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Do's and Dent's

Career Abroad is the ideal guide to facts on work culture abroad. Do's and don'ts on etiquette, work ethics and conversational pleasantries, find them all here.



While using surnames dressing people last names preceded by "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Ms." should be used.

"Sir" is another term of respect. However, Australians tend to quickly move on to a first-name basis.

Among even relatively new acquaintances, first names are used both in personal greetings and business correspondence.

Professional titles are not prominent in Australian business culture, and are sometimes dismissed as pretentious. Announcing your title when meeting an Australian may be perceived as form pompousness.

A handshake is the preferred greeting.

Men refrain from being too physically demonstrative with women.

It is customary to shake hands at the beginning and end of a meeting.

"G'day, mate" (pronounced G’die mite) is a popular casual greeting, particularly between individuals who have already established a cordial acquaintance.

If somebody asks you “How’re you going’? It implies “How are you?”

When speaking to an Australian, keep an arm's length distance from the person. Maintaining personal space is important in this culture.

Maintain an eye contact with them during a conversation.

Touching, patting or hugging other men in public is considered socially unacceptable.

Blowing your nose in public is socially unacceptable.

Although it is customary in this culture for men to sit in the front with the taxi driver, this is not the case for women. A woman traveling alone should sit in the back left passenger seat of the car; the driver will be on the right.

Keeping Appointments

Appointments are relatively easy to schedule at all organizational levels. However it would be better if you set up an appointment at least one month in advance.

Australians are very strict about punctuality.

Business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday.

For a business traveler, the best time to visit is from March through November, as the tourist season begins from December through February.

Avoid scheduling visits around Christmas and Easter, since many executives will be on vacation during these periods.

Dressing up

Business dressing is conservative.

Men are generally dressed in a dark suit and tie, during summer, it is appropriate not to wear a jacket.

Suits, skirts and blouses, or business dresses are standard wear for women.

Business dress, however, may be more informal in very tropical climates

Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, and the season is opposite to the ones we experience in India. Australia is a tropical country, but weather conditions differ drastically.

Southern Australia has warm summers and mild winters, so light clothing is recommended. During winter it is advisable to wear warmer clothes and rain gear is necessary.


"Afternoon tea" is served around 4:00 p.m.

"Tea" is the Australian term for "dinner", which is served between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.

"Supper" is the Australian term for a late-night snack.

If you are invited out, it is the person who extends the invitation who picks up the tab.

When invited for a drink, do not approach the subject of business unless your host does so.

When hosting a dinner at a restaurant, you might have to bring your own supply of alcohol, since some establishments may not have liquor licenses. It is possible that your Australian guests will likely be displeased if alcohol is not served with meals.

Beer is usually the preferred beverage.

Australian table manners and settings are similar to those in North America. It is not considered impolite if you eat with your hands

Most Australian dishes are similar to those from England and North America. Meat pies are especially popular.

You may be invited to a home, even after a relatively brief acquaintance.

Australian hospitality tends to be very informal, particularly when you are invited to a home.

You will be encouraged to serve yourself, after being told where to find the available food and drink. Hesitation will only cause your hosts to feel annoyance, if only because they genuinely want you to feel "at home."

It is customary for guests to bring beer or a bottle of wine for their hosts.

Barbecues, affectionately known as "barbies," are a very popular form of home entertaining. Guests will be required to dress casually and engage in lively socializing.

Unannounced visits are not part of Australian culture; always make it a point to make a call before you wish to meet the people.

Gift Giving

Gift – giving is generally not a part of Australian culture. However, if you are invited for dinner, it's permissible to bring a token gift of flowers, chocolates, or wine.

An illustrated book from your home region can be another welcome gift.

A preserved food product unique to your home region can also be a good choice; preserves must be canned or bottled or they will be confiscated by Australian customs.

Bear in mind that your thoughtful choice is considered more important than the actual cost of the gif



Melbourne Do's and Don'ts

Do visit a pub, especially in smaller towns, for a slice of Aussieness (you'll likely see poker machines adjacent to bars or eating areas). Even where good restaurants are expensive, you can usually get a good, cheap pub lunch or snack at a milk bar or coffee shop...

Do seek out sporting clubs (motor, rugby or soccer) that allow nonmembers to sign in. You can enjoy an inexpensive, high-quality lunch or dinner and entertainment on the weekends...

Don't be surprised if the Australian version of English leaves you mystified. Australians use slang liberally, and we saw a play in Sydney (featuring rural, working-class women) in which we understood about 40% of the dialogue...

Don't count on cuddling a koala while you're Down Under. The adorable, sleepy-looking creatures, which appear so cuddly as they cling to their eucalyptus branches, are not fond of being petted: They've been known to piddle on would-be human fondlers. Some places have ended the practice of allowing visitors to handle the animals...

Do attend an Aboriginal music and dance performance. Its a great opportunity to hear the low-pitched drone of the didgeridoo, a wind instrument made from a small hollow tree trunk...

Don't be surprised by what they wear (or don't wear) on the beaches. Lady Jane is the nude beach in Sydney...

Do try Vegemite, a yeast spread that has the same standing that peanut butter has in North American cuisine. But it's best to start with a small taste (and we mean small)...

Do visit a working sheep station. There are many outside Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne....

Tipping: Tipping traditionally has not been required in restaurants or taxis, but the practice is changing. Everyone you'll meet seems to have a different opinion on the subject, so use your own judgment.

Recommended Guidebooks and reading
Australia: A Travel Survival Kit by Tony Wheeler (Lonely Planet).
Rough Guide: Australia (Penguin).
Aboriginal Australia: A Traveler's Guide (Angus and Robertson).
Framer's Australia (Prentice Hall).
Outback Australia Handbook by Marael Johnson (Moon Publications).
Bushwalking in Australia (Lonely Planet).
Australia: The Outdoor Traveler's Guide by Gerry Ellis and Sharon Cohen (Stewart, Tabori and Chang).
Islands of Australia's Great Barrier Reef by Tony Wheeler (Lonely Planet).
Stepping Lightly on Australia: A Traveler's Guide to Ecotourism by Shirley LaPlanche (Globe Pequot).
The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes (Knopf). A superb history of the founding of Australia.
Triumph of the Nomads: A History of Aboriginal Australia by Geoffrey Blainey (Overlook Press).
Kakadu, Looking After the Country -- The Gagudju Way by Stanley Breeden and Belinda Wright. Provides good insight into Aboriginal history and culture.
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin (Viking-Penguin) is a semifictional journey into the world of the Aborigines and a meditation on the meaning of Dreamtime, the Aboriginal creation myth.


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