History - AustralianAustralian CultureCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other Countries

Country comparison home

Share |

Cultural awareness: to stereotype or not?

Emotion & innovation

Group vs individual

Tradition & change

Cults of multiculturalism

Warden & Convicts

Failed revolutionaries

Thinkers and Drinkers

Immigration and emmigration

Colonial masters

India Cultural Differences Between Australia and India
Convicts and Maharajas

Samurai & Convicts

New Zealand
Convicts vs Do gooders

Papua New Guinea
Chiefs and Elites

East or west?

South Africa
Kaffirs and Convicts

Coolies and Convicts

South Korea
The middle-powers

"Australians appear very naive to the newly-arrived Japanese. They speak the same way with everyone."
Hiro Mukai - Japanese

"Australians risked becoming ‘the poor white trash of Asia."
Lee Kuan Yew - Singaporean

"I can personally affirm that to stand before an audience of beaming Australians and make even the mildest quip about a convict past is to feel the feel the air conditioning immediately elevated."Bill Bryson - American

"You have no need to feel iffy about a country where "relaxation is the aim". There's nothing to be worried about if "no worries" is your mantra. People have killed for less."
Soumya Bhattacharya - Indian

" What sort or peculiar capitalist country is this in which the workers' representatives predominate in the upper house....and yet the capitalist system is in no danger?"
Vladimir Lenin- Russian

"You feel free in Australia. There is great relief in the atmosphere - a relief from tension, from pressure, an absence of control of will or form. The skies open above you and the areas open around you"
D.H Lawrence - English

" The Australian, who are the men our troops have had opposite them so far, are extraordinarily tough fighters. The German is more active in the attack, but the enemy stakes his life in the defence and fights to the last with extreme cunning."
Major Ballerstedt - German

"New Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries."
Robert Muldoon - New Zealander


Cultural Differences between India and Australia

Both Australia and India are former British colonies with a love of cricket; however, Britain’s interest in each was vastly different. In India, Britain wanted to make money. In Australia, Britain wanted a dumping ground for the people it considered to be human garbage.

The different motivations in each land affected how Britain respectively managed them. In India, Britain exploited a pre-existing caste system in ways that may have strengthened it. Specifically, British commercial interests formed strong relationships with the Indian upper classes, which in turn allowed them to exploit the lower classes and even export them as indentured labour throughout the British Commonwealth. While Britain demonstrated flattery when dealing with India, with Australia, they used every opportunity to punish Convicts and then informed their cultural descendants that they were morally and physically degenerate because of their heritage. The result was a society that came to hate class divisions and became known for its egalitarianism.

Population 1,220,800,359 (July 2013 est.) 22,262,501 (July 2013 est.)
GDP per capita ($US) $4,000 (2013 est.) $43,000 (2013 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 16.9%
industry: 17%
services: 66.1% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 27.4%
services: 68.7% (2013 est.)
Public debt 51.8% of GDP (2013 est.) 32.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
Racial groups Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
Export partners UAE 12.3%, US 12.2%, China 5%, Singapore 4.9%, Hong Kong 4.1% (2012) Japan 19.6%, China 12.3%, South Korea 7.5%, US 6.2%, India 5.5%, NZ 5.5%, UK 5% (2006)

From CIA World Fact Book


The Out of Africa theory of human evolution proposes that anatomically modern humans would have reached India 73-55,000 years ago; however, the earliest evidence unearthed to date is only about 30,000 years ago. (Evidence of Homo erectus in India has been found to date back 300,000 years and some theories of evolution propose Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens.)

Cave paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters record the various changes in Indian society. Paintings from Palaeolithic era 10,000 + years ago have animals as the chief subject, which is fairly typical of hunter gatherer societies.  Human figures start appearing in the Mesolithic era 5,000 to 10,000 years ago when agriculture was believed to have commenced in India; however, the figures show hunting and lack the hierarchical signs of status typically found in agricultural societies. Paintings from the Neolithic era between 4,500 and 2,000 BC depict contact with agricultural groups.

