Trying to define national identity is like searching for the end of a rainbow.It isn’t something that can be found or a place we can collectively reach; it’s something that unfolds over time and through generations. It’s also something that is contested and evokes a sense of belonging individually.
Perspectives of identity in being Australian
Acknowledging our inheritance should not engender a paralysing guilt, but rather a mature realisation of the moral obligations created by our past, which we won’t ever escape. This is the beginning of pride in belonging. Anthropologist Patrick Sullivan’s Belonging Together: dealing with politics of disenchantment in Australian Indigenous policy (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2011) argues that Australians should recognise their futures as inextricably bound with that of Indigenous Australians.
An amalgam of ideas exploring Australia, identity, place and “Liyan” - a word borrowed from the Yawuru people of Broome that describes the “internal spiritual core of strength that keeps you strong personally and culturally” - the exhibition attempts to reframe our attitudes to this continent and the life we have built here.Read more...
2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer
Unity: An Australian society that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared national identity
Why are culture and identity important?
Essentially, culture refers to a people’s way of life - their ideas, values, customs and social behaviour. Culture includes things like the way we do weddings and funerals, the food we like to eat, the way we dress and the music we like. Culture is passed down from generation to generation, and while cultural practices and beliefs change and evolve, many of the basic aspects remain the same.
Identity is tied to the cultures that a person is raised in and how they identify with that culture.
The Commonwealth Government has Identified three dimensions of multicultural policy:
• Cultural identity: the right of all Australians, within carefully defined limits, to express and share their individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion
• Social justice: the right of all Australians to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth, and
• Economic efficiency: the need to maintain, develop and utilise effectively the skills and talents of all Australians, regardless of background.
These dimensions of multiculturalism are expressed in the eight goals articulated in the National Agenda. They apply equally to all Australians, whether Aboriginal, Anglo-Celtic or non-English speaking background; and whether they were born in Australia or overseas.Source
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection asks applicants for visas to confirm that they understand that “Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good. Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background”. While it is important to understand that there is a difference between societal and personal values, it is the average of individual’s values that help us understand what is important to a particular society.Source
Q&A: Linda Burney challenges worth of 'Australian values' citizenship test
Legislation introduced to toughen Australia’s citizenship regime may be unfair, the Labor MP Linda Burney told the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night as the opposition prepares to debate whether to support the proposed changes.
Australia’s cultural diversity
Australia has a unique history that has shaped the diversity of its peoples, their cultures and lifestyles today. Three major contributors to Australia’s demographic make-up are a diverse Indigenous population, a British colonial past and extensive immigration from many different countries and cultures.
Australia is a vibrant, multicultural country. We are home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures, as well as Australians who identify with more than 270 ancestries. Since 1945, almost seven million people have migrated to Australia.Source