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This article is about the country. Australia_sentence_0

For other uses, see Australia (disambiguation). Australia_sentence_1


Commonwealth of AustraliaAustralia_header_cell_0_0_0
CapitalAustralia_header_cell_0_1_0 CanberraAustralia_cell_0_1_1
Largest cityAustralia_header_cell_0_2_0 SydneyAustralia_cell_0_2_1
National languageAustralia_header_cell_0_3_0 EnglishAustralia_cell_0_3_1
Religion (2016)Australia_header_cell_0_4_0 VariousAustralia_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)Australia_header_cell_0_5_0 Australia_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentAustralia_header_cell_0_6_0 Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchyAustralia_cell_0_6_1
MonarchAustralia_header_cell_0_7_0 Elizabeth IIAustralia_cell_0_7_1
Governor-GeneralAustralia_header_cell_0_8_0 David HurleyAustralia_cell_0_8_1
Prime MinisterAustralia_header_cell_0_9_0 Scott MorrisonAustralia_cell_0_9_1
Deputy Prime MinisterAustralia_header_cell_0_10_0 Michael McCormackAustralia_cell_0_10_1
LegislatureAustralia_header_cell_0_11_0 ParliamentAustralia_cell_0_11_1
Upper houseAustralia_header_cell_0_12_0 SenateAustralia_cell_0_12_1
Lower houseAustralia_header_cell_0_13_0 House of RepresentativesAustralia_cell_0_13_1
Independence from the United KingdomAustralia_header_cell_0_14_0
Federation, ConstitutionAustralia_header_cell_0_15_0 1 January 1901Australia_cell_0_15_1
Statute of Westminster Adoption ActAustralia_header_cell_0_16_0 9 October 1942 (with effect

from 3 September 1939)Australia_cell_0_16_1

Australia ActAustralia_header_cell_0_17_0 3 March 1986Australia_cell_0_17_1
Area Australia_header_cell_0_18_0
TotalAustralia_header_cell_0_19_0 7,692,024 km (2,969,907 sq mi) (6th)Australia_cell_0_19_1
Water (%)Australia_header_cell_0_20_0 1.79 (as of 2015)Australia_cell_0_20_1
2020 estimateAustralia_header_cell_0_22_0 25,713,700 (53rd)Australia_cell_0_22_1
2016 censusAustralia_header_cell_0_23_0 23,401,892Australia_cell_0_23_1
DensityAustralia_header_cell_0_24_0 3.3/km (8.5/sq mi) (192nd)Australia_cell_0_24_1
GDP (PPP)Australia_header_cell_0_25_0 2020 estimateAustralia_cell_0_25_1
TotalAustralia_header_cell_0_26_0 $1.334 trillion (19th)Australia_cell_0_26_1
Per capitaAustralia_header_cell_0_27_0 $51,885 (17th)Australia_cell_0_27_1
GDP (nominal)Australia_header_cell_0_28_0 2020 estimateAustralia_cell_0_28_1
TotalAustralia_header_cell_0_29_0 $1.375 trillion (13th)Australia_cell_0_29_1
Per capitaAustralia_header_cell_0_30_0 $50,844 (10th)Australia_cell_0_30_1
Gini (2018)Australia_header_cell_0_31_0 34.0

medium · 22ndAustralia_cell_0_31_1

HDI (2018)Australia_header_cell_0_32_0 0.938

very high · 6thAustralia_cell_0_32_1

CurrencyAustralia_header_cell_0_33_0 Australian dollar (AUD)Australia_cell_0_33_1
Time zoneAustralia_header_cell_0_34_0 UTC+8; +9.5; +10 (Various)Australia_cell_0_34_1
Summer (DST)Australia_header_cell_0_35_0 UTC+8; +9.5; +10;
+10.5; +11 (Various)Australia_cell_0_35_1
Date formatAustralia_header_cell_0_36_0 dd/mm/yyyy


Mains electricityAustralia_header_cell_0_37_0 230 V/50 HzAustralia_cell_0_37_1
Driving sideAustralia_header_cell_0_38_0 leftAustralia_cell_0_38_1
Calling codeAustralia_header_cell_0_39_0 +61Australia_cell_0_39_1
ISO 3166 codeAustralia_header_cell_0_40_0 AUAustralia_cell_0_40_1
Internet TLDAustralia_header_cell_0_41_0 .auAustralia_cell_0_41_1

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. Australia_sentence_2

It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Australia_sentence_3

The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia_sentence_4

Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. Australia_sentence_5

The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. Australia_sentence_6

Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to the first arrival of Dutch explorers in the early 17th century, who named it New Holland. Australia_sentence_7

In 1770, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. Australia_sentence_8

The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the time of an 1850s gold rush, most of the continent had been explored by European settlers and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. Australia_sentence_9

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia_sentence_10

Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Australia_sentence_11

Australia is the oldest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils. Australia_sentence_12

It has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi). Australia_sentence_13

A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east, and mountain ranges in the south-east. Australia_sentence_14

Australia generates its income from various sources, including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, and international education. Australia_sentence_15

Australia is a developed country, with the world's fourteenth-largest economy and tenth-highest per capita income. Australia_sentence_16

It is considered a regional power and has the world's thirteenth-highest military expenditure. Australia_sentence_17

Immigrants, most particularly those arriving after World War II, account for up to 30% of the population, the highest proportion in any country with a population over 10 million. Australia_sentence_18

The country ranks highly in measures of health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties. Australia_sentence_19

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, Pacific Islands Forum, and the ASEAN Plus Six. Australia_sentence_20

Name Australia_section_0

Main article: Name of Australia Australia_sentence_21

The name Australia (pronounced /əˈstreɪliə/ in Australian English) is derived from the Latin Terra Australis ("southern land"), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. Australia_sentence_22

When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was naturally applied to the new territories. Australia_sentence_23

Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 (as Nieuw-Holland) and subsequently anglicised. Australia_sentence_24

Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts. Australia_sentence_25

The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". Australia_sentence_26

Several famous early cartographers also made use of the word Australia on maps. Australia_sentence_27

Gerardus Mercator (1512–1594) used the phrase climata australia on his double cordiform map of the world of 1538, as did Gemma Frisius (1508–1555), who was Mercator's teacher and collaborator, on his own cordiform wall map in 1540. Australia_sentence_28

Australia appears in a book on astronomy by Cyriaco Jacob zum Barth published in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1545. Australia_sentence_29

The first time that Australia appears to have been officially used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. Australia_sentence_30

