Australians are generally down to earth, laid-back, open and direct

They express their opinions freely and are typically more individual and outgoing than many other cultures. Although there is a strong perception that most Australians live in remote or rural areas, more than three quarters of Australians live in cities and urban centres, mainly along the coastline.
Some key values that reflect the Australian way of life include:

  • freedom of information, opinion and expression
  • freedom of religion
  • democracy
  • equality of men and women
  • equality regardless of race, religion, marital status, ethnic background, disability or sexual preference
  • peacefulness
  • a ‘fair go’ (equal opportunity) for all and support for the underdog.

WHAT ARE AUSTRALIANS LIKE?

Australia is considered one of the most egalitarian nations in the world that embraces human equality, mutual respect and acceptance of others. There is no segregation between people of different incomes or backgrounds and everyone is free to live where they like, attend university and follow whichever religion and occupation they choose.

Australians place high value on friendships and are usually relaxed, casual and informal when it comes to greeting someone. In both the workplace and among friends, Australians generally call each other by their first names and shake a person’s right hand when meeting someone for the first time. Other physical contact should remain minimal until you are more familiar with the person.

Australians show respect and establish trust by looking one another in the eye, however they don’t have as much physical contact (hugging and kissing) as other cultures. You may find that your Australian friends have difficulty pronouncing your name, at first. Be patient and prepared that you may need to repeat your name or say it slowly at the beginning. As friendships develop, you may find that your friends give you a nickname, which is very common in Australia and is a form of endearment.

Language

While almost everyone in Australia speaks English, the slang may be a little confusing and difficult to understand at first, but if you are unsure, just ask.

Australian slang:

  • arvo = afternoon
  • Aussie = Australian
  • barbie = BBQ/barbeque
  • bloke = man/guy
  • boardies = board shorts
  • brekkie = breakfast
  • Brizzie = Brisbane
  • g'day = good day/hello
  • Goldy = Gold Coast
  • mozzie = mosquito
  • no worries = no problem/that's OK
  • roo = kangaroo
  • snags = sausages
  • sunnies = sunglasses
  • telly = TV
  • togs = swimsuit/bikini

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Sporting culture

Sport is an integral part of the Australian culture, with sporting events a favourite pastime for many Australians. Sport has largely shaped the Australian national identity and is also seen as a great way to socialise with friends and come together as a nation, state or club.

Popular sporting events include the State of Origin, Melbourne Cup, AFL Grand Final, NRL Grand Final, Boxing Day Test and GC600 on the Gold Coast.

To see our full range of social and sporting teams and clubs, visit our clubs and societies website.

Men and women

In Australia men and women are treated equally, regardless of their gender. Women make up nearly 50% of the workforce and many remain in the workplace even after they have married or had children. Women also have the right to breastfeed freely in public.

There are no social regulations or laws regarding friendships or dating in Australia. Friendships with members of the opposite sex and social events with both sexes are common. It is also common for couples to live together before they are married or for men and women to live in share-house accommodation together. People in Australia generally do not have servants or maids and both men and women equally share the cooking and domestic duties in the home.

Clothing

Australian dress codes can alter depending on specific environments and locations. Corporate professionals are usually required to dress in smart-casual clothing, while more labour-intensive jobs may require steel-cap boots, hi-vis wear and hard hats to ensure safety precautions are met.

For the general public, there are no laws or regulations when it comes to clothing. However, some venues and restaurants have specific dress codes for appropriate clothing and footwear.

Australia is a diverse society and clothing choices reflect this. Many people will dress to suit their personal style, climate or situation. Wearing traditional clothing for religious or customary purposes is also widely accepted in Australia.

Celebrations and holidays

Australians celebrate a number of key public holidays and special events throughout the year. Some of which hold national significance or commemorate a past event and are remembered with a public holiday. Some businesses, banks and shops may close on these days. Our national public holidays include:

  • New Year's Day (1 January)
  • Australia Day (26 January)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Anzac Day (25 April)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December).

All other public holidays such as Queen's Birthday and Labour Day vary between states.

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