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#REDIRECT [[Australia]]
{{Two other uses|the country|the continent|Australia (continent)}}
{{Use Australian English|date=May 2011}}
{{Use dmy dates|date=January 2013}}
{{Infobox country
|conventional_long_name = Commonwealth of Australia
|common_name = Australia
|image_flag = Flag of Australia.svg
|alt_flag = A blue field with the Union Flag in the upper hoist quarter, a large white seven-pointed star in the lower hoist quarter, and constellation of five white stars in the fly – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars.
|image_coat = Australian Coat of Arms.png
|alt_coat = <!--alt text for coat of arms-->
|national_anthem = ''[[Advance Australia Fair]]''&nbsp;{{lower|0.2em|{{#tag:ref|Australia's [[royal anthem]] is ''[[God Save the Queen]]'', played in the presence of a member of the [[House of Windsor|Royal family]] when they are in Australia. In all other appropriate contexts, the [[national anthem]] of Australia, ''[[Advance Australia Fair]]'', is played.<ref>[ It's an Honour&nbsp;– Symbols&nbsp;– Australian National Anthem] and [ DFAT&nbsp;– "The Australian National Anthem"]; {{cite book |title=Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia |edition=29th |year=2002 (updated 2005) |chapter=National Symbols |chapterurl= |accessdate=7 June 2007}}</ref>|name="anthem explanation"|group="N"}}<!--end lower:-->}}
|image_map = AUS orthographic.svg
|alt_map = <!--alt text for map-->
|map_width = 220px
|capital = [[Canberra]]
|latd=35 |latm=18.48 |latNS=S |longd=149 |longm=7.47 |longEW=E
|largest_city = [[Sydney]]
|official_languages = None{{#tag:ref|English does not have ''[[de jure]]'' status.<ref name=language/>|name="official language"|group="N"}}
|languages_type = [[National language]]
|languages = [[Australian English|English]] {{small|(''[[de facto]]'')}}<ref name="official language" group="N" />
|demonym = {{hlist |[[Australians|Australian]] |"[[Aussie]]"<ref>See entry in the [[Macquarie Dictionary]].</ref><ref>{{cite book |title=[[Collins English Dictionary]] |year=2009 |publisher=[[HarperCollins]] |location=Bishopbriggs, Glasgow |isbn=978-0-00-786171-2 |page=18 |accessdate=19 April 2010}}</ref><!--end hlist:-->}}
|government_type = [[Federalism|Federal]] [[Parliamentary system|parliamentary]] [[constitutional monarchy]]
|leader_title1 = [[Monarchy of Australia|Monarch]]
|leader_name1 = [[Elizabeth II]]
|leader_title2 = {{nowrap|[[Governor-General of Australia|Governor-General]]}}
|leader_name2 = [[Quentin Bryce]]
|leader_title3 = [[Prime Minister of Australia|Prime Minister]]
|leader_name3 = [[Julia Gillard]]
|legislature = [[Parliament of Australia|Parliament]]
|upper_house = [[Australian Senate|Senate]]
|lower_house = [[Australian House of Representatives|House of Representatives]]
|sovereignty_type = Independence
|sovereignty_note = from the [[United Kingdom]]
|established_event1 = [[Constitution of Australia|Constitution]]
|established_date1 = 1 January 1901
|established_event2 = [[Statute of Westminster 1931|Statute of Westminster]]
|established_date2 = 11 December 1931
|established_event3 = [[Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942|Statute of Westminster Adoption Act]]
|established_date3 = {{nowrap|9 October 1942 {{small|(with effect<br/>from 3 September 1939)}}}}
|established_event4 = [[Australia Act 1986|Australia Act]]
|established_date4 = 3 March 1986
|area_rank = 6th
|area_magnitude = 1 E12
|area_km2 = 7692024
|population_estimate = {{formatnum:{{#expr: 22859335 + (86400 / 84) * {{Age in days|2013|1|2}} round 0}}}}<!--AUTOUPDATES DAILY at 00:00 UTC, Australia pop clock adds 1 person every 84 seconds --><ref name="popclock">{{cite web|url=|title=Population clock|work=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] website|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|accessdate=2 January 2013}} The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at 00:00 UTC and is based on data obtained from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.</ref>
|population_estimate_rank = 52nd
|population_estimate_year = {{CURRENTYEAR}}
|population_census = 21,507,717<ref>{{Census 2011 AUS|id=0|name=Australia|accessdate=21 June 2012|quick=on}}</ref>
|population_census_year = 2011
|population_density_km2 = 2.8
|population_density_rank = 233rd
|GDP_PPP = {{nowrap|$915.098 billion<ref name=imf2>{{cite web |url= |title=Australia |publisher=International Monetary Fund |accessdate=17 April 2012}}</ref>}}
|GDP_PPP_rank = 18th
|GDP_PPP_year = 2011
|GDP_PPP_per_capita = $40,847<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 13th
|GDP_nominal = {{nowrap|$1.487 trillion<ref name=imf2/>}}
|GDP_nominal_rank = 12th
|GDP_nominal_year = 2011
|GDP_nominal_per_capita = $66,371<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 5th
|Gini = 30.5<!--number only-->
|Gini_ref = <ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Distribution of family income&nbsp;– Gini index |work=The World Factbook |publisher=CIA |accessdate=1 September 2009}}</ref>
|Gini_rank =
|Gini_year = 2006
|Gini_change = <!--increase/decrease/steady-->
|HDI = 0.929<!--number only-->
|HDI_ref = <ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Human Development Report 2011|publisher=United Nations|accessdate=2 November 2011}}</ref>
|HDI_rank = 2nd
|HDI_year = 2011
|HDI_change = increase <!--increase/decrease/steady-->
|currency = [[Australian dollar]]
|currency_code = AUD
|time_zone = [[Time in Australia|various]]<ref name="time" group="N">There are minor variations from three basic time zones; see [[Time in Australia]].</ref>
|utc_offset = +8 to +10.5
|time_zone_DST = [[Time in Australia|various]]<ref name="time" group="N" />
|utc_offset_DST = +8 to +11.5
|date_format = dd-mm-yyyy
|drives_on = left
|cctld = [[.au]]
|calling_code = [[+61]]
<!-- PLEASE USE AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH THROUGHOUT, i.e. use "centre", not "center"; "neighbour", not "neighbor", etc.; and maximise the use of "-is-" (as in "organise") rather than -iz- ("organize"). The dash style is unspaced em dash (in accord with current AGPS Style Manual), not spaced em dash or spaced en dash (see [[WP:MOS]]). Please maintain consistency of style over personal preferences. -->
'''Australia''' ({{IPAc-en|icon|ə|ˈ|s|t|r|eɪ|l|j|ə|audio=en-au-Australia.ogg}} {{respell|ə|STRAYL|yə}} <ref>{{cite book|title=Macquarie ABC Dictionary|publisher=The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd|year=2003|page=56|isbn=1876429372}}</ref> or {{IPAc-en|ɒ|ˈ|s|t|r|eɪ|l|ɪ|ə}}<ref>"Australia". Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 July 2012.</ref> or {{IPAc-en|ɒ|ˈ|s|t|r|eɪ|l|j|ə}} {{respell|o|STRAYL|yə}}), officially the '''Commonwealth of Australia''',<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Constitution of Australia |publisher=[[ComLaw]] |date=1 June 2003 |accessdate=5 August 2011 |quote=3. It shall be lawful for the Queen, with the advice of the Privy Council, to declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed, not being later than one year after the passing of this Act, the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, and also, if Her Majesty is satisfied that the people of Western Australia have agreed thereto, of Western Australia, shall be united in a Federal Commonwealth under the name of the Commonwealth of Australia.}}</ref> is a country comprising the mainland of the [[Australia (continent)|Australian continent]], the island of [[Tasmania]] and numerous [[list of islands of Australia|smaller islands]]. It is the world's [[List of countries and dependencies by area|sixth-largest country by total area]]. Neighbouring countries include [[Indonesia]], [[East Timor]] and [[Papua New Guinea]] to the north; the [[Solomon Islands]], [[Vanuatu]] and [[New Caledonia]] to the north-east; and [[New Zealand]] to the south-east.
For at least 40,000 years<ref>{{cite news| url= | work=The New York Times | first=Nicholas | last=Wade | title=Australian Aborigine Hair Tells a Story of Human Migration | date=22 September 2011}}</ref> before [[History of Australia (1788-1850)|European settlement]] in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by [[indigenous Australians]],<ref>[ Both Australian Aborigines and Europeans Rooted in Africa&nbsp;– 50,000 years ago]</ref>
who belonged to one or more of roughly [[Indigenous Australian languages|250 language groups]].<ref>{{cite web|url=!OpenDocument|title=Australian Social Trends|work=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] website|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|accessdate=6 June 2008}}</ref><ref>Michael Walsh. 'Overview of indigenous languages of Australia' in Suzane Romaine (ed) ''Language in Australia'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) ISBN 0-521-33983-9</ref> After discovery by [[Dutch Republic|Dutch]] explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by [[Kingdom of Great Britain|Great Britain]] in 1770 and settled through [[penal transportation]] to the colony of [[New South Wales]] from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five [[Responsible government|self-governing]] [[British Overseas Territories|Crown Colonies]] were established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies [[Federation of Australia|federated]], forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable [[liberal democracy|liberal democratic]] political system that functions as a [[Federalism|federal]] [[parliamentary democracy]] and [[constitutional monarchy]]. The federation comprises [[States and territories of Australia|six states and several territories]]. The population of 22.9 million<ref name="popclock" /> is highly [[Urbanization|urbanised]] and heavily concentrated in the [[Eastern states of Australia|eastern states]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title= Geographic Distribution of the Population|accessdate= 1 December 2012}}</ref>
A highly [[developed country]] and one of the wealthiest, Australia is the [[List of countries by GDP (nominal)|world's 12th-largest economy]] and has the world's [[List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita|fifth-highest per capita income]]. Australia's military expenditure is the [[List of countries by military expenditures|world's 13th-largest]]. With the [[List of countries by Human Development Index|second-highest human development index globally]], Australia [[International rankings of Australia|ranks highly]] in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, [[economic freedom]], and the protection of [[civil liberties]] and political rights.<ref name="World Audit">{{cite web|url=|title=Australia: World Audit Democracy Profile||accessdate=5 January 2008| archiveurl=| archivedate= 13 December 2007 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Australia is a member of the [[G-20 major economies|G20]], [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]], [[World Trade Organization|WTO]], [[Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation|APEC]], [[United Nations|UN]], [[Commonwealth of Nations]], [[ANZUS]] and the [[Pacific Islands Forum]].
Pronounced {{IPA|[[Australian English phonology|[əˈstɹæɪljə, -liə]]]}} in [[Australian English]],<ref>Australian pronunciations: ''[[Macquarie Dictionary|Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition]]'' (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3</ref> the name ''[[List of country name etymologies#A|Australia]]'' is derived from the [[Latin]] ''australis'', meaning "southern". The country has been referred to colloquially as ''Oz'' since the early 20th century.{{#tag:ref|The [[Oxford English Dictionary]] records a first occurrence in 1908, in the form ''Oss''. ''Oz'' is often taken as an oblique reference to the fictional Land of Oz in the film ''[[The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)|The Wizard of Oz]]'' (1939), based on [[L. Frank Baum]]'s novel ''[[The Wonderful Wizard of Oz]]'' (1900).<ref>Jacobson, H., ''In the Land of Oz'', Penguin, 1988, ISBN 0-14-010966-8.</ref> Australians' "image of Australia as a 'Land of Oz' is not new, and dedication to it runs deep".<ref>''The Americana Annual: 1988'', Americana Corporation, vol.&nbsp;13, 1989, p.&nbsp;66, ISBN 0-7172-0220-8.</ref> The spelling ''Oz'' is likely to have been influenced by the 1939 film, though the pronunciation was probably always with a /z/, as it is also for ''Aussie'', sometimes spelt ''Ozzie''.<ref>[[Eric Partridge|Partridge, Eric]], et al., ''The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English'', Taylor & Francis, 2006, ISBN 0-415-25938-X, entries "Oz" and "Ozzie", p.&nbsp;1431.</ref> The [[Baz Luhrmann]] film ''[[Australia (2008 film)#Recurring motifs|Australia]]'' (2008) makes repeated reference to ''The Wizard of Oz'', which appeared just before the wartime action of ''Australia''. Some critics have even speculated that Baum was inspired by Australia, in naming the ''Land of Oz'': "In ''Ozma of Oz'' (1907), Dorothy gets back to Oz as the result of a storm at sea while she and Uncle Henry are travelling by ship to Australia. So, like Australia, Oz is somewhere to the west of California. Like Australia, Oz is an island continent. Like Australia, Oz has inhabited regions bordering on a great desert. One might almost imagine that Baum intended Oz to be Australia, or perhaps a magical land in the center of the great Australian desert."<ref>Algeo, J., "Australia as the Land of Oz", ''American Speech'', Vol.&nbsp;65, No.&nbsp;1, 1990, pp.&nbsp;86–89.</ref>|group="N"|name="Oss"}} ''[[Aussie]]'' is a common colloquial term for "Australian". In neighbouring [[New Zealand]] the term "Aussie" is sometimes applied as a noun to the nation as well as its residents.<ref>Claire Harvey, [ Aussie farewell to life in "Kiwi"]. Retrieved 29 December 2011.</ref>
Legends of ''[[Terra Australis|Terra Australis Incognita]]''—an "unknown land of the South"—date back to Roman times and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on any documented knowledge of the continent. Following European discovery, names for the Australian landmass were often references to the famed ''Terra Australis''.