In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted. Australia_sentence_31

In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially by that name. Australia_sentence_32

The first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Australia_sentence_33

Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under" (usually shortened to just "Down Under"). Australia_sentence_34

Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land". Australia_sentence_35

The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Australia_sentence_36

History Australia_section_1

Main article: History of Australia Australia_sentence_37

Prehistory Australia_section_2

Further information: Indigenous Australians Australia_sentence_38

Human habitation of the Australian continent is known to have begun at least 65,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia. Australia_sentence_39

The Madjedbebe rock shelter in Arnhem Land is recognised as the oldest site showing the presence of humans in Australia. Australia_sentence_40

The oldest human remains found are the Lake Mungo remains, which have been dated to around 41,000 years ago. Australia_sentence_41

These people were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Australia_sentence_42

Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual cultures on earth. Australia_sentence_43

At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Australia_sentence_44

Recent archaeological finds suggest that a population of 750,000 could have been sustained. Australia_sentence_45

Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. Australia_sentence_46

The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. Australia_sentence_47

The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by Makassan fishermen from what is now Indonesia. Australia_sentence_48

European arrival Australia_section_3

See also: European exploration of Australia Australia_sentence_49

The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch. Australia_sentence_50

The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon. Australia_sentence_51

He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River near the modern town of Weipa on Cape York. Australia_sentence_52

Later that year, Spanish explorer Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through, and navigated, Torres Strait islands. Australia_sentence_53

The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent "New Holland" during the 17th century, and although no attempt at settlement was made, a number of shipwrecks left men either stranded or, as in the case of the Batavia in 1629, marooned for mutiny and murder, thus becoming the first Europeans to permanently inhabit the continent. Australia_sentence_54

William Dampier, an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688 (while serving as a crewman under pirate Captain John Read) and again in 1699 on a return trip. Australia_sentence_55

In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. Australia_sentence_56

With the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the "First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales. Australia_sentence_57

A camp was set up and the Union flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January 1788, a date which later became Australia's national day, Australia Day. Australia_sentence_58

Most early convicts were transported for petty crimes and assigned as labourers or servants upon arrival. Australia_sentence_59

While the majority settled into colonial society once emancipated, convict rebellions and uprisings were also staged, but invariably suppressed under martial law. Australia_sentence_60

The 1808 Rum Rebellion, the only successful armed takeover of government in Australia, instigated a two-year period of military rule. Australia_sentence_61

The indigenous population declined for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease. Australia_sentence_62

Thousands more died as a result of frontier conflict with settlers. Australia_sentence_63

A government policy of "assimilation" beginning with the Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 resulted in the removal of many Aboriginal children from their families and communities—referred to as the Stolen Generations—a practice which also contributed to the decline in the indigenous population. Australia_sentence_64

As a result of the 1967 referendum, the Federal government's power to enact special laws with respect to a particular race was extended to enable the making of laws with respect to Aboriginals. Australia_sentence_65

Traditional ownership of land ("native title") was not recognised in law until 1992, when the High Court of Australia held in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) that the legal doctrine that Australia had been terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") did not apply to Australia at the time of British settlement. Australia_sentence_66

Colonial expansion Australia_section_4

The expansion of British control over other areas of the continent began in the early 19th century, initially confined to coastal regions. Australia_sentence_67

A settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land (present-day Tasmania) in 1803, and it became a separate colony in 1825. Australia_sentence_68

In 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, opening the interior to European settlement. Australia_sentence_69

The British claim was extended to the whole Australian continent in 1827 when Major Edmund Lockyer established a settlement on King George Sound (modern-day Albany, Western Australia). Australia_sentence_70

The Swan River Colony was established in 1829, evolving into the largest Australian colony by area, Western Australia. Australia_sentence_71

In accordance with population growth, separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, New Zealand in 1841, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. Australia_sentence_72

The Northern Territory was excised from South Australia in 1911. Australia_sentence_73

South Australia was founded as a "free province"—it was never a penal colony. Australia_sentence_74

Western Australia was also founded "free" but later accepted transported convicts, the last of which arrived in 1868, decades after transportation had ceased to the other colonies. Australia_sentence_75

By 1850, Europeans still had not entered large areas of the inland. Australia_sentence_76

Explorers remained ambitious to discover new lands for agriculture or answers to scientific enquiries. Australia_sentence_77

A series of gold rushes beginning in the early 1850s led to an influx of new migrants from China, North America and mainland Europe, and also spurred outbreaks of bushranging and civil unrest. Australia_sentence_78

The latter peaked in 1854 when Ballarat miners launched the Eureka Rebellion against gold license fees. Australia_sentence_79

Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire. Australia_sentence_80

The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence, and international shipping. Australia_sentence_81

Nationhood Australia_section_5

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation and voting. Australia_sentence_82

After the 1907 Imperial Conference, Australia and the other self-governing British colonies were given the status of "dominion" within the British Empire. Australia_sentence_83

The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra. Australia_sentence_84

Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being constructed. Australia_sentence_85

The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911. Australia_sentence_86

Australia became the colonial ruler of the Territory of Papua (which had initially been annexed by Queensland in 1888) in 1902 and of the Territory of New Guinea (formerly German New Guinea) in 1920. Australia_sentence_87

The two were unified as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in 1949 and gained independence from Australia in 1975. Australia_sentence_88

In 1914, Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I, with support from both the outgoing Commonwealth Liberal Party and the incoming Australian Labor Party. Australia_sentence_89

Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front. Australia_sentence_90

Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded. Australia_sentence_91

Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth of the nation—its first major military action. Australia_sentence_92

The Kokoda Track campaign is regarded by many as an analogous nation-defining event during World War II. Australia_sentence_93

Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia_sentence_94

Australia adopted it in 1942, but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II. Australia_sentence_95

The shock of Britain's defeat in Asia in 1942, followed soon after by the bombing of Darwin and other Japanese attacks, led to a widespread belief in Australia that an invasion was imminent, and a shift towards the United States as a new ally and protector. Australia_sentence_96

Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty. Australia_sentence_97

After World War II, Australia encouraged immigration from mainland Europe. Australia_sentence_98

Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted. Australia_sentence_99

As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed. Australia_sentence_100

The Australia Act 1986 severed the remaining constitutional ties between Australia and the UK. Australia_sentence_101

In a 1999 referendum, 55% of voters and a majority in every state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament. Australia_sentence_102