Bhimbetka rock art

Bhimbetka cave painting demonstrating hunting and a figure that seems to be riding a horse. It shows a society in transition with the domestication of animals beginning and a greater use of human figures in art.

Around 1500BC, Aryan tribes migrated into the Indian subcontinent from Iran and Russia and mixed with the earlier Dravidians. The Aryans became dominant in the north while the Dravidians remained dominant in the south. Together the two groups gave rise to Hinduism and India's iron age.

In the 3rd century BC, Ashoka expanded the Mauryan empire into what is now Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. After conquering all before him, Ashoka gave up his overlord career to become a Buddhist. He passed on rule to his sons, which soon resulted in the empire breaking apart.

The Gupta Dynasty from the 4th and 6th centuries AD is generally considered to be India's Golden age. During the dynasty, Indian mathematicians invented zero and base ten numerals. In addition, scientists postulated the theory that the earth orbited the sun and that the earth was round. In the arts, the sexual manual The Karma Suta was written and illustrated. After the dynasty fell, India reverted to a series of small kingdoms ruled independently with their own distinct culture.

 In the 10th and 11th centuries, Islamic Turks and Afghanis invaded to establish the Delhi Sultanate in northern India. The Sultanate failed in attempts to unite the north and south; however, it did resist the Mongolian invasion that conquered China and reached all the way to western Europe. A number of dynasties ruled the sultanate until it was defeated by invaders from modern-day Uzbekistan, who then went on to conquer most of India and established the Mughal dynasty that ruled for more than three centuries.

In the 18th century, the British East India company established trading outposts in India’s coastal towns. Its control of the seas, technology and administrative ideology proved attractive to India's elite. Initially, the company out- manoeuvred other European interests. Then, with its own private armies comprised of Indian citizens, the company began annexing India for itself.  By the 1820s, most of India was under its control. The company was later nationalised by the British government, thus bringing India under British control.

As rulers, Britain unified an India that had become princely states fighting each other (or the Mughal rulers). It then went on to build the world's largest network of railways, introduced a postal system, introduced a central education system, introduced the Westminster system of law and introduced electricity.

In the mid 20th century, non-violence resistance to British rule was led by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. This contributed to Britain granting India independence in 1947 and also Britain partitioning of the subcontinent into Hindu dominated India and Muslim dominated Pakistan.

The newly liberated nations decided that the best way to use their freedom was to go to war with each other. In 1971, these wars resulted in east Pakistan declaring independence to become Bangladesh. Continuing hostility over the wars led to India testing nuclear weapons in a show of force, which in turn provoked Pakistan to develop a nuclear weapon of its own.

Whereas India’s pre-history is in relative conformity with traditional theories of human evolution, Australia’s pre-history turns it upside down. One of the main spanners in the works are the Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings, which are dispersed in around 100 000 sites spread over 50 000 sq. km of northern Australia.  The art's pigment can't be dated, but a fossilised wasp nest covering one of the paintings has been dated at 17,000 + years old. This places the art in the Palaeolithic era when the humans should have been hunter gatherers; however, the art shows the characteristics of an agricultural society. Not only are humans the primary subject, but tassels, hair adornments, and possibly clothing seem to indicate a people who have developed the status hierarchies associated with agricultural societies. The only real expert on the Bradshaw art was the late Graham Walsh, who documented and studied the art for over 40 years. The combination of the pictures themselves and the oral history of the local tribes led Walsh to conclude that they were painted by an unknown Asiatic race before the last ice age. Walsh also concluded that there were a form of iconography (picture writing).

At 17,500+ years, the Bradshaw paintings (Gwion Gwion) record a lifestyle that has humans as the primary subject. Furthermore, they show tassels and hair adornments usually used to mark social hierarchies in agricultural societies. Finally, they use repetition of imagery that is a feature of iconography (picture writing.) Could they have been made by an agricultural society 10,000 years earlier than agriculture was believed to have developed?

Whatever happened to the Bradshaw artists is a mystery and there is little evidence of agriculture since their demise. Art that followed the Bradshaws was typical of hunter gatherers with a strong focus on animals and the Wandjinas, which were deities based on the monsoonal wet season.

