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The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus or inaccurately, koala bear[a]) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native toAustralia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae, and its closest living relatives are thewombats.[3] The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland,New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. HP 3MLX8TATP40 CPU Fan 

It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85 cm (24–33 in) and weighs 4–15 kg (9–33 lb).

Pelagecolour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in colour than their counterparts further south. It is possible that these populations are separate subspecies, but this is disputed. HP Pavilion dv7-1240us CPU Fan

 

Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep for up to 20 hours a day. They are asocial animals, and bonding only exists between mothers and dependent offspring.  DELL yy529 CPU Fan

Adult males communicatewith loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glandslocated on their chests. Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers'pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their life. Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E CPU Fan

These young koalas are known as joeys, and are fully weaned at around a year. Koalas have few natural predators and parasites but are threatened by various pathogens, like Chlamydiaceae bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as bushfires and droughts.

Koalas were hunted by indigenous Australians and depicted in myths and cave art for millennia. SONY Vaio VGN-CR407E CPU Fan

The first recorded encounter between a European and a koala was in 1798, and an image of the animal was published in 1810 by naturalistGeorge Perry. Botanist Robert Brown wrote the first detailed scientific description of the koala in 1814, although his work remained unpublished for 180 years. HP Pavilion dv6-1101au CPU Fan

Koalas Popular artist John Gould illustrated and described the koala, introducing the species to the general British public. Further details about the animal's biology were revealed in the 19th century by several English scientists. Because of its distinctive appearance, the koala is recognised worldwide as a symbol of Australia. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Koalas are listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Australian government lists populations in Queensland and New South Wales as Vulnerable. The animal was hunted heavily in the early 20th century for its fur, and large-scale cullings in Queensland resulted in a public outcry that initiated a movement to protect the species. HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

Sanctuaries were established, and translocation efforts moved koalas whose habitat had become fragmented or reduced to new regions. The biggest threat to their existence is habitat destruction due to agriculture andurbanisation.

The word koala comes from the Dharug gula. Although the vowel 'u' was originally written in the English orthography as "oo" (in spellings such as coola or koolah), HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

it was changed to "oa", possibly in error. The word is mistakenly said to mean "doesn't drink".[4] Because of the koala's resemblance to a bear, it was often miscalled the koala bear, particularly by early settlers.[5] Other names like monkey bearnative bear, and tree-bear have also been used.[4] HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Indigenous names include cullawinekoolawongcolahkarborcolocoolbunboorabeeburroorbangaroopucawan,banjorah, and burrenbong; many of these mean "no drink".[6] The generic name, Phascolarctos, is derived from the Greek words phaskolos "pouch" and arktos "bear". The specific name, cinereus, is Latin for "ash coloured".HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

 

The koala was given its generic name Phascolarctos in 1816 by French zoologist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville,[9] who would not give it a specific name until further review. In 1819, German zoologist Georg August Goldfuss gave it the binomial Lipurus cinereusHP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

Because Phascolarctos was published first, according to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, it has priority as the official name of the genus.[10] French naturalist Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest proposed the namePhascolartos fuscus in 1820, suggesting that the brown-coloured versions were a different species than the grey ones. ACER Aspire 4743 CPU Fan

Other names suggested by European authors included Marodactylus cinereus by Goldfuss in 1820, P. flindersii by René Primevère Lesson in 1827, and P. koala by John Edward Gray in 1827.[2]

The koala is classified with wombats (family Vombatidae) and several extinct families (includingmarsupial tapirs, marsupial lions and giant wombats) in the suborder Vombatiformes within the orderDiprotodontia.[11] HP Pavilion dv6-2170us CPU Fan

Vombatiformes is a sister group to a clade that includes macropods (kangaroos andwallabies) and possums.[12] The ancestors of vombatiforms were likely arboreal,[8] and the koala'slineage was possibly the first to branch off around 40 million years ago during the Eocene.[13] Toshiba Satellite L675-S7018 CPU Fan

 

The modern koala is the only extant member of Phascolarctidae, a family that once included several genera and species. During the Oligocene and Miocene, koalas lived in rainforests and had less specialised diets.[14] Some species, such as the Riversleigh rainforest koala (Nimiokoala greystanesi) and some species of PerikoalaASUS F80Q CPU Fan

were around the same size as the modern koala, while others, such as species of Litokoala, were one-half to two-thirds its size.[15] During the Miocene, the Australian continent began drying out, leading to the decline of rainforests and the spread of open Eucalyptuswoodlands. The genus Phascolarctos split from Litokoala in the late Miocene[14][16ACER TravelMate 4200 CPU Fan

] and had several adaptations that allowed it to live on a specialised eucalyptus diet: a shifting of the palatetowards the front of the skull; larger molars and premolars; smaller pterygoid fossa;[14] and a largergap between the molar and the incisor teeth.[17]

During the Pliocene and Pleistocene, when Australia experienced changes in climate and vegetation, HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

koala species grew larger.[15] Phascolarctos cinereus may have emerged as a dwarf form of the giant koala (P. stirtoni). The reduction in the size of large mammals has been seen as a common phenomenon worldwide during the late Pleistocene, and it is traditionally believed that several Australian mammals, such as the agile wallaby, resulted from this dwarfing. HP G70-120EA CPU Fan

A 2008 study questions this hypothesis, noting that P. cinereus and P. stirtoni were sympatric during the middle to late Pleistocene, and possibly as early as the Pliocene.[18] The fossil record of the modern koala extends back at least to the middle Pleistocene. Toshiba Satellite A300-034 CPU Fan

 

Traditionally, three different subspecies have been recognised: the Queensland koala (P. cinereus adustus, Thomas 1923), the New South Wales koala (P. c. cinereus, Goldfuss 1817) and the Victorian koala (P. c. victor, Troughton 1835). These forms are distinguished by pelage colour and thickness, body size and skull shape. HP 606609-001 CPU Fan

The Queensland koala is the smallest of the three, with shorter, silver fur and a shorter skull. The Victorian koala is the largest, with shaggier, brown fur and a wider skull.[20][21] The boundaries of these variations are based on state borders, and their status as subspecies are disputed. Compaq Presario CQ60-301sl CPU Fan

A 1999 genetic study suggests that the variations represent differentiated populations with limited gene flow between them, and that the three subspecies comprise a single evolutionarily significant unit.[21] Other studies have found that koala populations have high levels of inbreeding and low genetic variation.[ TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

Such low genetic diversity may have been a characteristic of koala populations since the late Pleistocene.[24] Rivers and roads have been shown to limit gene flow and contribute to the genetic differentiation of southeast Queensland populations.[25] In April 2013, scientists from the Queensland University of Technology announced they had fully sequenced the koala genome. ASUS Eee PC 701 CPU Fan

 

The koala is a stocky animal with a large head and vestigial or non-existent tail.[27][28] It has a body length of 60–85 cm (24–33 in) and a weight of 4–15 kg (9–33 lb),[28] making it among the largest arboreal marsupial.[29] Koalas from Victoria are twice as heavy as those from Queensland.[20] The species is sexually dimorphic, with males 50% larger than females. Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan

Males are further distinguished from females by their more curved noses[29] and the presence of chest glands, which are visible as hairless patches.[30] As in most marsupials, the male koala has a bifurcated penis, and the female has two lateral vaginasand two separate uteri.[27] The male's penile sheath contains naturally occurring bacteria that play an important role infertilisation.[31] HP 637607-001 CPU Fan

The female's pouch opening is tightened by a sphincter that keeps the young from falling out.[32]

The pelage of the koala is thicker and longer on the back, and shorter on the belly. The ears have thick fur on both the inside and outside.[29] The back fur colour varies from light grey to chocolate brown.[27] HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

The belly fur is whitish; on the rump it is dappled whitish, and darker at the back.[28] The koala has the most effective insulating back fur of any marsupial and is highly resilient to wind and rain, while the belly fur can reflect solar radiation.[33] The koala's curved, sharp claws are well adapted for climbing trees. HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan

The large forepaws have two opposable digits (the first and second, which are opposable to the other three) that allow them to grasp small branches. On the hindpaws, the second and third digits are fused, a typical condition for members of Diprotodontia, and the attached claws (which are still separate) are used for grooming.[34] Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan

As in humans and other primates, koalas have friction ridges on their paws.[35] The animal has a sturdy skeleton and a short, muscular upper body with proportionately long upper limbs that contribute to its climbing and grasping abilities. Additional climbing strength is achieved with thigh muscles that attach to the shinbone lower than other animals.[36] HP G56-114SA CPU Fan

The koala has acartilaginous pad at the end of the spine that may make it more comfortable when it perches in the fork of a tree.

The koala has one of the smallest brains in proportion to body weight of any mammal,[37] being 60% smaller than that of a typical diprotodont. SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan

The brain's surface is fairly smooth, typical for a "primitive" animal.[38] It occupies only 61% of the cranial cavity[37]and is pressed against the inside surface by cerebrospinal fluid. The function of this relatively large amount of fluid is not known, although one possibility is that it acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the brain if the animal falls from a tree.[38] HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan

The koala's small brain size may be an adaptation to the energy restrictions imposed by its diet, which is insufficient to sustain a larger brain.[37] Because of its small brain, the koala has a limited ability to perform complex, unfamiliar behaviours. For example, when presented with plucked leaves on a flat surface, Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan

the animal cannot adapt to the change in its normal feeding routine and will not eat the leaves.[39] The koala's olfactory senses are normal, and it is known to sniff the oils of individual branchlets to assess their edibility.[37] Its nose is fairly large and covered in leathery skin. Its round ears provide it with good hearing[32] and it has a well-developed middle ear.[14] Toshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan

A koala's vision is not well developed,[32] and its relatively small eyes are unusual among marsupials in that the pupils have vertical slits.

The koala has several adaptations for its eucalypt diet, which is of low nutritive value, of high toxicity and high in dietary fibre.[40] HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan

The animal's dentition consists of the incisors and cheek teeth (a single premolar and four molars on each jaw), which are separated by a large gap (a characteristic feature of herbivorous mammals). The incisors are used for grasping leaves, which are then passed to the premolars to be snipped at the petiole before being passed to the highly cusped molars, DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

where they are shredded into small pieces.[41] Koalas may also store food in their cheek pouches before it is ready to be chewed.[42] The partially worn molars of middle-aged koalas are optimal for breaking the leaves into small particles, resulting in more efficient stomach digestion and nutrient absorption in the small intestine,[43] HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan

which digests the eucalyptus leaves to provide most of the animal's energy.[41] A koala sometimes regurgitates the food into the mouth to be chewed a second time.[44]

Unlike kangaroos and eucalyptus-eating possums, koalas are hindgut fermenters, and their digestive retention can last for up to 100 hours in the wild, or up to 200 hours in captivity.[41SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan

] This is made possible by the extraordinary length of their caecum—200 cm (80 in) long and 10 cm (4 in) in diameter—the largest proportionally of any animal.[45] Koalas can select which food particles to retain for longer fermentation and which to pass through. Large particles typically pass through more quickly, as they would take more time to digest.[41] Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan

While the hindgut is proportionally larger in the koala than in other herbivores, only 10% of the animal's energy is obtained from fermentation. Since the koala gains a low amount of energy from its diet, its metabolic rate is half that of a typical mammal,[40] although this can vary between seasons and sexes.[41] HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan

The koala conserves water by passing relatively dry faecal pellets high in undigested fibre, and by storing water in the caecum.

The koala's geographic range covers roughly 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi), and 30 ecoregions.[46] HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

It extends throughout eastern and southeastern Australia, encompassing northeastern, central and southeastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales, Victoria and southeastern South Australia. The koala was introduced near Adelaide and on several islands, including Kangaroo Island and French Island.[1] HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

The population on Magnetic Island represents the northern limit of its range.[46] Fossil evidence shows that the koala's range stretched as far west as southwestern Western Australia during the late Pleistocene. They were likely driven to extinction in these areas by environmental changes and hunting by indigenous Australians.[47] HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

In Queensland, koalas are unevenly distributed and uncommon except in the southeast, where they are numerous. In New South Wales, they are abundant only in Pilliga, while in Victoria they are common nearly everywhere. In South Australia, koalas were extirpated by 1920 and subsequently re-introduced.[1] HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan

Koalas can be found in habitats ranging from relatively open forests to woodlands, and in climates ranging from tropical to cool temperate.[29] In semi-arid climates, they prefer riparian habitats, where nearby streams and creeks provide refuge during times of drought and extreme heat. HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

Koalas are herbivorous, and while most of their diet consists of eucalypt leaves, they can be found in trees of other genera, such as AcaciaAllocasuarinaCallitrisLeptospermum and Melaleuca.[49] Although the foliage of over 600 species ofEucalyptus is available, the koala shows a strong preference for around 30.[50] ASUS A6000R CPU Fan

They tend to choose species that have a highprotein content and low proportions of fibre and lignin.[43] The most favoured species are Eucalyptus microcorys,E. tereticornis, and E. camaldulensis, which, on average, make up more than 20 percent of their diet.[51] Despite its reputation as a fussy eater, HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan

the koala is more generalist than some other marsupial species, like the greater glider. Since eucalypt leaves have a high water content, the koala does not need to drink often;[49] its daily water turnover rate ranges from 71 to 91 millilitres per kilogram of body weight. Toshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan

Although females can meet their water requirements from eating leaves, larger males require additional water found on the ground or in tree hollows.[43] When feeding, a koala holds onto a branch with hindpaws and one forepaw while the other forepaw grasps foliage. Small koalas can move close to the end of a branch, but larger ones stay near the thicker bases.[52] Compaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan

Koalas consume up to 400 grams (14 oz) of leaves a day, spread over four to six feeding sessions.[53] Despite their adaptations to a low-energy lifestyle, they have meagre fat reserves and need to feed often.[54]

Because they get so little energy from their diet, koalas must limit their energy use and sleep 20 hours a day;[55] HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan

only 4 minutes a day are spent in active movement.[56] They are predominantly active at night and spend most of their waking hours feeding. They typically eat and sleep in the same tree, possibly for as long as a day.[57] On warm days, a koala may rest with its back against a branch or lie on its stomach or back with its limbs dangling.[55] Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

During cold, wet periods, it curls itself into a tight ball to conserve energy.[57] On windy days, a koala will find a lower, thicker branch to rest on. While it spends most of the time in the tree, the animal will descend to the ground to move to another tree, walking on all fours.[55] The koala usually grooms itself with its hind paws, but sometimes uses its forepaws or mouth. Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan

 

Koalas are asocial animals and spend just 15 minutes a day on social behaviours. In Victoria,home ranges are small and have extensive overlap, while in central Queensland they are larger and overlap less.[59] Koala society appears to consist of "residents" and "transients", the former being mostly adult females and the latter males. Resident males appear to be territorial anddominate others with their larger body size.[60] DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan

Alpha males tend to establish their territories close to breeding females, while younger males are subordinate until they mature and reach full size.[61] Adult males occasionally venture outside their home ranges; when they do so, dominant ones retain their status.[59] When a male enters a new tree, he marks it by rubbing his chest gland against the trunk or a branch; HP 532613-001 CPU Fan

males have occasionally been observed to dribble urine on the trunk. This scent-marking behaviour probably serves as communication, and individuals are known to sniff the base of a tree before climbing.[62] Scent marking is common during aggressive encounters.[63] Chest gland secretions are complex chemical mixtures—about 40 compoundsHP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan

were identified in one analysis—that vary in composition and concentration with the season and the age of the individual.[64]

Adult males communicate with loud bellows—low pitched sounds that consist of snore-like inhalations and resonant exhalations that sound like growls.[65] ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan

Because of their low frequency, these bellows can travel far though air and vegetation.[66]Koalas may bellow at any time of the year, particularly during the breeding season, when it serves to attract females and possibly intimidate other males.[67]They also bellow to advertise their presence to their neighbours when they enter a new tree.[66] Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan

These sounds signal the male's actual body size as well as exaggerate it;[68] females pay more attention to bellows that originate from larger males.[69] Female koalas bellow, though more softly, in addition to making snarls, wails and screams. These calls are produced when in distress and when making defensive threats.[65] ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan

Young koalas squeak when in distress. As they get older, the squeak develops into a "squawk" that is produced both when in distress and to show aggression. When another individual climbs over it, a koala makes a low grunt with its mouth closed. Koalas make numerous facial expressions. When snarling, wailing or squawking, the animal curls the upper lip and points its ears forward. Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan

During screams, the lips retract and the ears are drawn back. Females bring the lips forward and raise their ears when agitated.[70]

Agonistic behaviour typically consists of squabbles between individuals climbing over or passing each other. This occasionally involves biting. Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan

Males who are strangers may wrestle, chase and bite each other.[71] In extreme situations, a male may try to displace a smaller rival from a tree. This involves the larger aggressor climbing up and attempting to corner the victim, who tries either to rush past him and climb down or to move to the end of a branch. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan

The aggressor attacks by grasping the target by the shoulders and repeatedly biting him. Once the weaker individual is driven away, the victor bellows and marks the tree.[72]Pregnant and lactating females are particularly aggressive and will attack individuals that come too close.[71] In general, however, koalas tend to avoid energy-wasting aggressive behaviour. HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan

 

Koalas are seasonal breeders, and births take place from October to May. Females in oestrus tend to hold their head further back than usual and commonly display tremors and spasms. However, males do not appear to recognise these signs, and have been observed to mount non-oestrous females. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Because of his much larger size, a male can usually force himself on a female, mounting her from behind, and in extreme cases the male may pull the female out of the tree. A female may scream and vigorously fight off her suitors, but will submit to one who is dominant, or who is more familiar. HP 646578-001 CPU Fan

The bellows and screams that accompany matings can attract other males to the scene, obliging the incumbent to delay mating and fight the intruders off. These fights may allow the female to assess who is dominant.[73] Older males usually have accumulated scratches, scars and cuts on the exposed parts of their noses and on their eyelids.[74] SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan

 

The koala has a gestation period lasting 30–35 days,[75] and gives birth to a single young (although twins occur on occasion). As with all marsupials, the young or joey is born while at the embryonic stage, weighing only 0.5 g (0.02 oz). However, it has relatively well-developed lips, forelimbs and shoulders, as well as functioning respiratory, digestive andurinary systems. The joey crawls into its mother's pouch to continue the rest of its development.[76] Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan

Unlike most other marsupials, the koala does not clean her pouch.[77]

A female koala has two teats; the joey attaches itself to one of them and suckles for the rest of its pouch life.[76] The koala has one of the lowest milk energy production rates in relation to body size of any mammal. The female makes up for this by lactating for as long as 12 months.[78]  DELL yy529 CPU Fan

At seven weeks of age, the joey's head grows longer and becomes proportionally large, pigmentation begins to develop, and its sex can be determined (the scrotum appears in males and the pouch begins to develop in females). At 13 weeks, the joey weighs around 50 g (1.8 oz) and its head has doubled in size. HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan

The eyes begin to open and fine fur grows on the forehead, nape, shoulders and arms. At 26 weeks, the fully furred animal resembles an adult, and begins to poke its head out of the pouch.[79]

As the young koala approaches six months, the mother begins to prepare it for its eucalyptus diet by pre-digesting the leaves, HP G62-369TX CPU Fan

producing a faecal pap that the joey eats from her cloacum. The pap is quite different in composition than regular faeces, resembling instead the contents of the caecum, which has a high concentration of bacteria. Eaten for about a month, the pap provides a supplementary source of protein at a transition time from a milk to a leaf diet.[80] HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan

The joey fully emerges from the pouch for the first time at six or seven months of age, when it weighs 300–500 g (11–18 oz). It explores its new surroundings cautiously, clinging to its mother for support. By nine months, it weighs over 1 kg (2.2 lb) and develops its adult fur colour. Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan

Having permanently left the pouch, it rides on its mother's back for transportation, learning to climb by grasping branches.[81] Gradually, it spends more time away from its mother and at 12 months it is fully weaned, weighing around 2.5 kg (5.5 lb). When the mother becomes pregnant again, her bond with her previous offspring is permanently severed. HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan

Newly weaned young are encouraged to disperse by their mother's aggressive behaviour towards them.

