Egalitarianism has been part of the Australian scene since the 'Currency Lads and lasses' - the first born 'white' Australian children from English and Irish convicts, soldiers and immigrants – asked for payment for work, rather than being used as slaves.
It was reportedly a feature of WWI Australian soldiers in both Palestine and the Western Front where they refused to salute British officers, but this may be exaggerated 'myth', and probably only happened in isolated cases where the soldiers felt no allegiance to a particular individual or in protest when, due to perceived incompetence, those in authority had lost respect.
In Australian History, the Convicts who survived their captivity, being penniless and realising that they were trapped here forever, began families and either started businesses or accepted Land Grants, and tried to make a go of it generally. Their free born children developed the first uniquely modern Australian Culture.
They were called the Currency Lads and Lasses because their curious habit of demanding payment in money for their work. This was most unusual in the Colony at that time. The military and their civilian attachments were paid from London, and the Convicts, the overwhelming majority of the population, were subjected to "forced, unpaid labour", today's definition of Slavery.
Even so, at that time, 'correct' forms of address would have been used when speaking to superiors, even if the Aussies had no respect for them. I have noticed, however, in my lifetime, that it has only been in the past few decades where the nature of addressing someone with a title has taken a different twist.
I often see this manifest in the media where interviews of prominent Australians are common - for example the television programs 7.30 Report, 4Corners, Lateline, Insight, 60 Minutes and others. The TV journalists all address leaders and leading personnel, including the Prime Minister, by their name only, such as: 'Julia Gillard', or scientist and Australian of the Year, 'Tim Flannery' (not even Dr Flannery, which he is entitled to be called.)
The only reference to a title or position is in the introduction – for example, the presenter may introduce the prominent person by explaining that Tony Abbott is the 'The Leader of the Opposition', but once the face to face interview commences, only the person's name is given.
Something similar has happened during the past generation of students at our learned institutions. When I was a student, we would always call our lecturers by their title – such as Dr Smith or Prof Brown. My adult children report that now, most lecturers ask the students to call them by their first name.
The Australian church has also moved in this direction. It may be partly due to the impact of Pentecostalism where church leaders take the role of the Pastor as their function and anyone within Pentecostalism can hang up their shingle and call themselves a Pastor; and hence they may be called by their first names, such as Bill – or they may be called Pastor Bill. However, it is equally as likely that the Church in Australia is just following Australian cultural norms.
Significant Australian non-conformist churchmen follow this same model – eminent churchmen such as Gordon Moyes, Rowland Croucher, Tim Costello, Ross Clifford, Keith Garner prefer to use their name rather than 'Reverend X' or 'Dr Y'. The Sydney Anglican Archbishop consistently refers to himself as 'Peter Jensen'; and if you happen to read the Sydney Catholic Archbishop's newspaper columns, it always simply signed off as George Pell.
Following this trend, I simply call myself Mark Tronson although, like most Christian Ministers, there are a variety of titles (academic) Ministers can utilise.
During the time Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, 1972-75, we even 'did away' with the English titles of 'Sir', 'Lady' and 'Dame' (with the notable exception of Dame Edna Everage, who accepted a real English title from the Queen).
Although those with the Australian honours may use a variety of letters after their name, such as AM for Member of the Order of Australia), they do not come with an 'honorific' such as 'Dr' or 'Sir' that is used as part of their title.
It is interesting to note, as a Christian sociologist by the name of Tony Campolo has noted, that although Biblical leaders such as Jesus and Moses did not have titles, notorious rulers such as the Pharaohs and Caesar did.
Perhaps Australian customs are closer to those of ancient times than we realise; where mere words and forms of address do not matter, but where we really honour leaders in our hearts, as long as they first earn our respect by their actions.