Australian values study 2018

Australia’s voice in the World Values Survey
Public opinion Social surveys Australia

Since 1981, the World Values Survey has tracked changes in the values and beliefs of citizens in 97 countries, including Australia.

These surveys have identified considerable change in what people want out of life and what they believe. This is the seventh wave of the World Values Survey, allowing us to track changes between countries but also over time. In each country, we ask people the same questions (across a range of different languages) to measure their views on religion, gender roles, work, democracy, good governance, social capital, political participation, cultural diversity, and environmental protection. Countries will have until the end of December 2019 to complete their survey fieldwork.

The Australian component of the World Values Survey is referred to as the Australian Values Study or AVS. The Australian National University has been responsible for the AVS since 2005, with data collection carried out by the Social Research Centre.

We surveyed more than 1,800 Australians during 2018, and several key themes have emerged.

  • Despite our claims to larrikinism, we have a keen respect for authority and many of us are open to ‘strongman’ and technocratic styles of government.
  • However, we remain committed to the concept of democracy and are broadly satisfied with how Australian democracy is functioning.
  • Confidence in a range of civic and political organisations is in decline, but most acutely towards media organisations.
  • Our thoughts on immigration remain mixed. We believe that migrants make Australia more diverse and vibrant, but also that immigration increases social conflict.
  • And around half of all Australians believe in God, and an afterlife with a heaven and a hell
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