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Australia

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Territories of Australia
Central AustraliaNew South Wales AustraliaNorth AustraliaQueensland AustraliaSouth AustraliaVictoria AustraliaWestern Australia


List of Cities in Australia
AdelaideAlbanyAlburyAraratArmadaleArmidaleBallaratBathurstBayswaterBelmontBenallaBendigoBlue MountainsBrisbaneBroken HillBunburyBundabergCairnsCaloundraCampbelltownCanningCessnockCharters TowersCity of BankstownCity of BlacktownCity of Botany BayCity of Canada BayCity of CanterburyCity of Coffs HarbourCity of FairfieldCity of GosfordCity of Greater TareeCity of GriffithCity of HawkesburyCity of HolroydCity of HurstvilleCity of Lake MacquarieCity of LismoreCity of LithgowCity of MaitlandCity of RandwickCity of RockdaleCity of RydeCity of ShellharbourCity of ShoalhavenCockburnDandenongDarwinDubboFrankstonFremantleGeelongGeraldton-GreenoughGladstoneGold CoastGosnellsGoulburnGraftonHamiltonHervey BayHorshamIpswichJoondalupKalgoorlie-BoulderLithgowLiverpoolLogan CityMackayMandurahMaryboroughMelbourneMeltonMelvilleMilduraMoeMorwellMount GambierMount IsaMurray BridgeNedlandsNewcastleOrangePalmerstonParramattaPenrithPerthPort AugustaPort LincolnPort PirieQueanbeyanRedcliffeRockhamptonRockinghamSaleSheppartonSouth PerthStirlingSubiacoSwan HillSwanSydneyTamworthToowoombaTownsvilleTraralgonVictor HarborWagga WaggaWangarattaWannerooWarrnamboolWhyallaWodongaWollongong

Australia Photo Gallery
Australia Realty


AUSTRALIA COAT OF ARMS
Coat of arms of Australia.svg
Australia - Location Map (2013) - AUS - UNOCHA.svg
Location Map of Australia
Australia map 2007-worldfactbook.jpg
Map of Australia
Australia flag.gif
Description of the Flag of Australia: blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars
Australia operahouse 2006 07 13.jpg
Australia Opera House July 13, 2006

Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Cures for Diseases, Ailments, Sicknesses that afflict Humans and Animals - HOME PAGE
(View Photo Gallery of Herbs)
Aloe Vera Astragalus Bankoro Bilberry Bitter Orange Black Cohosh Cat's Claw Chamomile Chasteberry Coconut Cranberry Dandelion Echinacea Ephedra European Elder Tree Evening Primrose Fenugreek Feverfew Flaxseed Garlic Ginger Ginkgo Ginseng (Asian) Golden Seal Grape Seed Green Tea Hawthorn Hoodia Horse Chestnut Kava Lavender Licorice Malunggay Moringa Oleifera Milk Thistle Mistletoe Passion Flower Peppermint Oil Red Clover Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata Saw Palmetto St. John's Wort Tawa Tawa Turmeric Valerian Yohimbe
accept the bitter to get better

OFFICIAL NAME:
Commonwealth of Australia

Geography of Australia

  • Area: 7.7 million sq. km. (3 million sq. mi.); about the size of the 48 contiguous United States.
  • Cities of Australia:
  • Terrain: Varied, but generally low-lying.
  • Climate: Relatively dry and subject to drought, ranging from temperate in the south to tropical in the far north.


Official name Commonwealth of Australia
Form of government federal parliamentary state (formally a constitutional monarchy) with two legislative houses (Senate [76]; House of Representatives [150])
Head of state British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General: Sir Peter John Cosgrove
Head of government Prime Minister: Tony Abbott
Capital Canberra
Official language English
Official religion none
Monetary unit Australian dollar ($A)
Population (2014 est.) 23,557,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 2,969,976
Total area (sq km) 7,692,202
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2011) 89.2%
Rural: (2011) 10.8%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2011) 79.7 years
Female: (2009) 84.2 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: not available
Female
not available

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 65,520


About Australia

Australia, the smallest continent and one of the largest countries on Earth, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia’s capital is Canberra, located in the southeast between the larger and more important economic and cultural centres of Sydney and Melbourne.

The Australian mainland extends from west to east for nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 km) and from Cape York Peninsula in the northeast to Wilsons Promontory in the southeast for nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 km). To the south, Australian jurisdiction extends a further 310 miles (500 km) to the southern extremity of the island of Tasmania, and in the north it extends to the southern shores of Papua New Guinea. Australia is separated from Indonesia to the northwest by the Timor and Arafura seas, from Papua New Guinea to the northeast by the Coral Sea and the Torres Strait, from the Coral Sea Islands Territory by the Great Barrier Reef, from New Zealand to the southeast by the Tasman Sea, and from Antarctica in the far south by the Indian Ocean.