Females become sexually mature at about three years of age and can then become pregnant; in comparison, males reach sexual maturity when they are about four years old,[83] although they can produce sperm as early as two years.[82] HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan

While the chest glands can be functional as early as 18 months of age, males do not begin scent-marking behaviours until they reach sexual maturity.[64] Because the offspring have a long dependent period, female koalas usually breed in alternate years. Favourable environmental factors, such as a plentiful supply of high-quality food trees, allow them to reproduce every year. SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan

 

Koalas may live from 13 to 18 years in the wild. While female koalas usually live this long, males may die sooner because of their more hazardous life.[85] Koalas usually survive falls from trees and immediately climb back up, but injuries and deaths from falls do occur, particularly in inexperienced young and fighting males.[86] IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan

At around six years of age, the koala's chewing teeth begin to wear down and their chewing efficiency decreases. Eventually, the cusps will disappear completely and the animal will die of starvation.[87]

Koalas have few predators; dingos and large pythons may prey on them, Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan

while birds of prey (such as Powerful Owls and Wedge-tailed Eagles) are threats to young. They are generally not subject to external parasites, other than ticks in coastal areas. Koalas may also suffer mange from the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, and skin ulcers from the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, but neither are common. SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan

Internal parasites are few and largely harmless.[86] These include the tapeworm Bertiella obesa, commonly found in the intestine, and thenematodes Marsupostrongylus longilarvatus and Durikainema phascolarcti, which are infrequently found in the lungs.[88] HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan

In a three-year study of almost 600 koalas admitted to the Australian Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Queensland, 73.8% of the animals were infected with at least one species of the parasitic protozoal genus Trypanosoma, the most common of which was T. irwini.[89]

Koalas can be subject to pathogens like Chlamydiaceae bacteria,[86] HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

which can cause keratoconjunctivitis, urinary tract infection and reproductive tract infection.[90] Such infections are widespread on the mainland but absent in some island populations.[91] The koala retrovirus (KoRV) may cause Koala Immune Deficiency Syndrome (KIDS), Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan

which is similar to AIDS in humans. Prevalence of KoRV in koala populations suggests a trend spreading from the north to the south of Australia. Northern populations are completely infected, while some southern populations (including Kangaroo Island) are free.[92]

The animals are vulnerable to bushfires due to their slow movements and the flammability of eucalypt trees.[93] ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 08:37

These membranes, when outstretched, allow them to glide between trees.

The macropods are divided into three families: the Hypsiprymnodontidae, with the Musky Rat-kangaroo as its only member;[36] thePotoroidae, with 11 species; and the Macropodidae, with 45 species.[37] HP G62-b16ST CPU Fan

Macropods are found in all Australian environments except alpine areas. The Potoroidae include the bettongs, potaroos and rat-kangaroos, small species that make nests and carry plant material with their tails.[38] The Macropodiae include kangaroos, wallabies and associated species; size varies widely within this family. HP 580696-001 CPU Fan

Most macropods have large hind legs and long, narrow hind feet,[39] with a distinctive arrangement of four toes, and powerfully muscled tails, which they use to hop around.[40] The Musky Rat-kangaroo is the smallest macropod and the only species that is quadrupedal not bipedal,[41] HP Pavilion dv6-3049tx CPU Fan

while the male Red Kangaroo is the largest, reaching a height of about 2 m and weighing up to 85 kg.Australia has indigenous placental mammals from two orders: the bats—order Chiroptera—represented by six families; and the mice and rats—order Rodentia, family Muridae. HP G42-380LA CPU Fan

Bats and rodents are relatively recent arrivals to Australia; bats are present in the fossil record only from as recently as 15 MYA, and probably arrived from Asia.There are only two endemic genera of bats,[44] although 7% of the world's bats species live in Australia.[ Toshiba Qosmio G30-167 CPU Fan

Rodents first arrived in Australia 5–10 MYA,[44] undergoing a wide radiation to produce the species collectively known as the 'old endemic' rodents.[45] The old endemics are represented by 14 extant genera.[ A million years ago, the rat entered Australia from New Guinea and evolved into seven species of Rattus, collectively called the 'new endemics'.[45] HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Since human settlement many placental mammals have been introduced to Australia and are now feral.[44] The first animal introduced to Australia was the dingo.[44] Fossil evidence suggests that people from the north brought the dingo to Australia about 5000 years ago.[46] Compaq Presario CQ40-408AX CPU Fan

When Europeans settled Australia they intentionally released many species into the wild including the red fox, brown hare, and the European rabbit.[44][47] Other domestic species have escaped and over time have produced wild populations including the cat, fallow deer, red deer, HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

sambar deer, rusa deer, chital, hog deer, horse, donkey, pig, goat,water buffalo, and the camel.[48][49] Only three species of placental mammal were not deliberately introduced to Australia, the House Mouse, Black Rat and theBrown Rat.

Forty-six marine mammals from the order Cetacea are found in Australian coastal waters. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Since the majority of these species have global distribution, some authors do not consider them to be Australian species. There are nine species of baleen whalepresent, including the Humpback Whale.[52] There are 37 species of toothed whale, which include all six genera of the familyZiphiidae, and 21 species of oceanic dolphin, HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

including the Australian Snubfin Dolphin, a species first described in 2005.[53] Some oceanic dolphins, such as the Orca, can be found in all waters around the continent; others, such as theIrrawaddy Dolphin, are confined to the warm northern waters.[54] HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

The Dugong is an endangered marine species that inhabits the waters of north-eastern and north-western Australia, particularly the Torres Strait.[44][51] It can grow up to 3 m long and weigh as much as 400 kg.[51] The dugong is the only herbivorous marine mammal in Australia, feeding on sea grass in coastal areas.[ HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

The destruction of sea grass beds is a threat to the survival of this species.[50] Eleven species of seal—family Pinnipedia—live off the southern coast.

Australia and its territories are home to around 800 species of bird;[56] about 350 of these are endemic to the zoogeographic region that covers Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand.[ HP Pavilion dv7-4150ec CPU Fan

The fossil record of birds in Australia is patchy; however, there are records of the ancestors of contemporary species as early as the Late Oligocene.[57] Birds with a Gondwanan history include the flightless ratites (the Emu and Southern Cassowary),[58] HP Pavilion dv5-1102tu CPU Fan

megapodes (the Malleefowl andAustralian Brush-turkey),[59] and a huge group of endemic parrots, order Psittaciformes. Australian parrots comprise a sixth of the world's parrots,[60] including many cockatoos and galahs.[61] The Kookaburra is the largest species of the kingfisherfamily, known for its call, which sounds uncannily like loud, echoing human laughter.[62] SONY VGN-SZ220 CPU Fan

The passerines of Australia, also known as songbirds or perching birds,[63] include wrens,[64] robins,[65] the magpie group,[66] thornbills,[67] pardalotes,[68] the huge honeyeater family,[69] treecreepers,[70] lyrebirds,[71] Birds of Paradiseand bowerbirds.[72] HP Pavilion dv7-6011tx CPU Fan

The Satin Bowerbird has attracted the interest of evolutionary psychologists; it has a complex courtship ritual in which the male creates a bower filled with blue, shiny items to woo mates.Relatively recent colonists from Eurasia are swallows,[ larks,[74] thrushes,[75]cisticolas, sunbirds, and some raptors, including the large Wedge-tailed Eagle.[ HP Pavilion dv5-1040eb CPU Fan

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A number of bird species have been introduced by humans; some, like the European Goldfinch and Greenfinch,[76] coexist happily with Australian species,[ while others, such as the Common Starling, Common Blackbird, House Sparrow and Indian Mynah, are destructive of some native bird species and thus destabilise the native ecosystem. IBM ThinkPad R50p 2887 CPU Fan

About 200 species of seabird live on the Australian coast, including many species of migratory seabird. Australia is at the southern end of the East Asian-Australasian flyway for migratory water birds, which extends from Far-East Russia and Alaska through Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand. SONY VGN-CS36GJ/R CPU Fan

About two million birds travel this route to and from Australia each year.[ One very common large seabird is the Australian Pelican, which can be found in most waterways in Australia.[77] The Little Penguin is the only species of penguin that breeds on mainland Australia. Toshiba Satellite A215-S4807 CPU Fan

Australia has four families of native frogs and one introduced toad, the Cane Toad.[80] In 1935 the Cane Toad was introduced to Australia in a failed attempt to control pests in sugarcane crops. It has since become a devastating pest, spreading across northern Australia. Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-SP405 CPU Fan

As well as competing with native insectivores for food, the Cane Toad produces a venom that is toxic to native fauna,[81] as well as to humans.[82] The Myobatrachidae, or southern frogs,[83] are Australia's largest group of frogs, with 112 species classified into anywhere from 17 to 22 genera.[84] HP Pavilion dv4-1120us CPU Fan

A notable member of this group is the colourful and endangered Corroboree Frog.[85] The tree frogs, from family Hylidae,[86] are common in high rainfall areas on the north and east coasts;[87] there are 77 Australian species from three genera.[Compaq Presario C550EM CPU Fan

The 18 species from two genera of theMicrohylidae frogs are restricted to the rainforests of northern Australia and nearby habitats;[88] the smallest species, theScanty Frog, is from this family.[ There is a single species from the world's dominant frog group, familyRanidae — the Australian Wood Frog — which only occurs in the Queensland rainforests.[89] Toshiba Qosmio E15-AV101 CPU Fan

As elsewhere, there has been a precipitous decline in Australia's frog populations in recent years.[90] Although the full reasons for the decline are uncertain, it can be at least partly attributed to the fatal amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis.[90] Another theory for the decline might be, Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

as research shows, that species from the Southern Hemisphere are on average 4.6 million years old, compared to an average 2.9 million years old for the Northern Hemisphere: Researchers believe this age difference is because of the history of severe Ice Ages in the Northern Hemisphere, which may drive older species to extinction. Toshiba Satellite A305-S6837 CPU Fan

Australia has two species of crocodile. The Saltwater Crocodile, known colloquially as the "salty," is the largest living crocodile species; reaching over 7 m,[93] and weighing over 1,000 kg, they can and do kill people.[97] They live on the coast and in the freshwater rivers and wetlands of northern Australia, HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl CPU Fan

and they are farmed for their meat and leather.[97] Freshwater Crocodiles, found only in northern Australia, are not considered dangerous to humans.[92]

The Australian coast is visited by six species of sea turtle: the Flatback, Green Sea, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerheadand the Leatherback Sea Turtles;[98] HP Pavilion dv5-1118es CPU Fan

all are protected in Australian waters.[99] There are 29 species of Australian freshwaterturtles from eight genera of family Chelidae.[ The Pig-nosed Turtle is the only Australian turtle not of that family.[100] Australia is the only continent without any living species of land tortoise. Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050 CPU Fan

Australia is the only continent[where venomous snakes outnumber their non-venomous cousins.[102] Australian snakes belong to seven families. Of these, the most venomous species,[ including the Fierce Snake,[103] Eastern Brown Snake,[104] Taipan andEastern Tiger Snake are from the family Elapidae.[105] HP Pavilion G72-259WM CPU Fan

Of the 200 species of elapid, 86 are found only in Australia.[ Thirty-three sea snakes from family Hydrophiidae inhabit Australia's northern waters; many are extremely venomous. Two species of sea snake from the Acrochordidae also occur in Australian waters. Australia has only 11 species from the world's most significant snake family Colubridae; HP Pavilion dv6-3109ca  CPU  Fan

none are endemic, and they are considered to be relatively recent arrivals from Asia. There are 15 python species and 31 species of insectivorous blind snake.

There are more than 700 species of lizards in Australia[106] with representatives of five families.[107] HP Pavilion dv6782eg CPU Fan

There are >130 species in 20 genera of gecko found throughout the Australian continent.[106] The Pygopodidae is a family of limbless lizards endemic to the Australian region;[108] all 39 species from seven genera occur in Australia.[106] The Agamidae or Dragon lizards are represented by 70 species in 14 genera,[106] SONY UDQF2PH52CF0 CPU Fan

including the Thorny Devil, Bearded Dragon and Frill-necked Lizard.[109] There are 30 species ofmonitor lizard,[106] family Varanidae, in Australia, where they are commonly known as goannas.[110] The largest Australian monitor is the Perentie, which can reach up to 2 m in length.[111] Toshiba UDQFRPH33CCM CPU Fan

There are 389 species of skink from 38 genera, comprising about 50% of the total Australian lizard fauna;[106] this group includes the blue-tongued lizards.

More than 4,500 species of fish inhabit Australia's waterways;[113] of these, 90% are endemic. Toshiba Satellite A505-S6980 CPU Fan

However, because of the relative scarcity of freshwater waterways, Australia has only about 300 species of freshwater fish.[114] Two families of freshwater fish have ancient origins: the arowana or bonytongues, and the Queensland Lungfish.[115] The Queensland Lungfish is the most primitive of the lungfish, having evolved before Australia separated from Gondwana.[ HP Pavilion dv7-2025es CPU Fan

One of the smallest freshwater fish, peculiar to the southwest of Western Australia, is theSalamanderfish, which can survive desiccation in the dry season by burrowing into mud.[118] Other families with a potentially Gondwanan origin include the Retropinnidae, Galaxiidae, Aplochitonidae and Percichthyidae.[ TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

Apart from the ancient freshwater species, 70% of Australia's freshwater fish have affinities with tropical Indo-Pacific marine species that have adapted to freshwater.[119] These species include freshwater lampreys,[120] herrings, catfish, rainbowfish, and some 50 species of gudgeon, including the Sleepy Cod.[121] HP G62-a10EJ CPU Fan

Native freshwater game fish include the Barramundi,[122] Murray Cod, andGolden Perch.[123] Two species of endangered freshwater shark are found in the Northern Territory.[Several exotic freshwater fish species, including Brown, Brook and Rainbow Trout, Atlantic and Chinook Salmon, Dell MF60100V1-Q000-G99 CPU Fan

Redfin Perch,Common Carp, and Mosquitofish, have been introduced to Australian waterways.[124] The Mosquitofish is a particularly aggressive species known for harassing and nipping the fins of other fish. It has been linked to declines and localised extirpations of several small native fish species. DELL R859C CPU Fan

The introduced trout species have had serious negative impacts on a number of upland native fish species including Trout Cod, Macquarie Perch andmountain galaxias species as well as other upland fauna such as the Spotted Tree Frog. Toshiba Satellite A105-S2101 CPU Fan

The Common Carp is strongly implicated in the dramatic loss in waterweed, decline of small native fish species and permanently elevated levels of turbidity in the Murray-Darling Basin of southwest Australia.

