Some Features of Australian Society

Introduction
As with language, society is constantly changing. Also, it goes without saying, no country’s people are all identical in personality and behaviour. So, please note, the outline here is just a brief snapshot of Australian society.
Australian society used to be much more egalitarian, easy-going and casual. Traditionally, Australian society had probably 60% of people in the same class (working/ middle class). Increasing economic inequality over the past 50 years has shown itself by people more concerned about such things as high-earning occupations; large houses; fashionable clothes and fancy cars. However, most Australians still cling to “the idea” that we are all equal.

Business clothes (dress)
in general, although some people wear suits, many Australian people dress more casually for work than Japanese. Denim jeans is not so common, but other casual (but neat) pants and shirt (or skirt and blouse for women) is OK. At interviews, suits are most common.

Business meetings (visits)
We don`t have quite as many meetings and out of work dinners and parties as Japan. At a business lunch or dinner, business comes before the meal or drinking and socialising. Business cards are not normally exchanged upon first meeting. If you need a colleague’s contact information, it is ok to ask them for their card. It is also ok to offer someone your card. But there is not an elaborate ritual of exchanging cards

Demeanour
Australians (in general) are more assertive than English people and less assertive than Americans. Australians are certainly a bit more assertive and quicker to speak their opinions and disagree than Japanese. We also touch much more than Japanese and make eye contact more.

Dining (eating)
BYO  (bring your own) alcohol and often food is still fairly common. At restaurants bill splitting (friends, couples, bigger groups)is also common.

Forms of Address
We don´t often call people Mr Smith, but rather Robert. We almost never call another adult “Sir” except in business letters. Some service people may address customers as “Sir or Madam”.

Gestures and body language
Australians use typical Western gestures for things such as “Come here, go away, stop, pointing, shaking hands”. Many of these are quite different to Japanese versions.

Giving Gifts
We only usually give presents on Xmas, weddings and birthdays. Most people try to give fairly modest, inexpensive gifts. We seldom give gifts to people we have just met.

Holidays
Most workers get 4 weeks paid holiday. There is also a few days leave for sickness or special events. School teachers get 8 weeks holiday. (but they deserve it!)

Noises
Australians will accept much more noise from neighbours than do Japanese.

Personal Space See Demeanour

Religion
In the past, Australian society has been very secular (like Japan) and certainly not as fundamental as many American religious people. For example, although most Australians say they are Christians, not so many go to church regularly. Recent conservative Australian governments show more leanings towards religious fundamentalism. For example, although the majority of Australian people are tolerant towards gay persons, the government refuses to consider legalizing same-sex marriages.

Smoking
This has become very socially unacceptable in the past 10 years. There are very few public places where you can smoke now.

Social visits
Much more than Japanese, we meet our friends at each others houses. In Japan, I got very few invitations to visit Japanese people at their home. Japanese seem to meet more at restaurants and Izakaya.

Stereotypes
Australians are friendly, easy going and not very formal. We regard workers as equal in status to bosses and address them equally.

Telephone Etiquette
similar to Japan I think.

Tipping
It´s not common practice to tip (taxis, waiters, etc.) in Australia.

Toilets
We say toilets, rather than bathrooms or rest-rooms.
We “have” a shower (or bath), we don`t “take” a shower. (unlike Americans)

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