Australia has been called “the Oldest Continent,” “the Last of Lands,” and “the Last Frontier.” These descriptions typify the world’s fascination with Australia, but they are somewhat unsatisfactory. In simple physical terms the age of much of the continent is certainly impressive—most of the rocks providing the foundation of Australian landforms were formed during Precambrian and Paleozoic time (some 4 billion to 250 million years ago)—but the ages of the cores of all the continents are approximately the same. On the other hand, whereas the landscape history of extensive areas in Europe and North America has been profoundly influenced by events and processes that occurred since late in the last Ice Age—roughly the past 25,000 years—in Australia scientists use a more extensive timescale that takes into account the great antiquity of the continent’s landscape.

Australia is the last of lands only in the sense that it was the last continent, apart from Antarctica, to be explored by Europeans. At least 60,000 years before European explorers sailed into the South Pacific, the first Aboriginal explorers had arrived from Asia, and by 20,000 years ago they had spread throughout the mainland and its chief island outlier, Tasmania. When Captain Arthur Phillip of the British Royal Navy landed with the First Fleet at Botany Bay in 1788, there may have been between 250,000 and 500,000 Aboriginals, though some estimates are much higher. Largely nomadic hunters and gatherers, the Aboriginals had already transformed the primeval landscape, principally by the use of fire, and, contrary to common European perceptions, they had established robust, semipermanent settlements in well-favoured localities.

The American-style concept of a national “frontier” moving outward along a line of settlement is also inappropriate. There was, rather, a series of comparatively independent expansions from the margins of the various colonies, which were not joined in an independent federated union until 1901. Frontier metaphors were long employed to suggest the existence of yet another extension of Europe and especially of an outpost of Anglo-Celtic culture in the distant “antipodes.”

The most striking characteristics of the vast country are its global isolation, its low relief, and the aridity of much of its surface. If, like the English novelist D.H. Lawrence, visitors from the Northern Hemisphere are at first overwhelmed by “the vast, uninhabited land and by the grey charred bush…so phantom-like, so ghostly, with its tall, pale trees and many dead trees, like corpses,” they should remember that to Australians the bush—that sparsely populated Inland or Outback beyond the Great Dividing Range of mountains running along the Pacific coast and separating it from the cities in the east—is familiar and evokes nostalgia. It still retains some of the mystical quality it had for the first explorers searching for inland seas and great rivers, and it remains a symbol of Australia’s strength and independence; the Outback poem by A.B. (“Banjo”) Paterson, “Waltzing Matilda,” is the unofficial national anthem of Australia known the world over.

Australia’s isolation from other continents explains much of the singularity of its plant and animal life. Its unique flora and fauna include hundreds of kinds of eucalyptus trees and the only egg-laying mammals on Earth, the platypus and echidna. Other plants and animals associated with Australia are various acacias (Acacia pycnantha [golden wattle] is the national flower) and dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, and kookaburras. The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Queensland, is the greatest mass of coral in the world and one of the world’s foremost tourist attractions. The country’s low relief results from the long and extensive erosive action of the forces of wind, rain, and the heat of the sun during the great periods of geologic time when the continental mass was elevated well above sea level.

Isolation is also a pronounced characteristic of much of the social landscape beyond the large coastal cities. But an equally significant feature of modern Australian society is the representation of a broad spectrum of cultures drawn from many lands, a development stemming from immigration that is transforming the strong Anglo-Celtic orientation of Australian culture. Assimilation, of course, is seldom a quick and easy process, and minority rights, multiculturalism, and race-related issues have played a large part in contemporary Australian politics. In the late 1990s these issues sparked a conservative backlash.

Unlike Britain, Australia has a federal form of government, with a central government and six constituent states (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania). Each state has its own government, which exercises a limited degree of sovereignty. There are also two internal territories: Northern Territory, established as a self-governing territory in 1978, and the Australian Capital Territory (including the city of Canberra), which attained self-governing status in 1988. Major issues in resource development and environmental management have ignited controversies over the protection of states’ rights and the federal government’s gradual accumulation of power. The federal authorities also govern the external territories of Norfolk Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier islands, the Coral Sea Islands, and Heard and McDonald islands and claim the Australian Antarctic Territory, an area larger than Australia itself. Papua New Guinea, formerly an Australian external territory, gained its independence in 1975.

Historically part of the British Empire and now a member of the Commonwealth, Australia is a relatively prosperous independent country. Australians are in many respects fortunate in that they do not share their continent—which is only a little smaller than the United States—with any other country. Extremely remote from their traditional allies and trading partners—it is some 12,000 miles (19,000 km) from Australia to Great Britain via the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal and about 7,000 miles (11,000 km) across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the United States—Australians have become more interested in the proximity of huge potential markets in Asia and in the highly competitive industrialized economies of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Australia, the continent and the country, may have been quite isolated at the beginning of the 20th century, but it entered the 21st century a culturally diverse land brimming with confidence, an attitude encouraged by the worldwide fascination with the land “Down Under” and demonstrated when Sydney hosted the 2000 Summer Olympic Games.


