Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything
This forms our national culture. Australia’s social and political foundations incorporate liberal democracy, the rule of one law for all, equality, freedom of expression and conscience above political correctness and overstated sensitivities. These are non-negotiable core Western values, understood as integral to our identity and prosperity and the framework for all other values.
But in particular there are some values that make us uniquely Australian:
1.) Australians are FAIR DINKUM. This means we ‘call a spade a spade’ and value honesty, integrity, openness and transparency. We are neither outwardly religious nor overly endeared toward formality or position. In fact, we are prone to take the mickey out of both ourselves and others in what we understand as 'good humour'. Australians carry a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of approach and will trust and respect such honesty. From this character trait flows another; the inclination to insist on a ‘fair go’.
2.) The quest of Australians for a FAIR GO is fierce and unrelenting. What this colloquialism means is a passion for justice and equality, and a keen indignation toward injustice and inequality. A fair go for all is the opportunity to pursue fair endeavours. Australians demand a level playing field as the natural birthright of all. This is ideally a borderless playing field, as borders are not something generally welcomed by free Australians.
3.) In the least populated continent on this planet, free from any land borders with other nations, a special sense of FREEDOM comes naturally. With our wide horizons, the brightest blue skies and endless waters surrounding us, Australians are not accustomed to accepting any artificial boundaries. This translates into being free spirited, not dictated to by the majority or tradition, but free to think, speak and act without artificial boundaries.
4.) Our concept and value of MATESHIP is specifically Australian: We show this mateship by befriending and helping others regardless of race, skin colour, country of origin or religious belief; everyone gets a ‘fair go’. Historically this instant familiarity was forged through common suffering imposed through harsh circumstances, harsh climate and an appreciation of being together literally ‘at the rear end of the world’. People worked together to build Australia and learnt to depend on one another. Mateship is about dependability, going the extra mile and sharing the sufferings of others. Whether the freedom fight in East Timor, a killer tsunami in S.E. Asia, earthquakes in New Zealand, or at home for those caught in devastating bushfires, floods and droughts, Australians give generously of their money, their possessions and their labour. We do this regardless of our neighbour’s race, ethnicity, religion or geographical location. Australians time and time again are the most generous donators of their money, goods and their labour. This bond to stand united for a mate is no better expressed than in the ANZAC Spirit.
5.) The ANZAC SPIRIT is found nowhere else but in Australia and New Zealand. It pays to remember neither Australians nor New Zealanders were conscripts in the Great War, but volunteers. Two attempts by the government to introduce conscription via referendum were defeated by the Australian people. Despite this, Australians signed up in large numbers and had the highest rate of casualties per capita amongst all nations involved. Where disciplined conscripts from England and France retreated and floundered, unruly Australian volunteers pulled through. Even in the bloody defeat at the shores of Gallipoli Australians took with them a new bond and lessons for future generations. They may not have saluted the officers appropriately, they may have taken the mickey out of some pommie officer, and in their borderless worldview, they may have used the ‘rules and regulations’ manual as toilet paper, but they surely played a significant role in winning the war. And instead of retiring to high tea and cucumber sandwiches during the fall of Singapore and the following battles over South East Asia, Australian diggers battled on, became best mates with the locals, and eventually beat the Japanese at their own game without much fanfare or high-tech thingamajigs.
6.) EGALITARIANISM for Australians goes far beyond any claim the French may have to the origins of this ideal. While the citizens of ‘La Republique’ still address their Head of State as Messieur Le Presidente, and our American cousins stand up to the tunes of the presidential hymn each time Dear Mister President enters the room, Australians may have a yarn with John, Kev or Julia. Australians have a primal disrespect for authority incorporated in their antipodean genes. This likely goes back to when Australia was one big penitentiary and authorities were not looked up to, but frowned upon. And we’ve had in the small local community more than our fair share of fellow Australians being battlers one day, multi-millionaires the next, and consequently torn to pieces and thrown into irons for fraud and tax avoidance. We tend to respect and revere nobody unless they have clearly earnt it. Figures in sport, music and science, our emergency services and the Australian military get this nod. And yet we cut down tall poppies and take the mickey out of people as a national pastime. Besides, (South) Australian women were the first to be eligible to stand for parliamentary elections in 1894 and the second (after NZ in 1893) to receive the right to vote, Australian unions are the oldest in the world and Australian workers were forerunners of the eight-hour work day, equal rights, pensions and other social benefits. Cats and dogs are a loving match compared to Australians and authority.
7.) COMMUNITY SPIRIT in Australia is different to what most people in Asia, Europe or America understand or experience. Only in frontier communities of the American West, Canada or the African Bushveld can we find similarities. While nihilistic multiculturalism is doing its best to destroy many aspects of the Australian community spirit as it divides people along ethnical fault lines and balkanises a once integrated society, we still have community spirit in abundance. Local SES, CFA, Lions, Rotary, CWA, surf lifesaving, sports clubs, Clean Up Australia Days, flood and bushfire appeals and similar still flourish, where locals band together without fuss and reward for the greater good of their community. This is where the Australian Community Spirit is still alive and well; here and of course beyond the big centres in the communities of the Australian heartland.
We don't need burqa-clad ladies telling us "well, what are Australian values anyway?" We know. It's in how we're raised and what many new arrivals embrace when they get here.