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Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia,Apple MB772LL/A battery

East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians,who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, formally founded on 7 February 1788[14] (although formal possession of the land had been taken on 26 January 1788).Sony NP-F330 Battery

The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and is a Commonwealth realm. The population is approximately 22.6 million, with approximately 60 per cent concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Nikon D80  Battery

The nation's capital city is Canberra, in theAustralian Capital Territory. Approximately 56 per cent of Australia's population live in either Victoria or New South Wales, and approximately 77 per cent live on the mainland's east coast.

A prosperous developed country, Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy. Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance such as human development, quality of life, health care, life expectancy, public education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, OECD, APEC, Pacific Islands Forum and the World Trade Organization.Dell T555C battery

"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." HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

Etymology

Pronounced [??st?æ?lj?, -li?] in Australian English, the name Australia is derived from the Latin australis, meaning "southern". The country has been referred to colloquially as Oz since the early 20th century. Aussie is a common, colloquial term for "Australian".HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

Legends of 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.HP Pavilion DV9700 battery

The earliest recorded use of the word Australia in English was in 1625 in "A note of Australia del Espíritu Santo, written by Master Hakluyt" and published by Samuel Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, a corruption of the original Spanish name Austrialia del Espíritu Santo for an island in Vanuatu.HP Mini 702EA battery

The Dutch adjectival form Australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia (Jakarta) in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south. Australiawas 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 byGabriel de Foigny, under the pen-name Jacques Sadeur.HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO battery

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 Sir James Smith writing of "the vast island, HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

or rather continent, of Australia, Australasia or New Holland" in their 1793 Zoology and Botany of New Holland, and James Wilson including it on a 1799 chart.

The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who pushed for it to be formally adopted as early as 1804.HP Pavilion DV6-1030US battery

When preparing his manuscript and charts for his 1814 A Voyage to Terra Australis, he was persuaded by his patron, Sir Joseph Banks, to use the term Terra Australis as this was the name most familiar to the public. Flinders did so, but allowed himself the footnote:HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

"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."

This is the only occurrence of the word Australia in that text; but in Appendix III, HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

Robert Brown's General remarks, geographical and systematical, on the botany of Terra Australis, Brown makes use of the adjectival form Australian throughout, —the first known use of that form.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.HP EliteBook 2530P battery

Lachlan Macquarie, a Governor of New South Wales, subsequently used the word in his dispatches to England, and on 12 December 1817 recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted.In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as Australia. HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

History

Human habitation of Australia is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people byland bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Compaq PP2100 battery

At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complexoral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnicallyMelanesian, were originally horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers. HP Compaq KU532AA battery

Following sporadic visits by fishermen from the Malay Archipelago, the first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent were attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ battery

He sighted the coast ofCape York Peninsula on an unknown date in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York, near the modern town of Weipa. The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of "New Holland" during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement.HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

William Dampier, an English explorer/privateer landed on the northwest coast of Australia in 1688 and again in 1699 on a return trip. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain.HP Compaq Business  NC4400 battery

Cook's discoveries prepared the way for establishment of a new penal colony. The British Crown Colony of New South Wales was formed on 26 January 1788, when Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet to Port Jackson. This date became Australia's national day, Australia Day. HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Australia in 1828.

Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

TheNorthern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia.[41] South Australia was founded as a "free province"—it was never a penal colony.[42] Victoria and Western Australia were also founded "free", but later accepted transported convicts.Nikon D200 Battery

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.

The indigenous population, estimated at 350,000 at the time of European settlement,[46] declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

The "Stolen Generations" (removal of Aboriginal children from their families), which historians such as Henry Reynolds have argued could be considered genocide,may have contributed to the decline in the Indigenous population. Such interpretations of Aboriginal history are disputed by conservative commentators such as former Prime Minister John Howard as exaggerated or fabricated for political or ideological reasons.Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

This debate is known within Australia as the History wars. The Federal government gained the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines following the 1967 referendum.Traditional ownership of land—aboriginal title—was not recognised until 1992, when the High Court case Mabo v Queensland (No 2) overturned the notion of Australia as terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") before European occupation. HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, and the Eureka Rebellion against mining licence fees in 1854 was an early expression of civil disobedience. Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

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

On 1 January 1901 federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation, and voting. The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

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 constructed.Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911. In 1914, Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I, with support from both the outgoing Liberal Party and the incoming Labor Party.HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front. Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded. Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth of the nation—its first major military action.Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

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

Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia adopted it in 1942,but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

The shock of the UK's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector. Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty. After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted.As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed. The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, Dell Studio 1537 battery

ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.In a 1999 referendum, 55% of Australian voters and a majority in every Australian state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both HousesHP PPP009H Adapter

of the Australian Parliament. Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, 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. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

Politics

Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal division of powers. It uses a parliamentary system of government with 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 realms.Dell PA-12 Adapter

The Queen resides in the United Kingdom, and she is represented by her viceroys in Australia, (the Governor-General at the federal level and by the Governors at the state level), who by convention act on the advice of her ministers. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

