Customs and Values
Shouts and rounds
The fear of inferiority
Odd facts of Australia
Important social rules
A time to be sombre and to not
Siding with the loser
Mogrels, wogs, andlarrikins
Dealing with extremists
A system to beat the bookies
Ugg and more
Landscape and Identity
Creativity in the kitchen
The art of science
Once were popular
Pushing the boundaries
Australia and Canada Cultural Differences
Culturally enriched by all nations except America
Australia and Canada have many commonalities. Both are Commonwealth nations, have the Queen of England as their Head of State, control the majority of the world's uranium reserves, have a very large migrant population, have low density populations, have an official policy of multiculturalism and both have a strong left-wing element that defines its identity with anti-American rhetoric.
|| 33,212,696 (July 2008 est.)
|| 20,600,856 (July 2008 est.)
|GDP per capita ($US)
|| $38,400 (2007 est.)
|| $36,300 (2007 est.)
|GDP - composition by sector:
services: 69.1% (2007 est.)
services: 70.6% (2007 est.)
|| 68.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
|| 15.4% of GDP
||British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
|| White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
|| US 81.6%, UK 2.3%, Japan 2.1% (2006)
|| Japan 19.6%, China 12.3%, South Korea 7.5%, US 6.2%, India 5.5%, NZ 5.5%, UK 5% (2006)
From CIA World Fact Book
In the late 15th century, Britain and France started colonising nth America and 1620, the British started sending Convicts to its colonies. For almost 150 years, the new world was kept well supplied with a steady flow of British penal labour.
In the late 18th century, a series of wars allowed the United States to become independent of British control, and French colonies in Canada to come under British control.
Because the British and French colonies in Canada were still under British control, Britain could have continued to use them as a Convict dumping ground. However, because Convicts would be hostile to British rule and would join American patriots in rebellion, an alternative dumping ground was sought. In 1788, Australia became that dumping ground. For the next 80 years, Australia was supplied with British troublemakers mixed in with petty thieves.
From 1839 to 1840, Canada started producing some Convicts of its own and these Convicts soon found themselves transported to Australia. Most of the Convicts were American and French patriots trying to rid Canada of British control.
In a multicultural society where there is a diversity of morals, tastes and preferences, it is very difficult to create anything that is broadly liked. This has especially been the case with Canada and Australia in regards to their national anthems.
O’Canada( see below) became Canada's official national anthem in 1980 and it wasn't long before critics started demanding changes. In 1990, the city of Toronto decided the English version was offensive to immigrants because it included the line "our home and native land." The city subsequently voted to change the words to "our home and cherished land." The change was never made because Toronto couldn't get any other cities to agree with it. In 2002, a feminist politician argued the English version was sexist because it used the words 'sons'. The feminist introduced a bill to change "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command". Because Canada is a multicultural society with a diversity of values and beliefs, the feminist was unable to garner a sufficient number of voices to concur with her concerns. In 2006, atheists took issue with references to God in the French and English versions. Again, a diversity of opinions has prevented the line bothering a sufficient number of people to agree upon a change.
O'Canada - English version
O'Canda (Translated from French version)
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Land of our forefathers
your brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
Because your arm can wield the sword,
and it is ready to carry the cross.
your history is an epic
Of the most brilliant exploits.
your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.
Advance Australia Fair officially became Australia's national anthem in 1984. Because it is a generic anthem that doesn't really say anything at all, it has been spared the political controversies of the Canadian anthem. It has; however, been criticised as being extremely boring.
Advance Australia Fair
Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"
Both Canada and Australia have a national day that provokes a diverse range of emotions.
Canada Day is celebrated on July 1. This is the anniversary of the signing of the Canadian confederation on July 1, 1867. Many French speaking Canadians dislike the date because it marks the formal signing of the British victory over the French.
Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January. This is the anniversary of the first fleet of criminals arriving in 1788. Some white Australians dislike the date because they consider it offensive to Aborigines, offensive to non-white migrants or because they think a national day should not celebrate the arrival of criminals. Some Aborigines refer to the date as "invasion day." Others have eagerly joined in the celebration.
Australian activists have suggested alternative dates but because Australia is a multicultural society with a diversity of values and beliefs, the actvists have struggled to unite people around their alternative dates.
Both Canada and Australia are constitutional monarchies that have the Queen of England as their Head of State. Both countries also have republican movements trying to rid their respective countries of the Queen. The republican movements of both countries have based their activism on moral grounds. In Canada, Gerald Larose, president of the Quebec Sovereignty Council, said the monarchy was,
"the most despicable, appalling, anti-democratic, imperial, colonial symbol against which all social and individual rights were obtained through the course of history".
