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AUSTRALIA
 
   
   
 

Australia Identity Card

Country name:
~ conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
~ conventional short form: Australia
 
Area: 7,686,850 sq km
Coastline: 25,760 km
Highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
Population: 20,090,437
Density: 2/Km2
Population growth rate: 0.87%
Languages: English 80%, Chinese 2%, Italian 2%, other 16%
Religions: Catholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%
Government type: Democratic
Capital: Canberra
GDP - per capita: $30,700
Inflation rate: 2.3%
Currency (code): Australian dollar (AUD)
Vehicle Country Id-Code: AUS
ISO CODE Alpha2: AU
ISO CODE Alpha3: AUS
ISO NUMERIC CODE: 36
Calling code: +61
Internet country code: .au
Time Zone: GMT +8.0H / +10.0H

 
 
 
 

Koala

Australia displays a stunning variety of natural landform and an abundance of fascinating ecological reserves found nowhere else on earth. You can go for a luxury tour to relish the diversity of eco-marine nature or go on an eco-adventure and bush walking trip. From the cute and cuddly Koalas to the enthusiastic Kangaroos, Australia has all you could ever want in a tourism destination. With vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes, snow-capped mountains, gorgeous beaches, dense forests and exquisite flora and fauna, it is no surprise that Australia is now considered as the most favoured spot for eco-tourism. However, this smallest continent is not left behind in modernisation and technological development either. From the capital city of Canberra to other urban addresses like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the economic boom of Australia is evident everywhere. Geographically, it is an island nation and so has no international land boundaries. However, off-the shore neighbours of Australia include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast. The population of the country is dominated by descents of the European settlers and Asian immigrants. The native Australian community or the Aborigines now comprise a minority in the populace. English is the official language but the local accent to the language has given it the distinction of certain Australian English.


Ayers Rock

Geography

Australia signifies the smallest continent on earth and along with the island of Tasmania it is known as the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the country is spread over an area of 7,686,850 sq km (2,967,909 sq mi) and flaunts a vast coastline of total 25,760 km (16,007 mi). Individually, it is the sixth largest country in the world and is separated from the Asian mainland by the Arafura and Timor Sea. The topography of Australia provides the nation another global distinction as the flattest terrain with oldest and least arable soils. Most of the country landscape, specifically the western part, comprises of desert or semi-arid expanse. The mountains of eastern Australia run from north to south of the country and consists of the Great Dividing Range that reaches its peak at Mount Kosciuszko with 2,228 m (7,310 ft). This country of southern hemisphere is home to many geological wonders of the world. The coral collection of the Great Barrier Reef at northeast Australian coast is the largest one and the monoliths of Mount Augustus and Uluru are also one of a kind. Although much of Australia is flat, low-lying and dry the country has its share of dense forestations, unique collection of flora and fauna, lakes and underground water reserves and rare species of wild life. The unique ecosystems of Australia include 64 wetlands, registered under the Ramsar Convention, and 16 World Heritage Sites.


Pinnacles Desert at Nambung Nationa Park

Climate

The climate of Australia is basically dry in nature with less amount of rainfall in most of the country terrain. Due to this reason sandy dunes dominate most of the topography and drought is a regular feature in the country. Sand storms and tornados also build up and sweep Australian territories occasionally. The temperatures are moderate in the south-east and south-west parts of the country and the fertility of soil is also high. However, the northern portion experiences tropical climate and it is covered with tropical rainforests, grasslands and deserts in different regions. Snowfalls take place over Tasmania and the Australian Alps.