Supereme executive authority is vested by the constitution of Australia in the sovereign, but the power to exercise it is conferred by the constitution specifically to the Governor-General. The most notable exercise of the Governor-General's reserve powers outside a Prime Minister's request was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of 1975.Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

The federal government is separated into three branches:

  • The legislature: the bicameral Parliament, comprising the Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the Senate, and the House of Representatives; HP Compaq 6720s Adapter
  • The executive: the Federal Executive Council, in practice the Governor-General as advised by the Prime Minister and Ministers of State;
  • The judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Governor-General on advice of the Council.Acer AS07B41 Battery

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).  The 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,  with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats.Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

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.HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

Australia's electoral system uses preferential voting for all lower house elections with the exception of Tasmania and the ACT, which, along with the Senate and most state upper houses, combine it with proportional representation in a system known as the single transferable vote. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

Voting is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in every jurisdiction,as is enrolment (with the exception of South Australia).Although the Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General, in practice the party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. Dell PA-12 Adapter

There are two major political groups that usually form government, federally and in the states: the Australian Labor Party, and the Coalition which is a formal grouping of the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National Party. Independent members and several minor parties—Sony NP-FH100 Battery

including the Greens and theAustralian Democrats—have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses.

Following a partyroom leadership challenge, Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister in June 2010. The last federal election was held on 21 August 2010 and resulted in the first hung parliament in over 50 years.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Gillard was able to form a minority Labor government with the support of independents.

States and territories

Australia has six states—New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia—and two major mainland territories—the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Apple MacBook Pro Battery

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;Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

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.

Each state and major mainland territory has its own parliament—unicameral in the Northern Territory, the ACT, and Queensland, and bicameral in the other states. Dell Studio 1537 battery

The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. The lower houses are known as the Legislative Assembly (the House of Assembly in South Australia and Tasmania); theupper houses are known as the Legislative Council.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

The head of the government in each state is the Premier, and in each territory the Chief Minister. The Queen is represented in each state by a Governor; and in the Northern Territory, the Administrator. In the Commonwealth, the Queen's representative is the Governor-General.Canon EOS 450D Battery

The federal parliament directly administers the following territories:

  • Jervis Bay Territory, a naval base and sea port for the national capital in land that was formerly part of New South Wales
  • Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands  Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery
  • Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Coral Sea Islands
  • Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Australian Antarctic Territory  Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

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 Administrator, currently Owen Walsh. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

Foreign relations and military

Over recent decades, Australia's foreign relations have been driven by a close association with the United States through the ANZUS pact, and by a desire to develop relationships with Asia and the Pacific, particularly through ASEAN and the Pacific Islands Forum.Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

In 2005 Australia secured an inaugural seat at theEast Asia Summit following its accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and in 2011 will attend 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 cooperation.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Australia has pursued the cause of international trade liberalisation. It led the formation of the Cairns Group and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Australia is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization,Dell XPS M1330 Battery

and has pursued several major bilateral free trade agreements, most recently the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement and Closer Economic Relations with New Zealand, with another free trade agreement being negotiated with China – the Australia–China Free Trade Agreement – Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

and Japan,South Korea in 2011,Australia–Chile Free Trade Agreement, 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. HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

A founding member country of the United Nations, Australia is strongly committed to multilateralism, and maintains an international aid program under which some 60 countries receive assistance. The 2005–06 budget provides A$2.5 billion for development assistance; Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

as a percentage of GDP, this contribution is less than that recommended in the UN Millennium Development Goals. Australia ranks seventh overall in the Center for Global Development's 2008 Commitment to Development Index. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

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).Asus f82 battery

The titular role of Commander-in-Chief is vested in the Governor-General, who appoints a Chief of the Defence Force from one of the armed services on the advice of the government.Day-to-day force operations are under the command of the Chief, while broader administration and the formulation of defence policy is undertaken by the Minister and Department of Defence.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

In the 2010–11 budget, defence spending was A$25.7 billion,representing the 14th largest defence budget in the world but accounting for only 1.2% of global military spending.Australia has been involved in UN and regional peacekeeping, disaster relief, and armed conflict;HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

it currently has deployed approximately 3,330 defence force personnel in varying capacities to 12 overseas operations in areas including East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

Geography and climate

Australia's landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi) is on the Indo-Australian Plate. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas.Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

The world's smallest continent and sixth largest country by total area,  Australia—owing to its size and isolation—is often dubbed the 'island continent' and variably considered the world's largest island. Australia has 34,218 kilometres (21,262 mi) of coastline (excluding all offshore islands) and claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,060 sq mi).HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory. Excluding Macquarie Island, Australia lies between latitudes 9° and 44°S, and longitudes 112° and 154°E.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over 2,000 kilometres (1,240 mi). Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

Mount Augustus, claimed to be the world's largest monolith, is located in Western Australia. At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko on the Great Dividing Range is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland, although Mawson Peak on the remote Australian territory of Heard Island is taller at 2,745 metres (9,006 ft). Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

Australia is the flattest continent, with the oldest and least fertile soils; desert or semi-arid land commonly known as the outback makes up by far the largest portion of land. The driest inhabited continent, only its south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate.HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

The population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, is among the lowest in the world,although a large proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.

Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range that runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria – Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

although the name is not strictly accurate, as in parts the range consists of low hills and the highlands are typically no more than 1,600 metres (5,249 ft) in height. The coastal uplands and a belt of Brigalow grasslands lie between the coast and the mountains while inland of the dividing range are large areas of grassland.Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

These include the western plains of New South Wales and the Einasleigh Uplands, Barkly Tableland and the Mulga Lands of inland Queensland. The northern point of the east coast is the tropical rainforested Cape York Peninsula.

The landscapes of the northern part of the country, the Top End and the Gulf Country behind the Gulf of Carpentaria,Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

with their tropical climate, consist ofwoodland, grassland and desert. At the northwest corner of the continent is the sandstone cliffs and gorges of The Kimberley and below that thePilbara while south and inland of these lie more areas of grassland, the Ord Victoria Plain and the Western Australian Mulga shrublands.HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

The heart of the country is the uplands of central Australia while prominent features of the centre and south include the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony,Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami and Great Victoria Deserts with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern coast.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia.HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

These factors induce rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical predominantly summer rainfall (monsoon) climate.Just under three quarters of Australia lies within a desert or semi-arid zone. The southwest corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate.Dell T117C battery

Much of the southeast (including Tasmania) is temperate.

Environment

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognised as amegadiverse country. Asus x5dij-sx039c battery

Because of the continent's great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biotais unique and diverse. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country, with 755 species.

Australian forests are mostly made up of evergreen species, particularly eucalyptus trees in the less arid regions, Wattles replace them in drier regions and deserts as the most dominant species.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

Among well-known Australian fauna are the monotremes (the platypus and echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, and wombat, and birds such as the emu and the kookaburra. Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in the world.Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

The dingo was introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000BCE. Many plant and animal species became extinct soon after first human settlement,including the Australian megafauna; others have disappeared since European settlement, among them the thylacine.HP Pavilion dm4 battery

Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced plant and animal species. The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal framework for the protection of threatened species.Sony NP-FS11 Battery

Numerousprotected areas have been created under the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity to protect and preserve unique ecosystems;65 wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention, and 15 natural World Heritage Sites have been established.Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Australia was ranked 51st of 163 countries in the world on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.

Climate change has become an increasing concern in Australia in recent years, with many Australians considering protection of the environment to be the most important issue facing the country.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

The Rudd Ministry has initiated several emission reduction activities; Rudd's first official act, on his first day in office, was to sign the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless, Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world, lower than those of only a few other industrialised nations.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

Rainfall in Australia has slightly increased over the past century, both nationwide and for two quadrants of the nation, while annual mean temperatures increased significantly over the past decades.  Water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages due to urban population increases and localised drought.Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

Economy

Australia has a market economy with high GDP per capita and 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 Island states of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu.IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

After the 2006 merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange is now the ninth largest in the world.

Ranked third in the Index of Economic Freedom (2010), Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy and has the ninth highest per capita GDP;Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

higher than that of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, and the United States. The country was ranked second in the United Nations 2010Human Development Index and first in Legatum's 2008 Prosperity Index. All of Australia's major cities fare well in global comparative liveability surveys;Apple MB771 battery

Melbourne reached second place on The Economist's 2008 World's Most Livable Cities list, followed by Perth, Adelaide, and Sydney in fourth, seventh and ninth place respectively.Total government debt in Australia is about $190 billion. Australia has amongst the highest house prices and some of the highest household debt levels in the world.Sony DSC-P5 Battery

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 century, due to rising commodity prices. Australia has a balance of payments that is more than 7% of GDP negative, and has had persistently large current account deficits for more than 50 years.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% for over 15 years, in comparison to the OECD annual average of 2.5%. There are differing opinions based on evidence as to whether or not Australia had been one of the few OECD nations to avoid experiencing a recession during the late 2000s global financial downturn.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

Six of Australia's major trading partners had been in recession which in turn affected Australia, and economic growth was hampered significantly over recent years.

The Hawke Government floated the Australian dollar in 1983 and partially deregulated the financial system.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

The Howard Governmentfollowed with a partial deregulation of the labour market and the further privatisation of state-owned businesses, most notably in thetelecommunications industry. The indirect tax system was substantially changed in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST).HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

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

In January 2007, there were 10,033,480 people employed, with an unemployment rate of 5.1%.  Youth unemployment (15–24) rose from 8.7% to 9.7% over 2008–2009.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

Over the past decade, inflation has typically been 2–3% and the base interest rate 5–6%. The service sector of the economy, including tourism, education, and financial services, accounts for about 70% of GDP. Although agriculture and natural resources account for only 3% and 5% of GDP respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

Australia's largest export markets are Japan, China, the US, South Korea, and New Zealand.  Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, in an industry contributing $5.5 billion per annum to the nation's economy.