Most of Australia's fish species are marine.[ SONY Vaio VGN-FW140E CPU Fan

Groups of interest include the moray eels and squirrelfish,[126]as well as the pipefish and seahorses,[127] whose males incubate their partner's eggs in a specialised pouch.[125] There are 80 species of grouper in Australian waters,[ including one of the world's biggest bony fish, the Giant Grouper, ACER Aspire 5730Z CPU Fan

which can grow as large as 2.7 m and weigh up to 400 kg.[128] The trevally, a group of 50 species of silver schooling fish, and the snappers are popular species for commercial fishing.[129] The Great Barrier Reef supports a huge variety of small- and medium-sized reef fish, including the damselfish, butterflyfish, angelfish,[130] SONY Vaio VPC-EB4S1E/WI CPU Fan

gobies, cardinalfish, wrassees,[131]triggerfish and surgeonfish.[132] There are several venomous fish, among them several species of stonefish and pufferfish and the red lionfish, all of which have toxins that can kill humans.[133] There are 11 venomous species ofstingray,[ HP Pavilion dv9580ed CPU Fan

the largest of which is the smooth stingray.[134] The barracudas are one of the reef's largest species.[135] However, large reef fish should not be eaten for fear of ciguatera poisoning.

Sharks inhabit all the coastal waters and estuarine habitats of Australia's coast. Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5934 CPU Fan

There are 166 species, including 30 species of requiem shark, 32 of catshark, six of wobbegong shark, and 40 of dogfish shark.[ There are three species from the family Heterodontidae: the Port Jackson shark, the zebra bullhead shark and the crested bullhead shark.[137] SONY Vaio VGN-CR31S/P CPU Fan

In 2004, there were 12 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia, of which two were fatal.[138] Only 3 species of shark pose a significant threat to humans: the bull shark, the tiger shark and the great white shark. Some popular beaches in Queensland and New South Wales are protected by shark netting, HP Pavilion dv5-1210et CPU Fan

a method that has reduced the population of both dangerous and harmless shark species through accidental entanglement.[ The overfishing of sharks has also significantly reduced shark numbers in Australian waters, and several species are now endangered.[ SONY Vaio VGN-FW465J/B CPU Fan

A megamouth shark was found on a Perthbeach in 1988;[139] very little is known about this species, but this discovery may indicate the presence of the species in Australian coastal waters.

Of the estimated 200,000 animal species in Australia, about 96% are invertebrates. HP Envy 15 CPU Fan

While the full extent of invertebrate diversity is uncertain, 90% of insects and molluscs are considered endemic.[2] Invertebrates occupy many ecological niches and are important in all ecosystems as decomposers,[140] pollinators, and food sources.[141] HP Pavilion dv7-1190er CPU Fan

The largest group of invertebrates is the insects, comprising 75% of Australia's known species of animals. The most diverse insect orders are the Coleoptera, with 28,200 species of beetles and weevils,[142] the Lepidoptera with 20,816 species[ including butterflies and moths,[143] Toshiba Satellite A105-S4074 CPU Fan

and 12,781 species of Hymenoptera,[ including the ants, bees and wasps.[144] Order Diptera, which includes the flies and mosquitoes,[145] comprises 7,786 species,[ Order Hemiptera, including bugs, aphids and hoppers,[146] comprises 5,650 species; and there are 2,827 speciesof order Orthoptera, including grasshoppers, crickets and katydids.[147][14 IBM MCF-208AM05-1 CPU Fan

8]Introduced species that pose a significant threat to native species include the European wasp,[149] the red fire ant,[150] the yellow crazy ant[151] and feral honeybees which compete with native bees.

Australia has a wide variety of arachnids, including 135 species of spider that are familiar enough to have common names. IBM MCF-217PAM05 CPU Fan

There are numerous highly venomous species, including the notorious Sydney funnel-web and redback spiders, whose bites can be deadly.[155] There are thousands of species of mites and ticks from the subclass Acari.[156] Australia also has eight species of pseudoscorpionand nine scorpion species.  HP GB0507PGV1-A CPU Fan

In the Annelida (sub)class Oligochaeta there are many families of aquatic worms, and for native terrestrial worms: the Enchytraeidae (pot worms) and the "true" earthworms in families Acanthodrilidae, Octochaetidae andMegascolecidae.The latter includes the world's largest earthworm, the giant Gippsland earthworm, IBM MCF-217PAM05 CPU Fan

found only in Gippsland, Victoria.[157] On average they reach 80 cm in length, but specimens up to 3.7 m in length have been found.

The large family Parastacidae includes 124 species of Australian freshwater crayfish.These include the world's smallest crayfish, the swamp crayfish, HP Pavilion dv6-3385la CPU Fan

which does not exceed 30 mm in length,[158] and the world's largest crayfish, theTasmanian giant freshwater crayfish,[159] measuring up to 76 cm long and weighing 4.5 kg.[160] The crayfish genus Cheraxincludes the common yabby,[159] in addition to the farmed species marron and Queensland red claw. HP Pavilion tx2510us  CPU  Fan

Species from the genusEngaeus, commonly known as the land crayfish, are also found in Australia. Engaeus species are not entirely aquatic, because they spend most of their lives living in burrows. Australia has seven species of freshwater crab from the genusAustrothelphusaHP G62-b55EV CPU Fan

These crabs live burrowed into the banks of waterways and can plug their burrows, surviving through several years of drought. The extremely primitive freshwater mountain shrimp, found only in Tasmania, are a unique group, resembling species found in the fossil record from 200 MYA. HP Pavilion dv6-2145sf CPU Fan

A huge variety of marine invertebrates are found in Australian waters, with the Great Barrier Reef an important source of this diversity.Families include the Porifera or sea sponges,[161] the Cnidaria (includes the jellyfish, coralsand sea anemones, comb jellies),[162] the Echinodermata (includes the sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, the lamp shells)[163] HP Pavilion dv7-1120ew CPU Fan

and the Mollusca (includes snails, slugs, limpets, squid, octopus, cockles, oysters, clams, andchitons).[164] Venomous invertebrates include the box jellyfish, the blue-ringed octopus,[165] and ten species of cone snail,which can cause respiratory failure and death in humans.[165] HP 538340-001 CPU Fan

The crown-of-thorns starfish usually inhabits the Reef at low densities. However, under conditions that are not yet well understood, they can reproduce to reach an unsustainable population density when coral is devoured at a rate faster than it can regenerate. HP 535766-001 CPU Fan

This presents a serious reef management issue.Other problematic marine invertebrates include the native species purple sea urchin and the white urchin, which have been able to take over marine habitats and form urchin barrens due to the over harvesting of their natural predators which include abalone and rock lobster. HP 535442-001 CPU Fan

Introduced invertebrate pests include theAsian mussel, New Zealand green-lipped mussel, black-striped mussel and the Northern Pacific seastar, all of which displace native shellfish.[]

There are many unique marine crustaceans in Australian waters. HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

The best-known class, to which all the edible species of crustacean belong, is Malacostraca.The warm waters of northern Australia are home to many species of decapodcrustaceans, including crabs, false crabs, hermit crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and prawns. HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

The peracarids, including theamphipods and isopods, are more diverse in the colder waters of southern Australia.Less-well-known marine groups include the classes Remipedia, Cephalocarida, Branchiopoda, Maxillopoda (which includes the barnacles, copepods andfish lice), and the Ostracoda.[166] HP 535438-001 CPU Fan

Notable species include the Tasmanian giant crab, the second largest crab species in the world,[167] found in deep water, and weighing up to 13 kg,[168] and the Australian spiny lobsters, such as the Western rock lobster, which are distinct from other lobster species as they do not have claws. HP 533736-001 CPU Fan

Introduction of exotic fauna in Australia by design, accident and natural processes has led to a considerable number ofinvasive, feral and pest species which have flourished and now impact the environment adversely. Introduced organisms affect the environment in a number of ways. IBM 13R2760 CPU Fan

Rabbits render land economically useless by eating everything.[169] Red Foxes affect local endemic fauna by predation while the cane toad poisons the predators by being eaten.[170] The invasive species include birds (Indian Mynah) and fish (common carp), insects (red imported fire ant) and molluscs (Asian mussel). ACER LU.S040A.067 CPU Fan

The problem is compounded by invasive exotic flora as well as introduced diseases, fungi and parasites.Costly, laborious and time-consuming efforts at control of these species has met with little success and this continues to be a major problem area in the conservation of Australia's biodiversity. ACER LU.S050B.078 CPU Fan

For at least 40,000 years, Australia's fauna played an integral role in the traditional lifestyles of Indigenous Australians, who exploited many species as a source of food and skins. Vertebrates commonly harvested included macropods, opossums, seals, fish and the Short-tailed Shearwater, most commonly known as the Muttonbird. DELL Studio 1535 CPU Fan

Invertebrates used as food included insects such as the Bogong moth and larvae collectively called witchetty grubs and molluscs. The use of fire-stick farming, in which large swathes of bushland were burnt to facilitate hunting, modified both flora and fauna — and are thought to have contributed to the extinction of large herbivores with a specialised diet, HP Pavilion dv6736nr CPU Fan

such as the flightless birds from the genus Genyornis.[171] The role of hunting and landscape modification by aboriginal people in the extinction of the Australian megafauna is debated.

The impact of Aborigines on native species populations is widely considered to be less significant than that of the European settlers,[172] HP Envy 15-1050ca CPU Fan

whose impact on the landscape has been on a relatively large scale. Since European settlement, direct exploitation of native fauna, habitat destruction and the introduction of exotic predators and competitive herbivores has led to the extinction of some 27 mammal, 23 bird and 4 frog species. HP Pavilion dv7-6100et CPU Fan

Much of Australia's fauna is protected by legislation.[1]The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 was created to meet Australia's obligations as a signatory to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

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This act protects all native fauna and provides for the identification and protection of threatened species. In each state and territory, there is statutory listing of threatened species. At present, 380 animal species are classified as either endangered or threatened under the EPBC Act, and other species are protected under state and territory legislation.[173] ACER Aspire 9304WSMi CPU Fan

More broadly, a complete cataloguing of all the species within Australia has been undertaken, a key step in the conservation of Australian fauna and biodiversity. In 1973, the federal government established the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), which coordinates research in the taxonomy, HP 610773-001 CPU Fan

identification, classification and distribution of flora and fauna. The ABRS maintains free online databases cataloguing much of the described Australian flora and fauna. Impacts such as the illegal setting of traps in rivers affect animals such as the Australian platypus, IBM ThinkPad R50p 1830 CPU Fan

along with lack of awareness each year an average of 2–5 Australians lose their lives to what is presumed a safe creature. The key is understanding of Australia's diverse wildlife and fauna; what seems safe is often deadly.

Australia is a member of the International Whaling Commission IBM ThinkPad T61 8898 CPU Fan

and is strongly opposed to commercial whaling—all Cetacean species are protected in Australian waters.[174] Australia is also a signatory to the CITES agreement and prohibits the export of endangered species. Protected areas have been created in every state and territory to protect and preserve the country's unique ecosystems. IBM ThinkPad R50p 2889 CPU Fan

These protected areas include national parks and other reserves, as well as 64 wetlands registered under the Ramsar Convention and 16 World Heritage Sites. As of 2002, 10.8% (774,619.51 km²) of the total land area of Australia is within protected areas.[175] IBM ThinkPad R50p 1830 CPU Fan

Protected marine zones have been created in many areas to preserve marine biodiversity; as of 2002, these areas cover about 7% (646,000 km²) of Australia's marine jurisdiction.[176] The Great Barrier Reef is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority under specific federal and state legislation. IBM ThinkPad R50 1829 CPU Fan

Some of Australia's fisheries are already overexploited,[177] and quotas have been set for the sustainable harvest of many marine species.

The State of the Environment Report, 2001, prepared by independent researchers for the federal government, IBM ThinkPad R50P CPU Fan

concluded that the condition of the environment and environmental management in Australia had worsened since the previous report in 1996. Of particular relevance to wildlife conservation, the report indicated that many processes—such as salinity, IBM Thinkpad W500 CPU Fan

changing hydrological conditions, land clearing, fragmentation of ecosystems, poor management of the coastal environment, and invasive species—pose major problems for protecting Australia's biodiversity. HP G62-374CA CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv5-1203eg CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv7-3131ez CPU Fan

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 08:36

SYCAN as of January 2011 currently has two branches (Northern Beaches and Inner-West areas).

Australia's National Reserve System (NRS) is a network of around 9,400 Commonwealth plus state and territoryprotected areas which,[1] in combination, on a national scale, SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D/T CPU Fan

are hoped to enable more than 89 million hectares (greater than 12% of the continent's) unique biodiversity and most significant ecological landscapes to be protected and preserved for future generations.The aim of the NRS is protect the diversity of all native landscapes, floraand fauna across Australia through strategic habitat protection. Compaq Presario CQ60-418DX CPU Fan

As part of the National Reserve System Cooperative Program, the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australiaframework was developed as a planning tool to assist in identifying areas of priority.

The move by the Australian Government to establish this National Reserve System SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D CPU Fan

was triggered by the internationalConvention on Biological Diversity, as part of the nation's commitment to fulfilling the objectives of that convention.[4] In particular, after signing and ratifying the convention in 1992 the then Prime Minister announced. SONY VGN-BX197XP CPU Fan

"The establishment of a comprehensive system of protected areas is vital if we are to retain our status as a region of megadiversity. Besides being ecologically viable these areas must represent the full range of ecosystems. The Government is committed to the development of a national comprehensive system of parks and reserves. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

This will be achieved in cooperation with States and Territories."

Within the first 4 years (1992–1996) $11.2 million was spent establishing the system and, with the cooperation and agreement of the Australian States and territories 5,600 properties (covering almost 60 million hectares) Toshiba AB7805HX-GB3 CPU Fan

were included within the system and a new Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program was initiated to include some of the most valuable and rare ecological landscapes on Indigenous Australian owned lands.[4] 17 Indigenous Protected Area were declared by 2003 which significantly added to the NRS.[5] Toshiba Satellite L500-208 CPU Fan

Within the next 10 years (1996–2007), with further substantial investment (through a National Heritage Trust) an additional 30 million hectares were added to the National Reserve System, two thirds of which were Indigenous Protected Areas. During this time, starting in 1999, HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

Tasmania took a lead investing in partnerships to create protected areas on other private lands; and by 2005 all the states and territories re-affirmed their joint commitment to what was to be described as a national 'flagship in biodiversity conservation'.[4] Toshiba Satellite P100-444 CPU Fan

The National Reserve System continues to be an Australian Government priority, with continuing funding "target[ing] areas with low levels of protection, including the sub-tropical savanna from Cape York to the Kimberley, the Mitchell grass country of north-west Queensland and arid central Australia;[4] HP Pavilion dv7-3114eo CPU Fan

continuing investment in indigenous protected areas;[4] plus a new National Reserve System strategy identifying priorities and actions to be taken over the next 20 years.

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it covers a diverse range of habitats, from alpine heaths to tropicalrainforests, and is recognized as a megadiverse country. HP Mini 110-1125SA CPU Fan

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.[3] HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

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 1999is a legal framework for the protection of threatened species. Compaq Presario CQ60-210eo CPU Fan

Numerous protected areas have been created under the nationalBiodiversity 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.[4] HP Pavilion dv7-2250sf CPU Fan

Most Australian woody plant species are evergreen and many are adapted to fire and drought, including many eucalyptus andacacias. 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 434678-001 CPU Fan

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.[5] HP G60-230us CPU Fan

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.

The fauna of Australia consists of a huge variety of animals; some 83% of mammals, HP Pavilion dv6365us CPU Fan

89% of reptiles, 90% of fish and insects and 93% of amphibians that inhabit the continent are endemic to Australia.[2] This high level of endemism can be attributed to the continent's long geographic isolation, tectonic stability, and the effects of an unusual pattern of climate change on the soil and flora over geological time. HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

A unique feature of Australia's fauna is the relative scarcity of native placental mammals. Consequently the marsupials—a group of mammals that raise their young in a pouch, including the macropods, possums anddasyuromorphs—occupy many of the ecological niches placental animals occupy elsewhere in the world. COMPAQ 6910c CPU Fan

Australia is home to two of the 5 known extant species of monotremes and has numerous venomous species, which include the Platypus, spiders, scorpions,octopus, jellyfish, molluscs, stonefish, and stingrays. Uniquely, Australia has more venomous than non-venomous species ofsnakes. IBM Lenovo IdeaPad G510 CPU Fan

The settlement of Australia by Indigenous Australians between 48,000 and 70,000 years ago [3] (research in 2011 using DNA suggesting an arrival around 50,000 years ago),[4] and by Europeans from 1788, has significantly affected the fauna. Hunting, the introduction of non-native species, HP G62-110SO CPU Fan

and land-management practices involving the modification or destruction of habitats have led to numerous extinctions. Some examples include the Paradise Parrot, Pig-footed bandicoot and the Broad-faced Potoroo. Unsustainable land use still threatens the survival of many species. DELL Precision M6400 CPU Fan

To target threats to the survival of its fauna, Australia has passed wide-ranging federal and state legislation and established numerous protected areas.