The earliest recorded use of the word ''Australia'' in English was in 1625 in "A note of Australia del Espíritu Santo, written by Sir Richard Hakluyt", published by [[Samuel Purchas]] in ''Hakluytus Posthumus'', a corruption of the original Spanish name "Tierra Austral del Espíritu Santo" (Southern Land of the Holy Spirit)<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=THE ILLUSTRATED SYDNEY NEWS. |newspaper=[[List of newspapers in Australia|Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872)]] |location=NSW |date=26 January 1888 |accessdate=29 January 2012 |page=2 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}</ref> for an island in [[Vanuatu]].<ref>Purchas, vol. iv, pp. 1422–32, 1625. This appears to be variation of the original Spanish "Austrialia" {{sic}}.[] A copy at the Library of Congress can be read online [].</ref> The Dutch adjectival form ''Australische'' was used in a Dutch book in [[History of Jakarta|Batavia]] ([[Jakarta]]) in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south.<ref>{{Cite book|url=|page=299|last=Scott|first=Ernest|origyear=1914|title=The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders|isbn=978-1-4191-6948-9|year=2004|publisher=Kessinger Publishing}}</ref> ''Australia'' was later used in a 1693 translation of ''Les Aventures de Jacques Sadeur dans la Découverte et le Voyage de la Terre Australe'', a 1676 French novel by [[Gabriel de Foigny]], under the pen-name Jacques Sadeur.<ref>Sidney J. Baker, ''The Australian Language'', second edition, 1966.</ref> <!-- The 1676 version is rare. Regardless, it was the first edition of this book&nbsp;– some details are at --> Referring to the entire South Pacific region, [[Alexander Dalrymple]] used it in ''An Historical Collection of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean'' in 1771. By the end of the 18th century, the name was being used to refer specifically to Australia, with the botanists [[George Shaw]] and [[James Edward Smith|Sir James Smith]] writing of "the vast island, or rather continent, of Australia, Australasia or [[New Holland (Australia)|New Holland]]" in their 1793 ''Zoology and Botany of New Holland'',<ref name="Ferguson">{{Cite book|last=Ferguson|first=John Alexander|title=Bibliography of Australia: 1784–1830|publisher=National Library of Australia|year=1975|edition=reprint|volume=1|page=77|isbn=0-642-99044-1|url=}}</ref> and [[James Wilson]] including it on a 1799 chart.<ref name="Estensen 2002 p354">{{Cite book|first=Miriam|last=Estensen|year=2002|title=The Life of Matthew Flinders|publisher=Allen & Unwin|isbn=1-74114-152-4|page=354}}</ref>
The name ''Australia'' was popularised by the explorer [[Matthew Flinders]], who pushed for it to be formally adopted as early as 1804. When preparing his manuscript and charts for his 1814 ''[[A Voyage to Terra Australis]]'', he was persuaded by his patron, [[Joseph Banks|Sir Joseph Banks]], to use the term ''Terra Australis'' as this was the name most familiar to the public. Flinders did so, and published the following rationale:
{{quote|There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance of this country, and of its situation on the globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which could have been selected.*<ref>Matthew Flinders, [ ''A voyage to Terra Australis'' (Introduction)]. Retrieved 25 January 2013.</ref>}}
In the footnote Flinders wrote:
{{quote|*&nbsp;&nbsp;Had I permitted myself any innovation on the original term, it would have been to convert it to AUSTRALIA; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.<ref>{{Cite book|first=Matthew|last=Flinders|year=1814|title=[[A Voyage to Terra Australis]]|publisher=G. and W. Nicol}}</ref>}} This is the only occurrence of the word ''Australia'' in that text; but in Appendix III, [[Robert Brown (botanist)|Robert Brown]]'s ''[[General remarks, geographical and systematical, on the botany of Terra Australis]]'', Brown makes use of the adjectival form ''Australian'' throughout,<ref name="Bennett 1868">{{Cite book|editor=Bennett, J. J.|year=1866–68|title=The Miscellaneous Botanical Works of Robert Brown, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S.|volume=2|chapter=General remarks, geographical and systematical, on the botany of Terra Australis|pages=1–89}}</ref>—the first known use of that form.<ref name="Mabberley 1985">{{Cite book|first=David|last=Mabberley|year=1985|title=Jupiter botanicus: Robert Brown of the British Museum|publisher=British Museum (Natural History)|isbn=3-7682-1408-7}}</ref> Despite popular conception, the book was not instrumental in the adoption of the name: the name came gradually to be accepted over the following ten years.<ref name="Estensen 2002 p450">Estensen, p. 450</ref>
The first time that the name Australia appears to have been officially used was in a despatch to Lord Bathurst of 4 April 1817 in which Governor [[Lachlan Macquarie]] acknowledges the receipt of Capt. Flinders' charts of Australia.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=WHO NAMED AUSTRALIA?. |newspaper=[[Sunday Mail (Adelaide)|The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954)]] |location=Adelaide, SA |date=11 February 1928 |accessdate=14 February 2012 |page=16 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}
</ref> On 12 December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted.<ref>Weekend Australian, 30–31 December 2000, p. 16</ref> In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as ''Australia''.<ref>{{Cite book|last=Department of Immigration and Citizenship|title=Life in Australia|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|year=2007|page=11|isbn=978-1-921446-30-6|url=|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref>
The first map on which the word Australia occurs was published in St Petersburg in 1824. It is in Krusenstern's ''Atlas de l'Océan Pacifique''.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=WHO NAMED AUSTRALIA?. |newspaper=[[The Sydney Morning Herald]] (NSW : 1842 – 1954)|location=NSW |date=14 June 1905 |accessdate=14 February 2012 |page=4 |publisher=National Library of Australia}}</ref>
{{Main|History of Australia}}
[[File:Australia discoveries by Europeans before 1813 en.png|thumb|right|300px|alt=Map of Australia with coloured arrows showing the path of early explorers around the coast of Australia and surrounding islands|Exploration of what was then [[New Holland (Australia)|New Holland]] by Europeans until 1812<br />
{{legend|#000000|1606 [[Willem Janszoon]]}}
{{legend|#ff9955|1606 [[Luis Váez de Torres]]}}
{{legend|#39842c|1616 [[Dirk Hartog]]}}
{{legend|#ffd42a|1619 [[Frederick de Houtman]]}}
{{legend|#835b38|1644 [[Abel Tasman]]}}
{{legend|#516778|1696 [[Willem de Vlamingh]]}}
{{legend|#000080|1699 [[William Dampier]]}}
{{legend|#8000ff|1770 [[James Cook]]}}
{{legend|#0055d4|1797–1799 [[George Bass]]}}
{{legend|#ff0000|1801–1803 [[Matthew Flinders]]}}]]
[[File:Captainjamescookportrait.jpg|right|upright|thumb|Portrait of [[Captain James Cook]], the first European to achieve contact with the eastern coastline of Australia in 1770.]]
Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago,<ref>{{cite journal |author=Gillespie, Richard |year=2002 |url= |title=Dating the First Australians (full text) |journal=Radiocarbon |volume=44 |issue=2 |format=PDF |pages=455–472 |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref> possibly with the migration of people by [[land bridge]]s and short sea-crossings from what is now [[South-East Asia]]. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians.<ref>{{cite web|title=The spread of people to Australia|publisher=[[Australian Museum]]|url=}}</ref> At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were [[hunter-gatherer]]s, with a complex [[oral tradition|oral culture]] and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the [[Dreamtime]]. The [[Torres Strait Islanders]], ethnically [[Melanesia]]n, were originally horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers.<ref>{{cite web|title=Early Aussie Tattoos Match Rock Art|last=Viegas|first=Jennifer|publisher=Discovery News|date=3 July 2008|accessdate=30 March 2010|url=}}</ref> The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by fishermen from [[Maritime Southeast Asia]].<ref>{{Cite book|last=MacKnight|first=CC|year=1976|title=The Voyage to Marege: Macassan Trepangers in Northern Australia|publisher=[[Melbourne University Press]]}}</ref>
The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch navigator [[Willem Janszoon]]. 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, Queensland|Weipa]] on Cape York.<ref name=dhm233>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 233.</ref> The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent "[[New Holland (Australia)|New Holland]]" during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement.<ref name=dhm233/> [[William Dampier]], an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688 and again in 1699 on a return trip. In 1770, [[James Cook]] sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=European discovery and the colonisation of Australia|work=Australian Government: Culture Portal|publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Commonwealth of Australia|date=11 January 2008|accessdate=7 May 2010}}</ref> With the loss of its American colonies in 1780, 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. A camp was set up and the flag raised at [[Sydney Cove]], [[Port Jackson]], on 26 January 1788,<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 157, 254.</ref> a date which became Australia's national day, [[Australia Day]] although the British [[British overseas territories|Crown Colony]] of New South Wales was not formally promulgated until 7 February 1788. The first settlement led to the foundation of [[Sydney]], the establishment of farming, industry and commerce; and the exploration and settlement of other regions.
[[Van Diemen's Land]], now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 464–65, 628–29.</ref> The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of [[Western Australia]] (the [[Swan River Colony]]) in 1828.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 678.</ref> Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: [[South Australia]] in 1836, [[Victoria (Australia)|Victoria]] in 1851, and Queensland in 1859.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 464.</ref> The [[Northern Territory]] was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 470.</ref> South Australia was founded as a "free province"—it was never a penal colony.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 598.</ref> Victoria and Western Australia were also founded "free", but later accepted [[convicts in Australia|transported convicts]].<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 679.</ref><ref>[ Convict Records] Public Record office of Victoria; [ State Records Office of Western Australia].</ref> A campaign by the settlers of New South Wales led to the end of convict transportation to that colony; the last convict ship arrived in 1848.<ref>{{cite web|year=1988 |url= |title=1998 Special Article&nbsp;– The State of New South Wales&nbsp;– Timeline of History |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]]}}</ref>
[[File:PortArthurPenitentiary.jpg|thumb|left|alt=A calm body of water is in the foreground. The shoreline is about 200 metres away. To the left, close to the shore, are three tall [[gum tree]]s; behind them on an incline are ruins, including walls and watchtowers of light-coloured stone and brick, what appear to be the foundations of walls, and grassed areas. To the right lie the outer walls of a large rectangular four-storey building dotted with regularly spaced windows. Forested land rises gently to a peak several kilometres back from the shore.|[[Port Arthur, Tasmania]] was Australia's largest [[gaol]] for reoffending convicts.]]
The indigenous population, estimated to have been between 750,000 and 1,000,000 at the time European settlement began,<ref name=APR>{{cite book|last=Briscoe|first=Gordon|title=The Aboriginal Population Revisited: 70,000 years to the present|year=2002|publisher=Aboriginal History Inc.|location=Canberra, Australia|isbn=978-0-9585637-6-5|coauthors=Smith, Len|page=12}}</ref> declined for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease.<ref>{{cite encyclopedia|title=Smallpox Through History|url=|work=Encarta|archiveurl=|archivedate=31 October 2009|deadurl=yes}}</ref> 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—often referred to as the [[Stolen Generations]]—a practice which may also have contributed to the decline in the indigenous population.<ref>{{Cite book|author=Attwood, Bain |title=Telling the truth about Aboriginal history |year=2005 |url= |publisher=Allen & Unwin |isbn=1-74114-577-5 |location=Crows Nest, New South Wales}}</ref> The Federal government gained the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines following the [[Australian referendum, 1967 (Aboriginals)|1967 referendum]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|title=1967 Referendum|last=Dawkins|first=Kezia|date=1 February 2004|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 20 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Traditional ownership of land—[[Native title in Australia|aboriginal title]]—was not recognised until 1992, when the [[High Court of Australia|High Court]] case ''[[Mabo v Queensland (No 2)]]' overturned the legal doctrine that Australia had been ''[[terra nullius]]'' ("land belonging to no one") before the European occupation.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 5–7, 402.</ref>
A [[gold rush]] began in Australia in the early 1850s<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 283–85.</ref> and the [[Eureka Rebellion]] against mining licence fees in 1854 was an early expression of civil disobedience.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp.227–29.</ref> Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained [[responsible government]], managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the [[British Empire]].<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 556.</ref> The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs,<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 138–39.</ref> defence,<ref>{{Cite news|title=Colonial Defence and Imperial Repudiation|url=|date=13 November 1860|issue=vol XVII, issue 1349|newspaper=Daily Southern Cross|accessdate=4 April 2010}}</ref> and international shipping.
[[File:Anzac2.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Photo of an ANZAC memorial with an elderly man playing a bugle. Rows of people are seated behind the memorial. Many small white crosses with red poppies have been stuck into the lawn in rows on either side of the memorial.|The [[Last Post]] is played at an [[ANZAC Day]] ceremony in [[Port Melbourne, Victoria]]. Similar ceremonies are held in most suburbs and towns.]]
On 1 January 1901, [[Federation of Australia|federation of the colonies]] was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation and voting.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 243–44.</ref> The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a [[dominion]] of the British Empire in 1907. The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra. Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being constructed.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=When Melbourne was Australia's capital city|last=Otto|first=Kristin|date=25 June&nbsp;– 9 July 2007|publisher=University of Melbourne|accessdate=29 March 2010|location=Melbourne, Victoria| archiveurl=| archivedate= 2 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911.<ref>{{Cite book|url=|title=Official year book of the Commonwealth of Australia|publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics|year=1957|accessdate=29 March 2010}}</ref> 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]].<ref>Stuart Macintyre, ''The Oxford History of Australia: vol 4'' (1986), p. 142; C. Bean Ed. (1941). [ Volume I&nbsp;– The Story of Anzac: the first phase], First World War Official Histories, Eleventh Edition.</ref> Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the [[Western Front (World War I)|Western Front]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=First World War 1914–1918|publisher=Australian War Memorial|accessdate=5 December 2006| archiveurl=| archivedate= 7 December 2006 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded.<ref>{{Cite book|last=Tucker|first=Spencer|title=Encyclopedia of World War I|publisher=ABC-CLIO|location=Santa Barbara, CA|year=2005|page=273|isbn=1-85109-420-2|url=|accessdate=7 May 2010}}</ref> Many Australians regard the defeat of the [[Australian and New Zealand Army Corps]] (ANZACs) at [[Gallipoli Campaign|Gallipoli]] as the birth of the nation—its first major military action.<ref>Macintyre, 151–53</ref><ref>{{Cite book|last=Reed|first=Liz|title=Bigger than Gallipoli: war, history, and memory in Australia|year=2004|page=5|location=Crawley, WA |publisher=University of Western Australia |isbn=1-920694-19-6}}</ref> The [[Kokoda Track campaign]] is regarded by many as an analogous nation-defining event during [[World War II]].<ref>{{Cite journal|last=Nelson|first=Hank|year=1997|title=Gallipoli, Kokoda and the Making of National Identity|journal=Journal of Australian Studies|volume=53|issue=1|pages=148–60|url=}}</ref>
Britain's [[Statute of Westminster 1931]] formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia [[Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942|adopted it]] in 1942,<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 609.</ref> but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth)|publisher=[[National Archives of Australia]]|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=$file/StatuteWestminAdopt1942.pdf|title=Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942|publisher=ComLaw|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref> The shock of the United Kingdom's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the [[Military history of Australia during World War II#Defence of Australia|threat of Japanese invasion]] caused Australia to turn to the [[United States]] as a new ally and protector.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 22–23.</ref> Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the [[ANZUS]] treaty.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 30.</ref> After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe. Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the [[White Australia policy]], immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 338–39, 681–82.</ref> As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 442–43.</ref> The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the [[Australia Act 1986]], ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the [[Privy council|Privy Council]] in London.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Australia Act 1986 |accessdate=17 June 2010 | publisher=[[Australasian Legal Information Institute]]}}</ref> In a [[Australian republic referendum, 1999|1999 referendum]], 55 per cent 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. Since the election of the [[Gough Whitlam|Whitlam Government]] in 1972,<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Whitlam turned focus on to Asia|last=Woodard|first=Garry|date=11 November 2005|publisher=[[The Age]]|accessdate=30 March 2010 | location=Melbourne}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{Cite book|title=The Pacific Basin since 1945: A history of the foreign relations of the Asian, Australasian, and American rim states and the Pacific islands|last=Thompson|first=Roger C.|isbn=0-582-02127-8|publisher=Longman|year=1994}}</ref>
{{Main|Government of Australia|Politics of Australia|Monarchy of Australia}}
[[File:Parliament House Canberra NS.jpg|thumb|alt=A large white and cream coloured building with grass on its roof. The building is topped with a large flagpole.|[[Parliament House, Canberra]] was opened in 1988, replacing the [[Old Parliament House, Canberra|provisional Parliament House building]] opened in 1927.]]