Demography

Most of the estimated 22 million Australians are descended from colonial-era settlers and post-Federation immigrants from Europe, with almost 90% of the population being of European descent.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

For generations, the vast majority of immigrants came from the British Isles, and the people of Australia are still mainly of British or Irish ethnic origin. In the 2006 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestry was Australian (37.13%), followed by English (32%), Irish (9%), Scottish (8%), Italian (4%), German (4%), Chinese (3%), and Greek (2%).Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Australia's population has quadrupled since the end of World War I, spurred by an ambitious immigration program. Following World War II and through to 2000, almost 5.9 million of the total population settled in the country as new immigrants, meaning that nearly two out of every seven Australians were born overseas.Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

Most immigrants are skilled, but the immigration quota includes categories for family members andrefugees. By 2050, Australia's population is currently projected to reach around 42 million.

In 2001, 23.1% of Australians were born overseas; the five largest immigrant groups were those from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy,Vietnam, and China.Asus Eee PC 1201PN battery

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. In 2005–06, more than 131,000 people emigrated to Australia, mainly from Asia and Oceania.Dell PA-12 Adapter

The migration target for 2010–11 is 168,700, compared to 67,900 in 1998–99.

The Indigenous population—mainland Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders—was counted at 410,003 (2.2% of the total population) in 2001, a significant increase from 115,953 in the 1976 census.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

A large number of Indigenous people are not identified in the Census due to undercount and cases where their Indigenous status is not recorded on the form; after adjusting for these factors, the ABS estimated the true figure for 2001 to be around 460,140 (2.4% of the total population).Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Indigenous Australians experience higher than average rates of imprisonment and unemployment, lower levels of education, and life expectancies for males and females that are 11–17 years lower than those of non-indigenous Australians. Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "failed state"-like conditions.fujifilm np95 battery

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 average age of the civilian population was 38.8 years. A large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002–03) live outside their home country.Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

Language

Although Australia has no official language, English is so entrenched that it has become the de facto national language. Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon. Grammar and spelling are similar to that of British English with some notable exceptions.Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

According to the 2006 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 79% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are Italian (1.6%), Greek (1.3%) and Cantonese (1.2%); a considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

A 2010–2011 study by the Australia Early Development Index found that the most common language spoken by children after English was Arabic, followed by Vietnamese, Greek, Chinese, and Hindi.

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.Dell Studio XPS 1640 battery

Many of these are exclusively spoken by older people; only 18 Indigenous languages are still spoken by all age groups. At the time of the 2006 Census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

Australia has asign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people.

Religion

Australia has no state religion. In the 2006 census, 64% of Australians listed themselves as Christian, including 26% as Roman Catholic and 19% asAnglican. HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

About 19% of the population cited "No religion" (which includes humanism, atheism, agnosticism, and rationalism), which was the fastest-growing group from 2001 to 2006, and a further 12% did not answer (the question is optional) or did not give a response adequate for interpretation. Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

The largest non-Christian religion in Australia is Buddhism (2.1%), followed by Islam (1.7%), Hinduism (0.8%), and Judaism (0.5%). Overall, fewer than 6% of Australians identify with non-Christian religions. Weekly attendance at church services in 2004 was about 1.5 million: about 7.5% of the population.Dell Latitude E6500 battery

Religion does not play a central role in the lives of much of the population.

Education

School attendance is compulsory throughout Australia. All children receive 11 years of compulsory education from the age of 6 to 16 (Year 1 to 10), before they can undertake two more years (Years 11 and 12), contributing to an adult literacy rate that is assumed to be 99%. Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

A preparatory year prior to Year 1, although not compulsory, is almost universally undertaken.[230] 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). Asus R33030 Adapter

Government grants have supported the establishment of Australia's 38 universities; all but one is public. OECD places Australia as among the most expensive nations to attend university. There is a state-based system of vocational training, known as TAFE Institutes, and many trades conduct apprenticeships for training new tradespeople.Dell Mini 1011 battery

Approximately 58% of Australians aged from 25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications, and the tertiary graduation rate of 49% is the highest among OECD countries. The ratio of international to local students in tertiary education in Australia is the highest in the OECD countries. toshiba pa3332u-1brs battery

Health

Life expectancy in Australia is relatively high, with figures of 78.7 years for males and 83.5 years for females born in 2006. Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, whilecigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

Australia has one of the highest proportions of overweight citizens amongst developed nations;  it has also been one of the most successful in managing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Australia introduced universal health care, known as Medibank, in 1975. HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

Reworked by successive governments, its current incarnation, Medicare came into existence in 1984. It is now nominally funded by an income tax surcharge known as the Medicare levy, currently set at 1.5%. Traditionally, the management of public health has been split between the state and federal governments. Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

The states manage hospitals and attached outpatient services, while the commonwealth funds the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (reducing the costs of medicines) and general practice.Under the Rudd government, a health reform plan has emerged which will allow the federal government to take "full responsibility for primary health care",Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

essentially taking control of hospitals and outpatient services from the states. Total expenditure on health (including private sector spending) is around 9.8 per cent of GDP.

