The Commonwealth of Australia, comprised of the Australian continent, Tazmania, and surrounding islands, is the world’s 6th largest country in total area, but has a population of only 23 million. With one of the world’s highest urbanization rates, close to 85% of the Australian population resides in cities, mostly on the Eastern coast.
Australia does not have an official language, although English is most widely considered the national language. Australians use a mix of British and American grammar and spelling, as well as a host of unique idiomatic phrases and lexicon.
Australia is a democratic federal state system that recognizes the British monarch as the chief of state. It is, however, an independent nation, and does not consider itself a constitutional monarchy.
There is no state religion in Australia and the imposition of any religious holidays by the is strictly prohibited. About 60% of Australians identify as Christian and 22% reported no religion.
The currency is the Australia dollar.
Australia: General Etiquette
Australians are generally friendly, relaxed, modest, and unpretentious. It is common to greet each other with a ‘Hello’ or ‘G’day’, although tourists may want to refrain from overusing the latter.” Mate” is commonly used to address one another, although “Sir” is used as an address of respect.
Dress is generally informal, although business dress is conservative. It is important to note that, because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are opposite of North America, Europe and Asia. Most of Australia is tropical and winters are mild, so light clothing is best.
The thumbs-up sign, commonly used in other cultures, is considered rude in Australia. Men should avoid winking at women, as well as being too physically demonstrative with other men in public.
Because Australians have a disdain of class systems, academic titles tend to be downplayed and any forced attempt to make a good impression will likely cause amusement. It is also not uncommon for passengers to sit in the front seat next to the taxi or limo driver, so as not to be seen as putting on airs.
Australia: Gift Giving Etiquette
In a business context, Australians do not generally give gifts, however, if you are invited to someone’s home, flowers, chocolate, wine or a small gift from your home country are appropriate.
Due to strict customs laws designed to protect the continent from foreign insects and disease, any food you may want to bring with you must be preserved and packaged in a can or bottle.