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Australia’s first inhabitants were the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who settled the land at least 40 000 years ago. Indigenous Australians have their own unique spiritual beliefs, a deep connection to the land, a rich and diverse culture and an ongoing art tradition that is one of […]

The freedom and equality we enjoy in Australia depends on everyone fulfilling their responsibilities. You are expected to be loyal to Australia, support our democratic way of life and help maintain Australia’s values and traditions of acceptance, inclusion and fairness for all. Our citizenship values are the basis […]

You have the right to be respected and to have your needs considered as fairly as everyone else. Similarly, you should respect other people, whether they were born in Australia or migrated here. Racism and discrimination of any form are not acceptable in Australia. Under anti-discrimination laws, no […]

Volunteering is a good way to learn new skills, meet people living and working in your community and to help other people. Many Australians volunteer. Volunteers are not paid, because they give their time and skills for the benefit of the community and themselves. Volunteering is always a matter of […]

When meeting someone for the first time, it is common to shake the person’s right hand with your right hand. People who do not know each other generally do not kiss or hug when they first meet. When meeting new people, many Australians are not comfortable being asked questions […]

Australians usually say “please” when asking for something and “thank you” when someone helps or gives them something. Not saying please and thank you may be seen as impolite. Australians usually say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention and “sorry” if they accidentally bump into someone. If there is […]

Australia is a diverse society. The variety of clothing worn reflects this diversity. Many people dress casually or informally for comfort or according to the social situation or climate. Others choose to wear traditional clothes, which may be religious or customary, particularly on special occasions. There are few laws or […]

Many common Australian expressions or slang may seem strange. Australians often shorten words (for example, ‘footy’ for ‘football’). If you are unsure what an expression means, it is acceptable to ask. Some common examples are: Bring a plate – when you are invited to a social or work […]

Australia is well suited to outdoor activities, like swimming, bushwalking, camping and sport. There are safety rules to remember. Swimming and outdoor safety Attend swimming and water safety classes if you or your children cannot swim. Swimming in the ocean can be extremely dangerous. To enjoy the […]

When leaving your house, always lock your doors and close windows. If possible, have a screen door or a safety chain so that you can see who is there before opening it. Keep a light on or use a sensor light near your front door so you can see […]

A clean environment and the protection of nature are important to Australians. It is illegal to litter, create pollution or dispose of waste without permission. For more information on waste disposal go to or to anti-litter sites such as Clean Up Australia ( or Keep Australia Beautiful ( Native […]

State and territory governments are responsible for animal welfare and related laws while local governments manage domestic or companion animals. If you have a pet, you are responsible for looking after it properly, including feeding it and keeping it clean. You will also need to clean up its […]

Most newsagencies in major shopping centres have newspapers in a variety of languages. If they do not have the particular language or newspaper you want, ask them to order it. There are many television channels that are free, including the two public broadcasters (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation […]

Some people can experience significant harm from gambling, especially if they have difficultly limiting the amount of time and/or money spent on gambling. Gambling can cause serious financial problems and have impacts on other areas of a person’s life such as mental and physical health, employment and relationships. Gambling problems […]

Noise refers to loud sounds that disturb people, such as dogs barking, or neighbours playing loud music or using power tools. There are laws that protect Australians from excessive noise. Regulations vary across states and territories, but noisy activities should be avoided before 7.00am and after 11.00pm. Talk to your […]

Local councils provide many support services such as child health centres, child care centres, youth workers, and aged care and disability services. Many have multicultural or community workers who can give you valuable help and advice as you settle into life in Australia. Local councils also often provide […]

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) issues visas for temporary or permanent stay, and decides citizenship applications ( Use the Visa Finder tool at to find the right visa for you. You can apply online for many visas at Resident Return visas If you are a […]

To become a citizen means that you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and everything for which it stands. Australian citizenship is a privilege that offers enormous rewards and provides the opportunity to fully participate in our democratic nation. Most permanent residents seeking to become citizens must meet […]

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