[[File:Government House Canberra.JPG|thumb|[[Government House, Canberra]], also known as "Yarralumla", is the official residence of the [[Governor-General of Australia|Governor-General]].]]
[[File:Julia Gillard August 2011.jpg|thumb|[[Julia Gillard]], [[Prime Minister of Australia]] since 2010]]
Australia is a [[constitutional monarchy]] with a [[federalism|federal]] division of powers. It uses a [[parliamentary system]] of government with [[Elizabeth II|Queen Elizabeth II]] at its apex as the [[Queen of Australia]], a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other [[Commonwealth realm]]s. The Queen resides in the United Kingdom, and she is represented by her viceroys in Australia (the [[Governor-General of Australia|Governor-General]] at the federal level and by the [[Governors of the Australian states|Governors]] at the state level), who by convention act on the advice of her ministers. Supreme executive authority is vested by the [[Constitution of Australia]] in the sovereign, but the power to exercise it is conferred by the Constitution specifically on the Governor-General.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 287–88.</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=4 August 2008|title=Governor-General's Role |publisher=Governor-General of Australia|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> The most notable exercise to date of the Governor-General's [[reserve power]]s outside the Prime Minister's request was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the [[1975 Australian constitutional crisis|constitutional crisis of 1975]].<ref>{{cite web|publisher=[[Parliament of Australia]] | date=23 January 1998 |accessdate=18 June 2010 |url= |title=The Reserve Powers of the Governor-General |author=Downing, Susan| archiveurl=| archivedate= 26 July 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
The federal government is [[Separation of powers in Australia|separated]] into three branches:
* The legislature: the bicameral [[Parliament of Australia|Parliament]], defined in section 1 of the constitution as comprising the Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the [[Australian Senate|Senate]], and the [[Australian House of Representatives|House of Representatives]];
* The executive: the [[Federal Executive Council (Australia)|Federal Executive Council]], in practice the Governor-General as advised by the Prime Minister and Ministers of State;<ref name="CIAfactbook">{{cite web|url=|title=The World Factbook 2009|year=2009|publisher=Central Intelligence Agency|accessdate=29 March 2010|location=Washington D.C.| archiveurl=| archivedate= 24 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
* The judiciary: the [[High Court of Australia]] and other [[Australian court hierarchy|federal courts]], whose judges are appointed by the Governor-General on advice of the Council.
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).<ref name=sen>{{cite web|url=|title=Senate Summary |publisher= [[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 6 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The [[Australian House of Representatives|House of Representatives]] (the lower house) has 150 members elected from single-member electoral divisions, commonly known as "electorates" or "seats", allocated to states on the basis of population,<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Voting HOR|publisher=[[Australian Electoral Commission]]|date=31 July 2007|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 25 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Election Summary: Tasmania |publisher= [[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 3 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> 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]].<ref name=sen/>
Australia's [[Australian electoral system|electoral system]] uses [[Instant-runoff voting|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]]. [[Compulsory voting|Voting is compulsory]] for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in every jurisdiction,<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Compulsory Voting in Australia|last=Evans|first=Tim|year=2006|publisher=[[Australian Electoral Commission]]|page=4|accessdate=21 June 2009| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 June 2009 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> as is enrolment (with the exception of South Australia).<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=What happens if I do not vote?|work=Voting Australia&nbsp;– Frequently Asked Questions|publisher=[[Australian Electoral Commission]]|accessdate=8 January 2008| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 December 2007 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms the government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. In cases where no party has majority support, the Governor-General has the power to appoint the Prime Minister and, if necessary, dismiss one that has lost the confidence of Parliament.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Governor-General's Role|publisher=Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia|accessdate=13 January 2012}}</ref>
There are two major political groups that usually form government, federally and in the states: the [[Australian Labor Party]]<!-- NOTE TO EDITORS: The name of the party is spelt "Labor" (i.e., no "u") even though the usual Australian spelling is "labour". --> and the [[Coalition (Australia)|Coalition]] which is a formal grouping of the [[Liberal Party of Australia|Liberal Party]] and its minor partner, the [[National Party of Australia|National Party]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Glossary of Election Terms |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=State of the Parties |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Independent members and several minor parties have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses.
Within Australian political culture, the Coalition is considered [[centre-right]] and the Labor Party is considered [[centre-left]]. Queensland in particular, along with Western Australia and the Northern Territory, are regarded as comparatively [[Conservatism in Australia|conservative]].<ref name="Daly, Leffman, Dehne 2003 p397">{{Cite book|first=Margo|last=Daly|year=2003|title=The Rough Guide To Australia|publisher=Rough Guides Ltd|isbn=978-1-84353-090-9|page=397}}</ref><ref name="Penrith, Seal 2008 p478">{{Cite book|first=Deborah|last=Penrith|year=2008|title=Live & Work in Australia|publisher=Crimson Publishing|isbn=978-1-85458-418-2|page=478}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Why Labor struggles in Queensland | |date= |accessdate=15 April 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|last=Bryant |first=Nick |url= |title=BBC News – Australia ready for first female leader | |date=25 June 2010 |accessdate=15 April 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Election &#124; How Western Australia will stay won for the Coalition | |date=18 August 2010 |accessdate=15 April 2012}}</ref><ref name="google69">George Megalogenis, [ "The Green and the Grey", ''Quarterly Essay''], Vol. 40, 2010, p69.</ref> Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory are regarded as comparatively [[Social liberalism|socially liberal]].<ref name="google69"/><ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Victoria: the left-leaning state | |date=8 August 2010 |accessdate=15 April 2012 |location=Melbourne}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Victoria not likely to lose its mantle as the state most progressive | |date=29 November 2010 |accessdate=15 April 2012 |location=Melbourne}}</ref><ref name="theaustralian1">{{cite news| url= | first=George | last=Megalogenis | title=Poll divides the nation into three zones | date=23 August 2010 | work=The Australian}}</ref> New South Wales has often been regarded as a politically moderate [[bellwether]] state.<ref name="google69"/><ref name="theaustralian1"/>
Following a [[Australian Labor Party leadership election, 2010|partyroom leadership challenge]], [[Julia Gillard]] became the first female Prime Minister in June 2010.<ref>{{Cite news|title=Gillard ousts Rudd in bloodless coup |url=|accessdate=24 June 2010|publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|date=24 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 25 June 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The [[Australian federal election, 2010|most recent federal election]] was held on 21 August 2010 and resulted in the first [[hung parliament]] in over 50 years. Gillard was able to form a minority Labor government with the support of independents.
==States and territories==
{{Main|States and territories of Australia}}
{{Australia states imagemap}}
Australia has six [[federated state|states]]—[[New South Wales]] (NSW), [[Queensland]] (QLD), [[South Australia]] (SA), [[Tasmania]] (TAS), [[Victoria (Australia)|Victoria]] (VIC) and [[Western Australia]] (WA)—and two major [[mainland]] territories—the [[Australian Capital Territory]] (ACT) and the [[Northern Territory]] (NT). In most respects these two territories function as states, but the Commonwealth Parliament can override any legislation of their parliaments. By contrast, federal legislation overrides state legislation only in areas that are set out in [[Section 51 of the Australian Constitution]]; state parliaments retain all residual legislative powers, including those over schools, state police, the state judiciary, roads, public transport and local government, since these do not fall under the provisions listed in Section 51.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=State and Territory Government|publisher=Government of Australia|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
Each state and major mainland territory has its own [[Parliaments of the Australian states and territories|parliament]]—[[unicameralism|unicameral]] in the Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland—and bicameral in the other states. The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. The [[lower house]]s are known as the [[Legislative Assembly]] (the [[House of Assembly]] in South Australia and Tasmania); the [[upper house]]s are known as the [[Legislative Council]]. The [[head of government|head of the government]] in each state is the [[Premiers of the Australian states|Premier]] and in each territory the [[Chief Minister]]. The [[Monarchy of Australia|Queen]] is represented in each state by a [[Governors of the Australian states|Governor]]; and in the Northern Territory, the [[Administrator of the Northern Territory|Administrator]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=Government House Northern Territory|title=Role of the Administrator|date=16 June 2008|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref> In the Commonwealth, the Queen's representative is the [[Governor-General of Australia|Governor-General]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=Governor–General of the Commonwealth of Australia|title=Governor-General's Role|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl =| archivedate = 4 August 2008}}</ref>
The federal parliament directly administers the following territories:<ref name="CIAfactbook" />
* [[Ashmore and Cartier Islands]]
* [[Australian Antarctic Territory]]
* [[Christmas Island]]
* [[Cocos (Keeling) Islands]]
* [[Coral Sea Islands]]
* [[Heard Island and McDonald Islands]]
* [[Jervis Bay Territory]], a naval base and sea port for the national capital in land that was formerly part of New South Wales
[[Norfolk Island]] is also technically an external territory; however, under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 it has been granted more autonomy and is governed locally by its own legislative assembly. The Queen is represented by an [[List of administrative heads of Norfolk Island|Administrator]], currently [[Owen Walsh]].<ref>{{cite web |archiveurl=|url= |publisher=Australian Government Attorney-General's Department |title=Administrator of Norfolk Island|archivedate=6 August 2008}}</ref>
==Foreign relations and military==
{{Main|Foreign relations of Australia|Australian Defence Force}}
Over recent decades, [[Foreign relations of Australia|Australia's foreign relations]] have been driven by a close association with the [[United States]] through the [[ANZUS|ANZUS pact]], and by a desire to develop relationships with Asia and the Pacific, particularly through [[Association of Southeast Asian Nations|ASEAN]] and the [[Pacific Islands Forum]]. 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 is a member of the [[Commonwealth of Nations]], in which the [[Commonwealth Heads of Government]] meetings provide the main forum for co-operation.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting|year=2009|work=Commonwealth website|publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat|accessdate=16 April 2010|location=Pall Mall, London| archiveurl=| archivedate= 26 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
[[File:2RAR 070622-F-1644L-095.jpg|thumb|left|alt=A group of Australian soldiers with rifles moving along a path in a wooded area|[[Australian Army]] soldiers conducting a foot patrol during a joint training exercise with [[United States Armed Forces|US forces]] in [[Shoalwater Bay]] (2007).]]
Australia has pursued the cause of international [[trade liberalisation]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=S Korean President backs anti-protectionism moves |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|date=4 March 2009|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Crean calls for Govt to 'mobilise anger' over US steel tariffs |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|date=7 March 2002|accessdate=23 April 2010|archiveurl=|archivedate=11 May 2011}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=The Triumph of Trade Liberalisation Over Protectionism |author=Crean, Simon |publisher=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|accessdate=23 April 2010|authorlink=Simon Crean}}</ref> It led the formation of the [[Cairns Group]] and [[Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation]].<ref>{{Cite journal|author=Gallagher, P. W. |title=Setting the agenda for trade negotiations: Australia and the Cairns group |journal=Australian Journal of International Affairs |volume=42 |issue=1 April 1988 |pages= 3–8 |doi=10.1080/10357718808444955 |year=1988}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=APEC and Australia|publisher=APEC 2007|date=1 June 2007|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Australia is a member of the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]] and the [[World Trade Organization]],<ref>{{cite web|url=,3347,en_33873108_33873229_1_1_1_1_1,00.html|title=Australia:About|publisher=[[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]]|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=,3347,en_33873108_33873229_1_1_1_1_1,00.html| archivedate= 20 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia&nbsp;– Member information|publisher=[[World Trade Organization]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 25 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> and has pursued several major bilateral free trade agreements, most recently the [[Australia&nbsp;– United States Free Trade Agreement]]<ref name="AUSdfat">{{cite web|url=|title=Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement|publisher=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|accessdate=30 March 2010|location=Canberra, ACT| archiveurl=| archivedate= 17 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> and [[Closer Economic Relations]] with New Zealand,<ref name="CERdfat">{{cite web|url=|title=Closer Economic Relations|publisher=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|accessdate=30 March 2010|location=Canberra, ACT}}</ref> with another free trade agreement being negotiated with [[China]]—the [[Australia–China Free Trade Agreement]]—and [[Japan]],<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Japan-Australia Relations |publisher=Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan|accessdate=19 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 23 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> [[South Korea]] in 2011,<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Gillard confident of S Korean trade deal&nbsp;– ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url= |title=S. Korea, Australia set free-trade talks deadline| |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011}}</ref> [[Australia–Chile Free Trade Agreement]], [[Closer Economic Relations|ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Area]], and the [[Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership]].
Along with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore, Australia is party to the [[Five Power Defence Arrangements]], a regional defence agreement. A founding member country of the United Nations, Australia is strongly committed to [[multilateralism]]<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=In Defence of Multilateralism|author=Arvanitakis, James; Tyler, Amy|date=3 June 2008|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref> and maintains an international aid program under which some 60 countries receive assistance. The 2005–06 budget provides A$2.5&nbsp;billion for development assistance.<ref name="budget">Australian Government. (2005). [ Budget 2005–2006]</ref> Australia ranks seventh overall in the [[Center for Global Development]]'s 2008 [[Commitment to Development Index]].<ref>Center for Global Development. [ Commitment to Development Index: Australia], Retrieved 5 January 2008.</ref>
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 80,561 personnel (including 55,068 regulars and 25,493 reservists).<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Appendix 7: People: Defence actual staffing|work=Defence Annual Report 2008-09|publisher=[[Department of Defence (Australia)|Department of Defence]]|accessdate=28 June 2010}}</ref> The titular role of Commander-in-Chief is vested in the Governor-General, who appoints a [[Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)|Chief of the Defence Force]] from one of the armed services on the advice of the government.<ref>{{Cite book|title=Australian Defence Almanac 2004–05|last=Khosa|first=Raspal|year=2004|publisher=[[Australian Strategic Policy Institute]]|location=Canberra|page=4}}</ref> 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 for Defence (Australia)|Minister]] and [[Department of Defence (Australia)|Department of Defence]].