Lacrose’s arguments have failed to unite a sufficient number of Canadians. This is probably because Lacrose’s arguments are anchored in negativity and negativity has little chance of uniting a multicultural society. All it can do is fracture it further.
While some Canadians want to remove the Queen for moral or historical reasons, others want to retain the Queen because they see it as a way of differentiating themselves from America.
Australia seemed on the verge of becoming a republic in 1999. Polls showed that 90 per cent of Australians supported a republic. The one sticking point was whether the president should be appointed by parliament or a popular vote. 80 per cent of Australians supported a popular vote but the model proposed in the referendum stipulated the president would be appointed by parliament. Supporters of the parliamentary appointed model argued that a voter-elected president would make Australia more like America and it was rejected for that reason.
Roughly 55 per cent of the nation voted no because they either wanted a directly elected president or because they didn't like the people arguing in favour of the parliamentary appointed model. Rural areas were strongholds for the no vote, as were Labor seats in working-class suburbs. Wealthy city electorates mostly voted yes.
Both Australia and Canada have a vocal anti-American element of the population. The anti-American sentiment may stem from a fear that America is culturally colonising them with fast food, sitcoms, fashion, movies, values, ideology or sports. If so, the fear is a little odd because the English speakers of both Canada and Australia don't have strong cultural identities to begin with so they shouldn't be afraid of losing anything. Furthermore, in the age of globalisation, other countries have culturally influenced both Canada and Australia and the influence is often labelled "cultural enrichment." There is no logical reason why a McDonalds chain should be villified while a Sushi Bento chain be celebrated, especially when an indigenous fast-food chain isn't being promoted as an alternative.
The criticism of America probably stems from the multicultural identity. Under multiculturalism, bigotry is strictly taboo; however, bigotry is not bigotry when the target of criticism comes from the same race as the person making the criticism. For one reason or another, Americans are seen to be the same race as Australians and Canadians and can therefore be criticised freely. On the other hand, criticism of Sudanese or Indian culture would be seen as small-minded racism. Ironically then, criticism of America is often a sign of a race-based identity that, in a multicultural society, is racist.
An interesting expression of Canada's double standards in regards to America came in a Human Rights investigation of writer Mark Steyn for his perceived anti-Muslim comments. When defenders of Steyn said he had a right to free speech, Canadian Human Rights Investigator Dean Steacy said,
"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value."
In Steacy's mind, expressing contempt for American values was acceptable but expressing contempt for Muslim values was not. This was probably because Steacy felt that, because he belonged to the same racial/cultural group as Americans, his criticism of Americans did not constitute racism.
Many isolated Aboriginal communities in both Canada and Australia are characterised by near unemployment, multi-generational welfare dependence, domestic and social violence, drug abuse, high crime rates and depression.
Although the causes for the outcome can be debated, obviously the governments of both countries are ignorant to the causes because they have spent tens of billions of dollars over the last 40 years trying to change the situation, but failed. Much of the money has been given to white experts or Aboriginal representatives who say they are experts, but whose results so far are not compatible with their lofty self-assements.
Not surprisingly, some Australian experts have made excuses for their failure to achieve results over the last 50 years. Some experts blame their failure to achieve on Aborigines being denied the federal vote in 1901. (When the colonies of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW framed their constitutions in the 1850s, Aborigines were given the vote. These state voting rights were never taken away.) Other experts blame some kind of wider discrimination in Australian society, which they can't name exactly but are sure that the discrimination flows from the actions of people other than themselves.
Neither Canada nor Australia has initiated wars against other countries. The wars they have fought have been under the leadership of Britain, America or the United Nations.
Both Canada and Australia supported Britain in World War I and II and both countries suffered internal division as a consequence. After World War II, Australia joined America in the invasion of Vietnam as well as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Canada did not join either.
Australia's support of America probably stemmed from a fear that an Asian power might follow in the footsteps of Japan by attacking Australia again. To reduce the threat, Australian politicians have tried to maintain strong military ties with America. Canada has no such fears because America is the only country that could attack it.
Like all English speaking nations except New Zealand, both Canada and Australia have invented their own team sports. Canada invented ice hockey and Canadian football. Australia invented Australian football, touch football, indoor cricket and polocrosse.
In regards to international sports, Canada has come under the American influence while Australia has come under the English influence. Specifically, Canadians like American sports like baseball and basketball. They don't have leagues in their own country but do have teams that play in nth American leagues with America. English sports like rugby union, hockey (field), cricket, soccer and rugby league are less popular.