Wandjinas are replicated over and over and were being painted at the time of European colonisation. The arc around their heads represents lightning and the little short lines represent falling rain. The demonstrate the importance of seasons in the movement of people.

In all liklihood, the lack of cities made Chinese, Spanish, and Dutch explorers think that Australia had nothing of value when they discovered Australia over the last 600 years. Indonesian fishermen seemed to think Australia had value as they engaged in limited trade for food with Aboriginal tribes.

When the British discovered Australia and decided to stay, it was for a very different motivations that they had in India. While the British interest in India reflected both an economic interest and desire to spread modernity, its interest in Australia was as a place to dump its excess population. In the American War of Independence, the British discovered that the Convicts weren't very loyal to the mother country. Not only did this mean that no more Convicts could be sent to the newly independent USA, it also meant that continuing to send Convicts to Canada was risky as they would probably support independence movements there as well. Britain needed a new land, without any economic interests to put at risk, and in 1788 Australia became it.

In its early years, the foundation penal colony at what became Sydney struggled for survival. Australian soils were nothing like the rich soils of India and crops failed. It was only the continued supply of food from British ships that prevented the colony’s complete collapse.

While British administrators didn’t view Australia with profit in mind, some of the soldiers stationed in Australia wanted to make some money on the side. They did this via the import and sale of rum to bored soldiers. In 1808, the governor tried to take control of the rum trade. The soldiers rebelled and removed him. For the next two years, they had complete control of the colony. They allocated Convict labour as they saw fit and they granted each other extensive land holdings.

In the 1850s, gold was discovered. An influx of migrants came to share in the spoils but soon found themselves being treated like Convicts. In 1853, rebellion broke out at the Eureka Stockade but it was ruthlessly crushed.

As mining companies increased in size, miners ceased being prospectors and instead became labourers for big companies. In turn, they formed unions to improve workplace conditions. The companies reacted by importing Chinese miners on contract. Agricultural companies in Queensland likewise undermined unions by importing Indian and Pacific Island labourers in conditions that have been described as slavery. Unions reacted by calling for a federated Australia with uniform immigration laws that excluded non-whites (exceptions were made for African Americans because they joined unions.) This became a reality in 1901 when the newly federated Australia passed the immigration restriction act (White Australia Policy).  

Like it did with Indians, Britain used Australians as canon fodder in World War 1 and 2. In 1948, Australian citizenship was created for the first time. Over the next 30 years, legal ties to Britain were dismantled; leaving the Queen as the symbolic head of Australia but with Britain itself have no rule over Australia. In 1999,  a referendum to become a republic was defeated due to conflict over the type of republic to replace it.

Barton White Australia Policy

Despite unifying Australia politically, Federation divided Australia culturally and caused significant strain with Britain. In the above poster, John Bull represents Britain and tries to persuade prime minister Edmund Barton about the economic benefits of non-white indetured labour. Barton wont even consider it.



Indian social structure is governed by the caste system (which is illegal but survives in culture.)  At the top of the hierarchy is the Brahmin, who are priests and teachers. Next is the Kshatriya, who are landowners and rulers. The third is the bania, who are the businessmen, and the shundra, who are the labourers. At the bottom are the pariahs, commonly referred to as the untouchables or dalits.

Some theories propose that the caste system was established by the Aryans so that only they could be the priests (Brahman), aristocracy (Kshatria) and the businessmen (Vaisia) of the society. The Hindu religion affirmed the caste system by proposing that individuals could achieve nirvana by conforming to caste expectations.

Although it seemed to have Hindu origins, Buddhists and Muslims also embraced the system. It has been argued that British colonists saw it as a useful system for organising society and thus strengthened it.

While India is caste orientated, Australia is arguably the most egalitarian society in the developed world. There is a strong sense that the class someone is born in is not the class that they need to die in. There is also a sense people from all walks of life can sit down together to share a drink.

While Australia is not very class conscious today, it was highly class conscious in its penal era. There was marked division between those who came to Australia in penal servitude and those who came as free settlers. After transportation ended, division continued between those who were descendants of free settlers and those who had a Convict in their ancestry. (Aborigines tended to be seen as allies by both sides and each accused the other of injustice towards Aborigines.)

