Australian Values Study (1983)
Appendix to 'The Australian Achievement' by LJM Cooray (1996)

The Australian Values Study, a very wide ranging survey conducted by the Roy Morgan Research Centre, Sydney, Melbourne, (August, 1983) provides some interesting perspectives on the values of the Australian people.

The percentage claiming confidence in Australian institutions are as follows:

Institution % Public Confidence
The police 81
Australian companies 78
Small business 73
The armed forces 67
The legal system 62
Parliament and government 56
The press 28
Labour unions 25

Taking all things together

The significance of these views must be seen in the context of the denigration of many of the values that people believe in by their education and media systems, and the failure of the conservative parties to effectively stand up for these values and institutions.

The left, with the connivance of the media, have been allowed to set the agenda of public debate. Thus, sensible and well-reasoned right wing perspectives are labelled as extremist, reactionary, etc. On the other hand, social engineering schemes and even extreme policy decisions are presented in the guise of moderation. The reason is that the right (including the Liberal/Country Parties), with a few exceptions, have not stood up for values which are likely to gain widespread community support and which are in tune with liberal principles. They have also not been willing to attack social engineering schemes and demonstrate their true radical, counterproductive nature. If such an onslaught were launched, ridicule could be expected from sections of academia and the media. However, the public would be very receptive. The political opposition must lead such an onslaught but it does not have the guts to do so. It does not (a few exceptions apart) challenge the agenda of public debate laid down by the left and the media.

The Opposition do not realise that there are many issues which will help them win an election. If they fashion politics based on community values and stand up for them they will be characterised by the government and the media as reactionary, extremist, conservative etc. Other slogans and epithets will be used to denounce such policies. However, a very responsive chord with the electorate will be struck. Inherent in this process is an ability to endure and challenge media and ALP ridicule, provide convincing counter arguments and win the debate with the public.