There has been an increasing focus in foreign policy on ties with other Pacific Rim nations, while maintaining close ties with Australia's traditional allies and trading partners. Australia_sentence_103

Geography and environment Australia_section_6

Main articles: Geography of Australia and Environment of Australia Australia_sentence_104

See also: Environmental issues in Australia Australia_sentence_105

General characteristics Australia_section_7

Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, Australia is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and the Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand. Australia_sentence_106

The world's smallest continent and sixth largest country by total area, Australia—owing to its size and isolation—is often dubbed the "island continent" and is sometimes considered the world's largest island. Australia_sentence_107

Australia has 34,218 kilometres (21,262 mi) of coastline (excluding all offshore islands), and claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,060 sq mi). Australia_sentence_108

This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory. Australia_sentence_109

Apart from Macquarie Island, Australia lies between latitudes and 44°S, and longitudes 112° and 154°E. Australia_sentence_110

Australia's size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and desert in the centre. Australia_sentence_111

The desert or semi-arid land commonly known as the outback makes up by far the largest portion of land. Australia_sentence_112

Australia is the driest inhabited continent; its annual rainfall averaged over continental area is less than 500 mm. Australia_sentence_113

The population density is 3.2 inhabitants per square kilometre, although a large proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline. Australia_sentence_114

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over 2,000 kilometres (1,240 mi). Australia_sentence_115

Mount Augustus, claimed to be the world's largest monolith, is located in Western Australia. Australia_sentence_116

At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. Australia_sentence_117

Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the remote Australian external territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount McClintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355 metres (11,007 ft) respectively. Australia_sentence_118

Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria. Australia_sentence_119

The name is not strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than 1,600 metres (5,249 ft) in height. Australia_sentence_120

The coastal uplands and a belt of Brigalow grasslands lie between the coast and the mountains, while inland of the dividing range are large areas of grassland and shrubland. Australia_sentence_121

These include the western plains of New South Wales, and the Mitchell Grass Downs and Mulga Lands of inland Queensland. Australia_sentence_122

The northernmost point of the east coast is the tropical Cape York Peninsula. Australia_sentence_123

The landscapes of the Top End and the Gulf Country—with their tropical climate—include forest, woodland, wetland, grassland, rainforest and desert. Australia_sentence_124

At the north-west corner of the continent are the sandstone cliffs and gorges of The Kimberley, and below that the Pilbara. Australia_sentence_125

The Victoria Plains tropical savanna lies south of the Kimberly and Arnhem Land savannas, forming a transition between the coastal savannas and the interior deserts. Australia_sentence_126

At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia. Australia_sentence_127

Prominent features of the centre and south include Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), the famous sandstone monolith, and the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony, Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami, and Great Victoria deserts, with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern coast. Australia_sentence_128

The Western Australian mulga shrublands lie between the interior deserts and Mediterranean-climate Southwest Australia. Australia_sentence_129

Geology Australia_section_8

Main article: Geology of Australia Australia_sentence_130

Lying on the Indo-Australian Plate, the mainland of Australia is the lowest and most primordial landmass on Earth with a relatively stable geological history. Australia_sentence_131

The landmass includes virtually all known rock types and from all geological time periods spanning over 3.8 billion years of the Earth's history. Australia_sentence_132

The Pilbara Craton is one of only two pristine Archaean 3.6–2.7 Ga (billion years ago) crusts identified on the Earth. Australia_sentence_133

Having been part of all major supercontinents, the Australian continent began to form after the breakup of Gondwana in the Permian, with the separation of the continental landmass from the African continent and Indian subcontinent. Australia_sentence_134

It separated from Antarctica over a prolonged period beginning in the Permian and continuing through to the Cretaceous. Australia_sentence_135

When the last glacial period ended in about 10,000 BC, rising sea levels formed Bass Strait, separating Tasmania from the mainland. Australia_sentence_136

Then between about 8,000 and 6,500 BC, the lowlands in the north were flooded by the sea, separating New Guinea, the Aru Islands, and the mainland of Australia. Australia_sentence_137

The Australian continent is moving toward Eurasia at the rate of 6 to 7 centimetres a year. Australia_sentence_138

The Australian mainland's continental crust, excluding the thinned margins, has an average thickness of 38 km, with a range in thickness from 24 km to 59 km. Australia_sentence_139

Australia's geology can be divided into several main sections, showcasing that the continent grew from west to east: the Archaean cratonic shields found mostly in the west, Proterozoic fold belts in the centre and Phanerozoic sedimentary basins, metamorphic and igneous rocks in the east. Australia_sentence_140

The Australian mainland and Tasmania are situated in the middle of the tectonic plate and have no active volcanoes, but due to passing over the East Australia hotspot, recent volcanism has occurred during the Holocene, in the Newer Volcanics Province of western Victoria and southeastern South Australia. Australia_sentence_141

Volcanism also occurs in the island of New Guinea (considered geologically as part of the Australian continent), and in the Australian external territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands. Australia_sentence_142

Seismic activity in the Australian mainland and Tasmania is also low, with the greatest number of fatalities having occurred in the 1989 Newcastle earthquake. Australia_sentence_143

Climate Australia_section_9

Main article: Climate of Australia Australia_sentence_144

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. Australia_sentence_145

These factors cause rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Australia_sentence_146

Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer-rainfall (monsoon). Australia_sentence_147

The south-west corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate. Australia_sentence_148

The south-east ranges from oceanic (Tasmania and coastal Victoria) to humid subtropical (upper half of New South Wales), with the highlands featuring alpine and subpolar oceanic climates. Australia_sentence_149

The interior is arid to semi-arid. Australia_sentence_150

Driven by climate change, average temperatures have risen more than 1°C since 1960. Australia_sentence_151

Associated changes in rainfall patterns and climate extremes exacerbate existing issues such as drought and fire weather. Australia_sentence_152

2019 was Australia's warmest recorded year, and the 2019–20 bushfire season was the country's worst on record. Australia_sentence_153

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions per capita are among the highest in the world. Australia_sentence_154

Water restrictions are frequently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages due to urban population increases and localised drought. Australia_sentence_155

Throughout much of the continent, major flooding regularly follows extended periods of drought, flushing out inland river systems, overflowing dams and inundating large inland flood plains, as occurred throughout Eastern Australia in 2010, 2011 and 2012 after the 2000s Australian drought. Australia_sentence_156

Biodiversity Australia_section_10

See also: Fauna of Australia, Flora of Australia, and Fungi of Australia Australia_sentence_157