The elevation of bushrangers to icon status (accompanied by songs celebrating their values) went a considerable way to eroding class pretentions. This was followed up with unions portraying anyone who made a profit as a capitalist pig or crook.

Informally, a cultural sympathy to the underdog eroded any status that one may have harboured at the top of the social pyramid. For example, the trucking magnate Lindsay Fox (who was worth $350 million at the time), said of Australia: 

'We don't have a class structure. We have people who relate to people. No body is superior. No body is inferior. The people who I went to school with collect the garbage around here. But if they want to come in and have a drink, that's fine with me.'

Indians accustomed to being high in the caste system can suffer decline-in-status syndrome when they visit Australia as they find themselves being treated equal to a garbage collector or toilet cleaner. They then can become angry an accuse Australians of racism.

Section 8

Located in an alley in the middle of Melbourne's CBD, Section 8 uses packing crates as seats. The toilets are made out of shipping containers and the bar is just enclosed with a fence. Section 8 attracts rich businessmen, backpackers, struggling artists and even homeless people. It is deliberately designed to be unpretentious. As a result, it used to attract people from all walks of life that wanted to mingle with someone different from themselves on an equal level. In recent years; however, policy has changed to exclude business people. It is now a bar where patrons may be requested to remove their tie or jacket before entering.

Work Culture-relationships with boss

In India, social hierarchy needs to be observed in workplace interactions. Specifically, superiors are treated with great respect and there is formality in interactions. Furthermore, there is a tendency for superiors to base their judgments through the prism of caste or gender. In contrast, Australian workplaces often disguise corporate hierarchies with a mask of social egalitarianism. Bosses are referred to by first names and superiors and subordinates participate in social gatherings where they act as friends. This can make it easier for subordinates to make suggestions.


Throughout its history, India has fluctuated between tolerance and intolerance of religious diversity. Some Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic rulers have been quite happy for the general population to continue their faiths while others have tried to impose their religions on the population. The partition of the subcontinent into Muslim and Hindu areas reflected a belief that, in the 20th century, religious differences were too much for the population to overcome. Since partition, religious violence has suggested that perhaps those views were correct.

Hinduism is practiced by around 80% of India's population. Hindus believe in a cycle of death and rebirth. They also believe that individuals can be liberated from the cycle and achieve a state of eternal bliss through worship of the gods, following laws, doing good work and conforming to the expectations of their caste.

Muslims make up 12% of the total population. Indian Muslims conform to the basic pillars of Islamic faith which includes a pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting during Ramadan, giving to charity, praying 5 times a day, and accepting the confession of faith. There doesn’t seem to be the same conflict between the Sunni and Shia Muslims that is common in other Islamic countries.

Australia is a secular society with almost no religious violence by world standards. The 2011 census found that 61.14% of Australians identified as Christian, 2.5% as Buddhist and 2.2% as Muslim.


India and Australia approach racism in very different ways. The Indian approach tends to deny that racism could possibly exist in India while the Australian approach tends to exaggerate racism to portray their country as the land of pointy hats, Nazi salutes and burning crosses.

Some of the different approaches to racism were seen in 2009 when an Indian player, Harbhajan Singh, referred to an Australian player of African heritage, Andrew Symmonds, as a monkey. (The Indian player had previously referred to Symmonds as a monkey in India when Symmonds had been subjected to monkey chants by the Indian crowd.) Symmonds put in a complaint and Singh was found guilty of racial abuse by a neutral match referee. The Indian Board threatened to withdraw from the tour unless the decision was overturned in the subsequent appeal. For the Indian board, the notion that an Indian could be racist was unacceptable. Furthermore, the issue of Indian crowds making monkey chants or an Indian player referring calling a player of African heritage a monkey didn't bother them like it did Australians.