Culture

Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture.Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

ref="http://www.battery-pack.co.uk/laptop-battery/acer-aspire-5052anwxmi.html">Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culture has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighbouring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.Dell Mini 1011v battery

Arts

Australian visual arts are thought to have begun with the cave and bark paintings of its Indigenous peoples. The traditions of Indigenous Australians are largely transmitted orally, through ceremony and the telling of Dreamtime stories. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

From the time of European settlement, a theme in Australian art has been the natural landscape,seen for example in the works of Albert Namatjira, Arthur Streeton and others associated with the Heidelberg School, and Arthur Boyd. Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

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,Fred Williams,[ ] Sydney Long,[ ] and Clifton Pugh.[ ] Australian artists influenced by modern American and European art include cubist Grace Crowley,[ ] surrealist James Gleeson,[ ] and pop artist Martin Sharp.[Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery]

Contemporary Indigenous Australian art is the only art movement of international significance to emerge from Australia and "the last great art movement of the 20th century";[ ] its exponents have included Emily Kngwarreye. Art 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.Asus M50 battery

The National Gallery of Australia and state galleries maintain Australian and overseas collections.

Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's Australia Council. There is a symphony orchestra in each state,and a national opera company, Opera Australia,well-known for its famous soprano Joan Sutherland.Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

At the start of the 20th century, Nellie Melbawas one of the world's leading opera singers.Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state companies. Each state has a publicly funded theatre company.

Australian literature has also been influenced by the landscape; the works of writers such as Banjo Paterson,Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

Henry Lawson, and Dorothea Mackellar captured the experience of the Australian bush. The character of the nation's colonial past, as represented in early literature, is popular with modern Australians.In 1973,Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature,  the first Australian to have achieved this.HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

Australian winners of the Man Booker Prize have includedPeter Carey and Thomas Keneally; David Williamson, David Malouf, and J. M. Coetzee, who recently became an Australian citizen, are also renowned writers, and Les Murray is regarded as "one of the leading poets of his generation".Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

Media

The 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 film, but both Australian feature film production and the distribution of British-made features declinedSony VGP-BPS13 battery

dramatically after World War I as American studios and distributors monopolised the industry  and by the 1930s around 95% 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.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Thanks to initiatives by the Gorton and Whitlam federal governments, the 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, HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

while the so-called "Ocker" genre produced several highly successful urban-based comedy features including The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Alvin Purple. Later hits included Mad Max andGallipoli. More recent successes included Shine and Rabbit-Proof Fence.Dell Studio PP39L battery

Notable Australian actors include Judith Anderson,Errol Flynn, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush and current joint director of the Sydney Theatre Company, Cate Blanchett.

Australia has two public broadcasters (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service),Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services, and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Each major city has at least one daily newspaper, and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

In 2010, Reporters Without Borders placed Australia 18th on a list of 178 countries ranked by press freedom, behind New Zealand (8th) but ahead of the United Kingdom (19th) and United States (20th). This relatively low ranking is primarily because of the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia;HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

most print media are under the control of News Corporation and Fairfax Media.

Cuisine

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.HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

The general term for native Australian flora and fauna used as a source of food is bush tucker. The first settlers introduced British food to the continent  which much of what is now considered typical Australian food is based on the Sunday roast has become an enduring tradition for many Australians.Dell T117C battery

Since the beginning of the 20th century, food in Australia has increasingly been influenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from Southern European and Asian cultures. Australian wine is produced in 60 distinct production areas totaling approximately 160,000 hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

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 Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sémillon, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon blanc.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

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.

Sport

Around 24% Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities in Australia.Asus S1 Adapter

Australia has strong international teams incricket, field hockey, netball, rugby league and 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 .HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

.Australia is also powerful in track cycling, rowing, and swimming, having consistently been in the top-five medal-winners at Olympic or World Championship level since 2000. Swimming is the strongest of these sports; Australia is the second-most prolific medal winner in the sport in Olympic history. Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

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; tennis players Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Evonne Goolagong, andMargaret Court; cricketers Donald Bradman and Shane Warne; Dell Studio PP39L battery

three-time Formula One world champion Jack Brabham; five-time motorcycle grand prix world champion Mick Doohan; golfers Greg Norman and Karrie Webb;[329] cyclist Hubert Opperman; and prodigious billiards player Walter Lindrum. Nationally, other popular sports include Australian rules football, horse racing, squash, surfing, soccer, and motor racing.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Australia has participated in every summer Olympics of the modern era, and every Commonwealth Games. Australia hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and has ranked among the top six medal-takers since 2000.Australia has also hosted the 1938, 1962, 1982, and 2006 Commonwealth Games.HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. The highest-rating television programs include sports telecasts such as the summer Olympics,HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

FIFA World Cup, State of Origin, and the grand finals of the National Rugby League and Australian Football League.

The economy of Australia is a developed, modern market economy with a GDP of approximately US$1.2 trillion.Compaq Presario CQ35-100 battery

In 2009, it was the 13th largest national economy by nominal GDP  and the 17th largest measured by PPP adjusted GDP,  representing about 1.7% of the World economy. Australia was also ranked the 19th largest importer[13] and 19th largest exporter. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

Australia is a member of the APEC, G20, OECD and WTO organisations. Australia has also entered into free trade agreements with ASEAN, Chile,New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. The ANZCERTA agreement with New Zealand has greatlyHP Pavilion ZE4500 battery

increased integration with the New Zealand economy and there are now plans to form an Australasian Single Economic Market by 2015.

