Who are Australians ? How do Australians see themselves? How are we as a nation, culture and society, perceived by others?
Australia is a product of a unique blend of established traditions and new influences. The country’s original inhabitants, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, are the custodians of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultural traditions. They have been living in Australia for at least 40 000 years and possibly up to 60 000 years.
Australians like to think that we are a proud egalitarian nation, built on the backs of convicts, immigrants and farmers. We value hard work and mate ship and believe in a fair go. Sure, the tall poppy syndrome is alive and well, and we can cut somebody down very quickly, we have a habit of dumbing it down or veering towards mediocrity, in order to protect equality among all Australians.
There is a over-humility in people in Australia, where people can sometimes forget about making their own lives good, because we are trying so hard to make our community's life better.
We school our children with vocational training, and the Outcomes Based Education ethic, we create people who really do grow up, with the ability to think critically, and to approach life from the standpoint of generalists.
As adults the way we discuss national issues is really impressive. Comparing the discourse we have here, to what they have in the USA and other countries around the world, is like comparing day with night. Back there in Kansas, every passionate discussion is formed in an artificial political way. Over here, in Australia, caring is a prime directive and we know how to discuss and understand the systems which are involved in the national issue which is the topic that day.
We invite immigrants to Australia, from all around the world, no matter what political or religious persuasion, they are allowed to engage in prevailing social political conversations and can contribute to debates and decisions which face us. As much as we love this country, none of us would pretend that we have "perfection" we are all living in a continuous experiment, hopefully refining our society for the better as we go.
Everyone is expected to uphold the principles and shared values that support the Australian way of life. These include:
- respect for equal worth, dignity and freedom of the individual
- freedom of speech and association
- freedom of religion and a secular government
- support for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
- equality under the law
- equality of men and women
- equality of opportunity
- a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces tolerance, mutual respect, and compassion for those in need.
- Australia also holds firmly to the belief that no one should be disadvantaged on the basis of their country of birth, cultural heritage, language, gender or religious belief.