Both geologic and climatic events helped to make Australia's fauna unique.[5] Australia was once part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana,[6] which also included South America, Africa, India and Antarctica. SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

Gondwana began to break up 140 million years ago (MYA); 50 MYA Australia separated from Antarctica and was relatively isolated until the collision of the Indo-Australian Plate with Asia in the Miocene era 5.3 MYA. The establishment and evolution of the present-day fauna was apparently shaped by the unique climate and the geology of the continent. HP Envy 17-1090eo CPU Fan

As Australia drifted, it was, to some extent, isolated from the effects of global climate change. The unique fauna that originated in Gondwana, such as the marsupials, survived and adapted in Australia.[

After the Miocene, fauna of Asian origin were able to establish themselves in Australia. Toshiba Satellite A210-1CF CPU Fan

The Wallace Line—the hypothetical line separating the zoogeographical regions of Asia and Australasia—marks the tectonic boundary between theEurasian and Indo-Australian plates. This continental boundary prevented the formation of land bridges and resulted in a distinct zoological distribution, Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

with limited overlap, of most Asian and Australian fauna, with the exception of birds. Following the emergence of the circumpolar current in the mid-Oligocene era (some 15 MYA), the Australian climate became increasingly arid, giving rise to a diverse group of arid-specialised organisms, Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

just as the wet tropical and seasonally wet areas gave rise to their own uniquely adapted species.Australia has a rich mammalian fossil history, as well as a variety of extant mammalian species, dominated by the marsupials.[8] The fossil record shows that monotremes have been present in Australia since the Early Cretaceous 145–99 MYA,[9] Compaq Presario A900 CTO CPU Fan

and that marsupials and placental mammals date from the Eocene 56–34 MYA,[10] when modern mammals first appeared in the fossil record. Although marsupials and placental mammals did coexist in Australia in the Eocene, only marsupials have survived to the present. ACER Aspire 4736ZG CPU Fan

The placental mammals made their reappearance in Australia in the Miocene, when Australia moved closer to Indonesia, and bats and rodents started to appear reliably in the fossil record.[ The marsupials evolved to fill specific ecological niches, and in many cases they are physically similar to the placental mammals in Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

Eurasiaand North America that occupy similar niches, a phenomenon known as convergent evolution.[11] For example, the top predator in Australia, the Tasmanian Tiger,[7] bore a striking resemblance to canids such as the Gray Wolf;[ gliding possums and flying squirrels have similar adaptations enabling their arboreal lifestyle;[ SONY MCF-519PAM05 CPU Fan

and the Numbat andanteaters are both digging insectivores.[12] For the most part, mammals are not a highly visible part of the faunal landscape, as most species are nocturnal and many arboreal. Furthermore, there are few extant large ground-dwelling species. SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

Two of the five living species of monotreme occur in Australia: the Platypus and the Short-beaked Echidna.[14] The monotremes differ from other mammals in their methods of reproduction; in particular, they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.[14] HP Pavilion dv7-2043cl CPU Fan

The Platypus—a venomous, egg-laying, duck-billed amphibious mammal—is considered to be one of the strangest creatures in the animal kingdom. When it was first presented by Joseph Banks to English naturalists it was thought to be so strange that it was a cleverly created hoax.[ HP Pavilion dv7-2130ev CPU Fan

The Short-beaked Echidna is similarly strange, covered in hairy spikes with a tubular snout in the place of a mouth, and a tongue that can move in and out of the snout about 100 times a minute to capture termites.

Australia has the world's largest and most diverse range of marsupials.[19HP 608772-001 CPU Fan

] Marsupials are characterised by the presence of a pouch in which they rear their young.[19] The carnivorous marsupials—order Dasyuromorphia—are represented by two surviving families: the Dasyuridae with 51 members, and the Myrmecobiidae with the numbat as its sole surviving member.[20] Toshiba Satellite A100-194 CPU Fan

The Tasmanian Tiger was the largest Dasyuromorphia[21] and the last living specimen of the family Thylacinidae died in captivity in 1936.[7] The world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial is the Tasmanian Devil; it is the size of a small dog and can hunt, although it is mainly a scavenger.[21][22] HP Pavilion tx1205/ CT CPU Fan

It became extinct on the mainland some 600 years ago, and is now found only in Tasmania.[22] There are four species of quoll, or native cat, all of which are threatened species.[18] The remainder of the Dasyuridae are referred to as 'marsupial mice';[23] most weigh less than 100 g.[24] HP Pavilion dv6640ep CPU Fan

There are two species of Marsupial Mole—order Notoryctemorphia—that inhabit the deserts of Western Australia. These rare, blind and earless carnivorous creatures spend most of their time underground; little is known about them.

The bandicoots and bilbies—order Peramelemorphia—are marsupial omnivores.[27] COMPAQ Presario CQ42-401TU CPU Fan

There are seven species in Australia, most of which are endangered.[28][29] These small creatures share several characteristic physical features: a plump, arch-backed body with a long, delicately tapering snout, large upright ears, long, thin legs, and a thin tail.[28] Toshiba Satellite A300D CPU Fan

The evolutionary origin of this group is unclear, because they share characteristics from both carnivorous and herbivorous marsupials.Herbivorous marsupials are classified in the order Diprotodontia, and further into the suborders Vombatiformes and Phalangerida. The Vombatiformes include the Koala and the three species of wombat. HP Pavilion dv8397ea CPU  Fan

One of Australia's best-known marsupials, the Koala is an arboreal species that feeds on the leaves of various species of eucalyptus.[30] Wombats, on the other hand, live on the ground and feed on grasses, sedges and roots.[30] Wombats use their rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws to dig extensive burrow systems; HP Pavilion dv9821ea CPU Fan

they are mainly crepuscular and nocturnal.[30]

The Phalangerida includes six families and 26 species of possum and three families with 53 species of macropod. The possums are a diverse group of arboreal marsupials and vary in size from the Little Pygmy Possum, weighing just 7 g,[31] HP COMPAQ TC4200 CPU Fan

to the cat-sizedCommon Ringtail and Brushtail possums.[32][33] The Sugar and Squirrel Gliders are common species of gliding possum, found in the eucalypt forests of eastern Australia, while the Feathertail Glider is the smallest glider species.[34][35] The gliding possums have membranes called 'patagiums' that extend from the fifth finger of their forelimb back to the first toe of their hind foot. SONY Vaio VGN-NW228F CPU Fan

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The Australian environment ranges from virtually pristine Antarctic territory and rainforests to degraded industrial areas of major cities. 40 distinct ecoregions have been identified across the Australian mainland and islands.

Central Australia is very dry due to a dry climate. HP 3MLX8TATP40 CPU Fan

The interior has a number of deserts while most of the coastal areas are populated. Northern Australia experiences tropical cyclones while much of the country is prone to periodic drought.

Agriculture and mining are the predominate land uses which affect the Australian environment. HP Pavilion dv7-1240us CPU Fan

The management of the impact on the Australian environment from the mining industry, the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, forests and native animals are recurring issues of conservation.

Major environmental issues in Australia include whaling, logging of old growth forest, irrigation and its impact on theMurray River,  DELL yy529 CPU Fan 

Darling River and Macquarie Marshes, acid sulfate soils, soil salinity, land clearing, soil erosion, uranium mining and nuclear waste, creation of marine reserves [1], air quality in major cities and around polluting industries and infrastructure, pesticide and herbicide impacts and growing of genetically modified food. Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E CPU Fan

Increased coal mining in Australia is contentious because of the effects of global warming on Australia, emissions to air from coal burning power stations, dust, subsidence, impact on rivers like the Hunter River and other water users, failure to adequately restore mined areas, and lack of sustainability. SONY Vaio VGN-CR407E CPU Fan

As an example, in 1999 Australia's energy consumption of coal and coal products were 47,364 [2](measured in thousand metric tons oil equivalent), 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). HP Pavilion dv6-1101au CPU Fan

Climate change and global warming are of particular concern because of the likely effects of global warming on agriculture, the Great Barrier Reef and tourism industry, human health through mosquito borne crydiologicyticlogy [3]. Sea level rise could also have a profound impact on under leveled and poorer communities and waterfront suburbs. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

The range of rises forecast by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report would be sufficient to have impacts in many areas, and if the Greenland ice cap melts faster than forecast, it could have a disastrous impact.

In urban areas noise and odour are major sources of complaints to environmental protection authorities. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Environmental issues in Australia describes a number of environmental issues which affect theenvironment of Australia. There are a range of such issues, some of them relating to conservation in Australia while others, for example the deteriorating state of Murray-Darling Basin, have a direct and serious effect on human land use and the economy. HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

Many human activities including the use of natural resources have a direct impact on the Australianenvironment.Climate change is now a major political talking point in Australia in the last two decades. Persistent drought and resulting water restrictions during the first decade of the twenty-first century are an example of natural events attributed by the mainstream media to climate change.[ HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

Australia ranks within the top ten countries globally with respect to greenhouse gas emissions per capita.[5]

The current federal and state governments have all publicly stated their belief that climate change is being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Vocal minority groups within the population campaign against mining and coal-fired power stations in Australia, and such demonstrations are widely reported by the mainstream media. Similarly, vocal minority groups concurrently oppose wind energy schemes, despite being 'carbon neutral', HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

on the grounds of local visual and noise impact and concern for the currently high cost and low reliability of wind energy.Despite the publication of the Garnaut report and the Green Paper on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, public belief in anthropogenic climate change has noticeably eroded following the leaking of e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.[9][10] HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan\

There is claimed to be a net benefit to Australia in stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450ppm CO2 eq[11] in line with the prevailing political stance. Public disagreement with this opinion is generally dismissed as expression of vested interests, for example from the coal industry. ACER Aspire 4743 CPU Fan

Australia is a major exporter and consumer of coal, the combustion of which liberates CO2. Consequently, in 2003 Australia was the eighth highest emitter of CO2gases per capita in the world liberating 16.5 tonnes per capita.[12] Australia is claimed to be one of the countries most at risk from climate change according to the Stern report. HP Pavilion dv6-2170us CPU Fan

Most of Australia's demand for electricity depends upon coal-fired thermal generation,[13] owing to the plentiful indigenous coal supply, limited potential for hydro-electric generation and political unwillingness to exploit indigenous uranium resources (although Australia accounted for the world's second highest production of uranium in 2005 [14]) Toshiba Satellite L675-S7018 CPU Fan

to fuel a 'carbon neutral' domestic nuclear energy program.

Conservation in Australia is an issue of state and federal policy. Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, with a large portion of species endemic to Australia. Preserving this wealth of biodiversity is important for future generations. ASUS F80Q CPU Fan

A key conservation issue is the preservation of biodiversity, especially by protecting the remaining rainforests. The destruction of habitat by human activities, including land clearing, remains the major cause of biodiversity loss in Australia. The importance of the Australian rainforests to the conservation movement is very high. ACER TravelMate 4200 CPU Fan

Australia is the only western country to have large areas of rainforest intact. Forests provide timber, drugs, and food and should be managed to maximize the possible uses. Currently, there are a number of environmental movements and campaigners advocating for action on saving the environment, one such campaign is the Big Switch and I Love Earth. HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

Land management issues including clearance of native vegetation, reafforestation of once-cleared areas, control of exotic weeds and pests, expansion of dryland salinity, and changed fire regimes. Intensification of resource use in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, and agriculture are widely reported to contribute to biodiversity loss in Australia. HP G70-120EA CPU Fan

Coastal and marine environments also have reduced biodiversity from reduced water quality caused by pollution and sediments arising from human settlements and agriculture. In central New South Wales where there are large plains of grassland, problems have risen from—unusual to say—lack of land clearing. Toshiba Satellite A300-034 CPU Fan

The Daintree Rainforest, a tropical rainforest near Daintree, Queensland covering around 1200 square kilometres, is threatened by logging, development, mining and the effects of the high tourist numbers.

Over a hundred species of fauna are currently under serious threat of extinction. HP 606609-001 CPU Fan

Compaq Presario CQ60-301sl CPU Fan

The plight of some of these species receives more attention than others and recently the focus of many conservation organisations has been the critically endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, the endangered Tasmanian Devil,[16] Northern Tiger Quoll, South Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

Southern Cassowary, Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, Leadbeater's Possum and Southern Corroboree frog.

Australia has a poor record of conservation of native fauna. The extinction of Australian megafauna is attributed to the arrival of humans and since European settlement, 23 birds, 4 frogs, and 27 mammal species are also known to have become extinct. ASUS Eee PC 701 CPU Fan

One of the notable issues with marine conservation in Australia is the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef's environmental pressures include water quality from runoff, climate change and mass coral bleaching, cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, overfishing, and shipping accidents. Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan

Whaling in Australia took place from colonisation in 1788. In 1979 Australia terminated whaling and committed to whale protection. The main varieties hunted were Humpback, Blue, Right and Sperm Whales.

While there have been no oil spill environmental disasters of the scale of the Exxon Valdez in the country, HP 637607-001 CPU Fan

Australia has a large oil industry and there have been several large oil spills [1]. Spills remain a serious threat to the marine environment and Australian coastline. The largest spill to date was the Kirki tanker in 1991 which dropped 17,280 tonnes of oil off the coast of Western Australia. HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

In March 2009, the 2009 southeast Queensland oil spill occurred, where 200,000 litres were spilled from the MV Pacific Adventurer spilling more than 250 tonnes of oil, 30 tonnes of fuel and other toxic chemicals on Brisbane's suburban beaches. Premier Anna Bligh described the spill as "worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen".HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan

A serious issue to the Australian marine environment is the dumping of rubbish from ships. There have been a number of cases,[19] particularly involving the navy of Australian and other countries polluting Australian waters including the dumping of chemical warfare agents. Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan

Recently documented cases include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in 2006 which was found to be dumping rubbish off the shores of Moreton Island.[20] In Victoria, a large number of toxic drums containing 1,2-Dichlorobenzene xylenol, a substance very toxic to aquatic creatures washed up on beaches during May 2009 presumably fallen off a passing container ship. HP G56-114SA CPU Fan

Australia's geographical isolation has resulted in the evolution of many delicate ecological relationships that are sensitive to foreign invaders and in many instances provided no natural predators for many of the species subsequently introduced. Introduced plants that have caused widespread problems are lantana and the prickly pear bush. The introduction and spread of animals such as the cane toad or rabbit can disrupt the existing balances between populations and develop into environmental problems. SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan

The introduction of cattle into Australia and to a lesser extent the dingo, are other examples of species that have changed the landscape. In some cases the introduction of new species can lead to plagues and the extinction of endemic species. HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan

The introduced species red fox has single-handedly caused the extinction of several species. Tasmania takes the threat of red fox introduction so seriously that it has a government sponsored taskforce to prevent fox populations from taking hold on the island. Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan

In the prehistory of Australia the indigenous Australians used fire-stick farming which was an early form of land clearing which caused long term changes to the ecology. With European colonisation land clearing continued on a larger scale for agriculture - particularly for cattle, cotton and wheat production. Toshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan

Since European settlement a total of 13% of native vegetation cover has been lost. The extinction of 20 different mammals, 9 bird and 97 plant species have been partially attributed to land clearing. Land clearing is a major source of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and contributed to approximately 12 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 1998. HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan

The consequences of land clearing include dryland salinity and soil erosion. These are a major concern to the landcare movement in Australia.

The clearing of native vegetation is controlled by Federal laws (indirectly), State law and local planning instruments. The precise details of regulation of vegetation clearing differ according to the location where clearing is proposed. DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world. Many Australian cities have large urban footprints and are characterised by an unsustainable low density urban sprawl. This places demand on infrastructure and services which contributes to the problems of land clearing, pollution, HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan

transport related emissions, energy consumption, invasive species,automobile dependency and urban heat islands.

The urban sprawl continues to increase at a rapid rate in most Australian cities, particularly the state capital cities, all of which (with the exception of Hobart) are metropoleis. SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan

In some centres, such as Sydney and Greater Western Sydney,[22]Greater Melbourne[23] and South East Queensland[24] large metropolitan conurbations threaten to extend for hundreds of kilometres and based on current population growth rates are expected to become megacities in the 21st century. Most Australian cities population growth is a result of migration in contrast to the Birth rate and fertility rate in Australia, which is contributing to the ongoing trend of urbanisation. Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan

In recent years, some cities have implemented transit-oriented development strategies to curb the urban sprawl. Notable examples include Melbourne 2030,[25] South East Queensland Regional Plan and the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy.

There are also population decentralisation programs at state and federal levels aimed at HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan

shifting populations out of the major centres and stemming the drivers to rapid urbanisation. Albury-Wodonga was part of the federal government's program of decentralisation begun in the 1970s, which has at times had relocation policies for immigration. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

The Victorian government has run a decentralisation program since the 1960s, having had a ministerial position appointed and ongoing promotional and investment programs for stimulating growth in Regional Victoria. However policy has swung over the decades, primarily due to local development priorities and agendas and a lack of federal co-ordination to the problem. HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

The protection of waterways in Australia is a major concern for various reasons including habitat and biodiversity, but also due to use of the waterways by humans.

The Murray-Darling Basin is under threat due to irrigation in Australia, causing high levels of salinity which affect agriculture and biodiversity in New South Wales, HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

Victoria and South Australia. These rivers are also affected by pesticide run-off and drought.

Climate change has become a major issue in Australia due to drastic climate events since the turn of the 21st century that have focused government and public attention.[1] HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan

Rainfall in Australia has increased slightly over the past century, although there is little or no trend in rainfall in the Western Plateau and the Central Lowlands of Australia.[2] Water sources in the southeastern areas of Australia have depleted due to increasing population in urban areas (rising demand) coupled with climate change factors such as persistent prolonged drought (diminishing supply). HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

At the same time, Australia continues to have the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions.The federal government and all state governments (New South Wales,[4] Victoria,[5] Queensland,[6] South Australia,[7] Western Australia,[8] ASUS A6000R CPU Fan

Tasmania,[9] Northern Territories[10] and Australian Capital Territory[11]) have explicitly recognised that climate change is being caused by greenhouse gas emissions, in conformity with the scientific opinion on climate change. Sectors of the population are actively campaigning against new coal mines and coal fired power stations because of their concern about the effects of global warming on Australia.[12][13][ HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan

14] There is expected to be a net benefit to Australia of stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450ppm CO2 eq.

