Defining the ‘Aussie spirit’ in 2022

The land of easy-going larrikins and ‘she’ll be right’ attitudes is changing. IMPACT explores how and what has changed the nation’s character.

On 1 January 2020, Australia grew up a little. A small, but very important, step towards recognising the story of ALL Australians was made when we changed the lyrics in our anthem from ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’.

As the Albanese Government works to enact the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and establish a First Nations Voice within our Constitution, our growth continues,

But not all learnings have been positive or constructive in recent times. The 21st century has sorely tested the limits of the Australian character, and these trials have changed us.

The effects of global financial chaos, large-scale environmental disasters, pandemics and the brutality of live-streamed warfare has been sobering, to say the least. It’s hard to maintain the illusion of a carefree nation against so many challenges.

Our iconic work ethic has been tested, too. The promise that putting in the hard yards will deliver rewards has been broken. Research by Finder this month revealed almost one in five Australians have had a transaction at the supermarket declined since June.

Homeownership has also drifted further from reach as rising interest rates and property prices climb well beyond the incomes of most middle-class Australians.

So has the shine of the ‘lucky country’ worn off? How has our collective outlook as a nation changed?

This was one of the hot topics explored at Mumbrella360 this year by The Lab in their session on the ‘Seven Codes of Modern Australian-ness’.

Not a new, but an evolved, character
The spirit of colonial Australia was unsquashable. No challenge was too large and no condition too rough.

The unforgiving landscape ensured a resilient population, famed for its no-fuss, get the job done, attitude. In such conditions, a sense of humour and fatalistic attitude were also essential.

Today, the struggles of daily life in urban Australia are far removed from the hardships endured by our ancestors. While some values hold true with the Australian spirit, others have changed.

Here are the new ‘Seven Codes of Modern Australian-ness’, according to The Lab:

1. Purposeful Hard Work – Where hard yakka was once worn as a badge of honour, we’re more discerning in how we exert ourselves. Working ‘smart’ is now celebrated over working hard.

2. Clever Resourcefulness – Ingenuity is in our blood. This character code speaks to our continued strengths in problem solving, collective might, respect for experts and our growing confidence as innovators.

3. Imaginative Ingenuity – While digitally connected, Australia remains a land apart. Our creative thinking, inspired ideas and desire to challenge conventions remains strong.

4. Free Spirited – While the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude is fading from our character, our spirit remains as irreverent as ever. Cheeky humour and a quiet approval of the rogues and agitators who go against the grain live on in the modern Australian character.

5. Easy-going Informality – While we still share a ‘glass half-full’ outlook, we’re a little more cautious than before. This can be seen with our increased desire for peace and quiet (or ‘conscious chill’ as The Lab calls it) and a more thoughtful approach to mateship. We’ve lost some of our openness throughout the pandemic.

6. Outdoor Wanderlust – Our connection to the land we live on has only strengthened over time. We remain inspired by natural wonders and are increasingly seeking to be in sync with the environment around us.

7. One But Many – As with the change of lyrics to Advance Australia Fair, we are actively learning how to be more empathetic to one another. We seek out the perspective of others, celebrate all cultures and hope that the land we live in can provide opportunity to all.

If you would like to learn how the ‘Seven Codes of Modern Australian-ness’ relate to your organisation’s tone of voice, audience profiles or content pillars, drop us a line.

Other News