The Null Device

Australian values today

A poll about "Australian values" (you know, the great woolly thing that Professional Australians of all stripes will pontificate endlessly on) reveals that the Prime Minister's cherished value of "mateship" (whatever that involves) isn't regarded as very important, with freedom of speech and tolerance.

Interestingly enough, the poll reveals a generational shift in values; older people (those who lived through the cultural thaw between the 1970s and 1990s) are more likely to rate freedom of speech as most important and fret that religion has excessive influence in public life; meanwhile, younger people (Generation Hillsong?) and residents of Queensland (what the Americans would term a "red state") regard "mateship" as more important. Which suggests a shift away from the permissive individualism born in the 1960s towards a stronger group identity and possibly an endorsement of the majoritarian paternalism embodied by the Howard government.

Similarly, "freedom of speech" is most popular with Labor and Greens voters, whilst Tory voters give priority to "respect for democracy and parliament" (which sounds like "respect for authority" dressed up in tastefully unthreatening muted earth tones, with a touch of the ever-popular "majority rule").

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