Australia

Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.

After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories.

Australia has the world’s 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income(IMF). With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum. The population of 25 million is highly urbanized and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. 

Tourism in Australia is an important component of the Australian economy. In the financial year 2014/15, tourism represented 3.0% of Australia’s GDP contributing A$47.5 billion to the national economy. Domestic tourism is a significant part of the tourism industry, representing 73% of the total direct tourism GDP.

Basic Information

Capital: Canberra
Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull
Governor General: Sir Peter Cosqrove

Currency

Australian Dollar (AUD)

Boundaries

The neighboring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.

Languages

The National language of Australia is English.

Climate

The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia. These factors cause rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer-rainfall (monsoon). The south-west corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate. The south-east ranges from oceanic (Tasmania and coastal Victoria) to humid subtropical (upper half of New South Wales). The interior is arid to semi-arid.

Major Religions

Australian society was predominantly Anglo-Celtic, with 40% of the population being Anglican, 23% Catholic, 34% other Christian and about 1% professing non-Christian religions.

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