What It Means to Be Australian

Topics: Australia, Discrimination, Government of Australia Pages: 4 (1059 words) Published: June 19, 2013
What does it mean to be an Australian?


Kristian Penna

In my opinion being an Australian is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling privileges that a person could wish for. It is not a duty that I take for granted, but instead embrace and receive great joy in return. Technically, being an Australian is someone who is a ‘citizen of Australia’.[1] However the factors that form a deeper implication to what it actually means to be an Australian are often intangible. Some of the things that I most value and admire of the country include multiculturalism, freedom of speech, equality and mateship.

Although we are a country made from many diverse races, Australians have a shared cultural identity that makes us a unique nation. Every year we continue to accept immigrants from the ‘four corners of the globe’ who are free to bring with them their cultural heritage and customs. The 2011 Census confirmed that ‘over one in four of Australia's 22 million people were born overseas’.[2] This depicts the countries willingness to accept and nurture those around us. Our society supports multiculturalism through allowing individuals to express their heritage, language and religion in our communities. A recent SBS report, Connecting Diversity indicated that ‘14% of those aged five years and over, speak a language other than English’.[3] The support of multiculturalism is strongly driven by the Australian Government, who has spoken to value ‘the benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians’[4] within the broader aims of ‘national unity, community harmony and maintenance of our democratic values’.[5]

Australia’s ‘freedom of choice’ policy is one of the many things that contribute to our well earned standard of living. In fact the UN’S annual A-Z of global wealth, poverty, health and education has ranked the nation as ‘the country with the second-best quality of life’.[6] By law Australians are entitled to ‘say or write...
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