- Christianity has always been the largest and dominant religious tradition in Australia since 1945 (and before) which is attributed to the white settlement.
- The first fleet arrived in 1788 which claimed the Australian land bringing European traditions and religions, mostly Irish Catholic and Anglican, both Christian denominations.
- The 2001 census data shows that approximately 68% of the Australian population was a Christian adherent of some denomination at this time.
- This continuing effect as Christianity as the major religious tradition is accounted to the White Australia policy which was in placement up until 1972 which prevent the influx of other religious traditions, and thus Christianity took its course.
With the extinguished White Australia policy in 1972, it enabled overseas people and their families to immigrate to Australia,
seeking refuge and safety. The increase in immigration figures lead to a significant influx of Western religious traditions
(non-Christian) such as Buddhism
and an increase in Muslims (Islamic).
The increases in non-Christian denominations have shaped the Australian religious landscape and as a result, Australia has developed into a multi-faith nation with accepts and encompasses a variety of religions and religious traditions.
New Age religions
- Denominational switching is the act of changing or 'switching' between denominations within one large religious tradition. Denominational switching is often used to refer to those whom drift from group to group within the Christian religion.
- Denominational switching does not have a huge impact on the dynamic, changing nature of Australia's religious landscape but does affect it so. Such 'denominational switchers' can have a detrimental impact on some denominations because the individual is not satisfied and so will spread this knowledge and opinion to others – which may lead to others leaving that tradition.
have made a rather significant impact on the changes within the Australian religious landscape with a focus on the individual. 'New Age' religions have been present in Australia for at least 100 years with traditions such as Numerology, Astrology and Paganism
, but has not been until recently that the appeal of these New Age religions has increased and thus made an impact on the religious landscape. The appeal of the New Age religions lie within their leniency and often focus on the individual and their nourishment which have adapted to suit the modern lifestyle of many Australians. With many people heading toward the 'New Age' religions, it means many adherents from traditional religions, particularly Christianity, and thus have a decrease in adherents over the years. This furthermore shapes the religious landscape of Australia.
- Secularism, which ties in with New Age religions, is the on going process of people adapting to the
- dynamic Australia landscape and thus no longer needing religion. Secularism was furthered by the reformist agenda of the nineteenth century Protestant Australia. With increased life expectancy and health/welfare implementations, many feel there is no place for religion in their lives. Secularism is currently having a major impact on Australia's religions, as they lose both appeal and adherents. This trend and impact of secularism is evident in the 2001 census data, with approximately 20% of the nation with 'no religion' which can be opposed to <1% before the abolishment of the White Australia Policy (1972). Phasing out of religion.