Australia Description

Australia whose name comes from the Latin word australis, meaning "southern", has a population of 23,480,939 and gained its independence in 1918...>>>Read On<<<

Geography of Australia

Land

Australia is both the flattest continent and, except for Antarctica, the driest. Seen from the air, its vast plains, sometimes the colour of dried blood, more often tawny like a lion’s skin, may seem to be one huge desert. One can fly the roughly 2,000 miles (3,200 km) to Sydney from Darwin in the north or to Sydney from Perth in the west without seeing a town or anything but the most scattered and minute signs of human habitation for vast stretches. A good deal of the central depression and western plateau is indeed desert. Yet appearances can be deceptive. The red and black soil plains of Queensland and New South Wales have long supported the world’s greatest wool industry, and some of the most arid and forbidding areas of Australia conceal great mineral wealth.

Moreover, the coastal rim is, almost everywhere, exempted from the prevailing flatness and aridity. In particular the east coast, where European settlement began and where the majority of Australians now live, is topographically quite diverse and is comparatively well watered and fertile.

Inland from the coast runs a chain of highlands, known as the Great Dividing Range, from Cape York in northern Queensland to the southern seaboard of Tasmania. From the coast this range, which may be anything from 20 miles to 200 miles (30 to 300 km) distant, often appears as a bold range of mountains, though few of its peaks exceed 5,000 feet (1,500 metres). In fact, it is more like the escarpment of a giant plateau, formed of gently rolling hills, which slopes imperceptibly down to the western plains. There are similar, though smaller, stretches of hilly, well-watered land all around the rim of the continent except on the south coast where the Nullarbor Plain stretches to the sea, but everywhere precipitation diminishes rapidly as one penetrates farther from the coast.

In this huge continent there are wide variations in landforms and climate. The thickly wooded ranges of the Great Divide have little in common with the treeless, sun-baked plains of the Inland. There is a vast difference between the red rocks and monumental hills of central Australia and the tropical rainforests and sugar plantations of northern Queensland. To many visitors, Australia may not seem a pretty country, but it has a unique and haunting beauty that exerts a powerful fascination on those who get to know it.

The Australian Heritage Commission Act of 1975 established a federal agency to develop interest in a National Estate of listed places. Such places would be selected mainly on the basis of aesthetic, historical, scientific, or social significance. The process was not intended to guarantee any area or site against development, but the growing register was, nevertheless, made to serve that purpose on occasion. The UNESCO list of World Heritage sites carries more political and legal weight, and areas so classified have been protected by the federal governments in the face of furious opposition from their state partners. More than a dozen Australian landmarks, representing every state and territory, have been added to the list, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains area, Kakadu National Park, Shark Bay, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (which contains the great red mass of Uluru/Ayers Rock, a sacred site of the Aboriginals), rainforest reserves in central-eastern Australia, the Tasmanian Wilderness, and fossil mammal sites at Riversleigh and Naracoorte. Territorial disputes have arisen over proposals for the Great Barrier Reef and natural rainforest enclaves in Queensland and Tasmania.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS

Australia is a land of vast plains. Only 6 percent of the island continent is above 2,000 feet (600 metres) in elevation. Its highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, rises to only 7,310 feet (2,228 metres). This situation stems in part from the long periods of geologic time during which Australia has been subject to weathering and erosion and in part from Australia’s position at the edge of a zone of significant and geologically recent earth movement...>>>>read more<<<<

In general, the continental pattern of soils is closely related to climatic factors. Mineral or skeletal soils exist over much of arid Australia that contain virtually no organic content and have developed little depth; they may consist merely of a rough mantle of weathered rock. Gypsum is present in many of the desert loams and arid red earths. The soils of the semiarid regions (where annual precipitation is from 8 to 15 inches [203 to 380 mm]) are also alkaline, with gypsum or lime a common feature. The organic content of the soils is again low in the solonized (salt-enriched) brown soils and the gray and brown soils of heavy texture that are common in these areas...>>>>read more<<<<

Australia is the arid continent. Over two-thirds of its landmass, precipitation (largely as rainfall) per annum averages less than 20 inches (500 mm), and over one-third of it is less than 10 inches (250 mm). Little more than one-tenth of the continent receives more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) per year. As has been noted, in winter the snowfields of Tasmania and the Mount Kosciuszko area can be extensive, but on the whole Australia is an extremely hot country, in consequence of which evaporation losses are high and the effectiveness of the rainfall received is reduced. In addition, the severity of climate, the predominance of the outdoors in the minds and lives of many, and the national importance of agricultural and pastoral pursuits all make Australians perhaps more climate-conscious than most. In no country of comparable development do climate and weather loom so large in the lives and conversation of the people...>>>>read more<<<<

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS

Some two centuries ago Australia was in a nearly primal condition, unmodified by the practices of large-scale conventional agriculture. The continent’s prehistory is so recent that a scattering of old eucalypts can be found still standing, bearing the great scars of canoes or shields cut from the bark by the Aboriginal peoples...>>>>read more<<<<