Paleoclimatic records indicate that during glacial maxima Australia was extremely arid,[16] with plant pollen fossils showing deserts extending as far as northern Tasmania Toshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan

and a vast area of less than 2 percent vegetation cover over all of South Australia and adjacent regions of other states. Forest cover was largely limited to sheltered areas of the east coast and the extreme southwest of Western Australia.

During these glacial maxima the climate was also much colder and windier than today.[17] Compaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan

Minimum temperatures in winter in the centre of the continent were as much as 9°C (16°F) lower than they are today. Hydrological evidence for dryness during glacial maxima can also be seen at major lakes in Victoria's Western District, which dried up between around 20,000 and 15,000 years ago and re-filled from around 12,000 years ago.[18] HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan

As one moves into the Holocene, evidence for climate change declines. During the early Holocene, there is evidence from Lake Frome in South Australia and Lake Woods near Tennant Creek that the climate between 8,000 and 9,500 years ago and again from Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan

7,000 to 4,200 years ago was considerably wetter than over the period of instrumental recording since about 1885.[19] The research that gave these records also suggested that the rainfall flooding Frome was definitely summer-dominant rainfall because of pollen counts from grass species. DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan

Other sources[20] suggest that the Southern Oscillation may have been weaker during the early Holocene and rainfall over northern Australia less variable as well as higher. The onset of modern conditions with periodic wet season failure is dated ar around 4,000 years before the present. HP 532613-001 CPU Fan

In southern Victoria, there is evidence for generally wet conditions except for a much drier spell between about 3,000 and 2,100 years before the present,[21]when it is believed Lake Corangamite fell to levels well below those observed between European settlement and the 1990s. HP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan

After this dry period, Western District lakes returned to their previous levels fairly quickly and by 1800 they were at their highest levels in the forty thousand years of record available.

Elsewhere, data for most of the Holocene are deficient, ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan

largely because methods used elsewhere to determine past climates (like tree-ring data) cannot be used in Australia owing to the character of its soils and climate. Recently, however, coral cores have been used to examine rainfall over those areas of Queenslanddraining to the Great Barrier Reef.[22] Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan

The results do not provide conclusive evidence of man-made climate change, but do suggest the following:

There has been a marked increase in the frequency of very wet years in Queensland since the end of the Little Ice Age, a theory supported by there being no evidence for any large Lake Eyre filling during the LIA. ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan

The dry era of the 1920s and 1930s may well have been the driest period in Australia over the past four centuries.

A similar study, not yet published, is planned for coral reefs in Western Australia.

There exist records of floods in a number of rivers, such as the Hawkesbury, from the time of first settlement. Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan

These suggest that, for the period beginning with the first European settlement, the first thirty-five years or so were wet and were followed by a much drier period up to the mid-1860s,[23] when usable instrumental records start.

Although rain gauges were installed privately by some of the earliest settlers, Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan

the first instrumental climate records in Australia were not compiled until 1840 at Port Macquarie. Rain gauges were gradually installed at other major centres across the continent, with the present gauges in Melbourne and Sydney dating from 1858 and 1859 respectively. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan

In eastern Australia, where the continent's first large-scale agriculture began, a large number of rain gauges were installed during the 1860s and by 1875 a comprehensive network had been developed in the "settled" areas of that state.[24] With the spread of the pastoral industry to the north of the continent during this period, HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan

rain gauges were established extensively in newly settled areas, reaching Darwin by 1869, Alice Springs by 1874, and the Kimberley, Channel Countryand Gulf Savannah by 1880.By 1885,[25] most of Australia had a network of rainfall reporting stations adequate to give a good picture of climatic variability over the continent. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

The exceptions were remote areas of western Tasmania, the extreme southwest of Western Australia, Cape York Peninsula,[26] the northern Kimberley and the deserts of northwestern South Australia and southeastern Western Australia. In these areas good-quality climatic data were not available for quite some time after that. HP 646578-001 CPU Fan

Temperature measurements, although made at major population centres from days of the earliest rain gauges, were generally not established when rain gauges spread to more remote locations during the 1870s and 1880s. Although they gradually caught up in number with rain gauges, SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan

many places which have had rainfall data for over 125 years have only a few decades of temperature records.

Australia's instrumental record from 1885 to the present shows the following broad picture: Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan

Conditions from 1885 to 1898 were generally fairly wet, though less so than in the period since 1968. The only noticeably dry years in this era were 1888 and 1897. Although some coral core data[27] suggest that 1887 and 1890 were, with 1974, the wettest years across the continent since settlement, rainfall data for Alice Springs,  DELL yy529 CPU Fan

then the only major station covering the interior of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, strongly suggest that 1887 and 1890 were overall not as wet as 1974 or even 2000. In New South Wales and Queensland, however, the years 1886-1887 and 1889-1894 were indeed exceptionally wet. HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan

The heavy rainfall over this period has been linked with a major expansion of the sheep population[28] and February 1893 saw the disastrous 1893 Brisbane flood.

A drying of the climate took place from 1899 to 1921, though with some interruptions from wet El Niño years, especially between 1915 and early 1918 and in 1920-1921, HP G62-369TX CPU Fan

when the wheat belt of the southern interior was drenched by its heaviest winter rains on record. Two majorEl Niño events in 1902 and 1905 produced the two driest years across the whole continent, whilst 1919 was similarly dry in the eastern States apart from the Gippsland. HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan

The period from 1922 to 1938 was exceptionally dry, with only 1930 having Australia-wide rainfall above the long-term mean and the Australia-wide average rainfall for these seventeen years being 15 to 20 percent below that for other periods since 1885. Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan

This dry period is attributed in some sources to a weakening of the Southern Oscillation[29] and in others to reduced sea surface temperatures.[30] Temperatures in these three periods were generally cooler than they are currently, with 1925 having the coolest minima of any year since 1910. HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan

However, the dry years of the 1920s and 1930s were also often quite warm, with 1928 and 1938 having particularly high maxima.

The period from 1939 to 1967 began with an increase in rainfall: 1939, 1941 and 1942 were the first close-together group of relatively wet years since 1921. HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan

From 1943 to 1946, generally dry conditions returned, and the two decades from 1947 saw fluctuating rainfall. 1950, 1955 and 1956 were exceptionally wet except 1950 and 1956 over arid and wheatbelt regions of Western Australia. 1950 saw extraordinary rains in central New South Wales and most of Queensland: SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan

IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan

Dubbo's 1950 rainfall of 1,329 mm (52 inches) can be estimated to have a return period of between 350 and 400 years, whilst Lake Eyre filled for the first time in thirty years. In contrast, 1951, 1961 and 1965 were very dry, with complete monsoon failure in 1951/1952 and extreme drought in the interior during 1961 and 1965. Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan

Temperatures over this period initially fell to their lowest levels of the 20th century, with 1949 and 1956 being particularly cool, but then began a rising trend that has continued with few interruptions to the present.

Since 1968, Australia's rainfall has been 15 percent higher than between 1885 and 1967. SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan

The wettest periods have been from 1973 to 1975 and 1998 to 2001, which comprise seven of the thirteen wettest years over the continent since 1885. Overnight minimum temperatures, especially in winter, have been markedly higher than before the 1960s, with 1973, 1980, 1988, 1991, 1998 and 2005 outstanding in this respect. HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan

There has been a marked and beneficial decrease in the frequency of frost[31] across Australia

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.90°C above the 1961-90 average, making it the nation’s second warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910. HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

Within Australia, patterns of precipitation show regional variation. Because of the general spatial coherence of rainfall over most of Australia, these variations have tended to affect small areas, but because these are generally the most populated parts of the continent, they are still of considerable importance. Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan

In the South-West Land Division, rainfall during the May to August rainy season has declined by 20 percent since 1968, after being at its highest from 1915 to 1947.[33] Floods that were once common have virtually disappeared. Aided by increased winter temperatures and evaporation, runoff has declined over the past forty years by as much as sixty percent.[ ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan

In southern Victoria, rainfall since 1997 has declined by as much as 30 percent, with Melbourne having not once exceeded its 1885 to 1996 average since 1997.

In contrast, the 1950s in southern Victoria were consistently wet, with Western District lakes returning during the decade to levels seen before the 1850s and Corangamite almost overflowing, as it is believed to have done during the Little Ice Age.[ IBM ThinkPad T40 2678 CPU Fan

The eastern part of Tasmania has also seen a major decline in rainfall since the middle 1970s. In Hobart, the annual rainfall has declined by about one-sixth since that time, and not one of the nineteen wettest years since 1882 has occurred since 1976.[ IBM Thinkpad T43 CPU Fan

In Gippsland, the coastal areas of New South Wales, and southern Queensland, the driest period since 1885 was not from 1922 to 1938, but approximately from 1901 to 1910, when the average annual rainfall at Sydney was 20 percent below its long-term mean. IBM ThinkPad T43 2668 CPU Fan

There was a slight increase in rainfall from 1916 to 1934 and then a decline to 1901-1910 levels from 1936 to 1948, before a return to the pre-1900 "flood-dominated" climate regime occurred in 1949.[

In northwestern Australia, rainfall was moderate from 1885 to about 1925, IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan

then declined from the late 1920s to the late 1960s (with very dry conditions during the 1950s), followed by rapid increases since then. In Darwin, six of the seven wettest wet seasons have occurred since 1995, and the major droughts that once affected the region frequently have virtually disappeared since 1971. ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan

According to the CSIRO and Garnaut Climate Change Review, climate change is expected to have numerous adverse effects on many species, regions, activities and much infrastructure and areas of the economy and public health in Australia. The Stern Report and Garnaut Review on balance expect these to outweigh the costs of mitigation. [34] DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

Sustained climate change could have drastic effects on the ecosystems of Australia. For example, rising ocean temperatures and continual erosion of the coasts from higher water levels will cause further bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Beyond that, ASUS F80S CPU Fan

Australia’s climate will become even harsher, with more powerful tropical cyclones and longer droughts.The impacts of climate change will vary significantly across Australia. The Australian Government appointed Climate Commission have prepared summary reports on the likely impacts of climate change for regions across Australia, HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan

including: Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

According to the climate commission report in 2013 the extreme heatwaves, flooding and bush fires striking Australia have been intensified by climate change and will get worse in future in terms of their impacts on people, IBM 13N5182 CPU Fan

property, communities and the environment. The summer of 2012/2013 included the hottest summer, hottest month and hottest day on record. The cost of the 2009 bushfires in Victoria was estimated at A$4.4bn (£3bn) and the Queensland floods of 2010/2011 cost over A$5bn. IBM Thinkpad T30 2366-AA3 CPU Fan

The Australian Government released a detailed report on the impacts of climate change on coastal areas of Australia, finding that up to 247,600 houses are at risk from flooding from a sea-level rise of 1.1 metres. There were 39,000 buildings located within 110 metres of 'soft' erodible shorelines, at risk from accelerated erosion due to sea -level rise. IBM Thinkpad T30 CPU Fan

In 2008 the Treasurer and the Minister for Climate Change and Water released a report that concluded the economy will grow with an emissions trading scheme in place.[41]

A report released in October 2009 by the Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts, studying the effects of a 1m sea level rise, HP 535438-001 CPU Fan

quite possible within the next 30–60 years, concluded that around 700,000 properties around Australia, including 80,000 buildings, would be inundated, the collective value of these properties is estimated at $150billion.

In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, DELL Inspiron N3010 CPU Fan

maybe irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it did not receive sufficient water by October of that year.[43] Water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages resulting from drought.[44] HP Pavilion dv6-3070tx CPU Fan

In 2004 paleontologist Tim Flannery predicted that unless it made drastic changes the city of Perth, Western Australia, could become the world’s first ghost metropolis - an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.

One of Australia's first national attempt to reduce emissions was the voluntary-based IBM 41W5269 CPU Fan

initiative called the Greenhouse Challenge Program which began in 1995.[46]A collection of measures which focused on reducing the environmental impacts of the energy sector were released by Prime Minister John Howard on 20 November 1997 in a policy statement called Safeguarding Our Future: ASUS A8H CPU Fan

Australia's Response to Climate Change.[47] One measure was the establishment of the Australian Greenhouse Office, which was set up as the world's first dedicated greenhouse office in April 1998.[48]

After contributing to the development of, then signing but not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, SONY UDQFRZH13CF0 CPU Fan

action to address climate change was coordinated through the Australian Greenhouse Office. The Australian Greenhouse Office released the National Greenhouse Strategy in 1998. The report recognised climate change was of global significance and that Australia had an international obligation to address the problem. HP COMPAQ 2510P CPU Fan

In 2000 the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee conducted an inquiry that produced The Heat is On: Australia's Greenhouse Future.

In 1998 the Australian Government, under Prime Minister John Howard, APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

established the Australian Greenhouse Office, which was then the world's first government agency dedicated to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.[50] Currently, the new Department of Climate Change under Minister Penny Wong is coordinating and leading climate policy in the Australian Government and aimed to have a national emissions trading scheme operating by 2010. HP Pavilion dv6-3034ca CPU Fan

However, on 27 April 2010, the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that the Government has decided to delay the implementation of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) until the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (ending in 2012).[51] HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

The Government cited the lack of bipartisan support for the CPRS and slow international progress on climate action as the reasons for the decision.[52]

The delay of the implementation of the CPRS was strongly criticised by the Federal Opposition[53] and by community and grassroots action groups such asGetUp.[54] Compaq Presario C556CA CPU Fan

The new government has committed to reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050, based on year 2000 levels but is awaiting a report from Professor Ross Garnaut, the Garnaut Climate Change Review, in mid-2008 before setting interim emission reduction targets for 2020.[dated infoSONY Vaio VGN-NR360E CPU Fan

Climate change is on the agenda for most environmental and social justice non-government organisations (NGOs) in Australia. There has also been significant action at a State Government level, although the Federal government was slow to act under the former prime minister, John Howard[HP Pavilion dv5170us CPU Fan

To reduce Australia's carbon emissions, the government of Julia Gillard introduced a carbon tax on 1 July 2012. It requires large businesses, defined as those emitting over 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually, to purchase emissions permits. SONY Vaio VPC-EE3WFX/WI CPU Fan

The state of Victoria, in particular, has been proactive in pursuing reductions in GHG through a range of initiatives. Other states have also taken a more proactive stance than the federal government. One such initiative undertaken by the Victorian Government is the Greenhouse Challenge for Energy Policy package, HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

which aims to reduce Victorian emissions through a mandated renewable energy target. Initially, it aimed to have a 10 per cent share of Victoria’s energy consumption being produced by renewable technologies by 2010, with 1000 MWh being produced by wind energy by 2006; this target was not met. HP 3MLX8TATP20 CPU Fan

The government recently legislated to ensure that by 2016 electricity retailers in Victoria purchase 10 per cent of their energy from renewables. The State Government also made an election promise, at the 2006 election, to increase this to 20 per cent by 2020. By providing a market incentive for the development of renewables, SONY Vaio VGN-NW240F/S CPU Fan

the government helps foster the development of the renewable energy sector.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) was founded in November 2006 by over 35 youth organisations including the Australian Student Environment Network, GetUp!, the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) and OzGreen. SONY Vaio VPC-EB1Z0E/B CPU Fan

The founding summit involved 65 young people aged 15–30 representing 30 different youth and youth-friendly organisations. The AYCC is a non-partisan, non-profit coalition with the aim of informing, inspiring and mobilising an entire generation in the struggle for climate justice and a clean energy future. Compaq Presario CQ60-514NR CPU Fan

The coalition emerged to hold those in power to account by challenging the acutely poor leadership shown by the Australian government and the private sector to stop climate change. In February 2007, the AYCC organised its official launch where AYCC members delivered their declaration on climate change to members of the Australian Parliament around the country. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9800 CPU Fan

Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) is a non-profit, grassroots network of student activists from universities, TAFEs and secondary schools across Australia. The network aims to create a generation of change-agents actively working to achieve environmental and social justice within the Australian and world context. ASUS G2P CPU Fan

The network has a strong focus on equipping young people with organising and facilitation skills and provides first-hand campaigning experience in environmental advocacy and grassroots organising. Annually, the ASEN summer training camp brings together students for one week of facilitated skill sharing, workshopping, campaign planning and strategising. Compaq Presario CQ60-430SA CPU Fan

ASEN has multiple campaign foci including climate change, coal mining, green jobs, campus sustainability (energy/emissions & recycled paper), nuclear power, Gold and Uranium mining and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. In addition, DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

the network builds and lives-out alternative ideas and lifestyles through community projects such as Co-operatives (food, housing and transport), on-campus permaculture gardens and by investing in community supported agriculture.

The AYCC supports numerous projects by harnessing the knowledge, skills and experience of its coalition member groups. HP Pavilion dv5-1272et CPU Fan

In August 2007, the AYCC launched their federal election campaign "Adopt a Politician" providing young voters and non-voters a platform on which to engage with their local community on the issue and pressure their federal candidates to save their future by committing to better policies. Toshiba AB7005HX-SB3 CPU Fan

In October 2007, the AYCC and ASEN organised the largest gathering of young climate activists from around the country at the conference "Switched On" in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The conferenced aimed to facilitate critical thinking on climate change and its solutions, Toshiba Satellite A500-18T CPU Fan

share knowledge and skills for organising around climate change and provide support and networking opportunities for the growing youth climate movement in Australia.