While denying an Indian could be racist, the Indian media was keen to portray Australians as the true racists. Over the following months, Indian media began running stories of Australian police reports which indicated that Indian students were disproportionately represented in victim of crime statistics. The police attributed the overrepresentation as stemming from a cultural trait of Indians to display their wealth more prominently than other groups. For the Indian media, this constituted blaming the victim. Their readers agreed and to protest, they burnt effigies of Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and made references to Australia’s penal heritage. (The media chose to ignore that the statistics showed that the perpetrators of the attacks were often recent migrants themselves, thus they weren’t descendents of the Convicts that supposedly made Australians racist and immoral.)

The situation escalated in late 2009 when Indian media reported that an Indian had been set on fire and another had been murdered. When the Australian police explained that it was too early to conclude the attacks had been racially motivated, one Indian newspaper published a cartoon of the Australian police in KKK hoods. It later emerged that the burnt Indian had accidently set himself on fire in an insurance scam and the murdered Indian had been killed by fellow Indians.


Indian Media depict Australian police as racists

In 2009, Indian media portrayed Australian police as racists because they held off making announcements about who committed crimes against two Indians in Australia. Investigations late revealed the guilty parties were Indian.

In the face of all the Indian protests, the Australian media largely took a pacifist approach of either trying to appease the Indians or sympathising with the racism they suffered. Even Kevin Rudd (whose effigy was burnt) somewhat ironically proposed a scheme where Australian families would invite Indians around for a barbeque. Many Indians found this offensive as they asserted that Indians are Hindu and therefore don't eat meat. Ironically, the comment itself was culturally ignorant as Islamic Indians do eat meat as do Sikh Indians. Furthermore, not all Australians who have barbeques are meat eaters and even those who are, can share a table with those who aren’t.

The politics of meat

In both India and Australia, the consumption of meat is political. Hindus don’t eat cows and have had a clause inserted in the constitution that demands that lawmakers should work to prevent the slaughter of cows. Muslims don’t eat pork and consider anyone who eats pork to be dirty. Dalits (untouchables) generally eat meat as do Sikhs.  In recent years, Dalit groups have publicly eaten meat as a form of activism against those religious figures who tell them not to.

In Australia, the politics of meat are more concerned with individual ethics than with religious adherence. Whale and dolphin meat is banned and many Australians campaign against its consumption in Japan (consumption by Norway and Australian Aboriginal groups doesn't seem to be a concern.) Native animals such as kangaroos are somewhat controversial, with some Australians proposing that kangaroos should be eaten and some saying they shouldn’t be. Beef, pork, chicken and beef are readily eaten but there is some concern about the way they are farmed. Large supermarkets have started responding to customer concerns with free range meat where the animal is raised outside of cages and feedlots before being slaughtered. Some Australians are vegetarians due to concern about animal cruelty.

Beef Vindaloo

Recipes using beef are sensitive India. In Australia, they are commonly found in Indian restaurants. Pork is far less common.


White skin

Fair skin is a very desirable characteristic in India. It frequently appears as a sales pitch in personal adds, defines many Indian models and helps sustain a skin whitening industry.

Some people have proposed that the positioning of white skin at the apex of Indian beauty stems from the west positioning itself as superior to the local Indian culture. Others have proposed it is a side-effect of Hindu legends of white heroes battling black demons. Finally, it may reflect a socio-economic association that stems from lower castes being dark because they spend more time in the sun doing work and higher castes being light because they spend more time in the shade relaxing.

In Australia, darker skin is considered desirable and it is far more likely that Australians will use tanning creams or a tanning salon than buy a skin whitening product. Perhaps the socioeconomic association in Australia is that tanned people have the free time to relax on the beach or are healthier because they play sport.

Admittedly, although darker skin may be considered desirable by many Australians, high profile models and actors are almost always Caucasian with relatively fair skin. Perhaps the dominance of white female models and actors can be attributed to the political sensitivities of using non-white models and actors. One sensitivity is that the sexualisation of a non-white female will elicit some criticism about pandering to a fetish or stereotyping non-white female as sexually predatory. Consequently, it is much safer to use a white woman in a sexually suggestive pose than a non-white woman. Another sensitivity is that, if a non-white is culturally defined, the role will elicit accusations of exploiting stereotypes or caricaturing a culture; however, if the non-white is not culturally defined, there may be accusations of assimilation. In other words, the role is criticised either way. For example, when the Aboriginal actor Deborah Mailman was cast in the drama The Secret Life of Us, film producer Jeff Puser criticised the role because:

"she had exactly the same problems as white Australians." (3)

 Because mass entertainment doesn’t want to offend, it goes for the safe Caucasian.  

