Our Community

Making a contribution

Citizenship gives you the opportunity to fully participate in our nation’s life and community. It means that you are ready to fulfil your responsibilities as an Australian citizen. Australians expect everyone living in Australia to participate in our society and make a contribution to our community. Everyone has a responsibility to try and support themselves and their families when they are able to do so.

Compassion for those in need

Australians value ‘mateship’. We help each other in times of need. For example, this might mean taking a meal to an elderly neighbour, driving a friend to a medical appointment, or visiting someone who is sick, frail or lonely.

In this spirit of mateship, Australia has a strong tradition of community service and volunteering – to look out for each other and strengthen the community. Volunteering is a great opportunity to share knowledge, learn new skills, and increase your integration into and sense of belonging to the Australian community. There are many opportunities for you to volunteer in Australia.

English as the national language

Australian society values the English language as the national language of Australia, and as an important unifying element of society. People living in Australia should make an effort to learn English.

It is important to learn to speak English because it helps to get an education, a job, and better integrate into the community. It is essential for economic participation and social cohesion. Applicants for Australian citizenship must undertake to make reasonable efforts to learn the English language, if it is not their native language.

Helping to keep our society safe

In Australia, we each have responsibilities to help protect Australian society. For example, if people in Australia suspect their friend or neighbour may be planning to commit a serious crime, they should report this to Australian government authorities as soon as possible. In this way, we can help to protect the safety of our community.

Similarly, if a person in Australia sees or has knowledge of a child being abused, they should report this to the police to investigate.

Online abuse is not accepted in Australia. This is sometimes called cyber abuse. Examples include sharing sexual photos or videos online without consent, stalking a person online, or making racially abusive comments about a person online. Many forms of cyber abuse are illegal in Australia.

Loyalty to Australia

In the citizenship pledge, Australian citizens pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people. Australian citizens may also hold the citizenship of another country or countries if the laws of those countries allow. This is known as dual, or multiple, citizenship. However, even if a person is also a citizen of another country, an Australian citizen within Australia must follow all Australian laws at all times. Some Australian laws must also be followed by Australian citizens even when they are overseas. For example, it’s illegal for Australians to be involved in any sexual activity, here or overseas, with a child under 16 years of age.

Australian society is based on our shared obligations not to undermine Australia’s interests and security. For example, using social media to share official government secrets would be undermining Australia’s interests. Similarly, promoting distrust in and fear of an ethnic community would damage Australian community relations.

In Australia, we come together in times of crisis and take care of each other in good times and bad. During Australia’s devastating bushfire season of 2019-20, which resulted in the loss of life, property and wildlife, and environmental destruction, many multicultural communities worked to collect money, clothes and food donations to help people affected by the bushfires. For example, members of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian communities in Victoria collected donations at shopping centres and fundraised through local community group events, and members of the Sikh community donated thousands of bottles of water to communities and firefighters in Queensland.

In conclusion

Our democratic institutions and shared Australian values have created our peaceful and stable society.

We have a rich and unique culture to share. As an Australian citizen, you will become part of our nation’s story and will contribute to our future. Australia welcomes you. Citizenship is our common bond.

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Part 1 - Australia and its people

» Australia's states and territories
» Important days for Australians
» Australia's flags and symbols

Part 2 - Australia's democratic beliefs, rights and liberties

» Our democratic beliefs
» Our freedoms
» Our equalities
» Responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship
» Participating in Australian society

Part 3 - Government and the law in Australia

» How do I have my say?
» How did we establish our system of government?
» How is the power of government controlled?
» Who is Australia's Head of State?
» Who are some of Australia's leaders?
» How is Australia Governed?
» What do the three levels of government do?
» What role do political parties play in the way Australia is governed?
» How is the Australian Government formed?
» How are laws made?
» How are laws enforced?
» Criminal offences in Australia

Part 4 - Australian values

» Our values
» Our community

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