The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, representing 68% of Australian GDP. The agricultural and mining sectors (10% of GDP combined)  account for 57% of the nation's exports.HP G62-100EB battery

The Australian economy is dependent on imported crude oil and petroleum products, the economy’s petroleum import dependency is around 80% - crude oil + petroleum products.

The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia and its territories, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, andNorfolk Island. HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX battery

It is also the official currency of the independent Pacific Island nations of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.

The Australian Securities Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Australia. Australia is home to some of the largest companies in the world including, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Group and News Corp.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO battery

Overview

Australia's per-capita GDP is slightly higher than that of the UK, Germany, and France in terms of purchasing power parity. The country was ranked second in the United Nations 2009 Human Development Index and sixth in The Economist worldwide quality-of-life index 2005.HP EliteBook 6930P battery

The emphasis on exporting commodities rather than manufactures has underpinned a significant increase in Australia's terms of trade during the rise in commodity prices since 2000. Australia's current account is more than 7% of GDP negative: Australia has had persistently large current account deficits for more than 50 years.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% for over 15 years, well above the OECD average of 2.5%. Australia's average GDP growth rate for the period 1901-2000 is at 3.4% annually.

As of December 2009, there were approximately 10,844,000 people employed, with an unemployment rate of 5.5%.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

Over the past decade, inflation has typically been 2–3% and the base interest rate 5–6%. The service sector of the economy, including tourism, education and financial services, constitutes 69% of GDP.

Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, andenergy in the forms of liquified natural gas and coal. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Although Agriculture and natural resources constitute only 3% and 5% of GDP, respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance. Australia's largest export markets are Japan, China, South Korea, India and the USA.

In the past decade, one of the most significant sectoral trends experienced by the economy has been the growth (in relative terms) of the mining sector (including petroleum). HP G6000 battery

In terms of contribution to GDP, this sector grew from around 4.5% in 1993-94, to almost 8% in 2006-07.

Growth in the services sector has also grown considerably, with property and business services in particular growing from 10% to 14.5% of GDP over the same period, making it the largest single component of GDP (in sectoral terms). HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

This growth has largely been at the expense of the manufacturing sector, which in 2006-07 accounted for around 12% of GDP. A decade earlier, it was the largest sector in the economy, accounting for just over 15% of GDP.

Economic liberalisation

From the early 1980s onwards, the Australian economy has undergone a continuing economic liberalisation. HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

In 1983, under Prime Minister Bob Hawke, but mainly driven by Treasurer Paul Keating, the Australian dollar was floated and financial deregulation was undertaken.

In 2000, the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) sought to encourage the level of saving amongst lower income earners.HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 battery

To combat the consequential reduction in consumption for low income earners, income taxes were lowered as a trade-off for the introduction of the GST. The overall level of taxation in Australia has since been consistently reduced to encourage private consumption and investment, as opposed to higher government expenditure.HP Pavilion DV6100 battery

Current areas of concern

Current areas of concern to some economists include Australia's large current account deficit, Australia’s current account deficit for the 2007- 2008 financial year was up 4% to $19.49 billion (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics), the absence of a successful export-orientedmanufacturing industry,HP EliteBook 2730P battery

an Australian property bubble, and high levels of net foreign debt owed by the private sector. Professor Steve Keen has written extensively about consumer/household indebtedness and the level of home prices relative to income. Increasing levels of government debt triggered by Federal government spending are an emerging public policy issue.HP Pavilion DV9000 battery

The coal, electricity generation and agricultural industries have concerns about the impact of requirements to reduce carbon emissions under the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme -- Which, partly in response, has been shelved until 2012. HP Pavilion DV7 battery

The price of housing in terms of median incomes has been highlighted by a recent Demographia survey with Australian capital city residential housing being among the most expensive in the world. A long drought and its impacts on retail food costs and export volumes of crops and meat and the possible impacts of climate change on agriculture has also been of concern.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Mergers & Acquisitions

Between 1991 and 2010, 31,131 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of US$1,811 billion with the involvement of Australian firms have been announced. In the year 2010, 2,326 transactions valued at US$183 billion had been announced which was a slight increase in terms of numbers (+3.8%) and value (+13.6) compared to 2009. HP Compaq Business 6735S battery

The largest transaction with involvement of Australian companies has been a merger between Westpac Banking and St. George Bank Ltd in a stock swap merger valued at US$17.9 billion (A$19.1 billion) in 2008.  HP 540 battery

Taxation

Taxation in Australia is levied at the federal, state and local government levels. Taxes vary from state to state due to their different needs, populations, economics and budgetary positions.HP Compaq Business NW9440 battery

The Commonwealth raises revenue from personal income taxes and business taxes. Other taxes include the goods and services tax (GST), excise and customs duties. The Commonwealth is the main source of income for state governments. HP Compaq Business  TC4400 battery

As a result of state dependence on federal taxation revenue to meet decentralised expenditure responsibilities, Australia is said to suffer from a vertical fiscal imbalance.