Australians have long liked the English sports of cricket, rugby league, hockey, and rugby union. Soccer has recently risen in popularity. With the exception of field hockey, all the English sports have professional leagues in Australia.
Testament to the popularity of English sports, Australia has won
- 4 cricket World Cups
- 2 rugby union World Cups
- 8 rugby league World Cups.
- Australian men have won 1 hockey World Cup
- Australian women have won 9 Hockey Champions Trophies
- As yet, Australia has not won a soccer World Cup.
Australians also play the American sports of basketball and baseball but they are not very popular wth spectators. This is probably because the American sports position American leagues as the pinnacle of the sport. If they are not playing Australian football, Australians seem to like sports that have international greater competition.
As well as team sports, individual sports are also popular in Australia. Australia has produced numerous number one tennis and golf players, Olympic gold medallists and also invented the Australian sport of surf lifesaving. Canada's elite individual athletes have largely been confined to alpine sports such as skiing.
The respective Olympic performances of Australia and Canada demonstrate the influence of the environment on the recreational activities of both countries. Australians are very successful in the summer games, while Canadians are very successful in the winter games.
||16 25 17 58
||3 3 8 14
|| 0 0 1 1
||6 5 4 15
||17 16 16 49
||3 6 3 12
||2 0 0 2
||7 3 7 17
||14 15 17 46
||3 9 6 18
||1 0 1 2
||7 10 7 24
Canada officially became a multicultural nation in 1971. Multiculturalism was conceived as a way of reconciling the identity conflicts between English speaking Canadians, French speaking Canadians and Canadians that spoke neither language. In practice, multiculturalism hasn't been applied equally. The English speaking Canadians have been expected to give up their own national identity and embrace 'multicultural supporter' as their identity. This basically means championing multiculturalism and criticising America. Unlike the English, the French speakers have been assertive in declaring that multiculturalism is not acceptable for them. The provincial government of Quebec is firmly committed to the assimilation of migrants and disregards the central government's policy of multiculturalism. In 2008, sociologists Gerard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor explained why multiculturalism was not suitable. According to the sociologists :
- anxiety over language is not an important factor in English Canadians like it is for French Canadians;
- minorities don't feel insecure in French Quebec
- French origin form 77% of Quebec population, while the British origin form only 34 per cent of people in English speaking regions
- Quebec cares more for its cultural heritage than English-speaking Canada. (1)
The third "group", the non-English and non-French, have tended to retain the identity of their origin. In a nutshell, the English speakers are multicultural, the French speakers are French Canadian and the others either have a foreign or indigenous identity.
In their own way, each group has benefited and lost as a result of multiculturalism. The French speakers have been allowed to preserve their strong culture and individuals from the culture receive the benefits that culture provides. The English speakers have been able to give up their cultures and so have become the most adaptable to change and the most individually free. As for the minorities, they get a minority identity, which they may or may not be happy with. Some minorities definitely aren't happy with it. For example, Neil Bissoondath, a Canadian man born in Trinidad and Tobago, has argued that official multiculturalism limits the freedom of minorities by confining them to cultural and geographic ghettos. Indeed, Canada has never produced a Barrack Obama style politician because, under Canadian multiculturalism, a man like Obama would be encouraged to go away and play bongo drums at a multicultural festival.
Australia officially became a multicultural nation in 1973. A bit like Canada, English speakers were expected to have "multicultural supporter" as their identity, migrants were expected to hold on to their ancestral identity and Aborigines were expected to preserve their cultures. In practice, things have turned out a little different to Canada. Non-British/ migrants haven't held onto their home country's identity as passionately as those in Canada. Furthermore, they have taken a more active role in Australian politics, sport and business. It is only in the cultural industries and the humanities where Australia has remained largely an all-white brotherhood with little representation by non-whites.
Failure of ethnics and non-whites to gain representation on Australian television or in movies can be attributed to the policy of multiculturalism. If an Australian writer includes an ethnically defined part for a non-white, the writer risks being accused of racial stereotyping and/or not having the ability to write for a minority. On the flip side, if a casting director puts a non-white into a generic role, the director risks being accused of trying to assimilate non-whites. This occurred when the Aboriginal actor Deborah Mailman was cast in the drama The Secret Life of Us. Film producer Jeff Puser criticised the role as:
"she had exactly the same problems as white Australians." (2)
Non-whites are also conspicuous by their absence from the humanities. This was seen in a 2005 survey of intellectuals by the Australian Public Intellectual Network. The survey asked 200 scholars to list 10 important and influential thinkers. The list they produced had 8 white men in the 10 most influential Australian intellectuals. Men occupied 17 of the top 20 places. Not a single Australian with African, Asian, or South American ancestry made the grade.