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, the continent includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests. Australia_sentence_158

Fungi typify that diversity—an estimated 250,000 species—of which only 5% have been described—occur in Australia. Australia_sentence_159

Because of the continent's great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biota is unique. Australia_sentence_160

About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic. Australia_sentence_161

Australia has at least 755 species of reptile, more than any other country in the world. Australia_sentence_162

Besides Antarctica, Australia is the only continent that developed without feline species. Australia_sentence_163

Feral cats may have been introduced in the 17th century by Dutch shipwrecks, and later in the 18th century by European settlers. Australia_sentence_164

They are now considered a major factor in the decline and extinction of many vulnerable and endangered native species. Australia_sentence_165

Australian forests are mostly made up of evergreen species, particularly eucalyptus trees in the less arid regions; wattles replace them as the dominant species in drier regions and deserts. Australia_sentence_166

Among well-known Australian animals are the monotremes (the platypus and echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, and wombat, and birds such as the emu and the kookaburra. Australia_sentence_167

Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Australia_sentence_168

The dingo was introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000 BCE. Australia_sentence_169

Many animal and plant species became extinct soon after first human settlement, including the Australian megafauna; others have disappeared since European settlement, among them the thylacine. Australia_sentence_170

Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced animal, chromistan, fungal and plant species. Australia_sentence_171

All these factors have led to Australia's having the highest mammal extinction rate of any country in the world. Australia_sentence_172

The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal framework for the protection of threatened species. Australia_sentence_173

Numerous protected areas have been created under the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity to protect and preserve unique ecosystems; 65 wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention, and 16 natural World Heritage Sites have been established. Australia_sentence_174

Australia was ranked 21st out of 178 countries in the world on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index. Australia_sentence_175

There are more than 1,800 animals and plants on Australia's threatened species list, including more than 500 animals. Australia_sentence_176

Government and politics Australia_section_11

Main articles: Government of Australia and Politics of Australia Australia_sentence_177

Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australia_sentence_178

The country has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system under its constitution, which is one of the world's oldest, since Federation in 1901. Australia_sentence_179

It is also one of the world's oldest federations, in which power is divided between the federal and state and territorial governments. Australia_sentence_180

The Australian system of government combines elements derived from the political systems of the United Kingdom (a fused executive, constitutional monarchy and strong party discipline) and the United States (federalism, a written constitution and strong bicameralism with an elected upper house), along with distinctive indigenous features. Australia_sentence_181

The federal government is separated into three branches: Australia_sentence_182


Elizabeth II reigns as Queen of Australia and is represented in Australia by the governor-general at the federal level and by the governors at the state level, who by convention act on the advice of her ministers. Australia_sentence_183

Thus, in practice the governor-general acts as a legal figurehead for the actions of the prime minister and the Federal Executive Council. Australia_sentence_184

The governor-general does have extraordinary reserve powers which may be exercised outside the prime minister's request in rare and limited circumstances, the most notable exercise of which was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of 1975. Australia_sentence_185

In the Senate (the upper house), there are 76 senators: twelve each from the states and two each from the mainland territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory). Australia_sentence_186

The House of Representatives (the lower house) has 151 members elected from single-member electoral divisions, commonly known as "electorates" or "seats", allocated to states on the basis of population, with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats. Australia_sentence_187

Elections for both chambers are normally held every three years simultaneously; senators have overlapping six-year terms except for those from the territories, whose terms are not fixed but are tied to the electoral cycle for the lower house; thus only 40 of the 76 places in the Senate are put to each election unless the cycle is interrupted by a double dissolution. Australia_sentence_188

Australia's electoral system uses preferential voting for all lower house elections with the exception of Tasmania and the ACT which, along with the Senate and most state upper houses, combine it with proportional representation in a system known as the single transferable vote. Australia_sentence_189

Voting is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in every jurisdiction, as is enrolment (with the exception of South Australia). Australia_sentence_190

The party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms the government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. Australia_sentence_191

In cases where no party has majority support, the Governor-General has the constitutional power to appoint the Prime Minister and, if necessary, dismiss one that has lost the confidence of Parliament. Australia_sentence_192

There are two major political groups that usually form government, federally and in the states: the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition which is a formal grouping of the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National Party. Australia_sentence_193

Within Australian political culture, the Coalition is considered centre-right and the Labor Party is considered centre-left. Australia_sentence_194

Independent members and several minor parties have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses. Australia_sentence_195

The Australian Greens are often considered the "third force" in politics, being the third largest party by both vote and membership. Australia_sentence_196

The most recent federal election was held on 18 May 2019 and resulted in the Coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, retaining government. Australia_sentence_197

States and territories Australia_section_12

Main article: States and territories of Australia Australia_sentence_198

Australia has six states—New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA)—and two major mainland territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT). Australia_sentence_199

In most respects, these two territories function as states, except that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to modify or repeal any legislation passed by the territory parliaments. Australia_sentence_200

Under the constitution, the states essentially have plenary legislative power to legislate on any subject, whereas the Commonwealth (federal) Parliament may legislate only within the subject areas enumerated under section 51. Australia_sentence_201

For example, state parliaments have the power to legislate with respect to education, criminal law and state police, health, transport, and local government, but the Commonwealth Parliament does not have any specific power to legislate in these areas. Australia_sentence_202

However, Commonwealth laws prevail over state laws to the extent of the inconsistency. Australia_sentence_203

In addition, the Commonwealth has the power to levy income tax which, coupled with the power to make grants to States, has given it the financial means to incentivise States to pursue specific legislative agendas within areas over which the Commonwealth does not have legislative power. Australia_sentence_204

Each state and major mainland territory has its own parliamentunicameral in the Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland, and bicameral in the other states. Australia_sentence_205

The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. Australia_sentence_206

The lower houses are known as the Legislative Assembly (the House of Assembly in South Australia and Tasmania); the upper houses are known as the Legislative Council. Australia_sentence_207

The head of the government in each state is the Premier and in each territory the Chief Minister. Australia_sentence_208

The Queen is represented in each state by a governor; and in the Northern Territory, the administrator. Australia_sentence_209

In the Commonwealth, the Queen's representative is the governor-general. Australia_sentence_210

The Commonwealth Parliament also directly administers the external territories of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and the claimed region of Australian Antarctic Territory, as well as the internal Jervis Bay Territory, a naval base and sea port for the national capital in land that was formerly part of New South Wales. Australia_sentence_211