In the 2010–11 budget, defence spending was A$25.7&nbsp;billion,<ref>{{cite web|publisher=Australian Department of Defence|year=2010|url=|title=Budget 2010–11: Portfolio budget overview|accessdate=28 June 2010|archiveurl=|archivedate=16 May 2011}}</ref> representing the [[List of countries by military expenditure|13th largest defence budget]].<ref>Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2011). [].</ref> Australia has been involved in UN and regional peacekeeping, disaster relief and armed conflict; it [[Current Australian Defence Force deployments|currently has deployed]] approximately 3,330 defence force personnel in varying capacities to 12 international operations in areas including [[Operation Astute|East Timor]], [[Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands|Solomon Islands]] and [[Operation Slipper|Afghanistan]].<ref name="Global ops">Australian Department of Defence. [ Global Operations]. Retrieved 9 March 2009.</ref>
==Geography and climate==
{{Main|Geography of Australia|Climate of Australia|Geology of Australia}}
[[File:Australia-climate-map MJC01.png|right|thumb|alt=Australia divided into different colours indicating its climatic zones|Climatic zones in Australia, based on the [[Köppen climate classification]].]]
Australia's landmass of {{convert|7617930|km2|sqmi}}<ref name="Size">{{cite web|url=|title=Australia's Size Compared|publisher=[[Geoscience Australia]]|accessdate=19 May 2007| archiveurl =| archivedate = 24 March 2007}}</ref> is on the [[Indo-Australian Plate]]. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans,{{#tag:ref|Australia describes the body of water south of its mainland as the [[Southern Ocean]], rather than the Indian Ocean as defined by the [[International Hydrographic Organization]] (IHO). In 2000, a vote of IHO member nations defined the term "Southern Ocean" as applying only to the waters between [[Antarctica]] and [[60th parallel south|60 degrees south]] latitude.<ref>{{cite web|url=|last=Rosenberg|first=Matt|title=The New Fifth Ocean–The World's Newest Ocean&nbsp;– The Southern Ocean| Geography|date=20 August 2009|accessdate=5 April 2010}}</ref>|name="Southern Ocean"|group="N"}} it is separated from Asia by the [[Arafura Sea|Arafura]] and [[Timor Sea|Timor]] seas, with the [[Coral Sea]] lying off the Queensland coast, and the [[Tasman Sea]] lying between Australia and New Zealand. The world's smallest continent<ref name="NatlGeo">{{cite web|url=|title=Continents: What is a Continent?|publisher=[[National Geographic Society]]|accessdate=22 August 2009}} "Most people recognize seven continents—Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia, from largest to smallest—although sometimes Europe and Asia are considered a single continent, Eurasia."</ref> and [[List of countries and outlying territories by total area|sixth largest country by total area]],<ref name="Britannica">{{cite web|url=|title=Australia|publisher=[[Encyclopædia Britannica]]|accessdate=22 August 2009}} "Smallest continent and sixth largest country (in area) on Earth, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans."</ref> Australia—owing to its size and isolation—is often dubbed the "island continent",<ref>{{cite web|archiveurl=|url=|publisher=[[Geoscience Australia]]|title=Islands|archivedate=24 April 2010}} "Being surrounded by ocean, Australia often is referred to as an island continent. As a continental landmass it is significantly larger than the many thousands of fringing islands ..."</ref> and is sometimes considered the [[List of islands by area|world's largest island]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia in Brief: The island continent|publisher=[[Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)|Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade]]|accessdate=29 May 2009| archiveurl=| archivedate= 4 June 2009 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}} "Mainland Australia, with an area of 7.69 million square kilometres, is the Earth's largest island but smallest continent."</ref> Australia has {{convert|34218|km|mi|0}} of coastline (excluding all offshore islands),<ref name="Coast">{{cite web|url=|title=State of the Environment 2006|publisher=Department of the Environment and Water Resources|accessdate=19 May 2007}}</ref> and claims an extensive [[Exclusive Economic Zone]] of {{convert|8148250|km2|sqmi}}. This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory.<ref>{{cite web|archiveurl=|url=|publisher=[[Geoscience Australia]]|title=Oceans and Seas&nbsp;– Geoscience Australia|archivedate=3 July 2009}}</ref> Excluding [[Macquarie Island]], Australia lies between latitudes [[9th parallel south|9°]] and [[44th parallel south|44°S]], and longitudes [[112th meridian east|112°]] and [[154th meridian east|154°E]].
The [[Great Barrier Reef]], the world's largest coral reef,<ref name=UNEP>{{cite web|author=UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre|year=1980|title=Protected Areas and World Heritage&nbsp;– Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=28 May 2007|publisher=[[Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts|Department of the Environment and Heritage]]|accessdate=19 May 2007}}</ref> lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over {{convert|2000|km|mi|-1}}. [[Mount Augustus National Park|Mount Augustus]], claimed to be the world's largest monolith,<ref name="Monolith">{{Cite news|url=|title=Mount Augustus|publisher=[[The Sydney Morning Herald]]|date=17 February 2005 |accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref> is located in Western Australia. At {{convert|2228|m|ft|0}}, [[Mount Kosciuszko]] on the [[Great Dividing Range]] is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. Even taller are [[Mawson Peak]] (at {{convert|2745|m|ft|0|disp=or}}), on the remote Australian territory of [[Heard Island and McDonald Islands|Heard Island]], and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, [[Mount McClintock]] and [[Mount Menzies]], at {{convert|3492|m|ft|0}} and {{convert|3355|m|ft|0}} respectively.<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=[[Geoscience Australia]]|title=Highest Mountains|accessdate=2 February 2012}}</ref>
[[File:Everlastings on MtHotham Vic.jpg|left|thumb|Everlastings on [[Mount Hotham]], located in [[Victoria (Australia)|Victoria]]]]
Australia's size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with subtropical [[rain forests]] in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and dry desert in the centre.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Parks and Reserves—Australia's National Landscapes | |date=23 November 2011 |accessdate=4 January 2012}}</ref> It is the flattest continent,<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Map from above shows Australia is a very flat place|date=21 January 2005|last=Macey|first=Richard|publisher=[[The Sydney Morning Herald]]|accessdate=5 April 2010}}</ref> with the oldest and least fertile soils;<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=A Chat with Tim Flannery on Population Control|last=Kelly|first=Karina|publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|date=13 September 1995|accessdate=23 April 2010}} "Well, Australia has by far the world's least fertile soils".</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=Damaged Dirt|publisher=''[[The Advertiser (Adelaide)|The Advertiser]]''|last=Grant|first= Cameron|url=|date=August 2007|accessdate=23 April 2010}} "Australia has the oldest, most highly weathered soils on the planet."</ref> [[Deserts of Australia|desert]] or semi-arid land commonly known as the [[outback]] makes up by far the largest portion of land.<ref name="portrait">{{Cite book|title=Australia: Portrait of a continent |last=Loffler |first=Ernst |authorlink= |coauthors=Anneliese Loffler, A. J. Rose, Denis Warner |year=1983 |publisher=Hutchinson Group (Australia) |location=Richmond, Victoria |isbn=0-09-130460-1 |pages=37–39 }}</ref> The driest inhabited continent, only its south-east and south-west corners have a [[temperate climate]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia&nbsp;– Climate of a Continent|publisher=Bureau of Meterorology|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 26 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The [[List of countries and dependencies by population density|population density]], 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, is among the lowest in the world,<ref name="worldatlas1">{{cite web|url=|title=Countries of the World (by lowest population density)|publisher=WorldAtlas|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 24 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> although a large proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=1301.0&nbsp;– Year Book Australia, 2008|publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics|date=7 February 2008|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria. The name is not strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than {{convert|1600|m|ft|0}} in height.<ref name="Johnson2009p202">{{Cite book| last = Johnson | first = David | year = 2009 | title = The Geology of Australia | edition = 2 | publisher = [[Cambridge University Press]] | isbn = 978-0-521-76741-5 | page = 202 }}</ref> The [[Eastern Australian temperate forests|coastal uplands]] and a [[Brigalow Belt|belt of Brigalow grasslands]] lie between the coast and the mountains, while inland of the dividing range are large areas of grassland.<ref name="Johnson2009p202" /><ref>{{Cite journal| last1 = Seabrooka | first1 = Leonie | last2 = McAlpinea | first2 = Clive | last3 = Fenshamb | first3 = Rod | year = 2006 | title = Cattle, crops and clearing: Regional drivers of landscape change in the Brigalow Belt, Queensland, Australia, 1840–2004 | journal = Landscape and Urban Planning | volume = 78 | issue = 4 | pages = 375–376 | doi = 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2005.11.00 }}</ref> These include the [[Southeast Australia temperate savanna|western plains]] of New South Wales, and the [[Einasleigh Uplands]], [[Barkly Tableland]], and [[Mulga Lands]] of inland Queensland. The northernmost point of the east coast is the tropical-rainforested [[Cape York Peninsula]].<ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Einasleigh upland savanna| id=aa0705 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion|name=Mitchell grass downs | id=aa0707 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion | name = Eastern Australia mulga shrublands| id=aa0802 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Southeast Australia temperate savanna | id=aa0803 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref>
[[File:Reliefmap of Australia.png|thumb|alt=Map showing the topography of Australia, showing some elevation in the west and very high elevation in mountains in the southeast|Topographic map of Australia]]
The landscapes of the northern part of the country—the [[Top End]] and the [[Gulf Country]] behind the [[Gulf of Carpentaria]], with their tropical climate—consist of [[woodland]], [[grassland]], and desert.<ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Arnhem Land tropical savanna | id=aa0701 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref><ref>{{cite web| date = 27 June 2009 | title = Rangelands&nbsp;– Overview | work = Australian Natural Resources Atlas | publisher = Australian Government | url = | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Cape York Peninsula tropical savanna | id=aa0703| accessdate=16 June 2010}}</ref> At the north-west corner of the continent are the sandstone cliffs and gorges of [[Kimberley (Western Australia)|The Kimberley]], and below that the [[Pilbara]]. To the south of these and inland, lie more areas of grassland: the [[Ord Victoria Plain]] and the [[Western Australian Mulga shrublands]].<ref>{{Cite book| last = Van Driesum | first = Rob | year = 2002 | title = Outback Australia | publisher = Lonely Planet | isbn = 1-86450-187-1 | page = 306 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Victoria Plains tropical savanna | id=aa0709 | accessdate =16 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Western Australian Mulga shrublands | id=aa1310 | accessdate =16 June 2010}}</ref> At the heart of the country are the [[Central Ranges xeric scrub|uplands of central Australia]]; prominent features of the centre and south include the inland [[Simpson Desert|Simpson]], [[Tirari-Sturt stony desert|Tirari and Sturt Stony]], [[Gibson Desert|Gibson]], [[Great Sandy-Tanami desert|Great Sandy, Tanami]], and [[Great Victoria Desert|Great Victoria]] deserts, with the famous [[Nullarbor Plain]] on the southern coast.<ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Central Ranges xeric scrub | id=aa1302 | accessdate =16 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Cite book| last = Banting | first = Erinn | year = 2003 | title = Australia: The land | publisher = Crabtree Publishing Company | isbn = 0-7787-9343-5 | page = 10 }}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Tirari-Sturt stony desert | id=aa1309 | accessdate =16 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{WWF ecoregion| name = Great Sandy-Tanami desert | id=aa1304 | accessdate =16 June 2010 }}</ref>
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 in Australia|drought]], and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces [[cyclone]]s in northern Australia.<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=No more drought: it's a 'permanent dry'|last=Kleinman|first=Rachel|date=6 September 2007|accessdate=30 March 2010|work=[[The Age]] | location=Melbourne}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Australia's epic drought: The situation is grim|last=Marks|first=Kathy|work=[[The Independent]]|date=20 April 2007|accessdate=30 March 2010|location=London}}</ref> 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) climate.<ref name=bomclim>{{cite web| title = Australia&nbsp;– Climate of Our Continent | publisher = Bureau of Meteorology | url = | accessdate =17 June 2010|year=2010}}</ref> The [[Southwest corner of Western Australia|southwest corner of the country]] has a [[Mediterranean climate]].<ref>{{cite web| title = Climate of Western Australia | publisher = Bureau of Meteorology | url = | accessdate =6 December 2009}}</ref> Much of the southeast (including Tasmania) is temperate.<ref name=bomclim/>
{{Main|Environment of Australia}}
{{See also|Fauna of Australia|Flora of Australia|Fungi of Australia}}
Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from [[alpine climate|alpine]] heaths to [[tropical rainforest]]s, and is recognised as a [[megadiverse countries|megadiverse country]]. The fungi typify that diversity; the total number that occur in Australia, including those not yet discovered, has been estimated at around 250,000 species, of which roughly 5% have been described.<ref>Pascoe, I.G. (1991). History of systematic mycology in Australia. ''History of Systematic Botany in Australasia.'' Ed. by: P. Short. Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc. pp. 259–264.</ref> Because of the continent's great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's [[biota (ecology)|biota]] is unique and diverse. About 85 per cent of flowering plants, 84 per cent of mammals, more than 45 per cent of [[List of birds of Australia|birds]], and 89 per cent of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are [[endemism|endemic]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=About Biodiversity|accessdate=18 September 2007|publisher=Department of the Environment and Heritage|archiveurl=|archivedate=5 February 2007}}</ref> Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country, with 755 species.<ref>{{Cite book|last=Lambertini|first=Marco|title=A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics|year=2000|isbn=0-226-46828-3|publisher=University of Chicago Press|url=|format=excerpt|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref>
[[File:Koala climbing tree.jpg|thumb|left|alt=A koala holding onto a eucalyptus tree with its head turned so both eyes are visible|The [[koala]] and the ''[[eucalyptus]]'' form an iconic Australian pair]]
[[Forests of Australia|Australian forests]] are mostly made up of evergreen species, particularly [[eucalyptus]] trees in the less arid regions, [[Acacia|wattles]] replace them in drier regions and deserts as the most dominant species.<ref name=dfat>{{cite web|url=|title=About Australia: Flora and fauna|accessdate=15 May 2010|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|date=May 2008|work=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website}}</ref> Among well-known [[fauna of Australia|Australian animals]] are the [[monotreme]]s (the [[platypus]] and [[echidna]]); a host of [[marsupial]]s, including the [[kangaroo]], [[koala]], and [[wombat]], and birds such as the [[emu]] and the [[kookaburra]].<ref name=dfat/> Australia is home to [[Animal attacks in Australia|many dangerous animals]] including some of the most venomous snakes in the world.<ref>"Snake Bite", ''[ The Australian Venom Compendium]''.</ref> The [[dingo]] was introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000 [[Common Era|BCE]].<ref name="savolainen2004">Savolainen, P. et al. 2004. A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. ''Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America''. 101:12387–12390 PMID.</ref> Many animal and plant species became extinct soon after first human settlement,<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Humans to blame for extinction of Australia's megafauna|publisher=The [[University of Melbourne]]|date=8 June 2001|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 2 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> including the [[Australian megafauna]]; others have disappeared since European settlement, among them the [[thylacine]].<ref name="NW">{{cite web|url=|title=Additional Thylacine Topics: Persecution|publisher=The Thylacine Museum|year=2006|accessdate=30 March 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=National Threatened Species Day|publisher=Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government|year=2006|accessdate=21 November 2006| archiveurl=| archivedate= 9 December 2006 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and [[Invasive species in Australia|introduced]] animal, [[chromista]]n, fungal and plant species.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Invasive species |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts |date=17 March 2010 |accessdate=14 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 29 June 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The federal ''Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999'' is the legal framework for the protection of threatened species.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=About the EPBC Act |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts |date= |accessdate=14 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 31 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Numerous [[Protected areas of Australia|protected areas]] have been created under the [[Biodiversity Action Plan|National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity]] to protect and preserve unique ecosystems;<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
|date=21 January 2010 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Conservation of biological diversity across Australia |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts|date=19 January 2009 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref> 65 [[wetland]]s are [[List of Ramsar sites in Australia|listed]] under the [[Ramsar Convention]],<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=The List of Wetlands of International Importance |publisher=[[Ramsar Convention]] |pages=6–7 |format=PDF |date=22 May 2010 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref> and 16 natural [[World Heritage Site]]s have been established.<ref name="WHC">{{cite web|url=|title=Australia|work=UNESCO World Heritage Centre|publisher=UNESCO|accessdate=5 September 2009}}</ref> Australia was ranked 51st of 163 countries in the world on the 2010 [[Environmental Performance Index]].<ref name="EPI">{{cite web|url=|title=2010 Environmental Performance Index|publisher=[[Yale University]]|accessdate=11 November 2010|archiveurl= <!-- Added by H3llBot -->|archivedate=16 October 2010}}</ref>
[[Climate change in Australia|Climate change]] has become an increasing concern in Australia in recent years, and protection of the environment is a major political issue.<ref>[ Atmosphere: Major issue: climate change], Australian State of the Environment Committee, 2006.</ref><ref>[ ANU poll finds 'it's the environment, stupid'], [[Australian National University]]. Retrieved 8 January 2008.</ref> In 2007, the [[Rudd Government]] signed the instrument of ratification of the [[Kyoto Protocol]]. Nevertheless, Australia's [[List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita|carbon dioxide emissions per capita]] are among the highest in the world, lower than those of only a few other industrialised nations.<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Australia's carbon dioxide emissions twice world rate|publisher=[[The Sydney Morning Herald]]|last=Smith|first=Deborah|date=22 May 2007|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 17 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Rainfall in Australia has slightly increased over the past century, both nationwide and for two quadrants of the nation,<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Regional Rainfall Trends|publisher=Bureau of Meteorology|accessdate=8 July 2009}}</ref> According to the [[Bureau of Meteorology]]'s 2011 Australian Climate Statement, Australia had lower than average temperatures in 2011 as a consequence of a [[La Nina]] weather pattern, however, "the country's 10-year average continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures, with 2002–2011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10-year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52 °C above the long-term average".<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Annual Australian Climate Statement 2011 | |date=4 January 2012 |accessdate=15 April 2012}}</ref> [[Water restrictions in Australia|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 in Australia|drought]].<ref>{{Cite news| url= |title=Saving Australia's water |publisher=BBC News |date=23 April 2008 |accessdate=1 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news| url=|title=National review of water restrictions in Australia
|publisher=Australian Government National Water Commission|date=15 January 2010 |accessdate=27 September 2012}}</ref> Throughout much of the continent, [[Floods in Australia|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]].
