Australia Day is often a day of coming together with friends and family and enjoying the things that make Australia unique. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what we value as Australians.
We live by values every day, whether personal, cultural or even corporate. Values define who we are and how we live our lives. They are beliefs that guide or motivate our actions and at times help us determine what is important to us. In a nutshell, values are what we consider good or worthwhile and help us distinguish between right and wrong.
As of October 2007, it became a requirement that anyone over the age of 18 years applying for a visa must sign the Australian Values Statement. Introduced by the Liberal Government, the purpose of introducing the values statement was to ensure migrants understood what it’s like to live in Australia and our beliefs as a nation. The values and principles outlined in the Australian Values Statement have been developed to be respectful of the many cultures and beliefs of the millions of people who have settled in Australia. Failure to sign the statement can result in delays or rejection of visa applications.
The six Australian values addressed in the Australian Values Statement are:
- Respect for the equal worth, dignity and freedom of the individual
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of association
- Freedom of religion and secular government
- Support for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
- Equality under the law
- Equality of men and women
A handbook titled, A Life in Australia – Australian Values and Principles was written to accompany the values statements and provides information on Australia history, culture, society and the values shared by Australians. Available in various languages, this handbook needs to be read or explained to visa applicants prior to them signing the statement.
While the official values are vitally important, let’s not forget about the other things we value as a nation and hope that new comers will embrace. The Aussie meat pie, our obsession with sports, summers at the beach and sitting around the barbecue with our mates sharing a drink are all things that make Australia unique and can’t be overlooked as part of our culture.
If you have any questions about the Australian Values Statement or would like expert advice on any aspects of migration, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.