freedom and opportunities that surround them. A common national narrative praises Australia as a “happy country” for the enjoyable quality of life of the people. In a recent large-scale study, SBS found that almost two-thirds of Australians think their country has the best lifestyle in the world. Despite their luck, Australians tend to resist open demonstrations of national superiority (with the exception of their athletic abilities). In addition, they sometimes criticized their own country because there was no cultural refinement compared to their European counterparts.
Australian friendships are deep and particularly faithful. It is common for people to trust their friends or “partners” more in difficult times than in their families. Migrants and foreigners are often surprised at how far Australians have opened and quickly laid the foundation for this union. On the other hand, relationships are based on fellowship rather than hierarchy. In this way, people tend to show respect to their friends and colleagues by doing equality rather than deference. Considerable effort is made to be fair in social interaction with all people. For example, it is unpleasant to ask someone to do something you would not do. People who value themselves more than their partners are quickly reminded of their place. In addition, Australians tend not to like friends when they knowingly take them into uncomfortable situations, forcing them to do something without necessarily wanting or offering it. “Dobbing” is also considered unacceptable in a friendship.
Australians seem to have a taste for those who seem simple and direct. They often consider simplicity as an endearing personal trait; Being called “classic” is a compliment among friends. On the other hand, people who show strong signs of intelligence or who are considered “educated” are more likely to be treated with suspicion or even resentment. This is linked to the high rate of the poppy syndrome, which causes rapid weight loss to those who show signs of arrogance or success with their partners. In this way, humility is essential for social interactions.
Australians are often very modest in their achievements and are generally ironic of not being claimed. This can sometimes lead to extremes in social circles and the workplace. We know, for example, that people reject national prices because of the alienation they could generate from their Australian compatriots. Country leaders also tend to reduce their socio-economic status or educational skills to address “true Australian blue”. Even the common descriptor “happy earth” expresses modesty because the success of the nation is attributed more to “happiness” than to the work or competition of the Australian people.
The average Australian household was generally considered a nuclear family, with their extended family living separately. However, the archetypal family (husband, wife, and children) can no longer be the exact social expectation today. The increase in the number of divorces and remarriages has created homes with steppers, stepchildren, and siblings. The number of single mothers has also increased and many children are raised in single-family homes. As the stigma associated with same-sex relationships declines, it is more common for same-sex couples to have children or families who integrate LGBTQI + relationships into their homes. Diversity is also greater, with 49% of Australians having at least one parent born abroad (2016 census). These multicultural families may have cultural customs typical of their country of birth. For example, it is more common to find extended families living with the nuclear family in migrant households.
Although the traditional family structure is no longer a realistic social standard, the family remains fundamental to people throughout their lives. Individualism is very popular and Australians generally encourage family members to be independent and to follow their personal desires. Unconsciously, children often learn to be “special” or “unique”. The cultural idea is there: that’s what you do about yourself and who you are chosen for. People are expected to be independent, self-determined and accountable for their decisions.
Australian society is secular and citizens have the right to respect all beliefs as long as their practices do not violate the law. Since religion is considered a matter of personal preference, Australians tend not to speak about it publicly or explicitly with those they do not know well. Conversations about faith are always welcome, but in general, they are not appreciated when others try to promote their beliefs or speak defensively (including atheism). Similarly, preaching in a social conversation is often considered irritating and just. People may choose not to call themselves religious (especially at their place of work) to preserve the distinction between private and public life. The religious and spiritual landscape of Australia is diverse and changing. There is no official national religion, but Christianity has been the dominant religion since colonization. Although Christianity has been steadily declining among Australians, 52% of the population was identified in the 2016 census. The largest Christian denominations were Catholic (23%) and Anglican (13%).
Australia has always had a broad representation of non-Christian beliefs, but it was not until the 1970s and the abolition of white Australia’s policy that the numbers began to change significantly. The 2016 census recorded more than 100 different denominations, each with at least 250 members. Among the 8.2% of the population following a religion different from Christianity, Islam (2.6%) and Buddhism (2.4%) have the majority of followers. Hinduism is the fastest growing religion, correlated with the increase in Indian migration. However, the fastest growing category is “without religion”. At the 2016 census, 30% of Australians were considered non-religious. However, this reaction was more common among young Australians aged 18-34.
Although census data indicate that 60% of the Australian population identifies with a religion, active participation and compliance are not as high. In the 2012 Global Values Survey on participation in religious services (with the exception of weddings and funerals), 17% reported attending more than once a month. A Gallup poll in 2008 showed that nearly 70% of Australians considered religion “unimportant” in their daily lives. The declining popularity of religion is reflected in the changes of one of its institutions: marriage. The election of celebrants has changed in the direction of a preference of the officials. Ministers of religious worship were married with 96.2% of all marriages in 1902 and 48.7% in 1999. However, in 2013, they had reached only 27.4% of marriages.
For many Australians, however, religion is still important. The current trend shows that older Australians tend to believe in God. The 2012 World Values Survey found that 64% of Australians claimed to believe in a “god”, while 33% believed in “hell”. Religious institutions also play an important role in society. For example, almost 40% of school-age children attend private schools, the majority of which have a religious affiliation. Many private hospitals have also been founded on foundations
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
A cultural tendency to reject the uncomfortable facts of Australian history has particularly painful consequences for the native people and the Torres Straits. Many continue to seek political redress through reconciliation and official recognition of their status as the first inhabitants of the continent. Colonization has had devastating effects on natives and Torres Strait Islanders. The initial population was reduced by about 90% because she had been exposed to foreign diseases or died. Many have been deprived of their traditional lands and separated from their cultural identities. The trauma remains difficult to digest for many members of the community, particularly because traditional knowledge and complete language groups have been lost.
The marginalization of Aboriginal Aborigines and Torres Strait Island has continued due to institutional racism, assimilation, and discrimination. Through common statistical measures, the general population continues to suffer from chronic social and economic disadvantages. Almost all Aboriginal families have been directly affected by the harsh reality of Australia’s postcolonial policies and practices.