The external territory of Norfolk Island previously exercised considerable autonomy under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 through its own legislative assembly and an Administrator to represent the Queen. Australia_sentence_212

In 2015, the Commonwealth Parliament abolished self-government, integrating Norfolk Island into the Australian tax and welfare systems and replacing its legislative assembly with a council. Australia_sentence_213

Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania, and Lord Howe Island of New South Wales. Australia_sentence_214

Foreign relations Australia_section_13

Main article: Foreign relations of Australia Australia_sentence_215

Over recent decades, Australia's foreign relations have been driven by a close association with the United States through the ANZUS pact, and by a desire to develop relationships with Asia and the Pacific, particularly through ASEAN, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community, of which Australia is a founding member. Australia_sentence_216

In 2005 Australia secured an inaugural seat at the East Asia Summit following its accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and in 2011 attended the Sixth East Asia Summit in Indonesia. Australia_sentence_217

Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, in which the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings provide the main forum for co-operation. Australia_sentence_218

Australia has pursued the cause of international trade liberalisation. Australia_sentence_219

It led the formation of the Cairns Group and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Australia_sentence_220

Australia is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization, and has pursued several major bilateral free trade agreements, most recently the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement and Closer Economic Relations with New Zealand, with another free trade agreement being negotiated with China—the Australia–China Free Trade Agreement—and Japan, South Korea in 2011, Australia–Chile Free Trade Agreement, and as of November 2015 has put the Trans-Pacific Partnership before parliament for ratification. Australia_sentence_221

Australia maintains a deeply integrated relationship with neighbouring New Zealand, with free mobility of citizens between the two countries under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement and free trade under the Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement. Australia_sentence_222

New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom are the most favourably viewed countries in the world by Australian people. Australia_sentence_223

Along with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore, Australia is party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements, a regional defence agreement. Australia_sentence_224

A founding member country of the United Nations, Australia is strongly committed to multilateralism and maintains an international aid program under which some 60 countries receive assistance. Australia_sentence_225

The 2005–06 budget provides A$2.5 billion for development assistance. Australia_sentence_226

Australia ranks fifteenth overall in the Center for Global Development's 2012 Commitment to Development Index. Australia_sentence_227

Military Australia_section_14

Main article: Australian Defence Force Australia_sentence_228

Australia's armed forces—the Australian Defence Force (ADF)—comprise the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), in total numbering 81,214 personnel (including 57,982 regulars and 23,232 reservists) as of November 2015. Australia_sentence_229

The titular role of Commander-in-Chief is vested in the Governor-General, who appoints a Chief of the Defence Force from one of the armed services on the advice of the government. Australia_sentence_230

Day-to-day force operations are under the command of the Chief, while broader administration and the formulation of defence policy is undertaken by the Minister and Department of Defence. Australia_sentence_231

In the 2016–17 budget, defence spending comprised 2% of GDP, representing the world's 12th largest defence budget. Australia_sentence_232

Australia has been involved in UN and regional peacekeeping, disaster relief and armed conflict, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq; Australia currently has deployed about 2,241 personnel in varying capacities to 12 international operations in areas including Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia_sentence_233

Economy Australia_section_15

Main article: Economy of Australia Australia_sentence_234

See also: Economic history of Australia, Median household income in Australia and New Zealand, and Transport in Australia Australia_sentence_235

A wealthy country, Australia has a market economy, a high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. Australia_sentence_236

In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland from 2013 until 2018. Australia_sentence_237

In 2018, Australia overtook Switzerland and became the country with the highest average wealth. Australia_sentence_238

Australia's poverty rate increased from 10.2% to 11.8%, from 2000/01 to 2013. Australia_sentence_239

It was identified by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as the nation with the highest median wealth in the world and the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013. Australia_sentence_240

The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. Australia_sentence_241

With the 2006 merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange became the ninth largest in the world. Australia_sentence_242

Ranked fifth in the Index of Economic Freedom (2017), Australia is the world's 14th largest economy and has the tenth highest per capita GDP (nominal) at US$55,692. Australia_sentence_243

The country was ranked third in the United Nations 2017 Human Development Index. Australia_sentence_244

Melbourne reached top spot for the fourth year in a row on The Economist's 2014 list of the world's most liveable cities, followed by Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the fifth, seventh, and ninth places respectively. Australia_sentence_245

Total government debt in Australia is about A$190 billion—20% of GDP in 2010. Australia_sentence_246

Australia has among the highest house prices and some of the highest household debt levels in the world. Australia_sentence_247

An emphasis on exporting commodities rather than manufactured goods has underpinned a significant increase in Australia's terms of trade since the start of the 21st century, due to rising commodity prices. Australia_sentence_248

Australia has a balance of payments that is more than 7% of GDP negative, and has had persistently large current account deficits for more than 50 years. Australia_sentence_249

Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% for over 15 years, in comparison to the OECD annual average of 2.5%. Australia_sentence_250

Australia was the only advanced economy not to experience a recession due to the global financial downturn in 2008–2009. Australia_sentence_251

However, the economies of six of Australia's major trading partners have been in recession, which in turn has affected Australia, significantly hampering its economic growth in recent years. Australia_sentence_252

From 2012 to early 2013, Australia's national economy grew, but some non-mining states and Australia's non-mining economy experienced a recession. Australia_sentence_253

The Hawke Government floated the Australian dollar in 1983 and partially deregulated the financial system. Australia_sentence_254

The Howard Government followed with a partial deregulation of the labour market and the further privatisation of state-owned businesses, most notably in the telecommunications industry. Australia_sentence_255

The indirect tax system was substantially changed in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Australia_sentence_256

In Australia's tax system, personal and company income tax are the main sources of government revenue. Australia_sentence_257

As of September 2018, there were 12,640,800 people employed (either full- or part-time), with an unemployment rate of 5.2%. Australia_sentence_258

Data released in mid-November 2013 showed that the number of welfare recipients had grown by 55%. Australia_sentence_259

In 2007 228,621 Newstart unemployment allowance recipients were registered, a total that increased to 646,414 in March 2013. Australia_sentence_260

According to the Graduate Careers Survey, full-time employment for newly qualified professionals from various occupations has declined since 2011 but it increases for graduates three years after graduation. Australia_sentence_261

Since 2008, inflation has typically been 2–3% and the base interest rate 5–6%. Australia_sentence_262

The service sector of the economy, including tourism, education, and financial services, accounts for about 70% of GDP. Australia_sentence_263

Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquified natural gas and coal. Australia_sentence_264

Although agriculture and natural resources account for only 3% and 5% of GDP respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance. Australia_sentence_265

Australia's largest export markets are Japan, China, the United States, South Korea, and New Zealand. Australia_sentence_266

Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, and the wine industry contributes A$5.5 billion per year to the nation's economy. Australia_sentence_267

Access to biocapacity in Australia is much higher than world average. Australia_sentence_268

In 2016, Australia had 12.3 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, much more than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. Australia_sentence_269

In 2016 Australia used 6.6 global hectares of biocapacity per person – their ecological footprint of consumption. Australia_sentence_270

This means they use half as much biocapacity as Australia contains. Australia_sentence_271

As a result, Australia is running a biocapacity reserve. Australia_sentence_272

In 2020 ACOSS released a new report revealing that poverty is growing in Australia, with an estimated 3.2 million people, or 13.6% of the population, living below the internationally accepted poverty line of 50% of a country's median income. Australia_sentence_273

It also estimated that there are 774,000 (17.7%) children under the age of 15 that are in poverty. Australia_sentence_274

Demographics Australia_section_16

Main articles: Demography of Australia and List of cities in Australia by population Australia_sentence_275

Australia has an average population density of 3.3 persons per square kilometre of total land area, which makes it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Australia_sentence_276

The population is heavily concentrated on the east coast, and in particular in the south-eastern region between South East Queensland to the north-east and Adelaide to the south-west. Australia_sentence_277

Australia is highly urbanised, with 67% of the population living in the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (metropolitan areas of the state and mainland territorial capital cities) in 2018. Australia_sentence_278

Metropolitan areas with more than one million inhabitants are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Australia_sentence_279

In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. Australia_sentence_280

In 2018 the average age of the Australian population was 38.8 years. Australia_sentence_281

In 2015, 2.15% of the Australian population lived overseas, one of the lowest proportions worldwide. Australia_sentence_282

Ancestry and immigration Australia_section_17

Main articles: Immigration to Australia, European Australians, and Indigenous Australians Australia_sentence_283


BirthplaceAustralia_header_cell_1_0_0 PopulationAustralia_header_cell_1_0_1
AustraliaAustralia_cell_1_1_0 17,836,000Australia_cell_1_1_1
EnglandAustralia_cell_1_2_0 986,460Australia_cell_1_2_1
Mainland ChinaAustralia_cell_1_3_0 677,240Australia_cell_1_3_1
IndiaAustralia_cell_1_4_0 660,350Australia_cell_1_4_1
New ZealandAustralia_cell_1_5_0 570,000Australia_cell_1_5_1
PhilippinesAustralia_cell_1_6_0 293,770Australia_cell_1_6_1
VietnamAustralia_cell_1_7_0 262,910Australia_cell_1_7_1
South AfricaAustralia_cell_1_8_0 193,860Australia_cell_1_8_1
ItalyAustralia_cell_1_9_0 182,520Australia_cell_1_9_1
MalaysiaAustralia_cell_1_10_0 175,920Australia_cell_1_10_1
Sri LankaAustralia_cell_1_11_0 140,260Australia_cell_1_11_1
ScotlandAustralia_cell_1_12_0 133,920Australia_cell_1_12_1
NepalAustralia_cell_1_13_0 117,870Australia_cell_1_13_1
South KoreaAustralia_cell_1_14_0 116,030Australia_cell_1_14_1
GermanyAustralia_cell_1_15_0 112,420Australia_cell_1_15_1
GreeceAustralia_cell_1_16_0 106,660Australia_cell_1_16_1
United StatesAustralia_cell_1_17_0 108,570Australia_cell_1_17_1
Hong KongAustralia_cell_1_18_0 101,290Australia_cell_1_18_1
Total foreign-bornAustralia_cell_1_19_0 7,529,570Australia_cell_1_19_1

Between 1788 and the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles (principally England, Ireland and Scotland), although there was significant immigration from China and Germany during the 19th century. Australia_sentence_284

In the decades immediately following the Second World War, Australia received a large wave of immigration from across Europe, with many more immigrants arriving from Southern and Eastern Europe than in previous decades. Australia_sentence_285

Since the end of the White Australia policy in 1973, Australia has pursued an official policy of multiculturalism, and there has been a large and continuing wave of immigration from across the world, with Asia being the largest source of immigrants in the 21st century. Australia_sentence_286

Today, Australia has the world's eighth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 30% of the population, a higher proportion than in any other nation with a population of over 10 million. Australia_sentence_287

160,323 permanent immigrants were admitted to Australia in 2018–19 (excluding refugees), whilst there was a net population gain of 239,600 people from all permanent and temporary immigration in that year. Australia_sentence_288

The majority of immigrants are skilled, but the immigration program includes categories for family members and refugees. Australia_sentence_289

In 2019 the largest foreign-born populations were those born in England (3.9%), Mainland China (2.7%), India (2.6%), New Zealand (2.2%), the Philippines (1.2%) and Vietnam (1%). Australia_sentence_290

In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were: Australia_sentence_291

At the 2016 census, 649,171 people (2.8% of the total population) identified as being IndigenousAboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Australia_sentence_292

Indigenous Australians experience higher than average rates of imprisonment and unemployment, lower levels of education, and life expectancies for males and females that are, respectively, 11 and 17 years lower than those of non-indigenous Australians. Australia_sentence_293

Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "failed state"-like conditions. Australia_sentence_294

Language Australia_section_18

Main article: Languages of Australia Australia_sentence_295

Although Australia has no official language, English is the de facto national language. Australia_sentence_296

Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling. Australia_sentence_297

General Australian serves as the standard dialect. Australia_sentence_298

According to the 2016 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for 72.7% of the population. Australia_sentence_299

The next most common languages spoken at home are Mandarin (2.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.2%), Vietnamese (1.2%) and Italian (1.2%). Australia_sentence_300

A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. Australia_sentence_301

Over 250 Indigenous Australian languages are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact, of which fewer than twenty are still in daily use by all age groups. Australia_sentence_302

About 110 others are spoken exclusively by older people. Australia_sentence_303

At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home. Australia_sentence_304

Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 10,112 deaf people who reported that they spoke Auslan language at home in the 2016 census. Australia_sentence_305

Religion Australia_section_19

Main article: Religion in Australia Australia_sentence_306

Australia has no state religion; Section 116 of the Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion. Australia_sentence_307

