Based in Australia, MysteriousT shares her views of this debated topic based on experience and research.
Does Australia consist of a National Culture?
National culture can be defined as “the set of norms, behaviours, beliefs and customs that exist within the population of a sovereign nation” (Breton, 2017). Reflecting on all my 18 years here, before I can ask myself whether Australia has a national culture or not, I ask myself, what is Australia to me?
When I hear the word Australia, I see flip flops, beaches, Aboriginal dot painting and beautiful shades of skin, from snow-white pale to Sun-Kist brown. I smell the aromas of countries far and wide all in one mall, one food court, one street, one suburb. I feel the love of an Asian to a Middle-Eastern to an African to the Aboriginal people/Australians. I recognise the church, the mosque, the monastery and the temples as I drive by on my way to university every single day. The beauty of Australia augmented in my mind. It’s our differences that make us all the same in this diverse country(Breton, 2017). Diversity, egalitarianism, and multicultural concepts all create
Australia’s culture, and in my personal reflection, Australia poses a diverse national culture.
Perplexed by my thoughts of what national culture is, and what it means to Australians, I decided to go on a quest. I asked students from the Cultural Studies unit in the Australian University of ECU what they believe.
One said,“there is no national culture in Australia, it’s a very diverse country, with people of different origin” (B. Al Awadi, personal communication, May 3, 2019). Another said, “I don’t think Australia has a national culture and if it did, there would be a specific culture for it as a nation. (M. Safari, personal communication, May 3, 2019)”.
This answer intrigued me. What if Australia really did
have a national culture, but a specific one? I decided to reflect on my past years, living here, and the values and the attitudes that belong to Australia.
I remembered that every year of primary school, I had a different teacher of a different
nationality. The teachers would come in their own traditional clothing, and each with their own accent, teaching us all in the common language used in Australia, English. A shared characteristic between all Australians. I remember being taught all the
key Australian values; kindness, fairness, equality. Another shared trait of Australians. I recalled being taught by my teachers the typical Australian behaviour whereby each person greets the other with his or her own twist. One person would say “G’day mate, how you are doing?” and another would say “hello there, brother” and another would say “welcome, welcome”. All so different, yet the same.
I came across a journal that explained how teachers should portray the multiculturalism within a classroom and Australian schools were surveyed with a result of 77% of teachers agreeing that and quote; " Developing shared social values” is the most important within a classroom.
In fact, Australia’s residents are 40% immigrants and over 400 languages that are
spoken in this country. This, one of many, is what makes Australia a nation of diverse culture. A diverse national culture.
With regards to the definition of national culture, Australia has a set of norms, the norm of being acceptably different. Australia has a set of behaviours, the behaviour of good manners and loveliness, Australia has a set of customs, the custom of being diverse, and Australia has a set of beliefs, the belief of equality and egalitarianism.
These are what exist within our population of Australia. This is what makes Australia’s national culture. And as an aspiring doctor, I will implement my values as an Australian in my career.