{{Main|Economy of Australia}}
{{See also|Economic history of Australia|Median household income in Australia and New Zealand}}
[[File:Kalgoorlie The Big Pit DSC04498.JPG|thumb|alt=A deep opencut mine in which some roads can be seen, the dirt is a rusty colour|The [[Super Pit gold mine]] in [[Kalgoorlie]], Australia's largest [[Open-pit mining|open cut]] mine.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Government to help Kalgoorlie quake victims |accessdate=2 June 2010 |date=20 April 2010 |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]| archiveurl=| archivedate= 6 June 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>]]
Australia is a wealthy country<ref>{{cite book|last=Cassen|first=Robert |title=Rich Country Interests and Third World Development |publisher=Taylor & Francis |year=1982 |location=United Kingdom|isbn=0-70991930-1}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia, wealthiest nation in the world|date=20 October 2011|accessdate=24 July 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|url=|title=Australian's the world's wealthiest|date=31 October 2011|accessdate=24 July 2012|work=The Sydney Morning Herald}}</ref> with a [[market economy]], a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. The [[Australian dollar]] is the currency for the nation, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent [[Pacific Islands|Pacific Island states]] of [[Kiribati]], [[Nauru]], and [[Tuvalu]]. 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.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=On the International Realignment of Exchanges and Related Trends in Self-Regulation&nbsp;– Australian Stock Exchange|format=PDF|accessdate=3 January 2010|archiveurl=|archivedate=13 December 2010}}</ref>
Ranked third in the [[Index of Economic Freedom]] (2010),<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia|publisher=2010 Index of Economic Freedom|accessdate=30 March 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 30 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Australia is the [[List of countries by GDP (nominal)|world's thirteenth largest economy]] and has the [[List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita|fifth highest per capita GDP]] (nominal) at $66,984. The country was ranked second in the United Nations 2011 [[Human Development Index]] and first in [[Legatum Institute|Legatum]]'s 2008 [[Legatum Prosperity Index|Prosperity Index]].<ref name="HDI">{{cite web|url=|title=Human Development Report 2010 – tables|year=2010|publisher=United Nations|accessdate=25 April 2011| archiveurl=| archivedate= 29 April 2011 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> All of Australia's major cities fare well in global comparative livability surveys;<ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Melbourne 'world's top city'|date=6 February 2004|work=The Age|accessdate=31 January 2009| archiveurl=| archivedate= 30 January 2009 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Melbourne reached first place on ''The Economist'''s 2011 and 2012 [[world's most livable cities]] lists, followed by Sydney, Perth, and Adelaide in sixth, eighth, and ninth place respectively.<ref>{{Cite news|url= |title=Liveability ranking:Melbourne storm |date=30 August 2011 |accessdate=10 October 2010 |work=The Economist}}</ref> Total government debt in Australia is about $190 billion<ref>{{cite web|author=Tim Hughes |url= |title=Australian dollar continues astronomical rise to 30-year highs as US dollar, euro tank |publisher=Courier Mail |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011}}</ref> – 20 per cent of [[GDP]] in 2010.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Australia Public debt – Economy | |date=9 January 2012 |accessdate=15 April 2012}}</ref> Australia has among the highest house prices and some of the highest household-debt levels in the world.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Nick Bryant's Australia: Australian affordablity |publisher=BBC |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011}}</ref>
[[File:2006Australian exports.svg|thumb|left|300px|alt=World map showing the distribution of Australian goods|Destination and value of Australian exports in 2006<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=5368.0&nbsp;– International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, April 2007 |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] |date=31 May 2007 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref>]]
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's balance of payments|Australia has a balance of payments]] that is more than 7 per cent of GDP negative, and has had persistently large [[current account]] deficits for more than 50 years.<ref name="downwonder">{{Cite news|url= |title=Might Australia's economic fortunes turn? |work=The Economist |date=29 March 2007 |accessdate=28 May 2010}}</ref> Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6 per cent for over 15 years, in comparison to the OECD annual average of 2.5 per cent.<ref name="downwonder"/> Australia was the only advanced economy not to experience a recession due to the [[Late-2000s recession|global financial downturn]] in 2008–2009.<ref name="IMFOutlook2010">{{cite web|url= |title=World Economic Outlook (WEO) 2010 Rebalancing Growth |publisher=International Monetary Fund | accessdate=31 May 2012}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Australia slashes immigration as recession looms |publisher=The Independent |date=16 March 2009 |accessdate=26 April 2011 |location=London}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|last=Mclennan |first=David |url= |title=Australian economy growing as new recession fears fade |publisher=The Canberra Times |date=12 April 2011 |accessdate=26 April 2011}} {{Dead link|date=March 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref>
The [[Bob Hawke|Hawke Government]] [[Floating exchange rate|floated]] the Australian dollar in 1983 and partially deregulated the financial system.<ref>{{cite web
|title=Australian Monetary Policy in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century
|author=Macfarlane, I. J.
|publisher=''Reserve Bank of Australia Bulletin''
|date=October 1998
|accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref> The [[Howard Government]] followed with a [[WorkChoices|partial deregulation of the labour market]] and the further [[privatisation]] of state-owned businesses, most notably in the [[telecommunications in Australia|telecommunications]] industry.<ref>{{cite web
|title=Microeconomic reforms and the revival in Australia's growth in productivity and living standards
|author=Dean Parham
|publisher=''Conference of Economists'' Adelaide
|date=1 October 2002
|accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref> The indirect tax system was substantially changed in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10 per cent [[Goods and Services Tax (Australia)|Goods and Services Tax]] (GST).<ref>{{cite journal|url=|author=Tran-Nam, Binh |title=The Implementation Costs of the GST in Australia: Concepts, Preliminary Estimates and Implications [2000&#93; JlATax 23; (2000) 3(5) |journal=Journal of Australian Taxation 331|publisher=[[Australasian Legal Information Institute]]|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> In [[Taxation in Australia|Australia's tax system]], personal and company [[Income tax in Australia|income tax]] are the main sources of government revenue.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Part 1: Australian Government Budget Outcome|publisher=Budget 2008–09&nbsp;– Australian Government|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
In May 2012, there were 11,537,900&nbsp;people employed (either full- or part-time), with an unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent.<ref name="ABSLabourForce">Australian Bureau of Statistics. 6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, April 2012 []</ref> Youth unemployment (15–24) stood at 11.2 per cent.<ref name="ABSLabourForce"/>
Over the past decade<!--MOS breach—see "Vague chronological terms". "Since ?1998"-->, inflation has typically been 2–3 per cent and the base interest rate 5–6 per cent. The service sector of the economy, including tourism, education, and financial services, accounts for about 70 per cent of GDP.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Australia. CIA&nbsp;– The World Factbook | |date= |accessdate=22 January 2011| archiveurl=| archivedate= 29 December 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> 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. Although [[Agriculture in Australia|agriculture]] and natural resources account for only 3 per cent and 5 per cent of GDP respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance. Australia's largest export markets are Japan, [[China]], the US, South Korea, and New Zealand.<ref name="Year Book 2005">Australian Bureau of Statistics. [!OpenDocument Year Book Australia 2005].</ref> Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, and the wine industry contributes $5.5 billion per year to the nation's economy.<ref name="wineaustralia1">{{cite news |publisher=wineaustralia |url= |title= Wine Australia |accessdate=22 October 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 23 October 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
{{Main|Demographics of Australia|Immigration to Australia|List of cities in Australia by population}}
[[File:Surfers Paradise Beach Queensland.jpg|thumb|alt=A beach sloping down from a grassy area on the left to the sea on the right, a city can be seen in the horizon|Nearly three quarters of Australians live in metropolitan cities and coastal areas. The beach is an integral part of the Australian identity.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=The Beach |work=Australian Government: Culture Portal |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Commonwealth of Australia |date=17 March 2008 |accessdate=7 May 2010}}</ref>]]
For almost two centuries the majority of settlers, and later immigrants, came from the British Isles. As a result the people of Australia are primarily of British and/or Irish ethnic origin. The 2011 Census asked respondents to provide a maximum of two ancestries with which they most closely identify. The most commonly nominated ancestry was [[English Australian|English]] (36.1 per cent), followed by Australian (35.4 per cent),<ref>The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stated that most who list "Australian" as their ancestry are part of the [[Anglo-Celtic Australian|Anglo-Celtic]] group. [!OpenDocument]</ref> [[Irish Australian|Irish]] (10.4 per cent), [[Scottish Australian|Scottish]] (8.9 per cent), [[Italian Australian|Italian]] (4.6 per cent), [[German Australian|German]] (4.5 per cent), [[Chinese Australian|Chinese]] (4.3 per cent), [[Indian Australian|Indian]] (2.0 per cent), [[Greek Australian|Greek]] (1.9 per cent), and [[Dutch Australian|Dutch]] (1.7 per cent).<ref><!-- 36.1 + 35.4 + 10.4 + 8.9 + 4.6 + 4.5 + 4.3 + 2.0 + 1.9 + 1.7 = 109.8 !! "Table presents collective responses to ancestry question. As some people stated two ancestries, the total persons for all ancestries exceed Australia's total population." -->{{cite web |url= |title=Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013 |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] |date=21 June 2012 |accessdate=25 June 2012}}</ref> [[Asian Australian]]s make up 12% of the population.<ref>{{cite news| url= | work=The Sydney Morning Herald | title=Land of many cultures, ancestries and faiths | date=22 June 2012}}</ref>
Australia's population has quadrupled since the end of World War I.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=3105.0.65.001—Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006 |accessdate=18 September 2007 |date=23 May 2006 |format=[[Microsoft Excel|XLS]] |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] |quote=Australian population: (1919) 5,080,912; (2006) 20,209,993 | archiveurl=| archivedate= 8 September 2007 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Nevertheless, its [[List of countries and dependencies by population density|population density]], 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world.<ref name="worldatlas1"/> Much of the population increase came from [[Immigration to Australia|immigration]]. Following World War II and through to 2000, almost 5.9&nbsp;million of the total population settled in the country as new immigrants, meaning that nearly two out of every seven Australians were born in another country.<ref name="Immigration">{{cite web|url=|title=Background note: Australia|publisher=US Department of State|accessdate=19 May 2007| archiveurl=| archivedate= 20 May 2007 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Most immigrants are skilled,<ref name="immig">{{cite web|url= |title=Fact Sheet 20&nbsp;– Migration Program Planning Levels |accessdate=17 June 2010 |date=11 August 2009 |publisher=Department of Immigration and Citizenship| archiveurl=| archivedate= 7 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> but the immigration quota includes categories for family members and [[refugee]]s.<ref name="immig"/> By 2050, Australia's population is currently projected to reach around 42 million.<ref>"[ Australia's population to grow to 42 million by 2050, modelling shows]". 17 April 2010</ref>
In 2011, 24.6% of Australians were born elsewhere and 43.1% of people had at least one overseas-born parent;<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=2011 Census reveals one in four Australians is born overseas|publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]]|date=21 June 2012|accessdate=21 June 2012}}</ref> the largest immigrant groups were those from the [[Anglo-Celtic Australian|United Kingdom]], New Zealand, [[China]], [[India]], Italy, [[Vietnam]], and [[Philippines]].<ref name="census2011"/>
Over 80 percent of Australia's population is of European ancestry, and most of the rest are of Asian heritage, with a smaller minority of indigenous ([[Australian Aborigines|Aboriginal]]) background. Following the abolition of the [[White Australia policy]] in 1973, numerous government initiatives have been established to encourage and promote racial harmony based on a policy of [[multiculturalism]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=The Evolution of Australia's Multicultural Policy|accessdate=18 September 2007|year=2005|publisher=Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs|archiveurl=|archivedate=19 February 2006}}</ref> In 2005–06, more than 131,000&nbsp;people emigrated to Australia, mainly from [[Asia]] and [[Oceania]].<ref>{{cite web
|archivedate=9 June 2007
|title=Settler numbers on the rise
|publisher=Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
|date=27 December 2006
|accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref> The migration target for 2012–13 is 190,000,<ref>"[ Targeted migration increase to fill skills gaps]". Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 8 May 2012.</ref> compared to 67,900 in 1998–99.<ref>[ Fact Sheet 2 – Key Facts In Immigration – Department of Immigration and Citizenship]</ref>
[[File:Barossa Valley South Australia.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Aerial view of farming fields interspersed with roads, a small forest near the front of the photo|The [[Barossa Valley (wine)|Barossa Valley]] is a [[Australian wine|wine-producing]] region in [[South Australian wine|South Australia]]. Fewer than 15 per cent of Australians live in rural areas.]]