Australian War Memorial

History

Australia has an ancient past deeply immersed in the ocean waters. For centuries, the country has been visited by explorers from different European countries that encouraged maritime expeditions. Settlement efforts began by eighteenth century but not before they battled stiff opposition from the Aborigines. The Aborigines were the primal inhabitants of Australia who arrived more than 40 000 years ago to this area from the neighbouring Southeast Asian regions. From then on the Australian land has been the traditional meeting place for Aboriginal artefacts, knowledge, art and culture. Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships sighted the island of Australia even before seventeenth century but first officially recorded visit took place by Dutch navigator Willem Jansz in 1606. In the following decades the western and some northern territories of Australia came to be known as New Holland. Great Britain claimed possession of the vast island following Captain James Cook's voyage in 1770 and called it New South Wales. The British penal colony was set up at Port Jackson of Australia on 26 January 1788 and thousands of English convicts were transported here as labour force. Gradually, free settlers arrived to this new land due to various gold rushes and mining prospect of rich minerals. Together with the former prisoners they established six colonies of New South Wales (1786), Tasmania (then Van Diemen's Land) (1825), Western Australia (1829), South Australia (1834), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859). In between, these foreign settlements, the Aboriginal population decreased at an alarming rate following diseases and controversial claims of genocide. The current ethnic population staggers around 350,000 compared to a head count of a full million Aborigines at the time of European settlement.
The six separate colonies of Australia came together to form a federation and a unified Australia saw the light of the day on 1 January 1901. The Commonwealth of Australia came into existence under the Dominion of the British Empire with Melbourne as the capital city. Decades later, the city of Canberra was incorporated as the capital and Australia achieved constitutional rights with the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Australia stood by Britain in the First World War and a notable contribution was made by the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). However by Second World War, Australia developed closer ties with United States and entered into military support agreement by signing of the ANZUS treaty. By the second half of twentieth century, the country got rid of the discriminatory immigration laws, which favoured Northern Europeans only, and a huge Asian population landed on its shores. The effects of strong Aboriginal movement ensured them full Australian citizenship and improved socio-economic conditions. In November 1999, Australia's voters rejected a referendum that would have ended Australia's formal allegiance to the British Crown. The reason for such disinterest for republican identity among the Aussies is believed not to be a partial attitude to monarchy but lack of proper presentation by the present Australian government.


Melbourne downtown

Economy

Sydney Opera House

Australia is counted among the most prosperous economies in the world and is a major player in the international market. The buying capacity of the Australian population and the annual growth rate of the GDP are at par with almost all the leading economies. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, the financial bandwagon of Australia jumped tracks at a rapid speed. There has been considerable industrial development and the standard of living improved highly with confident consumer behaviour. The fiscal reforms adopted by the Australian government helped in building a competitive and advanced market economy. It managed to emerge from the slack period of recessions of 1980s and the losses incurred due the drought of early 21st century. Presently, Australia possesses an excellent telecommunications and transportation network, good infrastructure and highly valued usage of information technology. An educated and skilled Aussie workforce aggravated the development process further. In fact the service sector of Australia that includes education and financial services is a prominent employer in the country. However, it is agriculture and tourism that contributed the lion share of foreign exchange to the Australian economy. Healthy amount of privatisation and a planned tax structure are other interesting highlights of the financial boom. Australia today ranks third in the United Nations' 2005 Human Development Index and sixth in The Economist worldwide quality-of-life index 2005.


Perth City Skyline

Politics

Australia was established as an independent nation on 1 January 1901 when the British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right. It came be known as the Commonwealth of Australia with the support of a constitution that incorporated British parliamentary and U.S. federal traditions. According to the Constitution, the reigning British monarch is also the Australian monarch, and is therefore Australia's chief of state. So in political terms, Australia is regarded as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. The monarch usually appoints a governor general who exercises the highest executive powers in Australia on behalf of the royal lineage. The executive is the administrative organ of Australia and is made up of the prime minister and a cabinet. The prime minister serves as the head of government and is the leader of the majority party or coalition in the parliament. The cabinet ministers are also chosen from the legislature. The bicameral Federal Parliament of Australia consists of democratically elected representatives from all over the country. The members sit in two different chambers. The upper house or the Senate comprises of 76 members and the representation is divided as 12 Senators from each of the six states and two from each of the two mainland territories. The House of Representatives or the lower house has 150 seats, members of which are elected by popular preferential voting after every three years. The judiciary division of Australia is headed by High Court that supervises several other federal courts. The chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general. In daily affairs, administrative power has been divided between the Commonwealth Government and the six state governments. Each state and territory of Australia has its own legislature.


Red kangaroo
 



 

 

 
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