Exploring What Australians Value

Exploring What Australians Value, by Philip Hughes and Sharon Bond, with John Bellamy and Alan Black

ISBN: 0-85910-975-5

This research paper draws on data from the Australian Community Survey. The research used a value instrument based on the work of Salom Schwartz' revision of Milton Rokeach pioneering work in the sociology of values.

It finds that the most strongly affirmed values among Australians are 'a world at peace', 'honesty', 'true friendship' and 'equality'. The results demonstrate that the overriding concern among Australians is for the depth and authenticity of their relationships.

Research identifies four major value orientatiions. There are those for whom order is the predominant concern, as seen in their affirmation of the importance of national security, politeness and cleanliness. For others, the dominant pattern revolves around the social environment: equality, freedom, social justice, broadmindedness and helpfulness. A third orientation revolves around self-enhancement: excitement, enjoyment, wealth and success. The fourth group emphasise spiritual values and the importance of a spiritual life.

The paper identifies how values vary across the different sectors of society and gives some valuable insights into the origins and consequences of value orientations.

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