The Lucky Country – why do so many Australians complain?

The Lucky Country

Donald Horne book cover for the lucky countryIs a book by Donald Horne and many people called Australia ‘the lucky country’. Although the term is now meant to be a favourable comment, the original context in the book was a negative statement. Horne’s book title is found in the last chapter:

“Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.”

Since publication, Horne disliked how “lucky country” has been misapplied. Apologies to Horne, as I am continuing to use “lucky country” as a term of endearment.  My reason – too many Australians complain about living here. As compared to the majority of countries in the world, we are “the lucky country”.

Why I believe Australia is the lucky country

I’ve never travelled outside of Australia, to visit countries that are different from my country. However, it is to easy to Google and observe the differences between the countries. The goal isn’t to gloat, or brag, just to show to the people who complain about living in Australia – we have it easy as compared to most countries.

The lucky country #1 – wealth – top 2%

Australia is third on the list of 171 countries in the world by wealth - the lucky country

According to Wikipedia in 2017, Australia ranked 3rd out of 171 countries, for median wealth per adult. Only Iceland and Switzerland had a higher result. Half of adult Australians have personal wealth of US $195,417 or more, which is around AUS $270,000. Compare this to the bottom 10 countries in the world.

The lucky country #2 – income – top 6%

Australia annual wage of $us 49,000 in 2017 - the lucky countryIn 2017, Wikipedia reports the average Australian wage as $US 49,126, roughly $AUS 67,000. A better comparison would be via median income and the following map of the world can be viewed here.

The map shows colour coding of countries in median income order. Australia is the lucky country

The darkest colours represent the countries with the highest median income. Australia, USA, Canada, and countries in Europe are clearly leading the world in income.

The lucky country #3 – Life Expectancy – top 4%

According to this site, the average Australian will live to age 82. Around 30 years more than the bottom 1o countries.

The lucky country #04 – Education – top 4%

According to the CNBC site, Australia ranks 7 in the world with the education of adults aged 25 to 64. Just over 43% have an education past secondary school. Only the USA, UK, South Korea, Israel, Japan and Canada have managed to give a tertiary education to a higher percentage of the population.

australia ranks 7 in the world for getting adults educated past secondary school level - the lucky country

The lucky country #5 – Freedom of religion

It can be dangerous or even deadly to attend worship in many countries. The map below gives an indication of the problem worldwide. People are free to participate in the religion of their choice in Australia.

the map shows violations of religious freedom in the world - centres around middle east, asia and africa

The lucky country #6 – Social Security

Social security can be defined as ‘any government system that provides monetary assistance to people with an inadequate or no income’. Some countries called it welfare or a safety net. The Wikipedia site only lists 23 countries as providing social security. However, the International Labor Organisation, reports that 27% of the countries in the world have social security.
The Australian Federal Budget of 2015/16 allocated 152 Billion Dollars to social security. Approximately one-third of all tax collected by the Australian Government is distributed via the Centrelink agency.
the pie chart shows that 1/3 of all taxes collected goes towards social welfare in the lucky country

The lucky country #7 – Unemployment Rate

Unemployment rate in North Korea is 25%, and Syria its 50%. We complain at around 6% in the lucky countryCurrently, our unemployment rate sits at 5.3%. As compared to other countries, we only rank in the top one third. Unlike many other countries, we provide social security including unemployment benefits to help the unemployed.
The chart to the right is taken from the Wikipedia site. It includes the bottom 17 countries in the world, with Syria having a 50% unemployment rate.

The lucky country #8 – Universal Health Care

Universal Health Care provides health care to all citizens of the country. The majority of the countries have it, including Australia. The USA, many African and Oceanic countries do not. The following map can be found here. Currently, Australians pay a 2% tax on their assessable income to fund “Medicare”.

Most countries have universal health care, exclusion of USA and many african countries

The lucky country #9 – Terrorism

According to Rediff News, in 2017 Australia ranked as midrange when it came to the effect of terrorism. Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan were most affected.

Australia has a medium level of terrorism in the world

The lucky country #10 – Miscellaneous

Other items could include

  • minimum wage levels
  • standard working week 38.5 hours
  • superannuation guarantee
  • Full-time workers receive 4 weeks annual leave, sick leave, long service leave, over 10 days of public holidays
  • democracy
  • the weather

The list could go on


There are many things which are not good in Australia or can be improved.

  • House prices are high
  • Some social security payments are too low, i.e. unemployment and disability benefits
  • We can treat refugees better
  • Racism issues – we have too many Australians that don’t seem to realise that we all came from somewhere else (including the Indigenous Australians)
  • Lazy Aussies – I just have to look at the employees of certain businesses. Such as car cleaning or the taxi industry. It seems that 90% of those employed emigrated to Australia. Those born in Australia either don’t want this work or believe it doesn’t pay enough

So why do Aussies complain?

I don’t know! Maybe they don’t see how easy life is in Australia, as compared to other countries? The point of this blog is simple. To point out that there are abundant opportunities in Australia. If you take them.
Some people are unable to take opportunity due to circumstances beyond their control. I am not criticising them. Bad things happen. But how you respond is vital.
I challenge Australians to stop complaining! Take the opportunities in Australia. And help people in other countries via donating money, as they don’t have the opportunities that we do.
Find out more about here.

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