In the 2016 census, 52.1% of Australians were counted as Christian, including 22.6% as Catholic and 13.3% as Anglican; 30.1% of the population reported having "no religion"; 8.2% identify with non-Christian religions, the largest of these being Islam (2.6%), followed by Buddhism (2.4%), Hinduism (1.9%), Sikhism (0.5%) and Judaism (0.4%). Australia_sentence_308

The remaining 9.7% of the population did not provide an adequate answer. Australia_sentence_309

Those who reported having no religion increased conspicuously from 19% in 2006 to 22% in 2011 to 30.1% in 2016. Australia_sentence_310

Before European settlement, the animist beliefs of Australia's indigenous people had been practised for many thousands of years. Australia_sentence_311

Mainland Aboriginal Australians' spirituality is known as the Dreamtime and it places a heavy emphasis on belonging to the land. Australia_sentence_312

The collection of stories that it contains shaped Aboriginal law and customs. Australia_sentence_313

Aboriginal art, story and dance continue to draw on these spiritual traditions. Australia_sentence_314

The spirituality and customs of Torres Strait Islanders, who inhabit the islands between Australia and New Guinea, reflected their Melanesian origins and dependence on the sea. Australia_sentence_315

The 1996 Australian census counted more than 7000 respondents as followers of a traditional Aboriginal religion. Australia_sentence_316

Since the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in 1788, Christianity has become the major religion practised in Australia. Australia_sentence_317

Christian churches have played an integral role in the development of education, health and welfare services in Australia. Australia_sentence_318

For much of Australian history, the Church of England (now known as the Anglican Church of Australia) was the largest religious denomination, with a large Roman Catholic minority. Australia_sentence_319

However, multicultural immigration has contributed to a steep decline in its relative position since the Second World War. Australia_sentence_320

Similarly, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism have all grown in Australia over the past half-century. Australia_sentence_321

Australia has one of the lowest levels of religious adherence in the world. Australia_sentence_322

In 2001, only 8.8% of Australians attended church on a weekly basis. Australia_sentence_323

Health Australia_section_20

See also: Health care in Australia Australia_sentence_324

Australia's life expectancy is the fourth highest in the world for males and the third highest for females. Australia_sentence_325

Life expectancy in Australia in 2014-2016 was 80.4 years for males and 84.6 years for females. Australia_sentence_326

Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, while cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease, responsible for 7.8% of the total mortality and disease. Australia_sentence_327

Ranked second in preventable causes is hypertension at 7.6%, with obesity third at 7.5%. Australia_sentence_328

Australia ranks 35th in the world and near the top of developed nations for its proportion of obese adults and nearly two thirds (63%) of its adult population is either overweight or obese. Australia_sentence_329

Total expenditure on health (including private sector spending) is around 9.8% of GDP. Australia_sentence_330

Australia introduced universal health care in 1975. Australia_sentence_331

Known as Medicare, it is now nominally funded by an income tax surcharge known as the Medicare levy, currently at 2%. Australia_sentence_332

The states manage hospitals and attached outpatient services, while the Commonwealth funds the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (subsidising the costs of medicines) and general practice. Australia_sentence_333

Education Australia_section_21

Main article: Education in Australia Australia_sentence_334

School attendance, or registration for home schooling, is compulsory throughout Australia. Australia_sentence_335

Education is the responsibility of the individual states and territories so the rules vary between states, but in general children are required to attend school from the age of about 5 until about 16. Australia_sentence_336

In some states (e.g., Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales), children aged 16–17 are required to either attend school or participate in vocational training, such as an apprenticeship. Australia_sentence_337

Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated to be 99% in 2003. Australia_sentence_338

However, a 2011–12 report for the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Tasmania has a literacy and numeracy rate of only 50%. Australia_sentence_339

In the Programme for International Student Assessment, Australia regularly scores among the top five of thirty major developed countries (member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Australia_sentence_340

Catholic education accounts for the largest non-government sector. Australia_sentence_341

Australia has 37 government-funded universities and three private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher education level. Australia_sentence_342

The OECD places Australia among the most expensive nations to attend university. Australia_sentence_343

There is a state-based system of vocational training, known as TAFE, and many trades conduct apprenticeships for training new tradespeople. Australia_sentence_344

About 58% of Australians aged from 25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications, and the tertiary graduation rate of 49% is the highest among OECD countries. Australia_sentence_345

30.9 percent of Australia's population has attained a higher education qualification, which is among the highest percentages in the world. Australia_sentence_346

Australia has the highest ratio of international students per head of population in the world by a large margin, with 812,000 international students enrolled in the nation's universities and vocational institutions in 2019. Australia_sentence_347

Accordingly, in 2019, international students represented on average 26.7% of the student bodies of Australian universities. Australia_sentence_348

International education therefore represents one of the country's largest exports and has a pronounced influence on the country's demographics, with a significant proportion of international students remaining in Australia after graduation on various skill and employment visas. Australia_sentence_349

Culture Australia_section_22

Main article: Culture of Australia Australia_sentence_350

Since 1788, the primary influence behind Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic Western culture, with some Indigenous influences. Australia_sentence_351

The divergence and evolution that has occurred in the ensuing centuries has resulted in a distinctive Australian culture. Australia_sentence_352

The culture of the United States has served as a significant influence, particularly through television and cinema. Australia_sentence_353

Other cultural influences come from neighbouring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations. Australia_sentence_354

Arts Australia_section_23

Main articles: Australian art, Australian literature, Theatre of Australia, and Dance in Australia Australia_sentence_355

Australia has over 100,000 Aboriginal rock art sites, and traditional designs, patterns and stories infuse contemporary Indigenous Australian art, "the last great art movement of the 20th century" according to critic Robert Hughes; its exponents include Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Australia_sentence_356

Early colonial artists showed a fascination with the unfamiliar land. Australia_sentence_357

The impressionistic works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and other members of the 19th-century Heidelberg School—the first "distinctively Australian" movement in Western art—gave expression to nationalist sentiments in the lead-up to Federation. Australia_sentence_358

While the school remained influential into the 1900s, modernists such as Margaret Preston, and, later, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd, explored new artistic trends. Australia_sentence_359

The landscape remained a central subject matter for Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley and other post-war artists whose works, eclectic in style yet uniquely Australian, moved between the figurative and the abstract. Australia_sentence_360

The national and state galleries maintain collections of local and international art. Australia_sentence_361

Australia has one of the world's highest attendances of art galleries and museums per head of population. Australia_sentence_362

