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 Our society

Australia's system of government is based on the liberal democratic tradition, which includes religious tolerance and freedom of speech and association.

The Australian Government encourages people to learn about and participate in Australia's democratic institutions. Key democratic principles and practices include:

  • responsible government
  • the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers
  • the observance of constitutional safeguards
  • the rule of law
  • a transparent criminal justice system
  • equitably resourced and respected opposition parties, and
  • a free media.

More information on the background and structure of government in Australia is available on the Australian Government portal.

Cultural Diversity

Australia has benefited from the contributions of the millions of migrants from around the world who have made Australia home and helped us shape our unique national identity. Today there are over 21 million Australians. We speak more than 300 languages, including indigenous languages, identify with more than 200 ancestries and observe a wide variety of cultural and religious traditions.

The diversity of our population yields enormous social and economic benefits, and helps make Australia an outward looking, dynamic and exciting country.

The rights, freedoms and benefits of living in Australia are balanced by responsibilities. All Australians are responsible for respecting and protecting human rights and ensuring that our commitment to a fair go becomes a reality for all Australians.

The Government is committed to working with business, community and other organisations and individuals to strengthen Australia as a cohesive and inclusive society that:

  • respects human rights, democracy and the rule of law
  • recognises and respects difference
  • provides opportunities for all
  • celebrates and uses its diversity
  • values and encourages the participation of all people in community life, and
  • encourages all its members to belong and contribute to a shared future.

Australia's multicultural policy embraces our shared values and cultural traditions. It also

allows those who choose to call Australia home the right to practise and share in their cultural traditions and languages within the law and free from discrimination.

For more information on Australia's multicultural heritage, visit the Multicultural Australia page.

More information on Australian values and living in Australia is available in the Life in Australia book produced by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Rights

As Australians, we accept the right of others to express their views and values, and not be discriminated against. It is unlawful to insult, humiliate, offend or intimidate another person or group in public because of their race or religion.

Racism discounts the equality of individuals. It also dismisses the contribution that migrant and indigenous Australians have made to our nation.

For more information about your rights and human rights, visit the Your rights page.

More information

For more information about Australia's society, visit the Australian Government portal.