Everyone knows that Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and although living and working in such ethnically and culturally diverse communities can be and is incredibly exciting, it also means the risk of offending someone you probably didn’t mean to offend is significantly higher. In this article, I’ll tell you about 3 taboo topics that you must steer away from in Australia at any cost. Politics, Sex and Religion are 3 topics which, in a multicultural and liberal country like Australia, can spell trouble between roommates, classmates, work mates but even between friends. It is for that reason that these topics are referred to as taboo topics. Let’s look at each of three taboo topics separately.
A very common topic that can easily lead to a heated argument is Politics. Who you vote for and why you vote for someone is information that you’d better keep private. No one needs to know why you support a certain politician or condone certain policies because these are personal matters — meaning? It’s strongly recommended that you not share it with anyone who might disagree with it. Unless you know for sure you’re expressing your political views to a very close friend of yours who’s already familiar with those views, keep your views to yourself.
Another taboo topic that can lend you in hot water is sex, so making sexual references or jokes is something that you should refrain from because it can easily rub someone up the wrong way, therefore, you should always be cautious about it. Expressing views or opinions on issues related to sex is problematic for native speakers of English, even among those that share the same culture, so you can imagine how risky it could get for someone with limited English and from a completely different background. That’s why it’s always important to avoid stereotyping, especially, when it comes to gender roles and identities in society. Australia, like other Western nations, is quite flexible, tolerant and inclusive, and any people, all people, including you, are free to be or identify as they wish.
The third taboo topic is just as problematic as the second. People in Australia are free to worship anything they want to worship, and that’s a very private matter, and it should be. After all, Australia could be considered, and some may disagree, as a secular country. What does secular mean? Well, there are different types of secularism, but we could describe Australia’s secularism as ‘religiously plural’, in other words, all Gods are welcome so long as they don’t clash. A good place to start is the Australian constitution, which states that “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth” — meaning? Keep your relationship between you and your God, if you have one, private. Most importantly, let go of your prejudices; if you have any, keep them at home where they belong. Having a prejudice is letting your judgment be affected by preconceived ideas, and these preconceived ideas emanate from culture, traditions but mostly faith because our faith and religion often draw rigid lines between right and wrong; righteous and sinners. So it’s possible that if you talk about faith and religion, you may end up pushing someone’s buttons and involuntarily destroy a potential friendship — not worth it. So there you have it — 3 taboo topics you must avoid in Australia if you don’t want to see yourself in the hot seat at school, work or in society in general.