The problem for ethnics and non-whites is that they are excluded from the moral empowerment of the activist campaigns. Because ethnics are stereotyped as victims by the humanities, if they get involved in the self-flagellation campaigns of the humanities, they are seen as a "victim" having a whinge, instead of a "perpetrator" showing moral courage. This makes them outsiders with little moral status. Furthermore, they get sympathy but they don't get respect.
Some members of the humanities have noted how the self-flagellation moralities combined with the use of words such as "we" have effectively excluded non-whites. For example, Kay Schaffer, an Associate Professor from Adelaide University, wondered:
"Or is this present controversy yet another example of some prominent and influential white Australians talking to and among themselves in the name of a national debate in a way that maintains the exclusion of the nation's others? " (3)
Just as they have been conspicous by their absence from television and the humanities, non-whites have been conspicuous by their absence from the Australian music industry. Like the humanities, the modern day music industry has a strong self-flagellation ethic and is anti-patriotism. For example, at the 2007 Sydney Big Day Out, organisers argued that the Australian flag was symbolic of racism and needed to be banned. According to promoter Ken West,
"The Australian flag was being used as gang colours. It was racism disguised as patriotism and I'm not going to tolerate it." (4)
The opportunity cost of seeing patriotism as racism is most evident by comparing Australia to America. At the 1969 Woodstock music festival, Jimi Hendrix performed a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, the American national anthem. Due to national pride, he was able to walk on stage as a black man and walk off stage as an American legend. If patriotism wasn't seen in such a negative way in Australia, not-white musicians would gain an opportunity to use patriotism to build an affinity with the wider population. In the absence of patriotism, it is only whites who can build a strong sense of community via their self-flagellation morality.
The Wiggles (band for children) have been one of the few musical acts to integrate diverse races and attain Australian and international success. This success has probably come because children don't care about multicultural stereotypes.
While multiculturalism is still accepted today, long term it is unlikely to survive. Recent trends in Australia are more like those seen in America, Holland and Denmark which have sought to place a national identity over a multicultural identity. In 2006, Liberal politician Andrew Robb argued that "A community of separate cultures fosters a rights mentality, rather than a responsibilities mentality."
In 2007, the Liberal government changed the name of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Racial political alliances
It has been rare for Australian Aborigines to align themselves with non-ethnic Australians in order to achieve their political objectives. On the other hand, Canadian Aborigines have developed a shared victim identity with other ethnic Canadians. According to Sneja Gunew from the University of Victoria, B.C:
Indigenous politics are also configured differently. Australian indigenous peoples have distanced themselves from multiculturalism, which they see as being defined in terms of cultures of migration. At times, there have been unfortunate alliances between right-wingers fulminating against Asian immigration, elements in the green movement who speak of sustainable population, and some Aboriginal activists. On the other hand, Aboriginal activists have also expressed understandable and substantiated fears that discussion of multiculturalism can distract attention from the issue of land rights. By contrast, in Canada there appear to have been more frequent alliances among indigenous and ethnic groups, which have been united especially by the fact that both are targets of racism by virtue of their status as 'visible minorities'. (4)
Even though Aborigines have been reluctant to form alliances with migrants, the Australian government has tried to facilitate alliances between the two. The government department that controls Aboriginal issues is the same department that controls migrant issues. Funding and media releases have been used to create a sense of affinity between the two and to prevent either political interest developing agendas in contradiction with the other.
In the academic sphere, funding has also contrived to create a culture that stereotypes migrants and Aborigines as victims persecuted by the white Australian community of British descent. More accurately, the academics stereotype the groups as being persecuted by "we" white Australians of British descent.
Popular culture over the last 150 years provides food for thought on why Australian Aborigines have often aligned themselves with anglo Australians instead of non-anglo Australians. Traditional nationalism in Australia has positioned the bush as the representative of the Australian identity. Because Aborigines lived in the bush, an association with Aborigines helped enhance the bush’s credentials. For example, in the 19th century, the nationalistic song Waltzing Matilda built a sense of national pride with Aboriginal words like coolibah, billabong and jumbuck. Right up until the 1980s, those who positioned the bush as representative of the Australian identity continued to use Aborigines to affirm the status of the bush. This was an approach to patriotism that gave Aborigines respect.
