The attitudes of Australians to happiness and social well-being


Based on a new national opinion poll, this paper explores some public attitudes to personal and national happiness and the priorities of government. The paper first considers what Australians consider to be most important to their own happiness. Next, three public aspects of quality of life are investigated via reporting on: perceptions of changes in the quality of life in Australia; views on the primary role of schools, whether they should emphasise a happy personal life or preparation for the world of work; and beliefs about whether government should focus on maximising happiness or national wealth. Finally, the paper considers how Australians understand their lives through exploration of their responses to a question about whether they would take a ‘happiness pill’.

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