Australian literature grew slowly in the decades following European settlement though Indigenous oral traditions, many of which have since been recorded in writing, are much older. Australia_sentence_363

In the 1870s, Adam Lindsay Gordon posthumously became the first Australian poet to attain a wide readership. Australia_sentence_364

Following in his footsteps, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson captured the experience of the bush using a distinctive Australian vocabulary. Australia_sentence_365

Their works are still popular; Paterson's bush poem "Waltzing Matilda" (1895) is regarded as Australia's unofficial national anthem. Australia_sentence_366

Miles Franklin is the namesake of Australia's most prestigious literary prize, awarded annually to the best novel about Australian life. Australia_sentence_367

Its first recipient, Patrick White, went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973. Australia_sentence_368

Australian Booker Prize winners include Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally and Richard Flanagan. Australia_sentence_369

Author David Malouf, playwright David Williamson and poet Les Murray are also renowned. Australia_sentence_370

Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's Australia Council. Australia_sentence_371

There is a symphony orchestra in each state, and a national opera company, Opera Australia, well known for its famous soprano Joan Sutherland. Australia_sentence_372

At the beginning of the 20th century, Nellie Melba was one of the world's leading opera singers. Australia_sentence_373

Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state companies. Australia_sentence_374

Each state has a publicly funded theatre company. Australia_sentence_375

Media Australia_section_24

Main articles: Cinema of Australia, Television in Australia, Media of Australia, and Music of Australia Australia_sentence_376

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), the world's first feature-length narrative film, spurred a boom in Australian cinema during the silent film era. Australia_sentence_377

After World War I, Hollywood monopolised the industry, and by the 1960s Australian film production had effectively ceased. Australia_sentence_378

With the benefit of government support, the Australian New Wave of the 1970s brought provocative and successful films, many exploring themes of national identity, such as Wake in Fright and Gallipoli, while Crocodile Dundee and the Ozploitation movement's Mad Max series became international blockbusters. Australia_sentence_379

In a film market flooded with foreign content, Australian films delivered a 7.7% share of the local box office in 2015. Australia_sentence_380

The AACTAs are Australia's premier film and television awards, and notable Academy Award winners from Australia include Geoffrey Rush, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Heath Ledger. Australia_sentence_381

Australia has two public broadcasters (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service), three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services, and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Australia_sentence_382

Each major city has at least one daily newspaper, and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. Australia_sentence_383

In 2010, Reporters Without Borders placed Australia 18th on a list of 178 countries ranked by press freedom, behind New Zealand (8th) but ahead of the United Kingdom (19th) and United States (20th). Australia_sentence_384

This relatively low ranking is primarily because of the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia; most print media are under the control of News Corporation and, after Fairfax Media was merged with Nine, Nine Entertainment Co. Australia_sentence_385

Cuisine Australia_section_25

Main article: Australian cuisine Australia_sentence_386

Most Indigenous Australian groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet of native fauna and flora, otherwise called bush tucker. Australia_sentence_387

The first settlers introduced British food to the continent, much of which is now considered typical Australian food, such as the Sunday roast. Australia_sentence_388

Multicultural immigration transformed Australian cuisine; post-World War II European migrants, particularly from the Mediterranean, helped to build a thriving Australian coffee culture, and the influence of Asian cultures has led to Australian variants of their staple foods, such as the Chinese-inspired dim sim and Chiko Roll. Australia_sentence_389

Vegemite, pavlova, lamingtons and meat pies are regarded as iconic Australian foods. Australia_sentence_390

Australian wine is produced mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. Australia_sentence_391

Australia is also known for its cafe and coffee culture in urban centres, which has influenced coffee culture abroad, including New York City. Australia_sentence_392

Australia was responsible for the flat white coffee–purported to have originated in a Sydney cafe in the mid-1980s. Australia_sentence_393

Sport and recreation Australia_section_26

Main article: Sport in Australia Australia_sentence_394

Cricket and football are the predominate sports in Australia during the summer and winter months, respectively. Australia_sentence_395

Australia is unique in that it has professional leagues for four football codes. Australia_sentence_396

Originating in Melbourne in the 1850s, Australian rules football is the most popular code in all states except New South Wales and Queensland, where rugby league holds sway, followed by rugby union. Australia_sentence_397

Soccer, while ranked fourth in popularity and resources, has the highest overall participation rates. Australia_sentence_398

Cricket is popular across all borders and has been regarded by many Australians as the national sport. Australia_sentence_399

The Australian national cricket team competed against England in the first Test match (1877) and the first One Day International (1971), and against New Zealand in the first Twenty20 International (2004), winning all three games. Australia_sentence_400

It has also participated in every edition of the Cricket World Cup, winning the tournament a record five times. Australia_sentence_401

Australia is also notable for water-based sports, such as swimming and surfing. Australia_sentence_402

The surf lifesaving movement originated in Australia, and the volunteer lifesaver is one of the country's icons. Australia_sentence_403

Nationally, other popular sports include horse racing, basketball, and motor racing. Australia_sentence_404

The annual Melbourne Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race attract intense interest. Australia_sentence_405

In 2016, the Australian Sports Commission revealed that swimming, cycling and soccer are the three most popular participation sports. Australia_sentence_406

Australia is one of five nations to have participated in every Summer Olympics of the modern era, and has hosted the Games twice: 1956 in Melbourne and 2000 in Sydney. Australia_sentence_407

Australia has also participated in every Commonwealth Games, hosting the event in 1938, 1962, 1982, 2006 and 2018. Australia_sentence_408

Australia made its inaugural appearance at the Pacific Games in 2015. Australia_sentence_409

As well as being a regular FIFA World Cup participant, Australia has won the OFC Nations Cup four times and the AFC Asian Cup once—the only country to have won championships in two different FIFA confederations. Australia_sentence_410

In June 2020, Australia won its bid to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup with New Zealand. Australia_sentence_411

The country regularly competes among the world elite basketball teams as it is among the global top three teams in terms of qualifications to the Basketball Tournament at the Summer Olympics. Australia_sentence_412

Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Australia_sentence_413

The highest-rating television programs include sports telecasts such as the Summer Olympics, FIFA World Cup, The Ashes, Rugby League State of Origin, and the grand finals of the National Rugby League and Australian Football League. Australia_sentence_414

Skiing in Australia began in the 1860s and snow sports take place in the Australian Alps and parts of Tasmania. Australia_sentence_415

See also Australia_section_27


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