Demography of Australia

  • Nationality: Noun and adjective--Australian(s).
  • Population (2009 est.): 21.8 million.
  • Annual population growth rate: 1.7%.
  • Ethnic groups: European 92%, Asian 6%, Aboriginal 2%.
  • Religions (2006): Catholic 26%, Anglican 19%, other Christian 19%, other non-Christian 1%, Buddhist 2.1%, Islam 1.7%, no religion 19%, and not stated 12%.
  • Languages: English.
  • Education: Years compulsory--to age 16 in all states and territories except New South Wales and the Northern Territory where it is 15, and Western Australia where it is 17. Literacy--over 99%.
  • Health: Infant mortality rate--4.7/1,000. Life expectancy--males 78 yrs., females 83 yrs.
  • Work force (10.8 million): Agriculture--3.3%; mining--1.5%; manufacturing--9.8%; retail trade--11.3%; public administration, defense, and safety--6%; construction--9.2%

Australia's indigenous inhabitants, a hunting-gathering people collectively referred to today as Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders, arrived more than 40,000 years ago. Although their technical culture remained static--depending on wood, bone, and stone tools and weapons--their spiritual and social life was highly complex. Most spoke several languages, and confederacies sometimes linked widely scattered tribal groups. Indigenous population density ranged from one person per square mile along the coasts to one person per 35 square miles in the arid interior. When Captain James Cook claimed Australia for Great Britain in 1770, the native population may have numbered 300,000 in as many as 500 tribes speaking many different languages. In 2006 the indigenous population was approximately 517,200, representing about 2.5% of the population. Since the end of World War II, the government and the public have made efforts to be more responsive to aboriginal rights and needs, most recently with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's historic apology to the indigenous people in February 2008.

Immigration has been vital to Australia's development since the beginning of European settlement in 1788. For generations, most settlers came from the British Isles, and the people of Australia are still predominantly of British or Irish origin, with a culture and outlook similar to those of Americans. Non British/Irish immigration has increased significantly since World War II through an extensive, planned immigration program. Since 1945 around 6.6 million migrants have settled in Australia, including 690,000 refugee and humanitarian entrants. About 80% have remained; 24%--almost one in four--of Australians are foreign-born. Britain, Ireland, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, and the former Yugoslavia were the largest sources of post-war immigration, but New Zealand is closing on Britain as the largest source country for permanent migrants to Australia, with India, China, and the Philippines making up the rest of the top five. Since the end of World War II, Australia's population has more than doubled.

Australia's humanitarian and refugee program of about 13,000 per year is in addition to other immigration programs. In recent years, refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia have comprised the largest element in Australia's refugee program. Although Australia has scarcely more than three people per square kilometer, it is one of the world's most urbanized countries. Less than 2.5% of the population lives in remote or very remote areas.

Cultural Achievements

Much of Australia's culture is derived from European roots, but distinctive Australian features have evolved from the environment, aboriginal culture, and the influence of Australia's neighbors. The vigor and originality of the arts in Australia--film, opera, music, painting, theater, dance, and crafts--have achieved international recognition.

Australian actors and comedians such as Nicole Kidman, Rachel Griffiths, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Hogan, Hugh Jackman, the late Heath Ledger, and Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) have achieved enormous popularity in the United States. Directors such as Peter Weir, Philip Noyes, and Russell Mulcahy, the conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, and singers and musicians such as Olivia Newton-John, The Wiggles, AC/DC, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Nellie Melba, and Kylie Minogue are well known.

Australian artists with international reputations include Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Pro Hart, and Arthur Boyd. Writers who have achieved world recognition include Thomas Keneally, Colleen McCullough, Nevil Shute, Morris West, Jill Ker Conway, Peter Carey, Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer, and Nobel Prize winner Patrick White.

In sports, too, Australian athletes are internationally renowned, particularly in swimming, diving, cricket, tennis, rugby, and golf. Australia's share of Olympic medals and world titles is proportionately larger than its share of the world's population.

Economy of Aurstralia

  • GDP (2009-2010 estimate): A$1.17 trillion (U.S. $893.6 billion).
  • Inflation rate (year to March 2009): 2.5% per annum.
  • Reserve Bank official interest rate (May 2009): 3.00%.
  • Trade: Exports ($178.9 billion, 2008 estimate)--coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment. Major markets--Japan, China, South Korea, U.S. ($10.7 billion), and New Zealand. Imports ($187.2 billion, 2008 estimate)--machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products.
  • Major suppliers--China, United States ($23.96 billion), Japan, Singapore, and Germany. Exchange rate (2009): U.S. $1 = A$1.25.

Australia's economy is dominated by its services sector, yet it is the agricultural and mining sectors that account for the bulk of Australia's exports. Australia's comparative advantage in the export of primary products is a reflection of the natural wealth of the Australian continent and its small domestic market; 21 million people occupy a continent the size of the contiguous United States. The relative size of the manufacturing sector has been declining for several decades, but has now steadied at around 10% of GDP. Australia currently enjoys a record high terms-of-trade well above its long-run average, reflecting the rise in global commodity prices created by booming demand in China and the drop in prices for imports for manufactured goods, mainly from China.

Since the 1980s, Australia has undertaken significant structural reform of its economy and has transformed itself from an inward-looking, highly protected, and regulated marketplace to an open, internationally competitive, export-oriented economy. Key economic reforms included unilaterally reducing high tariffs and other protective barriers to free trade, floating the Australian dollar, deregulating the financial services sector, including liberalizing access for foreign banks, increasing flexibility in the labor market, reducing duplication and increasing efficiency between the federal and state branches of government, privatizing many government-owned monopolies, and reforming the taxation system, including introducing a broad-based Goods and Services Tax (GST) and large reductions in income tax rates.

