There are more than 22 millions of people resident in Australia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds: indigenous peoples who have inhabited Australia for up to 60 000 years; descendants of the British who set up colonies on the Australian continent in the 1700s; Europeans and others who migrated to Australia as the colonies grew, formed a federation in 1901 and the new nation evolved; more recent immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
There is no class system in Australia. Australia is demonstrably egalitarian — for example, a train driver, Ben Chifley, became Prime Minister — and Australians are inclusive, with immigrants and refugees accepted from more than 200 countries.
Mateship — the understanding that people will look after each other in difficult times — emerged as a national characteristic in the 1800s. This social touchstone featured in popular stories of resilience against hardship shown by pioneering Europeans. It has been a hallmark of the gold-diggers of the 1850s, Australian soldiers in war and individual and community responses to tragedies brought on by natural disasters, such as cyclones, bushfires and floods.
Australia has a high level of employment. Most people who wish to join the paid workforce can find a job. For example, the proportion of the Australian labour force which was employed at the time of the 2006 census was 94,8 per cent. The number employed full-time was 60,7 per cent while the proportion employed part-time was 27,9 per cent.
Education is important to Australians and is compulsory until 15 or 16 years of age (depending on the state or territory of residence). Approximately 58 per cent of Australians between the ages of 25 and 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications and the tertiary graduation rate of 49 per cent is the highest among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Australians have won ten Nobel Prizes, in the sciences, medicine and literature. Sport is an important activity for Australians, assisted by a climate that favours outdoor activities, with 23,5 per cent of people over the age of 15 regularly participating in organised sporting activities.
Sources: University World and Wikipedia