Australia

Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession in the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include climate-change issues such as the depletion of the ozone layer and more frequent droughts, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef. (CIA)


1. Broken families are one of the greatest causes of tragedy in Australian youth, with average marriages lasting merely 8.8 years. A 2008 Federal report found that 60,000 Australian children are affected by abuse and negligence. Broken families lead to broken relationships, and loss of morality and trust, leading to increased loneliness.

2. Binge drinking affects 33% of youth aged from 18 to 24 years, and 41% have passed out at least once through excessive drinking, while 25% do so regularly. Assaults in CBD areas are increasing mainly caused by excessive drinking. It is estimated that Alcohol poisoning kills 10 Australians a day.

3. Suicide has remained the leading external cause of death in Australia from 1998-2002. The suicide rate for males aged 15-24 is 19.0 per 100,000. For females the rate is 5.7 per 100,000. Youth suicide accounts for 16.6% of the total number of suicides in 1998.

4. There is an increasing pressure to restrict church freedom and reject Christian Values. Increasing pressure from Multiculturalism: To accept all faiths (including witchcraft) as equal to Christianity. Influence of Islam, secular humanism and homosexual lobby are increasing.

5. The median age of first sexual intercourse in 2003 is 16 years. 60% of young people aged 16-19 in 2001-2002 had sexual intercourse experiences. Trends from studies on Christian young people's sexuality indicate that there is little difference between their sexual behavior and that of non-Christian young people, other than a tendency to delay their first sexual experience slightly longer.

 

1. For most people the standard of living in Australia is high and their culture can be very laid back and materialistic and hedonistic. More and more Australians claim to be of 'no religion'. The church needs to understand this 'post-modern' society in Australia and reach out to generations who increasingly see God as irrelevant.

2. The Australian Aborigines have been oppressed by Western culture for over 200 years. Some are Christians but there is still a need for reconciliation between black and white Australians. Pray for mission organizations to reach out to these people and that they can express their Christian faith without losing their cultural identity.