Australia enjoys a higher standard of living than any G7 country other than the United States. Australia's economic standing in the world is a result of a commitment to best-practice macroeconomic policy settings, including the delegation of the conduct of monetary policy to the independent Reserve Bank of Australia, and a broad acceptance of prudent fiscal policy where the government aims for fiscal balance over the economic cycle. Largely due to the fall in revenue as a result of the global economic downturn, net government debt is projected to reach about A$188 billion (U.S. $150.4 billion) in four years. The previous government, drawing from budget surpluses, created the “Future Fund” to provide for future liabilities resulting from the retirement of civil servants. The The Government of Australia is predicting negative 0.5% growth in the 2009-2010 fiscal year; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted growth to be negative 1.4% for 2009.

Over the last year, unemployment has risen to around 5.5% from 4.2%, and the labor market participation has remained at around 65%. Both the federal and state governments have recognized the need to invest heavily in water, transport, ports, telecommunications, and education infrastructure to expand Australia's supply capacity. The largest river system in Australia, the Murray-Darling, and related coastal lakes and wetlands in South Australia are critically threatened and the government has developed a plan to improve irrigation infrastructure and efficiency and buy back unused water allocations along the river.

A second significant issue is climate change. A report commissioned by then-Prime Minister John Howard recommended a domestic carbon emissions trading scheme and that Australia take an active role in developing a future global carbon emissions trading system. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd plans to introduce a domestic carbon trading system by 2011. It aims to reduce emissions by 5% from 2000 levels by 2020; the paper includes the possibility of increasing cuts to 15% should an international commitment to cut emissions be reached.

The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) entered into force on January 1, 2005. The AUSFTA was the first FTA the United States concluded with a developed economy since the U.S.-Canada FTA in 1988. Australia also has FTAs with New Zealand-ASEAN, Singapore, Thailand, and Chile, and is pursuing other FTAs, including with China, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea. A burgeoning trade relationship marked by ongoing, multi-billion dollar resource export contracts and rising manufactured imports has driven FTA negotiations with China.


Government of Australia

  • Type: Constitutional monarchy: democratic, federal-state system.
  • Constitution: Passed by the British Parliament on July 9, 1900.
  • Independence (federation): January 1, 1901.
  • Branches:
    • Executive--Queen Elizabeth II (head of state, represented by a governor general); the monarch appoints the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.
    • Legislative--bicameral Parliament (76-member Senate, 150-member House of Representatives). The governor general appoints the prime minister (generally the leader of the party which holds the majority in the House of Representatives) and appoints ministers on the advice of the prime minister. **Judicial--independent judiciary.
  • Administrative subdivisions: Six states and two territories.
  • Political parties: Australian Labor, Liberal, the Greens, the Nationals, and Family First. The Australian Labor Party currently forms the government.
  • Suffrage: Universal and compulsory 18 and over.
  • Central government budget (revenue): FY 2008-2009 A$295.9 billion (U.S. $236.7 billion); FY 2009-2010 A$290.6 billion (U.S. $232.5 billion).
  • Defense: A$25 billion (U.S. $20 billion) or 2.20% of GDP for FY 2009-2010.

The Commonwealth government was created with a Constitution patterned partly on the U.S. Constitution, although it does not include a "bill of rights." Powers of the Commonwealth are specifically defined in the Constitution, and the residual powers remain with the states. Proposed changes to the Constitution must be approved by the Parliament and the people, via referendum.

Australia is an independent nation within the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and since 1973 has been officially styled "Queen of Australia." The Queen is represented federally by a governor general and in each state by a governor. By convention, the governor general generally acts on the advice of the prime minister and other ministers. However the governor general has "reserve powers," including the power to dismiss ministers, last exercised in 1975.

The federal Parliament is bicameral, consisting of a 76-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. Twelve senators from each state are elected for 6-year terms, with half elected every 3 years. Each territory has two senators who are elected for 3-year terms, concurrent with that of the House. Seats in the House of Representatives are allocated among the states and territories roughly in proportion to population. The two chambers have equal powers, except all proposals for appropriating revenue or imposing taxes must be introduced in the House of Representatives. Under the prevailing Westminster parliamentary system, the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that wins a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives is named prime minister. The prime minister and the cabinet wield actual power and are responsible to the Parliament, of which they must be elected members. General elections are held at least once every 3 years; the last general election was in November 2007.

Each state is headed by a premier, who is the leader of the party with a majority or a working minority in the lower house of the state legislature. (Queensland is an exception, with a unicameral parliament.) Australia's two self-governing territories have political systems similar to those of the states, but with unicameral assemblies. Each territory is headed by a chief minister who is the leader of the party with a majority or a working minority in the territory's legislature. More than 670 local councils assist in the delivery of services such as road maintenance, sewage treatment, and the provision of recreational facilities.

At the apex of the court system is the High Court of Australia. It has general appellate jurisdiction over all other federal and state courts and possesses the power of constitutional review.