In November 2007, youth delegates from the AYCC attended the Kyoto negotiations in Bali where they collaborated with other national youth networks and young climate HP Pavilion dv5-2135dx CPU Fan

activists from around the world.SYCAN-the Sydney Youth Climate Action Network was founded at OzGreen's Youth Leading Australia Congress in 2009. SYCAN is working in local communities to reduce emissions through education and practical solutions. SYCAN is a non-profit, non-partisan group of youth volunteers. ASUS EEE PC 1201NL CPU Fan

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The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation, HP Pavilion dv6-3034ca CPU Fan

resourced by and reporting to Commonwealth governments, and guided by Commonwealth values and priorities. Its mandate is to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities: democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable, people-centred and sustainable development, and to promote arts and culture. HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

The Foundation was established by the Heads of Government in 1965. Admittance is open to all members of the Commonwealth and in December 2008 stood at 46 out of the 53 member countries. Associate Membership, which is open to associated states or overseas territories of member governments, has been granted to Gibraltar. Compaq Presario C556CA CPU Fan

2005 saw celebrations for the Foundation's 40th Anniversary. The Foundation is headquartered in Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. Regular liaison and cooperation between the Secretariat and the Foundation is in place. The Foundation continues to serve the broad purposes for which it was established as written in the Memorandum of Understanding. SONY Vaio VGN-NR360E CPU Fan

The Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport event, is held every four years; the 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi, India, in 2010, and the the next in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, and the next after that in Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018. As well as the usual athletic disciplines, as at the Summer Olympic Games, HP Pavilion dv5170us CPU Fan

the games include sports particularly popular in the Commonwealth, such as bowls, netball, and rugby sevens. Started in 1930 as the Empire Games, the games were founded on the Olympic model of amateurism, but were deliberately designed to be "the Friendly Games",[95] with the goal of promoting relations between Commonwealth countries and celebrating their shared sporting and cultural heritage.[96] SONY Vaio VPC-EE3WFX/WI CPU Fan

The games are the Commonwealth's most visible activity[95] and interest in the operation of the Commonwealth increases greatly when the Games are held.[97] There is controversy over whether the games—and sport generally—should be involved in the Commonwealth's wider political concerns.[96] HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

The 1977 Gleneagles Agreement was signed to commit Commonwealth countries to combat apartheid through discouraging sporting contact with South Africa (which was not then a member), whilst the 1986 gameswere boycotted by most African, Asian, and Caribbean countries for the failure of other countries to enforce the Gleneagles Agreement. HP 3MLX8TATP20 CPU Fan

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for maintaining the war graves of 1.7 million service personnel that died in the First and Second World Wars fighting for Commonwealth member states. Founded in 1917 (as the Imperial War Graves Commission), the Commission has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries, and maintains individual graves at another 20,000 sites around the world.[99] SONY Vaio VGN-NW240F/S CPU Fan

The vast majority of the latter are civilian cemeteries in Great Britain. In 1998, the CWGC made the records of its buried online to facilitate easier searching.[100]

Commonwealth war cemeteries often feature similar horticulture and architecture, with larger cemeteries being home to a Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance. SONY Vaio VPC-EB1Z0E/B CPU Fan

The CWGC is notable for marking the graves identically, regardless of the rank, country of origin, race, or religion of the buried.[100] It is funded by voluntary agreement by six Commonwealth members, in proportion to the nationality of the casualties in the graves maintained,[99] with 75% of the funding coming from Britain. Compaq Presario CQ60-514NR CPU Fan

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by the Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9800 CPU Fan

ASUS G2P CPU Fan

The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) was formed at 1997 CHOGM. The aim was to utilise the global network of the Commonwealth more effectively for the promotion of global trade and investment for shared prosperity. The CBC acts as a bridge for co-operation between business and government, concentrating efforts on these specific areas enhancing trade, Compaq Presario CQ60-430SA CPU Fan

facilitating ICT for Development, mobilising investment, promoting corporate citizenship, and public private partnerships. The CBC has a dedicated team, CBC Technologies, based in London and is focused on the international technology and global services industry throughout the Commonwealth. DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

Many Commonwealth nations possess traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket andrugby, driving on the left, the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, common law, widespread use of the English language, designation of English as an official language, military and naval ranks, HP Pavilion dv5-1272et CPU Fan

and the use of British rather than American spelling conventions (see English in the Commonwealth of Nations).

Many Commonwealth nations play similar sports that are considered quintessentially "British" in character, rooted in and developed under British rule or hegemony, including cricket, rugby, and netball.[101] Toshiba AB7005HX-SB3 CPU Fan

This has led to the development of friendly national rivalries between the main sporting nations that have often defined their relations with each another. Indeed, said rivalries preserved close ties by providing a constant in international relationships, even as the Empire transformed into the Commonwealth.[102] Toshiba Satellite A500-18T CPU Fan

Externally, playing these sports is seen to be a sign of sharing a certain Commonwealth culture; the adoption ofcricket at schools in Rwanda is seen as symbolic of the country's move towards Commonwealth membership.[103][104]

Besides the Commonwealth Games, other sporting competitions are organised on a Commonwealth basis, HP Pavilion dv5-2135dx CPU Fan

through championship tournaments such as the Commonwealth Judo Championships, Commonwealth Rowing Championships, Commonwealth Sailing Championships, Commonwealth Shooting Championships and Commonwealth Pool Lifesaving Championships. The Commonwealth Boxing Council has long maintained Commonwealth titles for the best boxers in the Commonwealth. ASUS EEE PC 1201NL CPU Fan

The shared history of British presence has produced a substantial body of writing in many languages, known as Commonwealth literature.[105][106] The Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, with nine chapters worldwide and an international conference is held every three years. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D/T CPU Fan

In 1987, the Commonwealth Foundation established the annual Commonwealth Writers' Prize "to encourage and reward the upsurge of new Commonwealth fiction and ensure that works of merit reach a wider audience outside their country of origin". Prizes are awarded for the best book and best first book in the Commonwealth, Compaq Presario CQ60-418DX CPU Fan

as well as regional prizes for the best book and best first book from each of four regions. Although not officially affiliated with the Commonwealth, the prestigious Man Booker Prize is awarded annually to an author from a Commonwealth country or the three former members, Ireland, Zimbabwe, andthe Gambia. This honour is one of the highest in literature. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D CPU Fan

Due to their shared constitutional histories, most countries in the Commonwealth have similar legal and political systems. The Commonwealth requires its members to be functioning democracies that respect human rights and the rule of law. Half of Commonwealth countries have the Westminster system of parliamentarydemocracy. SONY VGN-BX197XP CPU Fan

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association facilitates cooperation between legislatures across the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum promotes good governance amongst local government officials. Most Commonwealth members use common law, modelled on English law. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the supreme court of 14 Commonwealth members.

The Commonwealth has adopted a number of symbols that represent the association of its members. The English language is recognised as a symbol of the members' heritage; as well as being considered a symbol of the Commonwealth, Toshiba AB7805HX-GB3 CPU Fan

recognition of it as "the means of Commonwealth communication" is a prerequisite for Commonwealth membership.

The flag of the Commonwealth consists of the symbol of the Commonwealth Secretariat, a gold globe surrounded by emanating "rays", on a dark blue field; it was designed for the second CHOGM in 1973, and officially adopted on 26 March 1976. Toshiba Satellite L500-208 CPU Fan

1976 also saw the organisation agree to a common date on which to commemorateCommonwealth Day, the second Monday in March, having developed separately on different dates from Empire Day celebrations.

A poll in seven member countries on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth in 2009 commissioned by the HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

Royal Commonwealth Societyfound that most people in all countries were largely ignorant of the Commonwealth's functions and indifferent towards its future. In Canada one third of respondents said they would not care if Canada left the Commonwealth, half could not describe what it does, and Canadians were four times more likely to support closer ties to the United States. Toshiba Satellite P100-444 CPU Fan

Support was also weak in other wealthier Commonwealth realms but much stronger in poorer Commonwealth republics. Nearly one fifth of Australian respondents said they would be "delighted" or "pleased" if their country left the Commonwealth.Commonwealth Free Trade is a concept built around the gradual introduction of a free trade treaty that would include member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. HP Pavilion dv7-3114eo CPU Fan

The idea of promoting inter-Commonwealth trade has emerged in recent years as a response to the current evolution of the global economy. Proponents in Commonwealth jurisdictions promote the idea as a means of diversifying and expanding their own national economies.

The concept has become popularized in Britain among those who are self-styled ‘Eurosceptics’, HP Mini 110-1125SA CPU Fan

and wish for the UK to leave the formal political structures of the European Union, to be replaced with a Free Trade Treaty with the EU.

Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Britain exercised an informal trade system with her colonies and self-governing dominions. HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

During the early 20th century, several political figures in Britain, led by Joseph Chamberlain, argued for a policy of Imperial Preference – both to promote unity within the British Empire, and to assure Britain’s position as a world power. The policy was controversial as it pitted proponents of Imperial trade with those who sought a general policy of trade liberalization with all nations. Compaq Presario CQ60-210eo CPU Fan

The schism helped contribute to the defeat of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour and his Conservative-Unionist government in 1906, and had serious ramifications for Conservative prospects in the 1923 and 1929 general elections. One notable victory had been the establishment of the Empire Marketing Board in 1926, which encouraged Britons to ‘Buy Empire’. HP Pavilion dv7-2250sf CPU Fan

In 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, representatives of Britain, the Dominions, and the Colonies met in Ottawa, Canada to hold the Commonwealth Conference on Economic Consultation and Co-operation.[1] There had been an initial agreement on Imperial Preference, but a comprehensive agreement failed to materialize. HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

Many of the Dominion leaders attributed this to the attitude of the British Dominions Secretary J. H. Thomas during the negotiations.

In 1935, the Canadian Prime Minister, R. B. Bennett, a Conservative who endorsed Imperial Preference, was replaced by a Liberal, W. L. M. King. King responded to pressure from U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and abandoned Imperial Preference. HP G60-230us CPU Fan

The United States was determined to maintain its tariff protections and access to markets, but was vociferously opposed to any such preferences enjoyed by other countries.[citation needed]

In the case of the Commonwealth, the U.S. was hostile to it from its inception, notwithstanding the fact that in the cases of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, HP Pavilion dv6365us CPU Fan

there was an overwhelming preference for a trade system based on the United Kingdom rather than the U.S.[citation needed]

The conclusion of World War II drastically affected the prospects for an agreement Commonwealth trade. The United States emerged as the foremost political and economic power, HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

and its policy was to promote generalized free trade, primarily through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The Bretton Woods conference, held in New Hampshire in 1944, had also created a direct link between the value of gold and the US dollar, thereby establishing it as the world’s reserve fiat currency. COMPAQ 6910c CPU Fan

The war had also left Britain heavily indebted, economically weakened, and unable to absorb the flow of exports from Commonwealth jurisdictions. The Dominions, primarily Canada, directed their trade more heavily to the US market as a consequence.

The idea of enhanced trade between Canada and Britain was explored in the mid-1950s by the Conservative government of Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker. IBM Lenovo IdeaPad G510 CPU Fan

The plan, in response to the Canadian government’s concern with over-reliance on the United States, was to adopt policies that would see up to 15 percent of Canada’s US exports diverted to the UK. Representatives for both Diefenbaker and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan held exploratory talks, but no agreement was ever reached. HP G62-110SO CPU Fan

Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, and its evolution as a member state of the European Union (EU) has meant that for practical purposes, the United Kingdom cannot independently enter into negotiations with Commonwealth states to establish a free trade agreement. Instead, the EU, as a representative of all its members, negotiates collectively. DELL Precision M6400 CPU Fan

At present, the Government of Canada is in the midst of negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.[3] In addition, the EU, through the Lome andCotonou Agreements, have extended some preferential trade access to developing Commonwealth and Francophonie states. SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

In 1997, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Edinburgh was presented with research conducted by Drs. Sarianna Lundan and Geoffrey Jones, and commissioned by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The paper, entitled “The ‘Commonwealth Effect’ and the Process of Internationalisation”,[5] HP Envy 17-1090eo CPU Fan

measured whether or not Commonwealth jurisdictions enjoyed a qualitative advantage in trade with one another as opposed to equivalent non-Commonwealth nations. Their research found that even in the absence of trade treaties, there was a clear cost advantage in trade between Commonwealth nations, Toshiba Satellite A210-1CF CPU Fan

and that the overhead costs of doing business were reduced by up to 15 percent in comparison to trade outside the Commonwealth.

In 2005, Canadian writer and political activist Brent H. Cameron published The Case for Commonwealth Free Trade, which re-introduced the idea. Cameron’s argument was that unlike previous attempts, Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

Commonwealth Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) could work due to particular changes in the global economy and power structures, including: the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet bloc; the rapid development and economic expansion of Commonwealth economies; and the natural trade, commerce and cultural linkages that occurred between Commonwealth states, even without a formal trade treaty. Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fana

Cameron cites the work of Lundan and Jones, Katharine West, as well as Jeffrey Frankel of Harvard University, who quantified the impact of specific economic, geographic and social attributes to international trade.

The book argues for the conclusion of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements among Commonwealth countries that would eventually lead to the adoption of a CFTA. Compaq Presario A900 CTO CPU Fan

Because of their very different economic profiles Commonwealth countries' interests are not always aligned. In principle, resource exporters such as Canada, Australia, and most of the Caribbean and African Commonwealth countries are complementary to resource importers such as the United Kingdom and India. ACER Aspire 4736ZG CPU Fan

However, the historical trade ties between them were based on terms which were dictated by the Colonial Office in Britain. Since the former dominions and colonies have achieved independence, they are free to refuse British initiatives and seek better deals elsewhere. Specifically, agricultural exporters in the Cairns Group(including members Australia, Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa) are at odds with the importing countries at the World Trade Organisation. And of course each of these countries is free to pursue other trade policies. Notably Australia (2005) and Canada (1988), and Singapore (2004) have free trade agreements with the United States, and New Zealand (2008) has one with China. SONY MCF-519PAM05 CPU Fan

Meanwhile New Zealand and Singapore are already a members of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, which Australia, Canada, Malaysia, are attempting to join (along with major non-Commonwealth countries). Furthermore, the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia would include Malaysia, SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

Singapore, Brunei, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Notably, all these proposals exclude the UK, the place where the concept of "Commonwealth free trade" is most popular, since the UK is an EU member states and cannot negotiate independently, which is why the proposal is often tied to Euroskepticism. HP Pavilion dv7-2043cl CPU Fan

Commonwealth trade, as such, has not been a notable policy position in Canada since the failed Diefenbaker proposal of the 1950s. Instead Canada has pursueddeep economic integration with the United States and on the one hand (including a free trade agreement in 1988), HP Pavilion dv7-2130ev CPU Fan

and a generalised diversification of trade on the other hand including the "third option" policy of the 1970 (a failed attempt to diversify Canada's trade via negotiations with Japan and the European Economic Community). This has been reinforced with a a new wave of free trade agreements following NAFTA in 1994, HP 608772-001 CPU Fan

including five Latin American countries and the European Free Trade Association, as well the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas in the early 2000s, and negotiations towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership since 2012.

As of 2013, 75% of Canadian trade takes place with countries which Canada has a free trade agreement, Toshiba Satellite A100-194 CPU Fan

but this does not include any Commonwealth members. As of 2013 Canada is currently is in negotiations with the Caribbean Community (primarily Commonwealth countries), the European Union (UK and Cyprus are Commonwealth members), as well as India and Singapore. HP Pavilion tx1205/ CT CPU Fan

Although the terms of Britain's membership in the European Union precludes it from unilaterally negotiating for a CFTA, the idea has garnered interest. In particular, those politicians and parties that advocate leaving the European Union cite the development of a Commonwealth Free Trade policy as a first step. HP Pavilion dv6640ep CPU Fan

The UK Independence Party has included a call for a Commonwealth Free Trade Agreement in its policy manifesto during the 2010 British General Election.[7] In addition, some members of Britain’s Conservative Party, including MEP Daniel Hannan and MP Andrew Rosindell, have written extensively on the merits of expanding trade within the Commonwealth and the broader Anglosphere. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-401TU CPU Fan

On October 8, 2012, Tim Hewish and James Styles released their paper "Common Trade, Common Wealth, Common Growth"[8] at the UK Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, England. The following day saw British Foreign Secretary William Hague comment upon how the Commonwealth, Toshiba Satellite A300D CPU Fan

which had been 'neglected' by previous UK governments, presented "enormous opportunities" for the nation.Support for Commonwealth Free Trade is generally greatest among those in support of centre-right political and economic movements. Commonwealth Free Traders are often also supporters of the Anglosphere movement, although many are not, citing a CFTA as a possible ‘counterbalance’ to US hegemony. HP Pavilion dv8397ea CPU  Fan

In Canada there is little popular feeling for the Commonwealth, and it is not celebrated by the government[10] and commentators have called for the institution to be wound up[11]

Commentators such as James C. Bennett and Brent Cameron have expressed the view that support for either the Anglosphere or the Commonwealth are not incompatible. HP Pavilion dv9821ea CPU Fan

Cameron has explained that as the Commonwealth forms a unique subset within the Anglosphere, support for either concept is not mutually exclusive, and his work on a CFTA should be seen as promoting economic co-operation among those particular nations.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. HP COMPAQ TC4200 CPU Fan

It is responsible for facilitating co-operation between members; organising meetings, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM); assisting and advising on policy development; and providing assistance to countries in implementing the decisions and policies of the Commonwealth.[1] SONY Vaio VGN-NW228F CPU Fan

The Secretariat has observer status in the United Nations General Assembly. It is located at Marlborough House in London, the United Kingdom, a former royal palace that was given by Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth

The Secretariat was established by Heads of Government in 1965, HP G62-b16ST CPU Fan

taking over many of the functions of the United Kingdom Government's Commonwealth Relations Office, as part of a major shake-up of the organisation of the Commonwealth. At the same time, the United Kingdom succeeded in advocating the creation of the Secretariat's sister organisation, HP 580696-001 CPU Fan

theCommonwealth Foundation was founded to foster non-governmental relations and the promotion of the Commonwealth Familynetwork of civil societies.[2] Other attempts by members to create similar central bodies, such as a medical conference (proposed by New Zealand), a development bank (Jamaica), and an institution for satellite communications (Canada) failed.[2] HP Pavilion dv6-3049tx CPU Fan

The creation of the Secretariat itself was a contentious issue. The United Kingdom and other long-established countries had hoped to slow the tide of expansion of Commonwealth membership to prevent the dilution of their traditional power within the Commonwealth (particularly after the admission of Cyprus).[2] HP G42-380LA CPU Fan

This may have involved a dual-tiered Commonwealth, requiring the continuation of the organisation of Commonwealth co-operation by meetings, rather than a central administration. However, the new African members were keener to create an independent inter-governmental 'central clearing house' (as Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah described it) Toshiba Qosmio G30-167 CPU Fan

to remove power from the older dominions.[2] Milton Obote of Uganda was the first to propose a specifically titled 'secretariat', which was then formally proposed by Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, who wished to see it based upon the secretariats of the OAS, EEC, and OAU.[2]

Earlier attempts at the formation of a central secretariat had been made and failed. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Australia had proposed the establishment four times (in 1907, 1924, 1932, and 1944), whilst New Zealand had also made proposals in 1909 and 1956.

