The Australian myth of the sunburnt country – where many people still live on those sweeping plains – persists, as a new study finds that we get many things wrong about our society and country. The public’s perceptions on women’s representation, religion, obesity, age and immigration are out of whack with reality, according to the Ipsos Perils of Perception survey, released late last year. The study compares perceptions by 1000 members of the public in 33 countries on 10 key issues and features of their countries with reality. While Mexicans were the least accurate, and South Koreans the most, Australians came 15th, Ipsos found. Here’s what we got wrong:


1.We have more women in politics than we realise. Coverage of the lack of women in Parliament, including former prime minister Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech, has caused Australians to underestimate the number of female MPs in the federal House of Representatives. The average guess is 17 per cent. The actual figure is 27 per cent.


2.The rich are getting richer, but not as much as we think. Australians massively overestimate the proportion of household wealth that the wealthiest 1 per cent own, Ipsos found. The average guess is that the wealthiest 1 per cent own 54 per cent of our wealth. The actual figure is 21 per cent. Australia was the third least accurate on this out of any of the 33 countries included in the study. Ipsos’ Australia director David Elliott said media coverage caused the public to overestimate the prevalence of an issue.


3.We are more religious than we think.  Australians “hugely over-estimate” the proportion of atheists, agnostics and those who do not affiliate themselves with any religion, Ipsos found. The average guess is 45 per cent. The actual figure is 24 per cent. The public in Latin American countries were the worst when it came to thinking their countries were more religious than they were: Mexican and Brazilians overestimated by 30 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.


4.We are fatter than we realise. Australians on average believe that 51 per cent of those aged over 20 are overweight or obese. The actual figure is 62 per cent. Australia, though, is more self-aware about obesity than many other countries. New Zealanders believe that 47 per cent of those aged over 20 are overweight or obese. The actual figure is 66 per cent.


5.​We are not as multicultural as we think.  Australians on average believe that 38 per cent of the population are immigrants. The actual figure is 28 per cent. Ipsos found we are more accurate than two-thirds of nations. The biggest overestimation by the public is in countries with low levels of immigration including Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Peru.


6.We are younger than we think. When asked about the average age of the Australian population, the average response was 48. In fact, the average age is only 38. The widespread discussion of our ageing population seems to have stuck with people.


7.There are fewer young people than we think. Despite the perception that the population is, on average, older than it actually is, Australians also greatly overestimate the proportion of the population aged under 14 at 27 per cent – much higher than the real figure of 18 per cent.


8.There are more women in the workforce than we think. Australians on average think 55 per cent of working age women are in employment when the real figure is 66 per cent. Only New Zealand, Germany, South Korea and Israel had larger underestimations of the proportion of women in work.


9.More of us live in the cities than we believe.  Australians on average overestimate the number of people who live on the land and in rural areas, and underestimate how urban our population is. The public guess is that 26 per cent of the population are based in rural areas. The actual figure is only 11 per cent.


10.Nearly all of us are online. Australians estimate that 82 per cent of us have access to the internet at home through a computer or mobile device. The actual figure is 90 per cent.


Ipsos used a variety of sources for its data, including the census, the ABS and the Australian Electoral Commission.



Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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The following are two websites to help you understand and celebrate our Christian Heritage on Australia Day as well as a day set aside on the First  Sunday in February each year as National Christian Heritage Sunday which this year falls on 7th February.  Learn how you and your Church can Celebrate Our Christian Heritage by visiting Christian Heritage Sunday celebrates the Gospel of Jesus Christ arriving on Australia’s shores. Australia’s first minister was the Reverend Richard Johnson. He arrived with the first fleet. On 3rd February 1788 Rev. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia, a day now celebrated on the first Sunday in February each year.


Thirty second audio promos can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of  and  and a short video titled Christian History Research promo with a picture of Edward Eyre near the top of the same page. The Christian History Research website contains a large collection of information and resources to help you understand more about Australia’s Christian heritage. Resources can be used online and many can be downloaded for educational use and personal research. Included on the site you will find interactive applications, books, documents, maps, video and audio and more. Whatever your purpose is for researching Australia’s Christian history, we trust you will find this site helpful. Understanding our Christian Heritage    



Source: Christian Historian Graham McLennan

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Legislation to allow same-sex couples to adopt has passed the Victorian Parliament, after the Government decided to accept amendments made in the Upper House. The bill originally did not allow religious organisations to refuse an adoption to gay couples, but the Upper House amended the bill to give religious exemptions. The Government had been considering whether to reject the amendment and withdraw the bill all together. Earlier this year, Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley labelled the suggestion to allow faith-based exemptions to same-sex adoptions “rubbish”. But the Government accepted the changes, in order to enact the bill. Only four agencies in Victoria provide so-called “stranger adoptions”, and just one of them, Catholic Care, is opposed to allowing same-sex adoption.


Following the addition of the amendments, the Victorian Opposition’s spokesman for equality David Davis said the religious exemption was not discriminatory, and he believed that same-sex couples would be happy with the outcome. “Same-sex couples will be able to get services that they need … this is obviously a balance to be struck, and the balance has been carefully thought through by the Legislative Council,” he said. Before the 2014 election Labor promised to remove discrimination against Victorian same-sex couples who wanted to adopt children.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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Have you visited our Web site? Australian Prayer Network