Polite behaviour



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 a queue, it is polite to join the end of the queue and move forward in an orderly way.

You should try to be on time for meetings and other appointments. If you are going to be late, phone the person to apologise and let them know when you will arrive. This is very important for professional appointments (for example, a doctor’s appointment) as you could be charged money for being late or if you miss the appointment without letting the person know. A person who is always late may be considered to be unreliable.

If you receive a written invitation it may include the letters “RSVP” with a date. This means that the person inviting you would like to know whether or not you will be attending. It is polite to let them know by that date.

Some behaviour is not only impolite but is also against the law. Examples of such behaviour include swearing and spitting in public, littering, and urinating or defecating anywhere except in a public or private toilet.

See also Equality and Anti-Discrimination above.

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