In Australia, light-skinned Caucasian women are frequently depicted in highly sexual poses. Portraying darker skin women in the same poses may elicit accusations that they are being stereotyped as sexually predatory or pandering to a fetish for darker skin.

Because Caucasian women dominate in advertisements and movies, it is possible that a cultural mentality develops that they are more desirable than women with darker skin. (If western culture has a greater propensity to sexualise Caucasian women, then perhaps Indians who are exposed to western media may see lighter-skinned women as the apex of female desirability.)

Kiss me Ketut - Although sexualising non-white females can be sensitive, sexualising non-white males tends to be acceptable.


Old Spice man - Darker skin males are often sexualised in ways that appeal to both men and women.


Homosexual sex is illegal in India. Some have proposed that the aversion to homosexuality stems from a sacred Hindu text that states what seems unnatural is also unnatural. The text aside, homosexuality is not mentioned in Hindu texts and various adherents have taken positions ranging from positive, neutral to antagonistic. Some have proposed that India's aversion to homosexuality is a hangover from the Islamic Mughal dynasty. Islam justifies an aversion to homosexuality with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah where god destroyed a people because they engaged in carnal acts between men.

The aversion to homosexuality may also be a side effect of India’s culture of arranged marriages where homosexuality would potentially be a barrier to marriages occurring and producing descendants. Furthermore, arranged marriages largely dismiss the wishes and attractions of those getting married.

In Australia, homosexuals have been very visable in politics and entertainment since the various Australian states decriminalised homosexual sex between the 1972 and 1997. Today, the debate is not whether it is wrong for people of the same gender to have sex, but whether people of the same sex in long term relationships should be legally allowed to refer to the relationships as a marriage rather than a civil union.

Marriage in India and Australia

Aversion to homosexuality is often explained as stemming from religion. It may also stem from respective marriage customs. In India, homosexual activism is chiefly focussed on making homosexuality legal. In Australia, it is to allow homosexuals in civil unions to refer to their union as a marriage. (People in civil unions have the same legal rights and responsibilities as those in marriages.)

The changing and unchanging constitutions

The Australian political system makes an interesting contrast with India, which has also been shaped by previous British rule, but has undergone a great deal of change since gaining independence from Britain. Whereas the Australian constitution has hardly changed since 1901, the Indian constitution has been one of the most amended national documents in the world with more than 80 alterations since it declared itself a republic on January 26, 1950. Much of the change has resulted from disputes between parliament and the Supreme Court.

India's constiution proposes that all citizens have the right to vote, freedom of speech, expression, belief, association, migration and choice of occupation or trade. These rights are intended to protect Indians from discrimination based on sex, race, religion, or creed. Of course, what is written in the constitution doesn't always translate to culture. Many Indian women feel they are discriminated in education and the workforce. The caste system discriminates according to ethnicity and religious conflict is rife.

Australia's constitution doesn't contain any rights proposing to free speech, expression or association. Furthermore, rather than criminalise racial discrimination, the constiution gives the federal government the power to racially discriminate where it sees fit. Specifically, Australia's constitution was written at a time that unions wanted to exclude foreign labour, especially from China and the Pacific. They succeeded in giving the federal government the power to pass laws targeted at any race except Aborigines. The intention was to give the federal government the power to advantage whites who might be having trouble competing with non-white labour. In 1967, the race power clause was extended so that the federal government could make laws to advantage Aborigines.


Language and identity

Around 41 per cent of Indians speak Hindi as their first language. Other languages spoken include Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Sanskrit, and Hindustani. Due to historical friction between speakers of the various languages, it is sometimes said that 'Hindi divides and English unites.' Basically, English is a neutral language, which makes it a suitable language for national, political, and commercial communication. Most Indians are therefore able to speak English.

