“Who are ‘we’?” is the question that has plagued many Australians and other nations alike, to this day. Although, most of the answer is not entirely clear it can be seen in, values and symbols that are present in everyday life. In conjunction with this, a great debate exists since there are many conflicting interest at hand, different views and mindsets which to this day cannot be agreed upon. Since, many seem to have their own idea of what an "Australian", is there is no clear cut view of this. Thus, the conclusion that an "Australian" is a myth can be formulated. Furthermore, many suggest that both the Australian identity and culture is based primarily based on an “Anglo-Celtic identity, social conservatism, the Christian Right and a neo-liberal ‘entrepreneurial culture” identity and culture (Johnson, 2007, p. 196). While others argue that the Australian identity and values are based on multiculturalism, egalitarianism and giving everybody a ‘fair go ‘(Moran, 2011 and Wash & Karolis, 2008). There has also been similar debate over what Australians symbols and values really are and if they go beyond the native animals that are presented on the national emblem and the stereotypical ‘jackaroo type bloke ‘in the outback (Wash & Karolis, 2008, p.720) .Thus, by this it can be seen that there are many different perspectives on what the ‘true’ Australian identity, values and symbols really are. Nevertheless, this essay this essay will explore the contrasting views regarding Australian identity, values and symbols while answering what is means to be Australian .In essence answering the question; “Who are ‘we’?” and what makes us Australian .
One argument over Australians nation identity has been over the cultural divide and whether or whether or not the notion of ‘white Australia’ is still present. Throughout decades, former Prime Minister John Howard has argued that the Australian identity is and should be based on an Anglo - Celtic heritage, values and the Christian religion. Since Australia was colonised and influenced by the British and majority of other European immigrants religion (Johnson, 2008, p.196). Howard (1995) also placed an emphasis in the need ‘to change the culture ‘in a more entrepreneurial direction, which he suggests that this is somewhat evident in the Australian identity (Johnson, 2008, p.198). Even thou, many of Howards (1995) claims are not supported. He does however mention that democracy and unity are part of Australia’s identity and even values which have been influenced by Australia’s history and can even be traced to the gold rush period. For example, during the gold rush it became apparent the law enforcement and force were needed. During the early gold rush years , any issues diggers had were resolved by an informal rule known as the ‘diggers justice’ , it allowed the digger to resolve the problem how the pleased , however this lead to many violent outbreaks . Over time, law – enforcement started too emerged and convicts were employed as secondary police officers, due to the shortage (Walsh & Karolis, 2008, p.723). As time progressed, governments began to develop and expand this lead to the development of the constitution, laws and a new notion of power. Although, the ‘White Australian policy ‘, is no longer valid in society. This indicates how Australia has changed over time from the first European settlement and the gold rush years to the democratic identity that is currently present. The term multiculturalism describes the cultural and ethnic diversity of contemporary Australia and many argue that this is a part of the ever-changing Australian identity (Moran, 2011, p.2153). Before World War two, Australia was a country with a European population for some time. The unofficial title of the ‘White Australia Policy’ ensured that those who were not of European descent were not permitted to live in