State taxation

Besides receipts of funds from the Commonwealth, states and territories also have their own taxes to enable them to fund the services they provide. HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

The types and tax rates vary from state/territory to state/territory. State taxes commonly include payroll tax levied on businesses, a poker machine tax levied on businesses who offer gambling services, land tax levied on people and businesses who own land and most significantly, HP HSTNN-LB31 battery

stamp duty levied on sales of land (in every state) and other items (chattels in some states, unlisted shares in others, and even sales of contracts in some states).

Federal-state financial arrangements

The states effectively lost the ability to raise income tax during the Second World War. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

In 1942, the Commonwealth invoked its Constitutional taxation power (s.51 (ii)) and enacted the Income Tax Actand three other statutes to levy a uniform income tax across the Commonwealth. These Acts sought to raise the funds necessary to meet burgeoning wartime expenses and reduce the unequal tax burden between the states by replacing state income taxes with a centralised tax system.HP Pavilion DV3-4000  battery

The legislation could not expressly prohibit state income taxes (s.51(ii) does not curtail the power of states to levy taxes) but the Commonwealth's proposal made localised income tax both practically impossible and politically poisonous. The Commonwealth offered instead compensatory grants authorised by s.96 of the Constitution for the loss of state income (State Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942)).HP Pavilion TX1000   battery

The states rejected the Commonwealth's regime and challenged the legislation's validity in the First Uniform Tax Case (South Australia v Commonwealth) of 1942. The High Court of Australia held that each of the statutes establishing Commonwealth income tax was a valid use of the s.51(ii) power, HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  battery

with Latham CJ noting that the system did not undermine essential state functions and imposed only economic and political pressure upon them.HP 448007-001 battery

The Second Uniform Tax Case (Victoria v Commonwealth (1957)) reaffirmed the Court's earlier decision and confirmed the power of the Commonwealth to make s.96 grants conditionally (in this case, a grant made on the condition that the recipient state does not levy income tax).HP Compaq Business  6530B  battery

Since the Second Uniform Tax Case, a number of other political and legal decisions have centralised fiscal power with the Commonwealth. In Ha vs. New South Wales (1997), the High Court found that the Business Franchise Licences (Tobacco) Act 1987(NSW) was invalid because it levied a customs duty, a power exercisable only by the Commonwealth (s.90).HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

This decision effectively invalidated state taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol. Similarly, the imposition of a Commonwealth goods and services tax (GST) in 2000 transferred another revenue base to the Commonwealth.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  battery

Consequently, Australia has one of the most pronounced vertical fiscal imbalances in the world, with states collecting just 18% of all governmental revenues but responsible for almost 50% of the spending and policy areas. HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB battery

Furthermore, the centralisation of revenue collection has allowed the Commonwealth to force state policy in areas well beyond the scope of its Constitutional powers by using the grants power (s.96) to mandate the terms on which the states spend money in areas over which the Commonwealth has no power (such as spending on education, health and policing).HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  battery

Municipal taxation

Local governments (called councils in Australia) have their own taxes (called rates) to enable them to provide rubbish collection, park maintenance services, libraries and museums, etc.HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

Trade and economic performance

In the second half of the twentieth century, Australian trade shifted away from Europe and North America to Japan and other East Asian markets. Regional franchising businesses, now a $128 billion sector, have been operating co-branded sites overseas for years with new investors coming from Western Australia and Queensland.HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  battery

In the late 19th century, Australia's economic strength relative to the rest of the world was reflected in its GDP. In 1870, Australia had the highest GDP per capita in the world due to economic growth fueled by its natural resources. However, as Australia's population grew rapidly over the 20th century,HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX   battery

its GDP per capita dropped relative to countries such as the United States and Norway.However, the Australian economy has been performing nominally better than other economies of the OECD and has supported economic growth for 16 consecutive years. HP Pavilion DV3-2008TX  battery

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian per capita GDP growth is higher than that of New Zealand, US, Canada and The Netherlands. The past performance of the Australian economy has been heavily influenced by US, Japanese and Chinese economic growth.HP Pavilion DV8  battery

Despite high global demand for Australian mineral commodities, export growth has remained flat in comparison to strong import growth. Even though Australia enjoys high commodity prices, economists have warned that structural change is needed in order to increase the size of manufacturing sector .HP Pavilion DV6-1215SA  battery

Chinese investment

There is substantial export to China of iron ore, wool, and other raw materials and over 120,000 Chinese students study in Australian schools and universities. China is a major purchaser of Australian debt . In 2009, offers were made by state-owned Chinese companies to invest 22 billion dollars in Australia's resource extraction industry.HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

Australia's balance of payments

In trade terms, the Australian economy has had persistently large current account deficits for more than 50 years. One single factor that undermines balance of payments is Australia's narrow export base.Compaq Presario CQ50  battery

Dependent upon commodities, the Australian government has endeavoured to redevelop the Australian manufacturing sector. This initiative, also known as microeconomic reform, has helped Australian manufacturing to grow from 10.1% in 1983-1984 to 17.8% in 2003-2004.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO  battery