The Indigenous population—mainland [[Indigenous Australians|Aborigines]] and [[Torres Strait Islands|Torres Strait Islanders]]—was counted at 548,370 (2.5 per cent of the total population) in 2011,<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia revealed as 2011 Census data is released |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]] |date=21 June 2012 |accessdate=21 June 2012}}</ref> a significant increase from 115,953 in the 1976 census.<ref name="Year Book 2004">{{cite web|url=|title=1301.0&nbsp;– Year Book Australia, 2004
|date=27 February 2004|accessdate=24 April 2009|publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]]| archiveurl=| archivedate= 15 May 2009 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The increase is partly due to the fact that previously, many people with Indigenous heritage were overlooked by the census due to undercount and cases where their Indigenous status had not been recorded on the form.
Indigenous Australians experience higher than average rates of imprisonment and unemployment,<ref>{{cite news|title='Racist' Australia compared to Apartheid South Africa by UN Human Rights commissioner|url=|accessdate=2 June 2011|newspaper=[[Daily Mail|Mail Online]]|date=25 May 2011|location=London}}</ref> lower levels of education, and life expectancies for males and females that are 11–17 years lower than those of non-indigenous Australians.<ref name="Year Book 2005"/><ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Life gap figures not black and white |author=Lunn, Stephen |work=[[The Australian]] |publisher=News Limited |date=26 November 2008 |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Indigenous health gap closes by five years |author=Gibson, Joel |work= [[The Sydney Morning Herald]] |publisher=[[Fairfax Media|Fairfax]] |date=10 April 2009 |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref><!-- The Australian and SMH refs should be replaced with the finalised ABS estimate when this becomes available. --> Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "[[failed state]]"-like conditions.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Australia hides a 'failed state' |author=Grattan, Michelle |publisher=[[The Age]] |location=Melbourne |date=8 December 2006 |accessdate=17 October 2008 |authorlink=Michelle Grattan| archiveurl=| archivedate= 19 November 2008 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |author=Manne, Robert |url= |title=Extract: Dear Mr Rudd |publisher=Safecom |accessdate=17 October 2008 |authorlink=Robert Manne}}</ref><ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Poor fellow, failed state |publisher=[[The Age]] |date=17 March 2008 |accessdate=26 May 2010 |author=Skelton, Russell |location=Melbourne}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Remote Australia a 'failed state' |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |date=15 September 2008 |accessdate=26 May 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Remote Australia a failed state: Indigenous policy makers |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |date=4 September 2008 |accessdate=26 May 2010}}</ref>
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. In 2004, the [[Population pyramid|average age]] of the civilian population was 38.8 years.<ref>Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library (2005). [ Australia's aging workforce].</ref> A large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002–03;<ref>Parliament of Australia, Senate (2005). [ Inquiry into Australian Expatriates].</ref> 1 million or 5% of the total population in 2005<ref>{{cite book|title=Imagining Australia|author=Macgregor Duncan, Andrew Leigh, David Madden, and Peter Tynan|publisher=Allen &amp; Unwin|year=2004|isbn=9781741143829|url =,M1|page=44}}</ref>) live outside their home country.
{{Largest cities of Australia}}
{{Main|Languages of Australia}}
Although Australia has no official language, [[English language|English]] has always been entrenched as the ''[[de facto]]'' national language.<ref name=language>{{cite web|url=|title=Pluralist Nations: Pluralist Language Policies?|work=1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference Proceedings, Sydney|publisher=[[Department of Immigration and Citizenship]]|accessdate=11 January 2009| archiveurl=| archivedate= 20 December 2008 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}} "English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language."</ref> [[Australian English]] is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon,<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=The Vocabulary Of Australian English|last=Moore|first=Bruce|publisher=National Museum of Australia|accessdate=5 April 2010}}</ref> and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling.<ref name="Fourth Edition 2005">"The Macquarie Dictionary", Fourth Edition. The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd, 2005.</ref> [[General Australian]] serves as the standard dialect. According to the 2011 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 81% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]] (1.7%), [[Italian language|Italian]] (1.5%), [[Arabic language|Arabic]] (1.4%), [[Cantonese]] (1.3%), [[Greek language|Greek]] (1.3%), and [[Vietnamese language|Vietnamese]] (1.2%);<ref name="census2011"/> a considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. A 2010–2011 study by the Australia Early Development Index found the most common language spoken by children after English was Arabic, followed by Vietnamese, Greek, Chinese, and Hindi.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=A Snapshot of Early Childhood Development in Australia| page= 8 |date= |accessdate=28 June 2012}}</ref><ref>[[Agence France-Presse]]/[[Jiji Press]], "Arabic Australia's second language", ''[[Japan Times]]'', 16 April 2011, p. 4.</ref>
Between 200 and 300 [[Indigenous Australian languages]] are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact, of which only about 70 have survived. Many of these are exclusively spoken by older people; only 18 Indigenous languages are still spoken by all age groups.<ref name=nilsr>{{cite web |url= |title=National Indigenous Languages Survey Report 2005 |publisher=Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts |accessdate=5 September 2009 |archiveurl= <!-- Added by H3llBot --> |archivedate=9 July 2009}}</ref> At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12 per cent of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=4713.0&nbsp;– Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 |last=Australian Bureau of Statistics |date=04/05/2010 |publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics |language=Canberra |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref> Australia has a [[sign language]] known as [[Auslan]], which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=20680-Language Spoken at Home (full classification list) by Sex&nbsp;– Australia |last=Australian Bureau of Statistics |date=27 June 2007 |work=2006 Census Tables : Australia |location=Canberra |publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref>
{{Main|Religion in Australia}}
[[File:WR Thomas - A South Australian Corroboree, 1864.jpg|thumb|WR Thomas, ''A South Australian Corroboree'', 1864, [[Art Gallery of South Australia]]. Aboriginal Australians developed the animist religion of the [[Dreamtime (mythology)|Dreamtime]].]]
Australia has no [[state religion]]; Section 116 of the [[Australian Constitution]] prohibits the [[Federal Government of Australia|federal government]] from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=About Australia: Religious Freedom | |date= |accessdate=31 December 2011}} {{Dead link|date=March 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref> In the 2011 census, 61.1 per cent of Australians were counted as [[Christian]], including 25.3 per cent as [[Roman Catholicism in Australia|Roman Catholic]] and 17.1 per cent as [[Anglicanism|Anglican]]. 22.3 per cent of the population reported having "[[Irreligion in Australia|no religion]]" (which includes [[secular humanism|humanism]], [[atheism]], [[agnosticism]] and [[rationalism]]). 7.2 per cent identify with non-Christian religions, the largest of these being [[Buddhism]] (2.5 per cent), followed by [[Islam]] (2.2 per cent), [[Hinduism]] (1.3 per cent) and [[Judaism]] (0.5 per cent). The remaining 9.4 per cent of the population did not provide an answer.<ref name="census2011">{{cite web|url=|title=Cultural Diversity In Australia |publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]]|date=21 June 2012|accessdate=27 June 2012}}</ref>
[[File:St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney1234.jpg|thumb|left|[[St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney|St Mary's Catholic Cathedral]], Sydney, built to a design by [[William Wardell]]. About a quarter of Australians are Roman Catholic.]]
Prior to European settlement in Australia, the animist beliefs of Australia's indigenous people had been practised for millennia. In the case of mainland [[Aboriginal Australians]], their spirituality is known as the [[Dreamtime (mythology)|Dreamtime]] and it places a heavy emphasis on belonging to the land. The collection of stories that it contains shaped Aboriginal law and customs. [[Aboriginal art]], story and dance continue to draw on these spiritual traditions. In the case of the [[Torres Strait Islanders]] who inhabit the islands between Australia and New Guinea, spirituality and customs reflected their Melanesian origins and dependence on the sea. The 1996 Australian census counted more than 7000 respondents as followers of a traditional Aboriginal religion.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Indigenous Traditions – Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders | |date=14 December 1999 |accessdate=31 December 2011}}</ref>
Since the arrival of the [[First Fleet]] of British ships in 1788, Christianity has grown to be the major religion. Consequently, the Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter are public holidays, the skylines of Australian cities and towns are marked by church and cathedral spires, and the Christian churches have played an integral role in the development of education, health and welfare services in Australia. The [[Catholic education in Australia|Catholic education]] system operates as the largest non-government educator, accounting for about 21 per cent of all secondary enrolments as of 2010, with [[Catholic Health Australia]] similarly being the largest non-government provider. Christian welfare organisations also play a prominent role in national life, with organisations such as the [[Salvation Army]], [[St Vincent de Paul Society]] and [[Anglicare]] having widespread support. Such contributions are recognised on Australia's currency, with the presence of Christian ministers such as Aboriginal writer [[David Unaipon]] ($50); founder of the [[Royal Flying Doctor Service]], [[John Flynn (minister)|John Flynn]] ($20); and [[Catherine Helen Spence]] ($5) who was Australia's first female candidate for political office. Other significant Australian religious figures have included [[Mary MacKillop]], who in 2010 became the first Australian to be recognised as a [[saint]] by the Roman Catholic Church and [[Churches of Christ in Australia|Church of Christ]] pastor Sir [[Douglas Nicholls]] who, like [[Martin Luther King]] in the United States, led a movement against racial inequality in Australia and was also the first indigenous Australian to be appointed as a state governor.
For much of Australian history the [[Church of England]] (now known as the [[Anglican Church of Australia]]) was the largest religious affiliation, however multicultural immigration has contributed to a decline in its relative position, with the Roman Catholic Church benefiting from the opening of post-war Australia to multicultural immigration and becoming the largest group. Similarly, [[Islam in Australia|Islam]], [[Buddhism in Australia|Buddhism]], [[Hinduism in Australia|Hinduism]] and [[History of the Jews in Australia|Judaism]] have all been expanding in the post war decades.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=2011 Census reveals Hinduism as the fastest growing religion in Australia|publisher=[[Australian Bureau of Statistics]]|date=21 June 2012|accessdate=21 June 2012}}</ref> To a lesser extent, smaller affiliations including the [[Bahá'í Faith]], [[Sikhism]], [[Wicca]] and [[Paganism (contemporary)|Paganism]] have also seen a significant increase in numbers. In the 2001 census there were, 17,381 [[Sikh]]s, 11,037 [[Bahá'í]]s, 10,632 [[Paganism (contemporary)|Pagans]] and 8,755 [[Wicca]]ns in Australia.<ref name="crcdata">{{cite web |url= |title=Religious Affiliation – Australia: 2001 and 1996 Census |publisher=Community Relations Commission for a multicultural NSW |accessdate=28 November 2012}}</ref>
An international survey, made by the private and not-for profit [[Germany|German]] think-tank, the [[Bertelsmann Foundation]], found that "Australia is one of the least religious nations in the western world, coming in 17th out of 21 [countries] surveyed" and that "Nearly three out of four Australians say they are either not at all religious or that religion does not play a central role in their lives."<ref>[ Pope rests with piano and cat ahead of World Youth Day] – mentioned in the last two sentences of article</ref> While weekly attendance at church services in 2001 was about 1.5 million<ref>[ NCLS releases latest estimates of church attendance], National Church Life Survey, Media release, 28 February 2004.</ref> (about 7.8 per cent of the population),<ref>Australian population in 2001 was 19,358,000, according to [[Encyclopædia Britannica]]'s ''Book of the Year'' 2002, World Data, p548.</ref> a survey of 1,718 Australians by the [[Christian Research Association]] at the end of 2009 suggested that the number of people attending religious services per month in Australia has dropped from 23 per cent in 1993 to 16 per cent in 2009, and while 60 per cent of 15 to 29-year-old respondents in 1993 identified with Christian denominations, 33 per cent did in 2009.<ref>{{cite web|author=Stephanie Painter, Vivienne Ryan and Bethany Hiatt|url=|title=Australians losing the faith|date=15 June 2010|work=[[The West Australian]]|accessdate=10 June 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Education in Australia}}
School attendance is compulsory throughout Australia. Education is the responsibility of the individual states and territories<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Schooling Overview|accessdate=18 December 2011|publisher=Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations}}</ref> so the rules vary between states, but in general children are required to attend school from the age of about 5 up until about 16.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Education|publisher=[[Department of Immigration and Citizenship]]|accessdate=14 January 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Our system of education|publisher=Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|accessdate=13 January 2012}} {{Dead link|date=March 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref> In at least some states (e.g., WA)<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=The Department of Education – Schools and You – Schooling | |date= |accessdate=31 December 2011}}</ref> children aged 16–17 are required to either attend school or participate in vocational training, such as an [[apprenticeship]].