English is the only official language of Australia and is spoken at home by around 80 per cent of Australians. Although it is not an Australian language, the manner it is spoken reveals something about the type of divisions that have shaped the Australian identity. In England, accents vary according to class and region. In America, they vary according to race and region. Unlike America or England, Australia has no variance in accents according to class, race or region. Instead, the accent varies according to ideology or gender. Two Australians can grow up side by side, go to the same schools, do the same job, but end up speaking English using different words, different syntax and with different accents. In fact, due to the gender variance, a brother and sister can grow up in the same house and end up speaking differently.

Australia has three recognised accents. About ten per cent of Australians speak like ex-prime minister Bob Hawke with what is known as a broad Australian accent. The broad Australian accent is usually spoken by men. 80 per cent speak like Nicole Kidman with a general Australian accent. 10 per cent speak like ex Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser with British received pronunciation or cultivated English. Although some men use the pronunciation, the majority of Australians that speak with the accent are women.


India is defined by its diversity of cuisines, religions, political beliefs, customs and languages. Sport is the one area where there is relative homogeneity. As a result, cricket can act as a social glue like nothing else in India can.

Elitism seemed to be an early attraction for Indians to cricket. In the 19th century, princely rulers and rich members of Indian society embraced the game in order to gain the prestige that the British attached to the game. Overtime, the popularity filtered down to the grassroots population.

Whereas India is very monocultural when it comes to sporting passions, Australia is very multicultural. Cricket competes with Australian football, rugby league, rugby union, soccer and basketball for hearts and minds. It is difficult to judge accurately where cricket resides in the sporting hierarchy. In 2007, a survey by Sweeney Sports found that 52% of the Australian public had an interest in cricket; however, arguably their passion for cricket was nothing like that evoked by Australian football and rugby league. As a result of relatively low passion, over the last two decades, baseball, soccer and basketball have all moved their leagues to summer time when cricket is played because it was seen as less competition than the football codes.

As well as lacking the same hold on the Australian psyche as it has on the Indian psyche, cricket in Australia has a very different history. Basically, it has been a vehicle for the English to communicate their prejudices against Australians and for Australians to respond with bat and ball. In 1868, the first cricket team to leave Australia was comprised solely of Aborigines. Upon arrival in England, The Times newspaper described the tourists as, "a travesty upon cricketing at Lords", and, "the conquered natives of a convict colony."

While some sections of English society considered them to be a travesty, they were a popular one. So much so, the demands placed upon them were nothing short of horrendous. In a gruelling five month stay, they played 47 games and upon completion of each game, they also gave an exhibition of 'native sports', including boomerang and spear throwing. Admittedly, there were no pre-metasexual Shane Warnes or Greg Ritchies (aka Fat Cat) in the team, but the fact the tour was completed with only one death and two players sent home suffering sever illness must be seen as an incredible feat of endurance. 

The results were also equally impressive. Despite the onerous schedule, having no history in the game and playing in a foreign culture, the team managed 14 wins, 14 losses and 19 draws. One team member Johnny Mullagh - bowled 1877 overs, 831 of them maidens, hit 2489 runs and took 245 wickets at an average of 10. An English fast bowler of the time, George Tarrant, bowled to Mullagh and later said, "I have never bowled to a better batsman."

In 1882, non-Indigenous Australians followed their footsteps and likewise found themselves the target of English insults. For the English, Australia’s Convict heritage would inevitably lead to Australia’s "physical and moral degeneration." Naturally, they were horrified when inspired bowling and brilliant fielding by Australians caused an English collapse and an Australian victory.
The following day, a mock obituary ran in the Sporting Times:

"in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882. The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."

Those mythical ashes became a reality when the next England team to tour Australia, led by the Hon Ivo Bligh, were presented an urn containing the burnt remains of a bail after beating the home side 2-1. Almost 140 years later, the Ashes remain one of the most important international sporting contests for Australia and English fans continually refer to Convict taunts as their team continues to lose.

