Friday, July 21, 2006

National Cultural Profiles – Australia

National Cultural Profiles are your guide to the thinking patterns of all the world's major cultures. Below is an extract from the Australia profile

Introduction: Australia is the largest island in the world and the sixth biggest country in the world, yet it is one of the most sparsely populated places on earth. Geographical location and climatic conditions play a large part in shaping national character.

Self-image: The Australian self image is one of a “battler” - a person who had humble beginnings, but by sheer hard work, courage and a spirit of adventure conquered a huge, wild land and created a decent and prosperous society for self and family.

Concept of status: Australians are among the most democratic people in the world and any display of status symbols is risky. They love to cut people down in size.

Communication: Australia is the largest English speaking country in the southern hemisphere. Australian - the sixth largest variety of English (after American, British, Filipino, Indian and Canadian) - is a fascinating, young, vibrant, irreverent, humorous, inventive language. There are hardly any regional variations, no class pressures on one’s way of speaking, and people switch from broad to cultivated Australian at will.

Listening habits: It is inadvisable to be too serious or complicated. Australians are fond of jokes and anecdotes, preferably delivered in broad speech. A friendly and lively audience once they have decided to like you.

Leadership style: Australian managers must sit in the ring with the “mates”. From this position, once it is accepted that they will not pull rank, they exert more influence, as the semi-Americanised nature of Australian business requires quick thinking and rapid decision-making.

Cultural black hole: The Australian Cultural Black Hole is the Tall Poppy Syndrome. One version of this is: any Australian who achieves success will be brought down to size through a variety of abusive techniques. This leaves them either totally humiliated and regretting their achievements, or packing their bags and heading for those parts of the world where success is allowed to be overtly enjoyed.

How to empathise with them: Australians are totally cynical of people in power or with too much wealth, respecting the little person, “the battler”, rather than the winner. If you keep this in mind and don't oversell yourself or undersell your Australian hosts, success, friendship and good times will be yours down under.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Cameron takes ethnic advice for softer line on immigration

By David Charter, Chief Political Correspondent

THE Conservatives will next week ditch hardline policies on immigration that were widely seen to have backfired at the last election.

As they attempt to create a more “civilised” approach, David Cameron’s party will consult ethnic minority groups in big cities and begin to extol the benefits of migration, The Times has learnt. The change is expected to involve dropping controversial policies such as quotas for refugees, processing migrants on an island and withdrawing from the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. These were put centre stage in the election under the leadership of Michael Howard, but the tactic was blamed for turning off some voters. Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered black teenager Stephen, said Mr Howard was “clearly pandering to the racists”.

Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, told The Times that the tone during the election campaign “was perceived by many people as harsh”. He will meet Muslims in Coventry on Monday in the first of a series of consultations towards a new policy, which he said must have the consent of ethnic minorities.

Mr Green said: “We want to develop credible and civilised policies. We want to raise the tone of the debate and we think developing credible policies is the way to stop it being dominated by the extremist parties.

“We all agree that the immigration message was too high in the mix in terms of what people were hearing from us. That is now more than a year ago. The world has moved on.”

The appointment of Mr Green, who is on the left of the Tory party, as immigration spokesman will be seen as underlining Mr Cameron’s determination to dump Mr Howard’s policies. But Mr Green insisted that the party was still keen to increase the number of border guards and introduce a more rigorous points system to let in migrants with the right skills.

He added: “In developing an immigration policy, we want it perceived as firm and fair by everyone, including those ethnic groups who are likely to have family members who are recent immigrants.

“We welcome immigration, as long as it is intelligently controlled. It has enriched British society and widened the horizons of the whole British people to the rest of the world. It brings economic benefits and cultural diversity.

“We aim to develop a policy which has the confidence of all sections of the community. Many minorities in this country have a particular interest in how immigration policy works . . . so we are asking for their views and suggestions.”

During the election campaign, Mr Howard was accused of scaremongering when he raised the spectre of race riots if the immigration system was not toughened up. He said: “If people lose confidence in our immigration system and believe it is out of control, that breeds a sense of insecurity and that is damaging to good community relations.”,,17129-2260780,00.html