Principal Government Officials of Australia

  • Governor General--Quentin Bryce
  • Prime Minister--Kevin Rudd
  • Deputy Prime Minister--Julia Gillard
  • Treasurer--Wayne Swan
  • Foreign Minister--Stephen Smith
  • Defense Minister--John Faulkner
  • Trade Minister--Simon Crean
  • Ambassador to the United States--Dennis Richardson
  • Ambassador to the United Nations--Gary Quinlan

Australia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-797-3000), and consulates general in New York (212-351-6500), San Francisco (415-536-1970), Honolulu (808-524-5050), Los Angeles (310-229-4800), Chicago (312-419-1480) and Atlanta (404-760-3400).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS OF AUSTRALIA

Three political parties dominate the center of the Australian political spectrum. The Liberal Party (LP), nominally representing urban business interests, and its smaller coalition partner, The Nationals, nominally representing rural interests, are the more conservative parties. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) nominally represents workers, trade unions, and left-of-center groups. While the ALP, founded by labor unions, traditionally had been moderately socialist in its policies and approaches to social issues, today it is best described as a social democratic party. All political groups are tied by tradition to welfare programs. Over the last decade, Australia has increased welfare payments to families while imposing obligations on those receiving unemployment benefits and disability pensions. There is strong bipartisan sentiment on many international issues, including Australia's commitment to its alliance with the United States.

The ALP, under the leadership of Kevin Rudd, defeated the Liberal/National coalition, led by then-Prime Minister John Howard, in the November 24, 2007 election. The ALP now holds 83 seats in the House of Representatives, against 64 for the Liberal/National coalition, and 3 independents. The composition of the Senate is 37 seats for the coalition, 32 for the ALP, five seats for the Greens, one for Family First, and one independent.

Rudd and the ALP won the election with a message promising "new leadership" after 11 years of the Howard government. Rudd portrayed himself as an "economic conservative," while criticizing unpopular Howard government policies on workplace relations reform, climate change, and the war on Iraq. The Rudd government ratified the Kyoto Protocol and is working with the international community on combating climate change. It is undoing some labor market reforms instituted by the Howard government, such as statutory individual contracts. The Australian government's foreign policy shows strong continuity with that of its predecessors, stressing relations with four key countries: the United States, Japan, China, and Indonesia. The Rudd government strongly supports U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and increased Australia’s troop contribution in Afghanistan. It withdrew Australia's combat troops from Iraq in 2008 and planned to end its military mission in Iraq in July 2009.

HISTORY of Australia

Australia was uninhabited until stone-culture peoples arrived, perhaps by boat across the waters separating the island from the Indonesia archipelago more than 40,000 years ago. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English explorers observed the island before 1770, when Captain Cook explored the east coast and claimed it for Great Britain. (Three American colonists were crew members aboard Cook's ship, the Endeavour).

On January 26, 1788 (now celebrated as Australia Day), the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney, and formal proclamation of the establishment of the Colony of New South Wales followed on February 7. Many, but by no means all, of the first settlers were convicts, some condemned for offenses that today would often be thought trivial. From the mid-19th century convict transportation to Australia significantly declined; the last ship to arrive was in 1868. The discovery of gold in 1851 led to increased population, wealth, and trade.

The six colonies that now constitute the states of the Australian Commonwealth were established in the following order: New South Wales, 1788; Tasmania, 1825; Western Australia, 1829; South Australia, 1836; Victoria, 1851; and Queensland, 1859. Settlement preceded these dates in most cases. Discussions between Australian and British representatives led to adoption by the British Government of an act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900, effective January 1, 1901. In 1911, control of the Northern Territory was transferred from South Australia to the Commonwealth. Also that year, the Australian Capital Territory (where the national capital, Canberra, is located), was established. The Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory were granted self-government in 1978 and 1988, respectively.

The first federal Parliament was opened at Melbourne in May 1901 by the Duke of York (later King George V). In May 1927, the seat of government was transferred to Canberra, a planned city designed by American Walter Burley Griffin. The first session of Parliament in Canberra was opened by another Duke of York (later King George VI). Australia passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act on October 9, 1942 (with effect as of September 3, 1939), which officially established Australia's complete autonomy in both internal and external affairs and formalized a situation that had existed for years. The Australia Act (effective March 3, 1986) eliminated almost all remaining vestiges of British legal authority, including the ability to appeal to the British Privy Council.