The chief executive of the Secretariat, and of the Commonwealth as a whole, is the Commonwealth Secretary-General.[3] All Secretariat staff report to the secretary-general, who is also responsible for spending the Secretariat's budget, Compaq Presario CQ40-408AX CPU Fan

which is granted by the Heads of Government. It is the secretary-general, and not the ceremonial Head of the Commonwealth, that represents the Commonwealth publicly. The secretary-general is elected by the Heads of Government at theCommonwealth Heads of Government meetings for terms of four years; HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

previously, until 2000, a term was five years. The current secretary-general India's Kamalesh Sharma, who replaced Don McKinnon as secretary-general on 1 April 2008.[4]

The secretary-general is assisted by two deputy secretaries-general: one responsible for economic affairs (currently Ransford Smith of Jamaica) and one for political affairs (Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba of Botswana). HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

He is also assisted by an assistant secretary-general for corporate affairs Stephen Cutts. There are ten directors from the Commonwealth Secretariat. The secretary-general may appoint junior staff at his own discretion, provided the Secretariat can afford it, whilst the more senior staff may be appointed only from a shortlist of nominations from the Heads of Government.[5] HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

In practice, the secretary-general has more power than this; member governments consult the secretary-general on nominations, and the secretary-general has also at times submitted nominations of his own.[5]

All members of staff are exempt from income tax, under the International Organisations Act 2005, which redefined the legal status of the Secretariat. HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

The Secretariat is headquartered at Marlborough House, in London, the United Kingdom.[6] Marlborough House is located on Pall Mall, Westminster, next to St. James's Palace, which is formally the location of the British Royal Court. Marlborough House was previously a royal palace in its own right, HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

but was given byQueen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, to the British government in September 1959 for use for Commonwealth purposes. This was first realised three years later. Another three years later, in 1965, the building passed to the Secretariat upon its foundation.[6] HP Pavilion dv7-4150ec CPU Fan

The building itself was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and served as the London residence of the dukes of Marlborough until it was given to Princess Charlotte in 1817.[6]

The Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1966, which applied retroactively from the establishment of the Secretariat in 1965, first granted the organisation fulldiplomatic immunity. HP Pavilion dv5-1102tu CPU Fan

This has been subjected to a number of lawsuits challenging this, including Mohsin v Commonwealth Secretariat, and in 2005, Sumukan Limited v Commonwealth Secretariat. The 1966 Act had been interpreted by English courts as allowing the courts to exercise supervisory jurisdiction under theArbitration Act 1996 over the Commonwealth's arbitration tribunal, SONY VGN-SZ220 CPU Fan

which had been envisaged as the sole organ to arbitrate on matters related to the Secretariat's operations in the United Kingdom.[7] In light of this interpretation, the Commonwealth Secretariat Act was amended by the International Organisations Act 2005, which gave the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal the same legal immunity as the Secretariat itself, HP Pavilion dv7-6011tx CPU Fan

guaranteeing independence of the English courts.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM; /ˈtʃɒɡ(ə)m/ or /ˈtʃoʊm/) is a biennialsummit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state, and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President, who becomes the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office. HP Pavilion dv5-1040eb CPU Fan

Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth, has attended every CHOGM beginning with Ottawa in 1973,[1]although her formal participation only began in 1997.[2] However, she will be represented by thePrince of Wales at the 2013 meeting as the 87-year-old monarch is curtailing her overseas travel.[1] ASUS F3Jv CPU Fan

The first CHOGM was held in 1971, and there have been twenty-one held in total: the most recent was held in Perth, Western Australia. They are held once every two years, although this pattern has twice been interrupted. They are held around the Commonwealth, rotating by invitation amongst its members. IBM ThinkPad R50p 2887 CPU Fan

In the past, CHOGMs have attempted to orchestrate common policies on certain contentious issues and current events, with a special focus on issues affecting member nations. CHOGMs have discussed the continuation of apartheid rule in South Africa and how to end it, military coups in Pakistan andFiji, and allegations of electoral fraud in Zimbabwe. SONY VGN-CS36GJ/R CPU Fan

Sometimes the member states agree on a common idea or solution, and release a joint statement declaring their opinion. More recently, beginning at the 1997 CHOGM, the meeting has had an official 'theme', set by the host nation, on which the primary discussions have been focused.

The meetings originated with the leaders of the self-governing colonies of the British Empire.[ Toshiba Satellite A215-S4807 CPU Fan

4] The First Colonial Conference in 1887 was followed by periodic meetings, known as Imperial Conferences from 1907, of government leaders of the Empire. The development of the independence of the dominions, and the creation of a number of new dominions, as well as the invitation of Southern Rhodesia (which also attended as a sui generis colony),[5] Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-SP405 CPU Fan

changed the nature of the meetings.[4] As the dominion leaders asserted themselves more and more at the meetings, it became clear that the time for 'imperial' conferences was over.

From the ashes of the Second World War, seventeen Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conferences were held between 1944 and 1969. HP Pavilion dv4-1120us CPU Fan

Of these, sixteen were held in London, reflecting then-prevailing views of the Commonwealth as the continuation of the Empire and the centralisation of power in the British Commonwealth Office (the one meeting outside London, in Lagos, was an extraordinary meeting held in January 1966 to co-ordinate policies towards Rhodesia). Compaq Presario C550EM CPU Fan

Two supplementary meetings were also held during this period: a Commonwealth Statesmen's meeting to discuss peace terms in April 1945, and a Commonwealth Economic Conference in 1952.

The 1960s saw an overhaul of the Commonwealth. Toshiba Qosmio E15-AV101 CPU Fan

The swift expansion of the Commonwealth after decolonisation saw the newly independent countries demand the creation of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the United Kingdom, in response, successfully founding the Commonwealth Foundation.[6] This decentralisation of power demanded a reformulation of the meetings. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Instead of the meetings always being held in London, they would rotate across the membership, subject to countries' ability to host the meetings: beginning with Singapore in 1971. They were also renamed the 'Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings' to reflect the growing diversity of the constitutional structures in the Commonwealth. Toshiba Satellite A305-S6837 CPU Fan

The core of the CHOGM are the executive sessions, which are the formal gatherings of the heads of government to do business. However, the majority of the important decisions are held not in the main meetings themselves, but at the informal 'retreats': introduced at the second CHOGM, in Ottawa, by Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau,[7] HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl CPU Fan

but reminiscent of the excursions to Chequers or Dorneywood in the days of the Prime Ministers' Conferences.[4] The rules are very strict: allowing the head of the delegation, his or her spouse, and one other person. The additional member can be of any capacity (personal, political, security, etc.), but he or she has only occasional and intermittent access to the head.[4] HP Pavilion dv5-1118es CPU Fan

It is usually at the retreat where, isolated from their advisers, the heads resolve the most intransigent issues: leading to the Gleneagles Agreement in 1977, the Lusaka Declaration in 1979, the Langkawi Declaration in 1989, theMillbrook Programme in 1995, and the Aso Rock Declaration in 2003.[4] Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050 CPU Fan

The 'fringe' of civil society organisations, including the Commonwealth Family and local groups, adds a cultural dimension to the event, and brings the CHOGM a higher media profile and greater acceptance by the local population.[7] First officially recognised at Limassol in 1993,[4] these events, spanning a longer period than the meeting itself, have, HP Pavilion G72-259WM CPU Fan

to an extent, preserved the length of the CHOGM: but only in the cultural sphere.[7] Other meetings, such as those of theCommonwealth Ministerial Action Group, Commonwealth Business Council, and respective foreign ministers, have also dealt with business away from the heads of government themselves. HP Pavilion dv6-3109ca  CPU  Fan

As the scope of the CHOGM has expanded beyond the meetings of the heads of governments themselves, the CHOGMs have become progressively shorter, and their business more compacted into less time.[7] The 1971 CHOGM lasted for nine days, and the 1977 and 1991 CHOGMs for seven days each. However, Harare's epochal CHOGM was the last to last a week; HP Pavilion dv6782eg CPU Fan

the 1993 CHOGM lasted for five days, and the contentious 1995 CHOGM for only three-and-a-half.[4] The 2005 and subsequent conferences were held over two days.

During the 1980s, CHOGMs were dominated by calls for the Commonwealth to impose sanctions on South Africa to pressure the country to end apartheid. SONY UDQF2PH52CF0 CPU Fan

The division between the United Kingdom during the government of Margaret Thatcher which resisted the call for sanctions and African Commonwealth countries was intense at times and led to speculation that the organisation might collapse.

In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron informed the British House of Commons that his proposals to reform the rules governing royal succession, Toshiba UDQFRPH33CCM CPU Fan

a change which would require the approval of all Commonwealth realms, was approved at the 28–30 October CHOGM in Perth, subsequently referred to as the Perth Agreement.

As the convocation of heads of governments and permanent Commonwealth staff and experts, CHOGMs are the highest institution of action in the Commonwealth, and rare occasions on which Commonwealth leaders all come together. Toshiba Satellite A505-S6980 CPU Fan

CHOGMs have been the venues of many of the Commonwealth's most dramatic events. Robert Mugabeannounced Zimbabwe's immediate withdrawal from the Commonwealth at the 2003 CHOGM,[10] and Nigeria's execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others on the first day of the 1995 CHOGM led to that country's suspension.[7] HP Pavilion dv7-2025es CPU Fan

It has also been the trigger of a number of events that have shook participating countries domestically. The departure of Uganda's President Milton Obote to the1971 CHOGM allowed Idi Amin to overthrow Obote's government. Similarly, President James Mancham's attendance of the 1977 CHOGM gave Prime Minister France-Albert René the opportunity to seize power in the Seychelles. TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

The Head of the Commonwealth is the symbolic pinnacle and "symbol of the free association of [the] independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 53 sovereign states. The role of the Head of the Commonwealth itself involves no part in the day-to-day governance of any of the member states within the Commonwealth of Nations. HP G62-a10EJ CPU Fan

At present, the position is occupied by Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as monarch of each of the 16 members of the Commonwealth of Nations that are, as such, called the Commonwealth realms. The title was created due to India's desire to become a republic but not depart the Commonwealth of Nations; Dell MF60100V1-Q000-G99 CPU Fan

King George VI was thus the first Head of the Commonwealth. There is no agreement concerning whether the office will pass to Elizabeth's heir, along with her other offices.

The title was devised in the London Declaration as a result of discussions at the 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference,[1] but was not added to the monarch's style until 1953. DELL R859C CPU Fan

In that year, a Royal Style and Titles Act was passed separately in each of the seven Commonwealth realms then existing (except Pakistan), which gave formal recognition to the separateness and the equality of the realms by entitling the Queen as Queen of [Realm] and her other Realms and Territories, Head of the CommonwealthToshiba Satellite A105-S2101 CPU Fan

The role of the Head of the Commonwealth is recognised by the members of the Commonwealth as the "symbol of their free association". Elizabeth II serves as a leader, with assistants that play key roles, such as the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office. SONY Vaio VGN-FW140E CPU Fan

The Head of the Commonwealth or a representative (such as Charles, Prince of Wales) attends the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held at locations throughout the Commonwealth, a tradition begun by the monarch on the advice of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1973,[3] when the first CHOGM was held on Canadian soil. ACER Aspire 5730Z CPU Fan

During the summit, the Head of the Commonwealth has a series of private meetings with Commonwealth countries' leaders, attends a CHOGM reception and dinner, and makes a general speech. The Queen or a representative is also present at the quadrennial Commonwealth Games and on everyCommonwealth Day, the second Monday in March, broadcasts a message to all member countries. SONY Vaio VPC-EB4S1E/WI CPU Fan

The London Declaration of 1949, devised by Canadian prime minister Louis St. Laurent, stated that King George VI, as the symbol of the free association of the countries of the Commonwealth, is the Head of the Commonwealth.[4] Both republics and kingdoms that are not Commonwealth realms can recognise the monarch as Head of the Commonwealth without accepting the person as the country's head of state. HP Pavilion dv9580ed CPU Fan

When India adopted a republican constitution on 26 January 1950, it recognised George VI as the symbol of the association but no longer as India's monarch.

Elizabeth II became Head of the Commonwealth when she ascended to the throne in 1952. On her accession, she announced "[t]he Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5934 CPU Fan

It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace."[5]

In December 1960, the Queen had a personal flag created to symbolise her as Head of the Commonwealth and not associated with her role as queen of any particular country. SONY Vaio VGN-CR31S/P CPU Fan

Over time, the flag has replaced the British Royal Standard when the Queen visits Commonwealth countries of which she is not head of state (and thus does not possess a unique royal standard for that state), and on Commonwealth occasions in the United Kingdom. HP Pavilion dv5-1210et CPU Fan

When the Queen visits the headquarters of theCommonwealth Secretariat in London, this personal standard—not any of her royal standards—is raised. HP Envy 15 CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv7-1190er CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv6-3385la CPU Fan

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The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states[1] that were mostlyterritories of the former British Empire. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat, and non-governmental organisations, organised through theCommonwealth Foundation. ACER Aspire 4743 CPU Fan

The Commonwealth dates back to the late 19th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal".[3] HP Pavilion dv6-2170us CPU Fan

The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth, a wholly symbolic position. The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as realms. The other members of the Commonwealth have different persons as head of state: 32 members are republics and five members are monarchies. Toshiba Satellite L675-S7018 CPU Fan

Member states have no legal obligation one to another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture, and their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.[2] These values are enshrined in theCommonwealth Charter[4] and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. ASUS F80Q CPU Fan

On 3 October 2013, after 48 years of membership, The Gambia became the most recent nation to withdraw from this Commonwealth.The Commonwealth covers more than 29,958,050 km2 (11,566,870 sq mi), almost a quarter of the world land area, and spans all the continents. With an estimated population of 2.245 billion, almost a third of the world population,[ ACER TravelMate 4200 CPU Fan

6]the Commonwealth in 2012 produced a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $9.767 trillion, representing 15% of the world GDP when measured in purchasing power parity (PPP). This represents the second largest nominal GDP and GDP PPP in the world.

Using the European Union as a template, a movement in some member states seeks to establish a HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

Commonwealth Union[7](CU) through the creation of a free trade area,[8] visa-free travel area,[9] common foreign policy, and representation at the United Nations and Group of 20.

In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".[11] HP G70-120EA CPU Fan

Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911.[12]

The Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and Toshiba Satellite A300-034 CPU Fan

envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the all-important Versailles Conference of 1919 by delegates from the dominions as well as Britain.[13][14] The term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term "British Commonwealth of Nations" was substituted for "British Empire" in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. HP 606609-001 CPU Fan

In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, Britain and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations." Compaq Presario CQ60-301sl CPU Fan

These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, and Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland later joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949.[16] Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1942 and 1947 respectively.[17][18]

After World War II ended, the British Empire was gradually dismantled to the 14 British overseas territories still held by the United Kingdom. ASUS Eee PC 701 CPU Fan

In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature.[19] Burma (also known asMyanmar, 1948) and Aden (1967) are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan

Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt (independent in 1922), Iraq (1932), Transjordan (1946),British Palestine (part of which became the state of Israel in 1948), Sudan (1956), British Somaliland (which united with the former Italian Somaliland in 1960 to form Somalia), HP 637607-001 CPU Fan

Kuwait (1961), Bahrain (1971), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), and the United Arab Emirates (1971).

