The Australian Values Study, a very wide ranging survey conducted by the Roy Morgan Research Centre, Sydney, Melbourne, (August, 1983) provides some interesting perspectives on the values of the Australian people.
The percentage claiming confidence in Australian institutions are as follows:
|Institution||% Public Confidence|
|The armed forces||67|
|The legal system||62|
|Parliament and government||56|
Taking all things together
• 95% of Australians are happy (very happy (34%) and quite happy (61%)) 4% not very happy, 0% not at all happy and 1% don't know.
• 79% believe in God, 14% do not and 7% are not sure.
• 90% are proud (very proud 64% and quite proud 26%) of Australia, 1% are not very proud, 1% are not at all proud and 8% don't know or are not a national.
• Australians on all sides of politics have a clear preference for freedom over equality.
• Only 4% support more government interference in the lives of individuals.
• The vast majority of the Australian people believe in moderation and are against extremism. (Note: What constitutes moderation and extremism is of course a matter of opinion.)
• When asked the question whether marriage is an outdated institution: 84% disagreed, 13% agreed and 3% did not know.
• 98% of Australians placed "a happy family life" in the first three of their choices of the most important things in their lives. More than ¾ agreed that marriage is for life.
• More than 90% of all young people aged between 18 and 34 years of age want to marry. Young people in that gap were asked if they intended to have children and more than 96% of them said that they wanted to have children. 75% believe that a child needs two parents.
• In families where there are two parents involved, more than 90% of families do not have areas of conflict in the family.
• 80% of Australians interviewed said they believed that the family was the most important institution within the Australian community.
• 96% of Australians said they believed a religious faith was a positive factor in family life.
• 3 out of every 4 Australians believe that Australia needs to give more encouragement to entrepreneurs and investors, and more people see the visionary as more likely to contribute to solving social questions than parliament, the courts, the public service or the Labor Party.
• 83% of Australians take a great deal of pride in their work.
The significance of these views must be seen in the context of the denigration of many of the values that people believe in by their education and media systems, and the failure of the conservative parties to effectively stand up for these values and institutions.
The left, with the connivance of the media, have been allowed to set the agenda of public debate. Thus, sensible and well-reasoned right wing perspectives are labelled as extremist, reactionary, etc. On the other hand, social engineering schemes and even extreme policy decisions are presented in the guise of moderation. The reason is that the right (including the Liberal/Country Parties), with a few exceptions, have not stood up for values which are likely to gain widespread community support and which are in tune with liberal principles. They have also not been willing to attack social engineering schemes and demonstrate their true radical, counterproductive nature. If such an onslaught were launched, ridicule could be expected from sections of academia and the media. However, the public would be very receptive. The political opposition must lead such an onslaught but it does not have the guts to do so. It does not (a few exceptions apart) challenge the agenda of public debate laid down by the left and the media.
The Opposition do not realise that there are many issues which will help them win an election. If they fashion politics based on community values and stand up for them they will be characterised by the government and the media as reactionary, extremist, conservative etc. Other slogans and epithets will be used to denounce such policies. However, a very responsive chord with the electorate will be struck. Inherent in this process is an ability to endure and challenge media and ALP ridicule, provide convincing counter arguments and win the debate with the public.
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