How does religion influence politics in Australia?

Keyword: What do people in Australia believe?

Almost two thirds of Australians are Christians. Among them, the Catholics are the largest group with more than five million, followed by almost four million members of the Anglican Church and also almost four million Christians of other denominations. However, almost a third of Australians are not religious either.

Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 40,000 years

Only around 5000 Australians profess the religion of the aborigines - 0.3 percent of the population. The beliefs of the Aborigines, the indigenous people of Australia, are mainly based on the worship of nature and the influence of ancestors and dreams. Most of the 500,000 or so Aborigines are Christians today.

Immigration shapes the religion

In Australia, the country of immigration, the religion is strongly influenced by immigrant groups. The first European settlement of the country by the British since the 17th century shaped the country Anglican. However, after the Second World War, immigration from Italy and Ireland in particular made the Catholics the largest religious group.

Since the 1990s, immigrants have mainly come from the Asia-Pacific region, so that the number of people who belong to the non-Christian religion has almost doubled in the past ten years. There are now more than 400,000 Buddhists in Australia, that is more than two percent of the population. Almost as many are followers of Islam. In addition, there are around 150,000 Hindus and almost 90,000 Jews, who each make up less than one percent of the population.

Buddha has doubled its following in Australia in the past decade

Religion is more of a minor matter

"Especially in the younger generations, Australia can no longer be spoken of as a distinctly Christian country," says Martin Rieger of the Bertelsmann Foundation. As in many industrialized countries, there are more and more people in Australia who put together their spirituality from different religions. Overall, however, religion plays a subordinate role for Australians. (ped)

Overview of Religion in Australia:
(in brackets share of the population in percent)

  • Christians: 12.6 million (63.9%)
    ... Catholics: 5.1 million (25.8%)
    ... Anglicans: 3.7 million (18.7%)
    ... Uniting Church: 1.1 million (5.7%)
    ... Presbyterians / Reformed: 0.6 million (3.0%)
    ... Orthodox: 0.5 million (2.7%)
  • Buddhists: 420,000 (2.1%)
  • Muslims: 340,000 (1.7%)
  • Hindus: 150,000 (0.7%)
  • Jews: 89,000 (0.4%)
  • Aboriginal followers: 5400 (0.3%)
  • Without religion: 3.7 million (18.7%)
  • No information: 2.2 million (11.2%)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 census, figures rounded.