Sharne Warne having a fag

In the 19th century, England believed that Australia’s Convict heritage would inevitably lead to the moral and physical decline of its people. Cricket was the arena to put the theory to the test.


India’s caste and religious values have influenced the manner that people dress. On the whole, Indians are quite conservative with the exposure of skin. Women are expected to dress modestly with their legs covered. For men, shorts are a sign of low caste and are thus avoided by everyone except the low caste.

Australia doesn’t have strong religious mores governing dress nor obsessive concerns with signalling distance from poverty. As a consequence, Australians often dress in ways that Indians would associate with prostitutes or the low class. Specifically, women often wear shorts or mini-skirts that reveal a great of skin. It is generally taboo to criticise a woman for being sexually liberated so other women who dislike the choice of attire may make a comment like, "she must be cold", which is a political correct way of saying a woman has put the attraction of others above her own comfort.

Tiger women

In many Australian social scenes, it is taboo to criticise a woman for appearing to wear revealing clothing. Instead, other women may comment that a woman “must be cold” when the choice of clothing reveals a lot of skin.

Australian men have a reputation for dressing down. In international business, it is sometimes said that if you want to know if a businessman is Australian, you should look at his shoes (the implication is that Australians don’t care enough to polish their shoes.) On the streets, it is common to see men in shorts, thongs, singlets and tattered clothing. Even when Australian men try to dress up, they may mess up their hair so it seems they seem to be apathetic about their appearance.

Jockey fashion

While women like to show their legs, men often like to show their arms.


Indians don’t use toilet paper.  Instead, they either use their left hands to wipe or splash water over their anuses. As a consequence, they don’t eat with their left hands or use them to pass money or gifts. Furthermore, lovers walking hand-in-hand don’t have the same romantic connation that they have in other cultures.

Australians use toilet paper, which acts as a barrier between faeces and hand. Furthermore, they wash their hands afterwards. Although toilet paper tends to smear thus doesn’t clean as effectively as water potentially can, the hands remain clean for cooking, holding hands and picking things up. As a result, there is no taboo on hand usage.

Hosting barbeques and bringing plates

Indians often pride themselves on their hospitality so when they invite a guest to their home for a meal, they don’t expect the guest to bring anything except themselves.  Provided that the host and guests have similar tastes in food and beverages, a good time is then had by all.

In Australia, it is customary for guests to bring a bottle of wine or perhaps a dessert.  Since good wine can be very expensive, bringing wine saves the host a great deal of money. Furthermore, different Australians have very different tastes in wine so if all guests bring a bottle to share, they will get to taste a variety of wines and be sure that at least one of the wines will be to their tastes.

When having barbeques in public locations, such as parks, it is customary for the organiser to tell guests to “bring a dish”, which means a meal to share. This saves the organiser from having to provide for everyone and also ensures that the diversity of tastes are more likely to be catered for. Furthermore, if any guest has religious or ethnical concerns about certain foods, they can take it upon themselves to cater for their own concerns and perhaps allow others to sample an alternative. Sometimes a similar kind of gathering is held in the home and it is called a "pot-luck" party. Tasting a variety of foods brought by different guests is the main idea of the gathering.


At a federal level, Australian politicians have shown a desire to control the media in ways that are borderline corrupt, but on the whole, most corruption scandals have been limited to local and state governments. India, on the other hand, has a long history of corruption at the federal level. This can be partly attributed to specific families and specific parties dominating. To deal with potential cronyism, some ruling parties have tried to keep changing the ministers around to make it less likely that entrenched relationships can be exploited.






1) Sukhmani Khorana, May 2012, Culture shock: mending Australia’s fractured relationship with Indiahttp://theconversation.com/culture-shock-mending-australias-fractured-relationship-with-india-6615

2)UTS Experts Making News October 2005 -www.uts.edu.au/new/experts/media/2005/october.html

3)Pieces of the action Sydney Morning Herald, April 23, 2005 http://www.smh.com.au/news/Film/Pieces-of-the-action/2005/04/22/1114028529703.html



"Australia's culture has always been characterised by someone trying to make rules to live by, and someone else trying to break them."