Geologic history of Australia

The earliest known manifestations of the geologic record of the Australian continent are 4.4-billion-year-old detrital grains of zircon in metasedimentary rocks that were deposited from 3.7 to 3.3 billion years ago. Based on this and other findings, the Precambrian rocks in Australia have been determined to range in age from about 3.7 billion to 540 million years (i.e., to the end of Precambrian time). They are succeeded by rocks of the Paleozoic Era, which extended to about 250 million years ago; of the Mesozoic Era, which lasted until about 65 million years ago; and of the Cenozoic Era, the past 65 million years.--->>>>>Read More.<<<

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Australia has been an active participant in international affairs since federation in 1901, and Australian forces have fought beside the United States and other Allies in every significant conflict since World War I. On January 8, 1940, the governments of the United States and Australia announced the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. In 1944, Australia concluded an agreement with New Zealand dealing with the security, welfare, and advancement of the people of the independent territories of the Pacific (the ANZAC pact). After World War II, Australia played a role in the Far Eastern Commission in Japan and supported Indonesian independence during that country's revolt against the Dutch. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations, the South Pacific Commission, and the Colombo Plan. In addition to contributing to UN forces in Korea--it was the first country to announce it would do so after the United States--Australia sent troops to assist in putting down the 1948-1960 communist revolt in Malaya and later to combat the 1963-1965 Indonesian-supported invasion of Sarawak. The United States, Australia, and New Zealand signed the ANZUS Treaty in 1951, which remains Australia's pre-eminent formal security treaty alliance. Australia sent troops to assist South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in Vietnam, and joined coalition forces in the Persian Gulf conflict in 1991, in Afghanistan in 2001, and in Iraq in 2003.

Australia has been active in the Australia-New Zealand-U.K. agreement and the Five-Power Defense Arrangements--successive arrangements with Britain and New Zealand to ensure the security of Singapore and Malaysia.

One of the drafters of the UN Charter, Australia has given firm support to the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It was last a member of the Security Council in 1985-86, a member of the Economic and Social Council for 1986-89, and a member of the UN Human Rights Commission for 1994-96 and 2003-2005. Australia recently declared its intention to seek a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2013-2014. Australia takes a prominent part in many other UN activities, including peacekeeping, nonproliferation and disarmament negotiations, and narcotics control. Australia also is active in meetings of the Commonwealth Regional Heads of Government and the Pacific Islands Forum, and has been a leader in the Cairns Group--countries pressing for agricultural trade reform in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations--and in founding the APEC forum. In 2002, Australia joined the International Criminal Court.

Australia has devoted particular attention to relations between developed and developing nations, with emphasis on the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the island states of the South Pacific. Australia is an active participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which promotes regional cooperation on security issues, and has been a member of the East Asia Summit since its inauguration in 2005. In September 1999, acting under a UN Security Council mandate, Australia led an international coalition to restore order in East Timor upon Indonesia's withdrawal from that territory. In 2006, Australia participated in an international peacekeeping operation in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor). Australia led a regional mission to restore law and order in Solomon Islands in 2003 and again in 2006. Australia is part of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which also includes the United States.

The government is committed to increasing official development assistance to 0.5% of gross national income by 2015-2016. Australia budgeted A$3.79 billion (U.S. $3.03 billion) for FY 2008-2009 and has budgeted A$3.82 billion (U.S. $3.05 billion) for FY 2009-2010. The Australian aid program is currently concentrated in Southeast Asia (Papua New Guinea and Indonesia are the largest recipients) and the Pacific Islands. Selected aid flows are allocated to Africa, South Asia, and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. Contributions to multilateral organizations and other expenses account for about one-third of the foreign assistance budget.

ANZUS AND DEFENSE

The Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) security treaty was concluded at San Francisco on September 1, 1951, and entered into force on April 29, 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would endanger the peace and safety of the others. It committed them to consult in the event of a threat and, in the event of attack, to meet the common danger in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop individual and collective capabilities to resist attack.

In 1984, the nature of the ANZUS alliance changed after the Government of New Zealand refused access to its ports by nuclear-weapons-capable and nuclear-powered ships of the U.S. Navy. The United States suspended defense obligations to New Zealand, and annual bilateral meetings between the U.S. Secretary of State and the Australian Foreign Minister replaced annual meetings of the ANZUS Council of Foreign Ministers. The first bilateral meeting was held in Canberra in 1985. At the second, in San Francisco in 1986, the United States and Australia announced that the United States was suspending its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration of port access. Since 1985, U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense and the Australian Foreign and Defense Ministers have held 20 Australia-U.S. Ministerial consultations (AUSMIN), alternating between Australia and the United States. The next AUSMIN is scheduled to take place in Australia in 2010.

The U.S.-Australia alliance under the ANZUS Treaty remains in full force. AUSMIN meetings are supplemented by consultations between the U.S. Combatant Commander, Pacific and the Australian Chief of Defense Force. There also are regular civilian and military consultations between the two governments at lower levels.

ANZUS has no integrated defense structure or dedicated forces. However, in fulfillment of ANZUS obligations, Australia and the United States conduct a variety of joint activities. These include military exercises ranging from naval and landing exercises at the task-group level to battalion-level special forces training to numerous smaller-scale exercises, assigning officers to each other's armed services, and standardizing, where possible, equipment and operational doctrine. The two countries also operate joint defense facilities in Australia.

Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, then-Prime Minister Howard and U.S. President George W. Bush jointly invoked the ANZUS Treaty for the first time on September 14, 2001. Australia was one of the earliest participants in Operation Enduring Freedom. Australian Defense Forces participated in coalition military action against Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Australian combat forces began their withdrawal from Iraq in mid-2008 and forces were to be fully removed by July 2009. Australia has approximately 1,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan and also provides significant development and capacity building assistance to the country. Based on growing defense commitments, Australia decided to increase the Australian Army from 26,000 to 30,000 over the next several years. This will enable the reestablishment of two infantry battalions, as well as enabling troops, such as a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) unit.

