The Individualistic Culture of Australia

About this essay

Australia is a country that many people are familiar with as being the sixths largest country in the world, with approximately 23,232,413 people in 2017, but also holds the record for being the smallest continent in the world. This country is famous for its strong market economy and its appealing tourist attractions that hold a high and respected reputation worldwide (Pearson, 2018).

Once before, the very popular country Australia, was just a land of aboriginal and indigenous people, before British colonized the country in 1788.

After colonizing, an Immigration Restriction Act was set in place to restrict immigration to Europeans only, but after World War II, the Australian government encouraged immigration to everyone. British currently make up a majority of Australia obtaining 64.7 percent of the population, but Australia currently has a vast majority of ethnicities because of this movement after the war. Some of these include, Irish, Italian, German, Chinese, and even more (Pariona, 2016).

After gaining their independence from the federation of UK Colonies on January 1, 1901, The Commonwealth of Australia was formed where the rules and laws for this new nation were enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

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According to, The Australian Parliament consists of the Prime Minister, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Looking further into that, there are three branches of government being the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Each of the branches serving a different purpose within the government (How Government Works, 2017).

From the time they were colonized, the country of Australia has continued to grow into the country that they are now.

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There are two different territories that divide Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, where they are then divided into six states, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia (Pearson, 2018). These territories and states are homes to famous tourist locations such as, the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, the Uluru, and the Great Ocean Road. Australia also hosted the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney where the tourism rate increased 3.4 percent. Many of these attractions are found in the larger cities in Australia. About 86 percent of Australian citizens live in urban areas particularly in these larger cities along the coast (Pearson, 2018).

The most common language among Australians is English, followed by Mandarin, Arabic, and Cantonese as other popular languages spoken throughout the country. When it comes to religion in Australia, there are two main religions that are honored throughout the country. There are approximately 26 percent of Protestants, and 23 percent of Catholics in Australia, according to the 2016 census (Pearson, 2018). Education is very important to the people of Australia. Children begin school by attending preschool and continue their education through high school. There are a wide number of public schools along with Catholic schools and independent schools. Australia also has more than 40 colleges and universities that many people attend, a lot of those people not being originally from Australia. The country also has nearly 100 percent literacy and was ranked 2nd on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2016 (Pearson, 2018).

Australia has a vigorous market economy, with the gross domestic product estimating US$1.235 trillion in 2017, and the unemployment rate measuring at only 5.6 percent that year. Within the Australian economy, 70.3 perfect of GDP was accounted for by services, coal is the leading export, is the largest producer of diamonds, and is among the top of the world’s producers of gold (Pearson, 2018). Agriculture estimated 3.6 percent of the GDP and the country leads the world in wool exports. Other products that the country agricultures are wheat, barley, sugarcane, beef, sugar, honey, cotton, lamb, sheep, and poultry. Australia also has a large wine industry from their vast number of grapes harvested, which generates around US$2 billion every year (Pearson, 2018). Australia uses the Australian dollar where 1 dollar compares to .72 United States Dollar. These Australian dollars are available in $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes, and coins come in 5, 10, 20, 50, and one and two-dollar coins as well.

Australia is an individualistic culture, where members of this community are more focused on themselves and their family members than the people around them. Every country is different in the ways they handle conflict, communicate to one another, the ways they make their decisions and the types of leadership throughout the country. When coming into contact with a conflict, Australians are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions before blaming anyone else for the things they might have done (Hamberger, 2015). Australians are ranked low on the power distance scale, meaning that everyone is seen as equal for majority of the time. Communication between people in this country is informal and all people in the conversation are interactive and are actively participating in the conversation. When it comes to making a decision, Australians are very indulgent and act on impulse. Australians live the way that they want to, spend money as they want to, and place a lot of importance on time for leisure activities. Making a decision is typically not a hard task for most Australians since their deciding factors are usually an impulse factor.

