Australians want a fair go, honest politicians and business leaders and balance between their work lives and family, a major survey has revealed.

Carried out over the past two years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey gathered the views of people across the nation on how they measure national and personal progress.

The results, released yesterday, show a nation maintaining a close connection to long-held Australian traits while also worried about what the future holds.

The bureau found a strong theme was the ability of Australians to have equal opportunity to improve their lives and have access to basic services.

Australian statistician Brian Pink said the idea of a "fair go" was seen as particularly important for disadvantaged people or those at a vulnerable point in their life.

Mr Pink said apart from a fair go, people were firmly focused on non-economic measures of quality of life.

"We found that Australians feel that having equal opportunity or a fair go, is an essential element for progress," he said.

"People feel that the non- material aspects of life, such as recreation, sport, popular culture and the arts, are also important for progress."

The report found Australians put a high value on the environment - both natural and urban - and were particularly interested in ways to improve it over coming years.

It also found Australians are demanding more from their governments and business leaders.

People said they wanted government and "private institutions" to behave responsibly, to be free from corruption and absent of conflict of interests.

"Australians think having a say in the decision-making that affects their lives, and having institutions that are accountable for their decisions, is crucial," Mr Pink said.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the report showed the community wanted more from the nation's leaders than debates about productivity and national income growth.

"Perhaps some of the current disillusionment with Australia's major political parties stems from their fixation on economic productivity, not the real aspirations of real people and communities," foundation spokesman Charles Berger said.

"Healthy ecological systems, human wellbeing and community connections are what Australians are saying they want in the 21st century, not more increases in material consumption."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West