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Friday, December 3, 2021

What does partnership mean to you?

Letter from Australia this is our Australian Bureau’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe to to receive it by email.

I was writing an article a while ago and I needed to find a synonym for partnership. It feels like every Australian understands instinctively. And I thought too. But when I had to explain it, I did nothing.

After a little brain work, I settled on a “camaraderie” that seemed close to me, but still too noble. To me, companionship conjures up harsh images of soldiers squatting in the filthy trenches of Gallipoli, or vaguely caricatured guys crowding around beer mugs in a pub and slapping each other on the back with slightly more enthusiasm. Was that correct? I couldn’t tell.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who found it difficult to determine the relationship. A group of researchers who recently conducted research on how Australians feel about the term found it difficult for people to agree on a definition.

In a survey of nearly 600 Australians, they found that while some people thought marriage was basically the same as friendship, others thought it was a deeper bond, something closer to a “sworn friend.” Others, though, said it was less about individual bonds and more reflective of the spirit of the community, helping each other or even just being friendly and respectful towards everyone.

A small majority (52 percent) felt it was more important in Australia than elsewhere, believing it to be “a unique Australian way of promoting social inclusion” or “a unique and fundamental bond between people who share common values.” But others saw it as “just being a good person and treating people with respect.” This is not a unique or vague social myth.

This concept is popular in part because, according to Benjamin Jones, a historian at the University of Central Queensland and one of the study’s authors, it is difficult to define and “can mean anything a person wants.”

It is a complex, often contested word that has evolved along with the values ​​of Australia, he said. During World Wars I and II, it flourished as a way of describing the ideas of “white male solidarity.”

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But then the second half of the 20th century brought second wave feminism and the replacement of White Australia’s politics with multiculturalism. “You might think that this was the death sign for friendship. But he was quite surprisingly able to reinvent himself as an inclusive ideal that includes people of color and women, ”he said.

Now it seems like more Australians are identifying with this concept.

The study, according to Dr. Jones, found that men who emigrated to Australia or had parents who felt as much or stronger about the concept of marriage than other Australians, “and perhaps this is almost part of their self-initiation. a ritual where they think friendship is really common in Australia and they say, ‘I want to be in this.’

And more women than men believe that marriage is a key feature of Australian national identity – 70 percent, up from 60 percent. Another study found that young women tend to use the word partner to refer to friends of either gender, while older women are more likely to find the word sexist.

But partly because of the history of the word, Australians are incredulous when politicians try to use it. Only 39 percent of respondents said they would support the immortalization of marriage in the Constitution. And only 45% agreed that politicians should refer to this in their speeches on Australia Day and Anzac Day.

According to Dr. Jones, people usually view camaraderie as something above politics, but “when it becomes politicized, it ceases to be something superpolitical, and the user’s political baggage falls on it.”

“While Australians in general may be positive about camaraderie,” he said, “this is still not something that politicians will ever use, it is not something that will be printed on our coins or banknotes or in our Constitution. because the ghosts of the past still haunt him. “

What do you think about companionship? Email us at [email protected]

And now for this week’s stories:

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