Leadership in Australia displays many differences and similarities to the leadership styles used here in America, and Australia leadership styles have also been changing throughout the years. Colin Rymer cites Vecchio et al (1992) and provides information comparing Australian leadership to American leadership, stating that Australians have less of a worth ethic, are more introverted, and are less authoritarian than American culture. Since Australia has been changing, it is shown that people in authority in the workplace can display some different traits, and some similar traits that are seen in normal citizens. Rymer cites Vecchio et al (1992), again, and states that these people in high importance in the work place are self- sufficient, and more dominating and assertive in the business setting, which would be different than majority of Australia’s culture, but staying the same as they all usually act on impulse as opposed to thinking and planning carefully. (Rymer 2008).

These leadership styles in Australia can easily be explained by their Individualistic culture, where the expectation is to look over yourself and your family. Rymer cites that Vecchio et al (1992) explains that Australians are not very focused or concerned with achieving promotions within the work place at the risk or expense of their colleagues. (2008). Being more concerned with their self and family members, Australians are very in tune with who they are and do not have to out-do someone to prove themselves in the workplace.

According to Glenn Buesnel-May, Australians carry a calmness with them in whatever they do. In this case, the way that they lead and their leadership style is very calm and laid back. The people of Australia are very relationship-based and that is a strength within their leadership style. People feel comfortable and are put to ease when thinking about the leaders of Australia because of their ability to create rapport with the citizens, and ultimately feel confident that people are following and respecting the leader. Australians are also very humor based and love to crack jokes anytime possible, even while leading a country. This humor can reduce the amount of stress in high-stress moments, and create enthusiasm within the country (Whats So Unique About Australian Leadership?, 2018).

Throughout the Australian community, problems are bound to arise. Sexism is an issue that Australia has faced in the past couple of years. Many other countries experience this as well, and if a country doesn’t have issues with it now, they had issues with it in the past. Whether this be in the workplace or just throughout life in general, many people believe that women do not have the same rights and men. Z. Kraljevic shows three different examples of women in different countries that are not getting the right treatment in the work place. These women are not spoken to, are not acknowledge, and are forced to change their dress code all just because of their gender (2014).

One example of this in Australia’s culture was in October 2012 when Australia experienced a large issue with sexism that affected the entire country. The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, directly accused her running opponent, Tony Abbott, of portraying qualities of sexism within his campaign. Tony publicly stated that women are biologically less suited for a public office and to hold power compared to a man and attended an anti-Gillard protest rally where he held up an inappropriate sign indicating to “ditch” his opponent. Julia Gillard gave a speech to the parliament on October 9, 2012, denouncing the sexism of her opponent and bringing this issue to not only the citizens of Australia, but to everyone all over the world. Her video was on YouTube hours later, with hundreds of thousand streams, where people all over the world watched and supported Gillard. After her brave act of standing up publicly over this matter, Gillard was seen by some as a feminist hero, but some as a weak individual (Donaghue, 2015).

As shown in Z. Kraljevic’s studies, the woman’s working conditions were not made better or drastically changed, and the same goes for Australia. Julia Gillard was not re-elected as Prime Minister of Australia, and her competitor, who her speech was targeted towards, served as the Prime Minister (Donahgue, 2015). This is a perfect example of sexism within a country and how it can affect both the people directly involved and the citizens of that country. When thinking of conflict management in this scenario, it is clear that both parties in this acted on impulse. Making rude comments and posters and making an entire speech on the issue is something that is defiantly an impulse decision and making choices that align with your emotions which is something that many Australians do.

Whether it is visiting the country on a fabulous vacation or moving to start a new life, Australia is a great place to live. Its individualistic culture indicates family is important, the people of Australia respect people in charge and the decisions that they make, and conflict is handled properly when it arises. The beautiful country has leaders and a strong government that help obtain its growing economy and market.

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The Individualistic Culture of Australia. (2022, Mar 04). Retrieved from

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