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Fact Sheet 7 - Life in Australia: Australian Values

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Background information

When applying for selected visas, applicants aged 18 years and over are required to sign an Australian Values Statement confirming they will respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia.

Australian values include:

  • respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual
  • equality of men and women
  • freedom of religion
  • commitment to the rule of law
  • parliamentary democracy
  • a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
  • equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background.

These values may be expressed in different ways by different people while still maintaining the same meaning. They are not unique to Australia, but have broad community agreement and underpin Australian society and culture.

The values statement is included with most visa application forms either as a question or as part of the declaration.

Before signing the values statement question on the application form, all applicants for provisional, permanent and a small number of temporary visas are required to have read, or had explained to them, information on values provided by the Australian Government. This information is contained in the Life in Australia book.

For most temporary visa applicants, the values statement is included in the general declarations section on their application form.

People currently outside Australia who are applying for a Humanitarian visa are required to sign the values statement during an interview. These applicants will not be expected to have read Life in Australia, as the contents will be explained to them at the interview. This different process recognises the difficult circumstances often faced by Humanitarian visa applicants outside Australia.

There is a small group of visas that do not require acknowledgement of the Australian Values Statement. This group includes and is not limited to:

  • Visitor visas
  • New Zealand citizens entering Australia on a Special Category visa
  • Resident Return visas.

Life in Australia

The Life in Australia book contains information about Australian history, culture and social structures. It is designed to help visa applicants understand Australian values before they sign the values statement on their visa application.

The book is available to download from the department's website in English and 29 community languages. If a person is not able to read the Life in Australia book, they may ask a friend, relative, sponsor or agent to explain the book to them. Alternatively, they may have the content explained to them by a departmental officer.
See: Life in Australia book

More information

More information about Australian values and life in Australia is available on the department's website or from any departmental office.
Australian Values
Contact Us

Further information is available on the department's website.

The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone: 131 881
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.

Fact Sheet 7, produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last reviewed September 2011.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010.