The Beautiful Game

June 19, 2018

Over the next month, the world’s biggest sporting contest will play out in a series of drama filled matches over in Russia. It’s a great time to enjoy sport and all that it has to offer. Since the Aussie Golden generation arrived on the scene in 2006, Australia has been a protagonist in this great sporting show.

It’s amazing how that even though the World Cup is staged every 4 years it seems to come around so fast. It rouses memories for me of staying up late or waking up early and watching games with my father and brother, or countless friends as we’d invite people over to our house. Lots of biscotti and a percolator running constantly for all of us.

Image Source: Pinterest

It also makes me think about how we have such a great tapestry of cultures here in Australia. A lot has been said in recent years about the changing demographics of our population. Increasing numbers of people from Asia and the sub-continent. As well as the Middle East, changing the profile of us as a people.

Hugh Mackay talks about multiculturalism as our greatest modern achievement…

“We can take pride in our creation of a remarkable harmony out of extraordinary diversity.  We have every right to be proud of the richness and complexity of a culture that has depended heavily on immigration”.

And this World Cup, like no other is a great time to pause and reflect on this. Soccer has been synonymous with the immigrant population of Australia. Its broadcast partner for so long has been solely SBS (one friend of mine labelling it Soccer Broadcasting Station) with Foxtel a late upstart as the A-League has blossomed.

Just look at the names in the Australian team. Rogic, Juric, Naboutt, Jedinak, Cahill. All blending in with Ryan, Sainsbury, Leckie, Cruse & Moor. This is a microcosm of what we have seen in our broader studies whereby some of our clients are looking to capitalise on the demographic changes.

Yes, there are differences in attitudes, habits, beliefs & even daily rituals. 

In all categories, from food, money & housing to name but a few. However, what has become clear is how our values as people are strikingly similar. We essentially value the same things, sometimes the immigrant populations more so than the people of British heritage. 

When I look at these outcomes it makes sense to us that we can all live and work together so long as we can appreciate the difference, because at a values level, we share a very strong connection.

Just from looking at the 4 most important values to Australians, we can see the similarities. 

Honesty, Fairness, Safety and Knowledge - Uncovered in our state of the nation report, The Australia Project

Honesty remains the primary value across these cultures. And then in the values of Fairness, Safety & Knowledge, The Europeans and Asian respondents respectively rate them as more important than those of British backgrounds. 

(It does make me wonder why the soccer world seems ok with the theatrics of players where as we see it a blight, but perhaps we can leave that for another time!)

Enjoy the World Cup, get some sleep, and here in Australia, rejoice that we are all a part of a great celebration of multiculturalism.