The Australian Government has stated its intention to maintain its investment in future capability of the Australian Defense Force (ADF). To do so, the government has committed to a 3% annual growth in real defense funding through 2018--and 2.2% annual real growth beyond--to ensure the ADF can continue to meet capability and interoperability goals. The Australian Defense Force numbers about 54,000 active duty personnel, with planned increases to 57,000 within the next decade. The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) front-line fleet currently includes 12 frigates, including 4 of the Adelaide class and 8 Australian-built ANZAC class. In August 2004, Australia selected the Aegis Combat Control System for its three air warfare destroyers (AWD), which will start coming into service in 2014. The F/A-18 fighter, built in Australia under license from the U.S. manufacturer, is the principal combat aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force, backed by the U.S.-built F-111 strike aircraft. In October 2002, Australia became a Level III partner in the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Additionally, the Australian Government signed the JSF Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development MOU in 2006. Australia is projected to buy up to 100 JSF aircraft with deliveries starting in 2013 and running through 2020. The F-111 strike aircraft are scheduled to exit service by 2010 and will be replaced by 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters as an interim strike capability with deliveries commencing in 2010. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) took delivery of the last aircraft in its buy of 4 Lockheed C-17 strategic airlift aircraft in 2008. In addition, Boeing will provide the Commonwealth of Australia's RAAF with an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system based on the Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft as the airborne platform. Recent U.S. sales to the Australian Army include the M1A1 AIM tank, as well as Hellfire and JAVELIN munitions. Future opportunities include CH-47 helicopter replacements, navy helicopter replacements, light and medium cargo aircraft replacements and artillery systems.

In May 2009, the Australian Government released its Defense White Paper, outlining Australia’s long-term strategic outlook. In addition to buying the JSF aircraft, the White Paper proposes to double Australia’s submarine fleet to 12, replace the ANZAC class frigates, and replace the army’s armored personnel carriers.

The U.S. and Australia signed a Defense Cooperation Treaty in Sydney in September 2007. This treaty, when implemented, will facilitate the trade of defense equipment and technology between the countries. The treaty is currently awaiting ratification by the U.S. Senate.


The article above was copied from: http://www.state.gov

Cultural Heritage of Australia

==Australia-From the World Wars to the End of the Millennium

Australia fought alongside Britain in World War I, notably with the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in the Dardanelles campaign (1915). Participation in World War II helped Australia forge closer ties to the United States. Parliamentary power in the second half of the 20th century shifted between three political parties: the Australian Labour Party, the Liberal Party, and the National Party. Australia relaxed its discriminatory immigration laws in the 1960s and 1970s, which favored Northern Europeans. Thereafter, about 40% of its immigrants came from Asia, diversifying a population that was predominantly of English and Irish heritage. An Aboriginal movement that grew in the 1960s gained full citizenship and improved education for the country's poorest socioeconomic group.

In March 1996, the opposition Liberal Party–National Party coalition easily won the national elections, removing the Labour Party after 13 years in power. Pressure from the new, conservative One Nation Party threatened to reduce the gains made by Aborigines and to limit immigration.

In Sept. 1999, Australia led the international peacekeeping force sent to restore order in East Timor after pro-Indonesian militias began massacring civilians to thwart East Timor's referendum on independence.


Australia-From the World Wars to the End of the Millennium

Australia fought alongside Britain in World War I, notably with the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in the Dardanelles campaign (1915). Participation in World War II helped Australia forge closer ties to the United States. Parliamentary power in the second half of the 20th century shifted between three political parties: the Australian Labour Party, the Liberal Party, and the National Party. Australia relaxed its discriminatory immigration laws in the 1960s and 1970s, which favored Northern Europeans. Thereafter, about 40% of its immigrants came from Asia, diversifying a population that was predominantly of English and Irish heritage. An Aboriginal movement that grew in the 1960s gained full citizenship and improved education for the country's poorest socioeconomic group.

In March 1996, the opposition Liberal Party–National Party coalition easily won the national elections, removing the Labour Party after 13 years in power. Pressure from the new, conservative One Nation Party threatened to reduce the gains made by Aborigines and to limit immigration.

In Sept. 1999, Australia led the international peacekeeping force sent to restore order in East Timor after pro-Indonesian militias began massacring civilians to thwart East Timor's referendum on independence.

Australian Literature

The body of literatures, both oral and written, produced in Australia. Perhaps more so than in other countries, the literature of Australia characteristically expresses collective values. Even when the literature deals with the experiences of an individual, those experiences are very likely to be estimated in terms of the ordinary, the typical, the representative. It aspires on the whole to represent integration rather than disintegration. It does not favour the heroicism of individual action unless this shows dogged perseverance in the face of inevitable defeat. Although it may express a strong ironic disapproval of collective mindlessness, the object of criticism is the mindlessness rather than the conformity.--->>>>>Read More.<<<

Biography of Australia

Disclaimer

This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.