There are other factors that have contributed to the extremely high current account deficit that Australia has today. Lack of international competitiveness and heavy reliance on capital goods from overseas might increase Australia's current account deficit in the future.HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

However, as Australia's current account deficit (CAD) are almost entirely generated by the private sector as outlined in Professor John Pitchford's 'Consenting Adults Thesis' in the early 1990s, there is an argument that the CAD is not a significant issue.Compaq Presario CQ35-100   battery

Historically, Australia has relied on overseas capital to fill the gap between domestic savings and investment, and many of these investment opportunities could not have been pursued if Australia did not have access to foreign savings. This would suggest that Australia's apparently low savings level and CAD are not necessarily a great problem. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51  battery

So long as the investment that is being funded by overseas capital inflow generates sufficient returns to pay for the servicing costs in the future, the increase in foreign liabilities can be viewed as sustainable in the longer term.

The Australian environment ranges from virtually pristine Antarctic territory and rainforests to degraded industrial areas of major cities.HP Pavilion ZE4500  battery

Issues

Major environmental issues in Australia include whaling, logging of old growth forest, irrigation and its impact on the Murray River, Darling River and Macquarie Marshes, acid sulfate soils, soil salinity,deforestation, Soil erosion, Uranium mining and Nuclear waste, creation of marine reserves , HP G62-100EB  battery

air quality in major cities and around polluting industries and infrastructure, pesticide and herbicideimpacts and growing of genetically modified food.

Increased coal mining in Australia is contentious because of the effects of global warming on Australia, emissions to air from coal burning power stations, HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX  battery

dust, subsidence, impact on rivers like theHunter River and other water users, failure to adequately restore mined areas, and lack of sustainability. As an example, in 1999 Australia's energy consumption of coal and coal products were 47,364 (measured in thousand metric tons oil equivalent), HP EliteBook 6930P   battery

compared to that of the world's energy consumption of coal and coal products which totaled 2,278,524 (also measured in thousand metric tons oil equivalent).

Climate change and global warming are of particular concern because of the ljikely effects of global warming on agriculture, the Great Barrier Reef and tourism industry, human health through mosquito borne crydiolgicyticlogy .HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

Sea level rise could also have a profound impact on under leveled and poorer communities and waterfront suburbs. The range of rises forecast by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report would be sufficient to have impacts in many areas, and the impact if the Greenland ice cap melts faster than forecast could be disastrous.Compaq Evo N610C  battery

In urban areas noise and odour are major sources of complaints to environmental protection authorities.

Protected areas

Protected areas cover 895,288 km² of Australia's land area, or about 11.5% of the total land Area. HP Pavilion DM3-1050EO battery

Of these, two-thirds are considered strictly protected (IUCN categories I to IV), and the rest is mostly managed resources protected area (IUCN category VI).

The protected natural areas include world heritage listed areas: Compaq Presario 1245  battery
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte), Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Greater Blue Mountains Area, Heard and McDonald Islands, Lord Howe Island, Macquarie Island, Purnululu National Park, Shark Bay, and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.HP G6000  battery

Protected mixed World Heritage listed areas include Tasmanian Wilderness, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Willandra Lakes Region and Kakadu National Park.

Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range peninsula are submitted and on the Tentative List for World Heritage listing and are Australian National Parks.HP Compaq 451086-661  battery

Land

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it covers a diverse range of habitats, from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognised as a megadiverse country. HP Pavilion DV2166EA  battery

Because of the great age and consequent low levels of fertility of the continent, its extremely variable weather patterns, and its long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biota is unique and diverse. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic.HP Compaq 464119-143  battery

Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced plant and animal species. The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is a legal framework for the protection of threatened species. Compaq Presario CQ71  battery

Numerous protected areas have been created under the national Biodiversity Action Plan to protect and preserve unique ecosystems; 65 wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention, and 16 World Heritage Sites have been established. Australia was ranked 13th in the world on the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index.HP Pavilion DV9565EA  battery

Most Australian woody plant species are evergreen and many are adapted to fire and drought, including many eucalyptus and acacias. Australia has a rich variety of endemic legume species that thrive in nutrient-poor soils because of their symbiosis with Rhizobia bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. HP Pavilion DV6203TX battery

Well-known Australian fauna include monotremes (the platypus and echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, wombat; and birds such as the emu and kookaburra. The dingo was introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000 BCE.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO  battery

Many plant and animal species became extinct soon after first human settlement, including the Australian megafauna; others have become extinct since European settlement, among them theThylacine. HP HSTNN-OB51  battery

Water

Australia is the second driest continent (after Antarctica), and frequent droughts have led to the introduction of water restrictions in all parts of Australia. HP Pavilion DV7-2185DX  battery

This has led to concern about water security in Australia by environmentalists, irrigators and state and federal governments. Diversion and capture of natural water flows for irrigation in Australia has been responsible for dramatic changes in environmental water flows, particularly in the Murray Darling Basin.HP Compaq Business  6830S  battery ,HP PP2200   battery

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