‘People of Australia’ survey reveals a complex nation of success and community spirit.

22 January 2007

Sporting success, straight talking, mateship and a sense of community in times of national hardship have been identified as the characteristics which set Australians apart, according to a survey1  released today by the Commonwealth Bank, the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards.
The ‘People of Australia’ survey showed Australians believe it is our down to earth attitude (91 per cent), straight talking manner (82 per cent), welcoming and accepting nature (76 per cent), honesty (69 per cent) and community mindedness (65 per cent), that attracts the rest of the world.

The ‘People of Australia’ research is released ahead of the announcement of the Australian of the Year Award recipients this week on 25 January.  The Awards have been supported by the Commonwealth Bank since 1979.

When it comes what makes Australians most proud, the majority (90 per cent) say it is watching fellow Australians succeed on the world stage, such as Steve Irwin’s high profile conservation campaign or Professor Peter Doherty’s Nobel Prize for Medicine, and coming together as a nation during tough times, such as after the Bali bombings or Cyclone Larry.  We are also proud to live in a multi-cultural, diverse society (74 per cent).

Barbara Chapman, Group Executive, People and Group Services, Commonwealth Bank said: "It's great to know that Australians are proud of who we are, it really reflects why Australia is such a great nation.”

Professor Ian Frazer, 2006 Australian of the Year, believes Australians are the envy of the rest of the world: “I’m proud to be Australian because of the opportunities and values people have here.  I feel very privileged to have become an Australian citizen and to join such a vibrant society where anything seems possible.”
Aussies also believe that it is the mateship culture (88 per cent) and the international success of home-grown acting and singing talents such as Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue (60 per cent) that helps to put us on the world map. 

On the back of our recent Ashes victory, more than nine out of ten Australians (94 per cent) believe we are best known around the world for our sporting prowess.
The Australian of the Year Awards are open to all Australians from every walk of life and are a great opportunity for people to show their national pride in a tangible way.

“As a nation, Australia is incredibly gifted and it is through the Australian of the Year Awards that all Australians over the age of 16 can be nominated and rewarded for their endeavours.  It’s a fantastic way to offer recognition to both Australia’s unsung heroes and high profile citizens, and the Commonwealth Bank is privileged to have been associated with the Awards for over 25 years,” Ms Chapman said. 

“We want to ensure that everyone is aware that anyone can nominate any Australian for an Award – our research shows that a significant proportion of the population do not realise that it is up to them to help identify the Award recipients.  We want to make sure that everyone is able to celebrate the success and achievements of their fellow Australians by nominating them for next year’s Awards,” said Ms Chapman.
Nominations for the 2008 Australian of the Year Awards can be made online at
www.commbank.com.au/australianoftheyear and nomination forms will be available at any Commonwealth Bank branch from July.

1The ‘People of Australia’ survey was conducted by Galaxy Research by telephone in December 2006 on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank.  A representative sample of 1,100 respondents aged 16 years and over was interviewed.




Notes to editors:
The Commonwealth Bank is the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards and is proud to have supported the program since 1979.  The Awards are a celebration of the achievements and contributions made by Australians.  Australians from all backgrounds and disciplines including business, science and technology, humanitarian, sport, arts and entertainment are eligible for an Award.  There are four Award categories - Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (60 years and over), Young Australian of the Year (16 to 25 years) and Australia’s Local Hero.

For more information contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media and Issues Management
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Ph:  (02) 9378 2663
M:  0414 789 649
E:  fitzgeb@cba.com.au