Australia’s diverse culture and lifestyle reflect its liberal democratic traditions and values, geographic closeness to the Asia–Pacific region and the social and cultural influences of the millions of migrants who have settled in Australia since World War II.
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.
The rest of Australia’s people are migrants or descendants of migrants who have arrived in Australia from about 200 countries since Great Britain established the first European settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788.
In 1945, Australia’s population was around 7 million people and was mainly Anglo–Celtic. Since then, more than 6.5 million migrants, including 675 000 refugees, have settled in Australia, significantly broadening its social and cultural profile.
Today Australia has a population of more than 21 million people. More than 43 per cent of Australians either were born overseas themselves or have one parent who was born overseas. Australia’s Indigenous population is estimated at 483 000, or 2.3 per cent of the total.
Many of the people who have come to Australia since 1945 were motivated by a commitment to family, or a desire to escape poverty, war or persecution. The first waves of migrants and refugees came mostly from Europe. Subsequent waves have come from the Asia–Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.
Migrants have enriched almost every aspect of Australian life, from business to the arts, from cooking to comedy and from science to sport. They, in turn, have adapted to Australia’s tolerant, informal and broadly egalitarian society.
The defining feature of today’s Australia is not only the cultural diversity of its people, but the extent to which they are united by an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia.
Within the framework of Australia’s laws, all Australians have the right to express their culture and beliefs and to participate freely in Australia’s national life.
At the same time, everyone is expected to uphold the principles and shared values that support Australia’s way of life. These include:
In most practical ways, Australia is an egalitarian society. This does not mean that everyone is the same or that everybody has equal wealth or property.
But it does mean that there are no formal or entrenched class distinctions in Australian society, as there are in some other countries. It also means that with hard work and commitment, people without high-level connections or influential patrons can realise their ambitions.
The unemployment rate is relatively low (in December 2007 it was 4.3 per cent) and the gross per capita income is around $39 000. All people are equal under the law in Australia and all Australians have the right to be respected and treated in a fair manner.
Well, well, well, this is a big thing in Australia, and it is amazing how passionately Australians feel about fishing. It is difficult to resist fishing, because of the number of fantastic places to fish, and the number and variety of species available, combined with a very good climate, sunshine almost all year long, and idyllic locations. Anyway there are 3 important things to know. The first is that in all States except Queensland, a fishing License is required and can be easily obtained in tackle shops or convenience shops in small towns. The license is cheap and lasts for different amounts of time. The second important thing to remember is that not all fish can be captured. In every state there are rules about size and quantity (called Bag limit). These rules are explained in a booklet given for free in tackle shops and government institutions. It means that if you catch a fish that doesn't comply with the rules, you must return it immediately. Also, there are rules for quantity and size of oysters, mussels and other shellfish. Crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters, prawns and yabbies have an extra rule that states that no females can be taken. No worries, because everything is explained in the booklet, and if in doubt, put them back to the water. The only important thing you have to take with you when going fishing besides the gear and the bait is a ruler to measure your catch. To drive a boat you also need a license, except if the motor is less than 6 horsepower.
Preservation of the environment is ten out of ten for Australia. It is amazing; how much care conscientious Australians dedicate to preserving the environment. It doesn't only cover nature conservation such as mountains, rivers, forests and oceans, it spans into the cities as well. Australians love Australia and are very proud of having a clean and beautiful land. The majority of the population are very concerned about ecological and preservation matters, involving themselves as much as possible to keep it that way. Not only will normal people report damage to the environment, but the authorities will also give you heavy fines for dumping anything you are not allowed to. Streets and locations are very clean. I have been to beaches where you have to walk on a wooden path so as not to disturb the sand and native grass that is underneath. There are selective rubbish collections for most homes with recycling bins separated from bins containing other materials. Also, Councils from all over Australia, do an Environment impact study before authorizing any new construction and development.