Australia has an adult literacy rate that is assumed to be 99 per cent. 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]]). [[Catholic education in Australia|Catholic education]] accounts for the largest non-government sector.
Australia has 37 government-funded universities and two private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher education level.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Australian Education &#124; Australian Education System &#124; Education &#124; Study in Australia | |date= |accessdate=31 December 2011}}</ref> The [[University of Sydney]] is Australia's oldest university, having been founded in 1850, followed by the [[University of Melbourne]] three years later. Other notable universities include those of the [[Group of Eight (Australian universities)|Group of Eight]] leading tertiary institutions, including the [[University of Adelaide]] (which boasts an association with five [[Nobel Laureates]]), the [[Australian National University]] located in the national capital of Canberra, [[Monash University]] and the [[University of New South Wales]].
The OECD places Australia among the most expensive nations to attend university.<ref></ref> There is a state-based system of vocational training, known as [[Technical and further education|TAFE]], and many trades conduct apprenticeships for training new tradespeople.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=About Australian Apprenticeships |publisher=Australian Government |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Approximately 58 per cent of Australians aged from 25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications,<ref name="Year Book 2005"/> and the tertiary graduation rate of 49 per cent is the highest among OECD countries. The ratio of international to local students in tertiary education in Australia is the highest in the OECD countries.<ref>[ Education at Glance 2005] by OECD: Percentage of foreign students in tertiary education.</ref>
{{See also|Health care in Australia}}
Australia has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world after Iceland, Japan and Hong Kong.<ref>[ How Australia compares] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare</ref> Life expectancy in Australia in 2010 was 79.5 years for males and 84.0 years for females.<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=Life expectancy |publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics |accessdate=16 August 2012}}</ref> Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world,<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Skin cancer&nbsp;– key statistics |year=2008 |publisher=[[Department of Health and Ageing]] |accessdate=11 May 2010}}</ref> while [[cigarette smoking]] is the largest preventable cause of death and disease, responsible for 7.8 per cent of the total mortality and disease. Ranked second in preventable causes is [[hypertension]] at 7.6 per cent, with obesity third at 7.5 per cent.<ref>[ Risks to health in Australia] [[Australian Institute of Health and Welfare]]</ref><ref>[ Smoking&nbsp;– A Leading Cause of Death] The National Tobacco Campaign. Retrieved 17 October 2007.</ref> Australia ranks 35th in the world<ref>[ % Global prevalence of adult obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m²): country rankings 2012] IASO</ref> and near the top of [[Developed country|developed nations]] for its proportion of [[Obesity in Australia|obese]] adults.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=About Overweight and Obesity |publisher=Department of Health and Ageing|accessdate=11 May 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 7 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
Total expenditure on health (including private sector spending) is around 9.8 per cent of GDP.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Health care in Australia |year=2008 |work=About Australia |publisher=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade |accessdate=11 May 2010 |archiveurl= <!-- Added by H3llBot --> |archivedate=4 April 2010}}</ref> Australia introduced [[universal health care]] in 1975.<ref name="medicbrief">{{cite web |url= |title=Medicare&nbsp;– Background Brief |last=Biggs |first=Amanda |date=29 October 2004 |work=Parliament of Australia: Parliamentary Library |publisher=Commonwealth of Australia |accessdate=16 April 2010 |location=Canberra, ACT| archiveurl=| archivedate= 14 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Known as [[Medicare (Australia)|Medicare]], it is now nominally funded by an income tax surcharge known as the ''Medicare levy'', currently set at 1.5 per cent.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=10 June 2008 |title=What is the Medicare levy? |accessdate=17 April 2010 |author=Australian Taxation Office |work=Australian Taxation Office website |publisher=Australian Government |date=19 June 2007}}</ref> The states manage hospitals and attached outpatient services, while the Commonwealth funds the [[Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme]] (subsidising the costs of medicines) and general practice.<ref name="medicbrief"/>
{{Main|Culture of Australia}}
[[File:Royal exhibition building tulips straight.jpg|thumb|left|alt=Ornate white building with an elevated dome in the middle, fronted by a golden fountain and orange flowers|The [[Royal Exhibition Building]] in Melbourne was the first building in Australia to be listed as a UNESCO [[World Heritage Site]] in 2004.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=About Australia: World Heritage properties|publisher=Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade |date= |accessdate=14 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 25 July 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>]]
Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by [[Anglo-Celtic]] [[Western culture]].<ref>Jupp, pp. 796–802.</ref><ref>Teo and White, pp. 118–20.</ref> Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures.<ref name=bush>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 98–99.</ref><ref>Teo and White, pp. 125–27.</ref> Since the mid-20th century, [[Culture of the United States|American popular culture]] has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema.<ref name=tw>Teo and White, pp. 121–23.</ref> Other cultural influences come from neighbouring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.<ref name=tw/><ref>Jupp, pp. 808–12, 74–77.</ref>
{{Main|Australian art|Theatre of Australia|Dance in Australia}}
[[File:Bailed Up.jpg|thumb|alt=A painting of a horse-drawn coach, by a steep, tree-covered hillside. A felled tree lies across its path. Several armed men are in the process of robbing the passengers and looting the rear trunk.|''Bailed up'' by [[Tom Roberts]] depicts the robbing of a coach from the [[Goldfields region of Victoria|gold fields]] by [[bushranger]]s.]]
Australian visual arts are thought to have begun with the [[cave painting]]s, [[rock engraving]]s and [[body art|body painting]] of its Indigenous peoples. The traditions of Indigenous Australians are largely transmitted orally, through ceremony and the telling of [[Dreamtime]] stories.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Australian Aboriginal Oral Traditions |last=Ross |first=Margaret Clunies |year=1986 |publisher=Center for Study in Oral Tradition |accessdate=4 April 2010}}</ref> From the time of European settlement, a theme in Australian art has been the natural landscape,<ref name=bush/> seen for example in the works of [[Albert Namatjira]],<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 452.</ref> [[Arthur Streeton]] and others associated with the [[Heidelberg School]],<ref name=bush/> and [[Arthur Boyd]].<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 85.</ref>
The country's landscape remains a source of inspiration for Australian modernist artists; it has been depicted in acclaimed works by the likes of [[Sidney Nolan]],<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 469–70.</ref> [[Fred Williams]],<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 686–87.</ref> [[Sydney Long]],<ref>Smith and Smith, pp. 97–103.</ref> and [[Clifton Pugh]].<ref>Smith and Smith, pp. 323–28, 407–08.</ref> Australian artists influenced by modern American and European art include [[cubist]] [[Grace Crowley]],<ref>Smith and Smith, pp. 208–12.</ref> [[surrealist]] [[James Gleeson]],<ref>Smith and Smith, pp. 226–233.</ref> and [[pop art]]ist [[Martin Sharp]].<ref>Smith and Smith, pp. 397–403.</ref> [[Contemporary Indigenous Australian art]] is the only art movement of international significance to emerge from Australia<ref name="Bell08">{{Cite journal |last=Bell |first=Richard |year=2008 |title=We're not allowed to own anything |journal=Art and Australia |volume=46 |issue=2 |pages=228–229}}</ref><ref>Michael Pickering, "Sand, seed, hair and paint", in Johnson 2007, p. 1.</ref> and "the last great art movement of the 20th century";<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Powerful growth of Aboriginal art |last=Henly |first=Susan Gough |date=6 November 2005 |work=The New York Times |accessdate=11 May 2010}}</ref> its exponents have included [[Emily Kngwarreye]].<ref>McCulloch ''et al.'', p. 88.</ref><ref>Terry Smith, 'Kngwarreye Woman, Abstract Painter', in ''Emily Kngwarreye&nbsp;– Paintings'', p. 24.</ref> Art critic [[Robert Hughes (critic)|Robert Hughes]] has written several influential books about Australian history and art, and was described as the "world's most famous art critic" by ''[[The New York Times]]''.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=The Critics part 5&nbsp;– Robert Hughes |last=Copeland |first=Julie |date=20 November 2005 |work=Sunday Morning |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation |accessdate=11 May 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 1 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The [[National Gallery of Australia]] and state galleries maintain Australian and overseas collections.<ref>Germaine, pp. 756–58, 796–97, 809–10, 814–15, 819–20, 826–27, 829–30.</ref> Australia has one of the world's highest attendances of art galleries and museums per head of population—far more than Britain or America.<ref>Ron Radford, Director of the [[National Gallery of Australia]], quoted in {{cite news|last=Blake|first=Elissa|title=The art of persuasion|newspaper=[[The Sydney Morning Herald]] (Spectrum section)|date=4–5 February 2012}}</ref>
Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's [[Australia Council for the Arts|Australia Council]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |year=2010 |title=Arts funding guide 2010 |publisher=[[Australia Council]] |format=PDF |date= |accessdate=14 June 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 5 July 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> There is a symphony orchestra in each state,<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Evaluation of the Orchestras Review 2005 funding package implementation |format=PDF |accessdate=23 April 2010 |publisher=Australia Council }}</ref> and a national opera company, [[Opera Australia]],<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Opera Australia |publisher=Australia Council |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> well-known for its famous [[soprano]] [[Joan Sutherland]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Opera in Australia |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts |date=5 March 2007 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref> At the turn of the 19th to 20th century, [[Nellie Melba]] was one of the world's leading opera singers.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Nellie Melba & Enrico Caruso |work=[[The Monthly]]|author=Maloney, Shane |date=December 2005&nbsp;– January 2006 |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Ballet and dance are represented by [[The Australian Ballet]] and various state companies. Each state has a publicly funded theatre company.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=35 per cent increase in funding for Australia's major performing arts companies |author=Brandis, George |publisher=Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts |date=8 May 2007 |accessdate=23 April 2010 |authorlink=George Brandis}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |author=Parkinson, Charles |url= |title=2009 in Review |publisher=[[Tasmanian Theatre Company]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 19 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|author=Laurie, Victoria |url= |title=Perth theatre rivals discuss merger |work=[[The Australian]] |date=18 August 2008 |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
[[File:Aboriginal song and dance.jpg|thumb|alt=Aboriginal man performing on the Digeridoo indoors with 4 people watching, aboriginal paintings can be seen on the wall behind him|Performance of Aboriginal song and dance in the [[Australian National Maritime Museum]] in Sydney]]
[[Australian literature]] has also been influenced by the landscape; the works of writers such as [[Banjo Paterson]], [[Henry Lawson]], and [[Dorothea Mackellar]] captured the experience of the Australian [[The Bush|bush]].<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 381–82, 393–94, 404, 496–497.</ref> The character of the nation's colonial past, as represented in early literature, is popular with modern Australians.<ref name=bush /> In 1973, [[Patrick White]] was awarded the [[Nobel Prize in Literature]],<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 683.</ref> the first Australian to have achieved this.<ref>{{cite web|title=Patrick White&nbsp;– Existential Explorer|url=|date=29 August 2001|accessdate=10 June 2010 |last=Hansson|first=Karin|publisher=The Nobel Foundation| archiveurl =| archivedate = 13 December 2007}}</ref> Australian winners of the [[Man Booker Prize]] have included [[Peter Carey (novelist)|Peter Carey]] and [[Thomas Keneally]];<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Who's who in the Man Booker Prize|year=2009|publisher=The Booker Prize Foundation|accessdate=11 May 2010}}</ref> [[David Williamson]], [[David Malouf]], and [[J. M. Coetzee]], who recently became an Australian citizen, are also renowned writers,<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, p. 394.</ref> and [[Les Murray (poet)|Les Murray]] is regarded as "one of the leading poets of his generation".<ref name="JT77">{{cite web|url= |title=Tranter, John (1977) A warrior poet living still at Anzac Cove: Review of ''The Vernacular Republic: Selected Poems'' | |date=29 January 1977 |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref>
{{Main|Television in Australia|Media of Australia|Music of Australia}}
The [[Cinema of Australia|Australian cinema industry]] began with the 1906 release of ''[[The Story of the Kelly Gang]]'', which is regarded as being the world's first [[feature length|feature-length]] film;<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Return of the Kelly Gang |work=[[UNESCO Courier]] |author=Chichester, Jo |publisher=[[UNESCO]] |year=2007 |accessdate=1 February 2009}}</ref> but both Australian feature film production and the distribution of British-made features declined dramatically after World War I as American studios and distributors monopolised the industry,<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=The first wave of Australian feature film production | |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> and by the 1930s around 95 per cent of the feature films screened in Australia were produced in [[Hollywood]]. By the late 1950s feature film production in Australia had effectively ceased and there were no all-Australian feature films made in the decade between 1959 and 1969.<ref>{{cite web |work=Australian Government: Culture Portal |url= |;– "Film in Australia" |publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Commonwealth of Australia |date=22 November 2007 |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
Thanks to initiatives by the [[John Gorton|Gorton]] and [[Gough Whitlam|Whitlam]] federal governments, the [[Australian New Wave|New Wave of Australian cinema]] of the 1970s brought provocative and successful films, some exploring the nation's colonial past, such as ''[[Picnic at Hanging Rock]]'' and ''[[Breaker Morant (film)|Breaker Morant]]'',<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 252–53.</ref> while the so-called "[[Ocker]]" genre produced several highly successful urban-based comedy features including ''[[The Adventures of Barry McKenzie]]'' and ''[[Alvin Purple]]''.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Screen Australia&nbsp;– Former AFC&nbsp;– News Archive&nbsp;– Tim Burstall |publisher=[[Australian Film Commission]] |date=7 April 2010 |accessdate=7 December 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Alvin Purple |publisher=[[National Film and Sound Archive]] |accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 23 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=The fall guy |author= Pecujac, Yvonne|work=[[The Age]]|date=25 July 2008|accessdate=23 April 2010 | location=Melbourne}}</ref> Later hits included ''[[Mad Max]]'' and ''[[Gallipoli (1981 film)|Gallipoli]]''.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Mad Max |publisher=[[National Film and Sound Archive]]|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Gallipoli |publisher=[[National Film and Sound Archive]]|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> More recent successes included ''[[Shine (film)|Shine]]'' and ''[[Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)|Rabbit-Proof Fence]]''.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Shine|publisher=[[National Film and Sound Archive]]|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Rabbit-Proof Fence |publisher=[[National Film and Sound Archive]]|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Notable Australian actors include [[Judith Anderson]],<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Dame Judith Anderson|publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]]|date=3 March 2003 |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> [[Errol Flynn]],<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Flynn, Errol Leslie (1909–1959) |work=[[Australian Dictionary of Biography]] |publisher=[[Australian National University]]|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> [[Nicole Kidman]], [[Naomi Watts]],<ref>{{cite web |title=Watts' Nationality Confusion |url= |date=23 January 2004 |work=Contact Music |quote=I'm both Australian and English – but I have a British passport.}}</ref> [[Hugh Jackman]], [[Heath Ledger]], [[Geoffrey Rush]], and [[Cate Blanchett]]—current joint director of the [[Sydney Theatre Company]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia (11/09)||accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 22 April 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Blanchett extends stay at theatre company|publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |date=1 January 2010|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref>
Australia has two public broadcasters (the [[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] and the multicultural [[Special Broadcasting Service]]), three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services,<ref name=bbc>{{Cite news|url=|work=BBC News|title=Country profile: Australia|date=13 October 2009|accessdate=7 April 2010}}</ref> and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Each major city has at least one daily newspaper,<ref name=bbc/> and there are two national daily newspapers, ''[[The Australian]]'' and ''[[The Australian Financial Review]]''.<ref name=bbc/> In 2010, [[Reporters Without Borders]] placed Australia 18th on a list of 178 countries ranked by [[freedom of the press|press freedom]], behind New Zealand (8th) but ahead of the United Kingdom (19th) and United States (20th).<ref>{{cite web|url=,1034.html|title=Press Freedom Index 2010|publisher=[[Reporters Without Borders]] |author=Reporters Without Borders |year=2010|accessdate=22 November 2010| archiveurl=,1034.html| archivedate= 24 November 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> This relatively low ranking is primarily because of the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia;<ref>Barr, Trevor. "[ Media Ownership in Australia]", Retrieved 2 January 2008.</ref> most print media are under the control of [[News Corporation]] and [[Fairfax Media]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Media Ownership Regulation in Australia|publisher=[[Parliament of Australia]] |author=Gardiner-Garden, John; Chowns, Jonathan |date=30 May 2006|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 28 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
{{Main|Australian cuisine}}
[[File:Pavlova cake 2.jpg|thumb|right|The [[Pavlova (food)|Pavlova]] has been consumed in Australia since the 20th century.]]