Stereotypical differences between Aussies, Brits, Americans and Candadians
Aussies: Believe you should look out for your mates.
Brits: Believe that you should look out for those people who belong to your club.
Americans: Believe that people should look out for and take care of themselves.
Canadians: Believe that that is the government's job.
Aussies: Dislike being mistaken for Pommies (Brits) when abroad.
Canadians: Are rather indignant about being mistaken for Americans when abroad.
Americans: Encourage being mistaken for Canadians when abroad.
Brits: Can't possibly be mistaken for anyone else when abroad.
Canadians: Endure bitterly cold winters and are proud of it.
Brits: Endure oppressively wet and dreary winters and are proud of it.
Americans: Don't have to do either, and couldn't care less.
Aussies: Don't understand what inclement weather means.
Americans: Drink weak, pissy-tasting beer.
Canadians: Drink strong, pissy-tasting beer.
Brits: Drink warm, beery-tasting piss.
Aussies: Drink anything with alcohol in it.
Americans: Seem to think that poverty and failure are morally suspect.
Canadians: Seem to believe that wealth and success are morally suspect.
Brits: Seem to believe that wealth, poverty, success, and failure are inherited.
Aussies: Seem to think that none of this matters after several beers.
Brits: Have produced many great comedians, celebrated by Canadians, ignored by Americans, and therefore not rich.
Aussies: Have produced comedians like Paul Hogan and Yahoo Serious.
Canadians: Have produced many great comedians such as John Candy, Martin Short, Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, and all the rest at SCTV.
Americans: Think that these people are American!
Americans: Spend most of their lives glued to the idiot box.
Canadians: Don't, but only because they can't get more American channels.
Brits: Pay a tax just so they can watch 4 channels.
Aussies: Export all their crappy programs, which no one there watches, to Britain, where everybody loves them.
Americans: Will jabber on incessantly about football, baseball and basketball.
Brits: Will jabber on incessantly about cricket, soccer and rugby.
Canadians: Will jabber on incessantly about hockey, hockey, hockey, and how they beat the Americans twice, playing baseball.
Aussies: Will jabber on incessantly about how they beat the Poms in every sport they played them in.
Aussies: Are extremely patriotic about their beer.
Americans: Are flag-waving, anthem-singing, and obsessively patriotic to the point of blindness.
Canadians: Can't agree on the words to their anthem, in either language, when they can be bothered to sing them.
Brits: Do not sing at all but prefer a large brass band to perform the anthem.
Brits: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their past citizens.
Americans: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their present citizens.
Canadians: Prattle on about how some of those great Americans were once Canadian.
Aussies: Waffle on about how some of their past citizens were once Outlaw Pommies, but none of that matters after several beers.
Activity 1 - Multiculturalism
Activity purpose - determining whether versions of multiculturalism realise ethnic equality
The concept of multiculturalism was invented by Canada in 1971; however, there is nothing new about diverse ethnic groups sharing an empire or a nation.
- Research multiculturalism in Canada. In your opinion, what approach should people of British, Indigenous, French, Chinese, Indian, West Indian and American descent have to their heritage?
- Research multiculturalism in Australia. In your opinion, what approach should people of British, Indigenous, French, Chinese, Indian, West Indian and American descent have to their heritage?
- In each country, are there any ideals that you think encourage the diverse groups to feel a sense of loyalty to the place and country in which they live?
- In every country around the world, patriotism has tended to be a vote winner for politicians. Look at some of the patriotic speeches of politicians from each country and decide if any particular ethnic group is being valued or devalued.
1) BUILDING THE FUTURE
A Time for Reconciliation
2)Pieces of the action Sydney Morning Herald, April 23, 2005 http://www.smh.com.au/news/Film/Pieces-of-the-action/2005/04/22/1114028529703.html
3) Kay Schaffer Manne's Generation: White Nation Responses to the Stolen Generation Report Australian Humanities Review http://www.lib.latrobe.edu.au/AHR/archive/Issue-June-2001/schaffer.html
3) Paul Mulvey, Flags 'not banned' but unwelcome, January 22, 2007 http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21095538-2,00.html
Complaints about cultural comparisons
Emotion & innovation
Group vs individual
Tradition & change
Cults of multiculturalism
Warden & Convicts
Thinkers and Drinkers
Immigration and emmigration
Samurai & Convicts
Convicts vs Do gooders
Papua New Guinea
Chiefs and Elites
Kaffirs and Convicts