The food of [[Indigenous Australians]] was largely influenced by the area in which they lived. Most tribal groups subsisted on a simple [[hunter-gatherer diet]], hunting native game and fish and collecting native plants and fruit. The general term for native [[Australian flora]] and [[Australian fauna|fauna]] used as a source of food is [[bush tucker]].<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Bush Tucker Plants, or Bush Food | |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011| archiveurl=| archivedate= 11 May 2011 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Bush Tucker | |date= |accessdate=26 April 2011| archiveurl=| archivedate= 13 May 2011 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> The [[First Fleet|first settlers]] introduced [[British cuisine|British food]] to the continent<ref name=food/> which much of what is now considered typical Australian food is based on the [[Sunday roast]] has become an enduring tradition for many Australians.<ref name=f2/> Since the beginning of the 20th century, food in Australia has increasingly been influenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from [[Southern European]] and [[Culture of Asia|Asian cultures]].<ref name=food>{{cite web|url=|title=Australian food and drink|publisher=Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts |date=23 September 2008|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref name=f2>{{cite web|url=|title=Modern Australian recipes and Modern Australian cuisine|publisher=[[Special Broadcasting Service]]|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 3 May 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> [[Australian wine]] is produced in 60 distinct production areas totalling approximately 160,000 hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. The wine regions in each of these states produce different wine varieties and styles that take advantage of local climates and soil types. The predominant varieties are [[Syrah|Shiraz]], [[Cabernet Sauvignon]], [[Chardonnay]], [[Merlot]], [[Sémillon]], [[Pinot noir]], [[Riesling]], and [[Sauvignon blanc]].<ref>{{cite news |publisher=Winebiz&nbsp;– Wine Industry Statistics |url= |title=Australian Wine Industry Statistics |accessdate=22 October 2010}}</ref><ref name="Wine for Dummies">{{cite book |title= Wine For Dummies |last= Ed |first= McCarthy |coauthors= Mary Ewing-Mulligan |year= 2006 |publisher= For Dummies |isbn= 0-470-04579-5 |url=}}</ref><ref name="Sotheby">T. Stevenson ''"The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia"'' Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0-7566-1324-8</ref><ref name="wineaustralia1"/><ref>{{cite book |title= The World Atlas of Wine |publisher= Mitchell Beazley; 6th Revised edition |year=2007 |isbn=978-1-84533-414-7 |author=Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |title=Oz Clarke's New Wine Atlas: Wines and Wine Regions of the World |publisher=Harcourt; 6th Revised edition |year= 2002 |isbn=978-0-15-100913-8 |author=Oz Clarke}}</ref> In 1995, an Australian red wine, [[Penfolds Grange]], won the [[Wine Spectator]] award for Wine of the Year, the first time a wine from outside France or California achieved this distinction.<ref>{{cite book|title=Spinning the bottle: case studies in wine public relations|first=Harvey|last= Posert|coauthors=Paul Franson|publisher=HPPR Press|year=2004|isbn=978-0-9747566-0-8|page=182}}</ref>
{{Main|Sport in Australia}}
[[File:4th Test Woodfull.jpg|thumb|alt=Black and white photo of a cricket pitch|[[Cricket]] has been an important part of Australia's sporting culture since the 19th century.<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 162–163.</ref>]]
Around 24 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities in Australia.<ref name="Year Book 2005" /> Australia has strong international teams in [[Cricket in Australia|cricket]], [[field hockey]], [[Netball Australia|netball]], [[Rugby League in Australia|rugby league]], and [[Rugby Union in Australia|rugby union]], having been Olympic or world champions at least twice in each sport in the last 25 years for both men and women where applicable.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=A brief history|publisher=[[Cricinfo]]|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Women's World Cup history|publisher=BBC News|date=15 March 2005|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Australia lift Women's World Cup|publisher=BBC News|date=10 April 2005|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=,10853,1181-193815-211038-nav-list,00.html|title=Results Archive|publisher=International Hockey Federation|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=World Netball Championships 2011 |title=History|accessdate=23 April 2010}} {{Dead link|date=March 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=History|publisher=Rugby League World Cup 2008 |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Rugby World Cup History &#124; 1999|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=23 April 2010 | date=7 October 2003}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|url=|title=Rugby World Cup History &#124; 1991|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=23 April 2010 | date=7 October 2003}}</ref> Australia is also powerful in track cycling, [[rowing (sport)|rowing]], and swimming, having consistently been in the top-five medal-winners at Olympic or World Championship level since 2000.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Video2000 Sa |publisher= |date= |accessdate=14 June 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Track World Championships 2010&nbsp;– Bane VM 2010||date=28 March 2010|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 31 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=2009 Pruszkow WCH are a history now!||date=29 March 2009|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Swimming is the strongest of these sports; Australia is the second-most prolific medal winner in the sport in Olympic history.<ref>{{Cite news|title=Swimming's big splash
|url=|publisher=BBC Sports|date=5 July 2004|accessdate=8 November 2006}}</ref><ref>{{Cite news|title=Phelps causes biggest splash
|url=|publisher=BBC Sports|date=21 August 2004|accessdate=19 November 2006 | first=Phil | last=Gordos}}</ref><ref name="aoc50">{{cite web|url=|title=100 of our Finest|accessdate=31 January 2009|publisher=[[Australian Olympic Committee]]| archiveurl=| archivedate= 18 January 2009 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref>
Some of Australia's most internationally well-known and successful sportspeople are swimmers [[Dawn Fraser]], [[Murray Rose]], [[Shane Gould]], and [[Ian Thorpe]]; sprinters [[Shirley Strickland]], [[Betty Cuthbert]], and [[Cathy Freeman]];<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Australia's Greatest Olympian |publisher=[[Australian Broadcasting Corporation]] |accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> tennis players [[Rod Laver]], [[Roy Emerson]], [[Ken Rosewall]], [[Evonne Goolagong]], and [[Margaret Court]]; cricketers [[Donald Bradman]] and [[Shane Warne]]; three-time [[Formula One]] world champion [[Jack Brabham]]; five-time motorcycle grand prix world champion [[Mick Doohan]]; golfers [[Greg Norman]] and [[Karrie Webb]];<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Player: Karrie Webb||publisher=Ladies Professional Golf Association|accessdate=6 July 2010|archiveurl= <!-- Added by H3llBot -->|archivedate=10 May 2010}}</ref> cyclist [[Hubert Opperman]], prodigious billiards player [[Walter Lindrum]]<ref>{{cite web |archiveurl=|url= |publisher=Sport Australia Hall of Fame |title=Recognising Australia's greatest athletes and providing scholarships to Australia's youth|archivedate=30 October 2009}}</ref> and basketball player [[Andrew Bogut]].<ref>{{cite news|url= | |title=Bucks don't pass on Bogut with NBA Draft's top pick|accessdate=20 April 2012|first1=David|last1=DuPree|date=30 June 2005}}</ref> Nationally, other popular sports include [[Australian rules football]], horse racing, squash, surfing, soccer, and motor racing. The annual [[Melbourne Cup]] horse race and the [[Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race|Sydney to Hobart]] yacht race attract intense interest.
Australia has participated in every summer Olympics of the modern era,<ref>{{Cite book|last=Oxlade|first=Chris|coauthors=Ballheimer, David|title=Olympics|publisher=DK|series=DK Eyewitness|page=61|isbn=0-7566-1083-4}}</ref> and every [[Commonwealth Games]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=Australian Commonwealth Games Association |title=Flag Bearers|accessdate=23 April 2010}}</ref> Australia hosted the [[1956 Summer Olympics]] in Melbourne and the [[2000 Summer Olympics]] in Sydney,<ref>Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 479–480.</ref> and ranked among the top six medal-takers for the games of 2000, 2004 and 2008.<ref>{{cite web|url=!OpenDocument |title=ABS medal tally: Australia finishes third |publisher=Australian Bureau of Statistics |date=30 August 2004 |accessdate=25 January 2008}}</ref> In the [[2012 Summer Olympics]] in London, Australia was placed 10th in the medal table.<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=BBC |title=Medal Table|accessdate=14 August 2012}}</ref> Australia has also hosted the [[1938 British Empire Games|1938]], [[1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games|1962]], [[1982 Commonwealth Games|1982]], [[2006 Commonwealth Games]] and will host the [[2018 Commonwealth Games]].<ref>{{cite web|url=|publisher=Commonwealth Games Federation |title=Past Commonwealth Games|accessdate=23 April 2010| archiveurl=| archivedate= 15 March 2010 <!--DASHBot-->| deadurl= no}}</ref> Other major international events held in Australia include the [[Australian Open]] tennis [[Grand Slam (tennis)|grand slam]] tournament, international cricket matches, and the [[Australian Grand Prix|Australian Formula One Grand Prix]]. Sydney hosted the [[2003 Rugby World Cup]] and the annual Australia–New Zealand [[Bledisloe Cup]] is keenly watched. The highest-rating television programs include sports telecasts such as the summer Olympics, FIFA World Cup, [[Rugby League State of Origin]], and the [[grand final]]s of the [[National Rugby League]] and [[Australian Football League]].<ref>"Australian Film Commission. What are Australians Watching?" [ Free-to-Air, 1999–2004 TV]{{dead link|date=April 2011}}.</ref> [[Skiing in Australia]] began in the 1860s and snow sports take place in the [[Australian Alps]] and parts of [[Tasmania]].
==See also==
* [[Outline of Australia]]
* [[Book:Australia]]
{{portalbar|Australia|Oceania|Commonwealth realms|Geography}}
* Denoon, Donald, et al. (2000). ''A History of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific''. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-17962-3
* {{Cite book|title=The Oxford Companion to Australian History|publisher=Oxford University Press|location=Melbourne, Vic.|year=1999|isbn=0-19-553597-9|author=Davison, Graeme; Hirst, John; [[Stuart Macintyre|Macintyre, Stuart]]}}
* ''Emily Kngwarreye&nbsp;– Paintings'' (no editor given) (1996). North Ryde NSW: Craftsman House / G + B Arts International. ISBN 90-5703-681-9
* {{Cite book|title=Artists & Galleries of Australia|publisher=Craftsman House|location=Roseville, Vic.|year=1990|isbn=976-8097-02-7|author=Germaine, Max}}
* Goad, Philip and Julie Willis (eds) (2011). ''The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture'' Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria. ISBN 9780521888578
* Hughes, Robert (1986). ''The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding''. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-50668-5.
* {{Cite book|last=Johnson|first=Vivien|year=2007|url=|title=Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert|location=Canberra|publisher=National Museum of Australia|isbn=978-1-876944-58-2}}
* {{Cite book|first=James|last=Jupp|year=2001|title=The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people, and their origins|publisher=[[Cambridge University Press]]|isbn=0-521-80789-1}}
* Macintyre, Stuart (2000). ''A Concise History of Australia''. Cambridge, U.K.: [[Cambridge University Press]] ISBN 0-521-62359-6
* McCulloch, Alan; Susan McCulloch, Emily McCulloch Childs (2006). ''McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art''. Fitzroy, VIC: Aus Art Editions in association with The Miegunyah Press. ISBN 0-522-85317-X
* Powell JM (1988). ''An Historical Geography of Modern Australia: The Restive Fringe''. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-25619-4
* Robinson GM, Loughran RJ, and Tranter PJ (2000) ''Australia and New Zealand: economy, society and environment''. London: Arnold; NY: OUP; 0340720336 paper 0-340720328 hard.
* {{Cite book|title=Australian painting 1788–1990|publisher=Oxford University Press|location=Melbourne, Vic.|year=1991|isbn=0-19-554901-5|author=Smith, Bernard; Smith, Terry}}
* {{Cite book|author=Teo, Hsu-Ming; White, Richard|year=2003|title=Cultural history in Australia|publisher=[[University of New South Wales Press]]|isbn=0-86840-589-2}}
==External links==
{{Sister project links|voy=Australia}}
{{Spoken Wikipedia-2|2006-01-17|AustraliaPart1.ogg|AustraliaPart2.ogg|}}
* {{Wikiatlas|Australia}}
* [ About Australia] from the [[Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)|Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade]] website
* [ Governments of Australia website] (federal, states and territories)
* [ Australian Government website]
* [ Parliament of Australia: Who's Who (includes head of state)]
* [ Australian Bureau of Statistics]
* [ Community organisations portal]
* [ Tourism Australia]
* {{Wikivoyage-inline|Australia}}
* {{CIA World Factbook link|as|Australia}}
* [ Australia] at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''
* {{dmoz|Regional/Oceania/Australia}}
* {{osmrelation-inline|80500}}
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