The ending of Ireland's Commonwealth membership as from 18 April 1949 was recognised after the Irish Republic of Ireland Act 1948 had come into force on that day and the UK Ireland Act 1949 had been passed with retrospective effect.[20][21]

While Ireland had not actively participated in the Commonwealth since the early 1930s and was content to leave, HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

other dominions wished to become republics without cutting their ties with Britain. The issue came to a head in April 1949 at a Commonwealth prime ministers' meeting in London. Under the London Declaration, India agreed that, when it became a republic in January 1950, it would accept the British Sovereign as a "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth". HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan

Upon hearing this, King George VI told the Indian politician Krishna Menon: "So, I've become 'as such'".[22] The other Commonwealth countries recognised India's continuing membership of the association. At Pakistan's insistence, India was not regarded as an exceptional case and it was assumed that other states would be accorded the same treatment as India. Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan

The London Declaration is often seen as marking the beginning of the modern Commonwealth. Following India's precedent, other nations became republics, orconstitutional monarchies with their own monarchs, while some countries retained the same monarch as the United Kingdom, but their monarchies developed differently and soon became fully independent of the British monarchy. HP G56-114SA CPU Fan

The monarch of each Commonwealth realm, while the same person, is regarded as a separatelegal personality for each realm.

As the Commonwealth grew, Britain and the pre-1945 dominions became informally known as the Old Commonwealth and planners in the interwar period, like Lord Davies, who had also taken "a prominent part in building up the League of Nations Union" in the United Kingdom, SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan

in 1932 founded the New Commonwealth Society, of which Winston Churchill became the president.[citation needed] This new society was aimed at the creation of an international air force to be the arm of the League of Nations, to allow nations to disarm and safeguard the peace.

The term New Commonwealth has been used in Great Britain (especially in the 1960s and 1970s) to refer to recently decolonised countries, HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan

predominantly non-whiteand developing. It was often used in debates about immigration from these countries.

Under the formula of the London Declaration, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth, a title that is by law a part of Elizabeth's royal titles in each of the Commonwealth realms,[24] the 16 members of the Commonwealth that recognise the Queen as their monarch. Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan

However, when the monarch dies, the successor to the crown does not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth.[25] The position is symbolic, representing the free association of independent members,[24] the majority of which (33) are republics, and five have monarchs of different royal houses. Toshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan

The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where Commonwealth heads of government, including (amongst others) prime ministers and presidents, assemble for several days to discuss matters of mutual interest. HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan

CHOGM is the successor to the Meetings of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and, earlier, the Imperial Conferences and Colonial Conferences, dating back to 1887. There are also regular meetings of finance ministers, law ministers, health ministers, etc. Members in arrears, as special members before them, are not invited to send representatives to either ministerial meetings or CHOGMs.[24] DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

The head of government hosting the CHOGM is called the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office and retains the position until the following CHOGM.[26] After the most recent CHOGM, in Perth, Western Australia, in October 2011, Australia's then-prime minister,Julia Gillard, became Chairperson-in-Office. HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan

In 2013, CHOGM will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 10–17 November. Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will become the Chairperson-in-Office and will continue to hold the title until the next CHOGM in Mauritius in 2015.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan

facilitating consultation and cooperation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively. The Commonwealth of Nations is represented in the United Nations General Assembly by the secretariat as an observer. The secretariat organises Commonwealth summits, meetings of ministers, consultative meetings and technical discussions; Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan

it assists policy development and provides policy advice, and facilitates multilateral communication among the member governments. It also provides technical assistance to help governments in the social and economic development of their countries and in support of the Commonwealth's fundamental political values. HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan

The secretariat is headed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is elected by Commonwealth heads of government for no more than two four-year terms. The secretary-general and two deputy secretaries-general direct the divisions of the Secretariat. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

The present secretary-general is Kamalesh Sharma, from India, who took office on 1 April 2008, succeeding Don McKinnon of New Zealand (2000–2008), and was re-elected in 2011 to his second term in 2012. The first secretary-general wasArnold Smith of Canada (1965–75), followed by Sir Shridath Ramphal of Guyana (1975–90) and Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria (1990–99). HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

In recognition of their shared heritage and culture, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to each other.[27][28][29] When engaging bilaterally with one another, Commonwealth governments exchange High Commissioners instead of ambassadors. Between two Commonwealth realms, they represent theHead of Government rather than the Head of State. HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

Outside of bilateralism, but some Commonwealth states consider other members to be foreign for certain purposes. For example, the High Court of Australia ruled, in Sue v Hill, that the United Kingdom is a foreign power for the purpose of Section 44 of theconstitution of Australia.

In addition, some members treat resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries preferentially to citizens of non-Commonwealth countries. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan

Britain and several others, mostly in the Caribbean, grant the right to vote to Commonwealth citizens who reside in those countries. Some states, such as Canada and New Zealand, have abolished such preferences. In non-Commonwealth countries in which their own country is not represented, Commonwealth citizens may seek consular assistanceat the British embassy. HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

The criteria for membership of the Commonwealth of Nations have developed over time from a series of separate documents. The Statute of Westminster 1931, as a fundamental founding document of the organisation, laid out that membership required dominionhood. The 1949 London Declaration ended this, ASUS A6000R CPU Fan

allowing republican and indigenous monarchic members on the condition that they recognised the British monarch as the "Head of the Commonwealth".[30] In the wake of the wave ofdecolonisation in the 1960s, these constitutional principles were augmented by political, economic, and social principles. HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan

The first of these was set out in 1961, when it was decided that respect for racial equality would be a requirement for membership, leading directly to the withdrawal of South Africa's re-application (which they were required to make under the formula of the London Declaration upon becoming a republic). Toshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan

The 14 points of the 1971 Singapore Declaration dedicated all members to the principles of world peace, liberty, human rights, equality, and free trade.[31]

These criteria were unenforceable for two decades,[32] until, in 1991, the Harare Declaration was issued, dedicating the leaders to applying the Singapore principles to the completion of decolonisation, the end of the Cold War, and the end of apartheid in South Africa.[33] Compaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan

The mechanisms by which these principles would be applied were created, and the manner clarified, by the 1995 Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme, which created the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which has the power to rule on whether members meet the requirements for membership under the Harare Declaration.[34] HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan

Also in 1995, an Inter-Governmental Group was created to finalise and codify the full requirements for membership. Upon reporting in 1997, as adopted under the Edinburgh Declaration, the Inter-Governmental Group ruled that any future members would have to have a direct constitutional link with an existing member.[35] Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

In addition to this new rule, the former rules were consolidated into a single document. These requirements are that members must accept and comply with theHarare principles, be fully sovereign states, recognise the monarch of the Commonwealth realms as the Head of the Commonwealth, accept the English language as the means of Commonwealth communication, Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan

and respect the wishes of the general population with regard to Commonwealth membership.[35] These requirements had undergone review, and a report on potential amendments was presented by the Committee on Commonwealth Membership at the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.[36] DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan

New members were not admitted at this meeting, though applications for admission were considered at the 2009 CHOGM.[37]

New members must "as a general rule" have a direct constitutional link to an existing member. In most cases, this is due to being a former colony of the United Kingdom, but some have links to other countries, HP 532613-001 CPU Fan

either exclusively or more directly (e.g. Samoa to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea to Australia, and Namibia to South Africa). The first member to be admitted without having any constitutional link to the British Empire or a Commonwealth member was Mozambique, a formerPortuguese colony, in 1995 following its first democratic elections and South Africa's re-admission in 1994. HP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan

Mozambique's controversial entry led to theEdinburgh Declaration and the current membership guidelines.[38] In 2009, Rwanda became the second Commonwealth member admitted not to have any such constitutional links. It was a Belgian trust territory that had been a German colony until World War I.[39ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan

] Consideration for its admission was considered an "exceptional circumstance" by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Commonwealth comprises 53 countries (excluding one currently suspended member), across all six inhabited continents. The members have a combined population of 2.1 billion people, almost a third of the world population, Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan

of which 1.17 billion live in India and 94% live in Asia and Africa combined.[40] After India, the next-largest Commonwealth countries by population arePakistan (176 million), Bangladesh (156 million), Nigeria (154 million), the United Kingdom (63 million) and South Africa(52 million). Tuvalu is the smallest member, with about 10,000 people.[41] ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan

The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 31,500,000 km2 (12,200,000 sq mi), or about 21% of the total world land area. The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada at 9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi), Australia at 7,617,930 km2 (2,941,300 sq mi), and India at 3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi).[42] Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan

The Commonwealth members have a combined gross domestic product of over $9 trillion, 78% of which is accounted for by the four largest economies: United Kingdom ($2.4 trillion), Canada ($1.8 trillion), India ($1.8 trillion) and Australia ($1.5 trillion).[43]

The status of "Member in Arrears" is used to denote those that are in arrears in paying subscription dues. Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan

The status was originally known as "special membership", but was renamed on the Committee on Commonwealth Membership's recommendation.[44]There are currently no Members in Arrears. The most recent Member in Arrears, Nauru, returned to full membership in June 2011.[45] Nauru has alternated between special and full membership since joining the Commonwealth, depending on its financial situation. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan

In 1997 the Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed that in order to become a member of the Commonwealth, an applicant country should, as a rule, have had a constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member; that it should comply with Commonwealth values, principles and priorities as set out in the Harare Declaration; HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan

and that it should accept Commonwealth norms and conventions.[47]

South Sudan is currently (2013) the only country specifically expressing an interest in joining the Commonwealth.[48] Some commentators have suggested that Israel and Palestine have considered applying for membership,[49] but there has been no formal approach."[49] Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Other eligible applicants could be any of the remaining inhabited British overseas territories, Crown dependencies,Australian external territories and Associated States of New Zealand if they become fully independent.[50] Many such jurisdictions are already directly represented within the Commonwealth, particularly through the Commonwealth Family.[51] HP 646578-001 CPU Fan

There are also former British possessions that have not become independent, for example, Hong Kong, which still participates in some of the institutions within the Commonwealth Family. All three Crown dependencies regard the existing situation as unsatisfactory and have lobbied for change. SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan

The States of Jersey have called on the UK Foreign Secretary to request that the Commonwealth Heads of Government "consider granting associate membership to Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies as well as any other territories at a similarly advanced stage of autonomy". Jersey has proposed that it be accorded "self-representation in all Commonwealth meetings; Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan

full participation in debates and procedures, with a right to speak where relevant and the opportunity to enter into discussions with those who are full members; and no right to vote in the Ministerial or Heads of Government meetings, which is reserved for full members".[52]  DELL yy529 CPU Fan 

The States of Guernsey and the Government of the Isle of Man have made calls of a similar nature for a more integrated relationship with the Commonwealth,[53] including more direct representation and enhanced participation in Commonwealth organisations and meetings, including Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.[54] HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan

The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man has said: "A closer connection with the Commonwealth itself would be a welcome further development of the Island’s international relationships"[55]

At the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956, in the face of colonial unrest and international tensions, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet proposed to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden that their two countries be joined in a "union". HP G62-369TX CPU Fan

When that proposal was turned down, Mollet suggested that France be allowed to join the Commonwealth, with "a common citizenship arrangement on the Irish basis."[citation needed] In 1957, after both proposals had been rejected, France signed theTreaty of Rome with West Germany and the other founding nations of the Common Market, later to become the European Union (EU), HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan

which the United Kingdom joined in 1973. The other European members of the Commonwealth (Malta and Cyprus) joined the EU in 2004.

In recent years, the Commonwealth has suspended several members "from the Councils of the Commonwealth" for "serious or persistent violations" of the Harare Declaration, particularly in abrogating their responsibility to have democratic government.[56] Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan

This is done by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which meets regularly to address potential breaches of the Harare Declaration. Suspended members are not represented at meetings of Commonwealth leaders and ministers, although they remain members of the organisation. Currently, there is one suspended member, Fiji.[57] HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan

Nigeria was suspended between 11 November 1995 and 29 May 1999,[58] following its execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa on the eve of the 1995 CHOGM.[59] Pakistan was the second country to be suspended, on 18 October 1999, following the military coup by Pervez Musharraf.[60] The Commonwealth's longest suspension came to an end on 22 May 2004, HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan

when Pakistan's suspension was lifted following the restoration of the country's constitution.[61] Pakistan was suspended for a second time, far more briefly, for six months from 22 November 2007, when Musharraf called a state of emergency.[62] Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 over concerns regarding the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government,[63] before it withdrew from the organisation in 2003. SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan

The declaration of a Republic in Fiji in 1987, after military coups designed to deny Indo-Fijians political power, was not accompanied by an application to remain. Commonwealth membership was held to have lapsed until 1997, after discriminatory provisions in the republican constitution were repealed and reapplication for membership made.[65][66] IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan

Fiji has since been suspended twice, with the first imposed from 6 June 2000[67] to 20 December 2001 after another coup.[63] Fiji was suspended yet again in December 2006, following the most recent coup. At first, the suspension applied only to membership on the Councils of the Commonwealth.After failing to meet a Commonwealth deadline for setting a date for national elections by 2010, Fiji was "fully suspended" on 1 September 2009.Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma, confirmed that full suspension meant that Fiji would be excluded from Commonwealth meetings, sporting events and the technical assistance programme (with an exception for assistance in re-establishing democracy). SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan

Sharma stated that Fiji would remain a member of the Commonwealth during its suspension, but would be excluded from emblematic representation by the secretariat.[65]

Most recently, international pressure has been mounting to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth and to change the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka to another member country, HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan

citing grave human rights violations by the host country. Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has threatened to boycott the event and the UK Foreign Affairs Committee has called upon Prime Minister David Cameron not to attend.

As membership is purely voluntary, member governments can choose at any time to leave the Commonwealth. HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

Pakistan left on 30 January 1972 in protest at the Commonwealth's recognition of breakaway Bangladesh, but rejoined on 2 August 1989. Zimbabwe's membership was suspended in 2002 on the grounds of alleged human rights violations and deliberate misgovernment, and Zimbabwe's government terminated its membership in 2003.[71] Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan

The Gambia left the Commonwealth on 3 October 2013.[5]

Although heads of government have the power to suspend member states from active participation, the Commonwealth has no provision for the expulsion of members. Until 2007, Commonwealth realms that became republics automatically ceased to be members, ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan

until (like India in 1950) they obtained the permission of other members to remain in the organisation. This policy has been changed, so if any current Commonwealth realms were to become republics, they would not have to go through this process.[72]

Ireland had withdrawn its participation in the Commonwealth in the 1930s, attending its last Commonwealth governmental heads' meeting in 1932. IBM ThinkPad T40 2678 CPU Fan

However it continued to be regarded by the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth member until it declared itself a republic, on 18 April 1949. It is the only country whose membership terminated without any declaration withdrawing from the organisation. Instead, it was (with its own tacit support) excluded from the organisation under the rules then applicable. IBM Thinkpad T43 CPU Fan

South Africa was prevented from continuing as a member after it became a republic in 1961, due to hostility from many members, particularly those in Africa and Asia as well as Canada, to its policy of apartheid. The South African government withdrew its application to remain in the organisation as a republic when it became clear at the 1961 Meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers IBM ThinkPad T43 2668 CPU Fan

that any such application would be rejected. South Africa was re-admitted to the Commonwealth in 1994, following the end of apartheid earlier that year.

The Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997 ended the colony's ties to the Commonwealth through the United Kingdom. The government of Hong Kong, as aspecial administrative region of China, did not pursue membership. IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan

Hong Kong has nevertheless continued to participate in some of the organisations of the Commonwealth family, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel. ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan

The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.[75] DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979,[31] and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989.[76] These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991.

The Commonwealth's current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of democracy and development, ASUS F80S CPU Fan

as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration,[77] which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stating, "We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation."[78] The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan

Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Small States, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.[79]Through a separate voluntary fund, Commonwealth governments support the Commonwealth Youth Programme, a division of the Secretariat with offices in Gulu(Uganda), IBM 13N5182 CPU Fan

Lusaka (Zambia), Chandigarh (India), Georgetown (Guyana) and Honiara (Solomon Islands).

In recent years, the Commonwealth has been accused of not being vocal enough on its core values. Allegations of a leaked memo from the Secretary General instructing staff not to speak out on human rights were published in October 2010.[80] IBM Thinkpad T30 2366-AA3 CPU Fan

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011 considered a report by an Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group panel which asserted that the organisation had lost its relevance and was decaying due to the lack of a mechanism to censure member countries when they violated human rights or democratic norms.[81] IBM Thinkpad T30 CPU Fan

The panel made 106 "urgent" recommendations including the adoption of a Charter of the Commonwealth, the creation of a new commissioner on the rule of law, democracy and human rights to track persistent human rights abuses and allegations of political repression by Commonwealth member states, recommendations for the repeal oflaws against homosexuality in 41 Commonwealth states and a ban on forced marriage.HP 535438-001 CPU Fan

The failure to release the report, or accept its recommendations for reforms in the area of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, was decried as a "disgrace" by former British Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a member of the EPG, who told a press conference: "The Commonwealth faces a very significant problem. DELL Inspiron N3010 CPU Fan

It's not a problem of hostility or antagonism, it's more of a problem of indifference. Its purpose is being questioned, its relevance is being questioned and part of that is because its commitment to enforce the values for which it stands is becoming ambiguous in the eyes of many member states. The Commonwealth is not a private club of the governments or the secretariat. HP Pavilion dv6-3070tx CPU Fan

It belongs to the people of the Commonwealth."

In the end, two-thirds of the EPG's 106 urgently recommended reforms were referred to study groups, an act described by one EPG member as having them "kicked into the long grass". There was no agreement to create the recommended position of human rights commissioner, IBM 41W5269 CPU Fan

instead a ministerial management group was empowered with enforcement: the group includes alleged human rights offenders. It was agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth without any decision on how compliance with its principles would be enforced.[81]

The result of the effort was that a new Charter of the Commonwealth was signed by Queen Elizabeth on 11 March 2013 at Marlborough House, ASUS A8H CPU Fan

which opposes "all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds".

Although the Commonwealth does not have a common market, research by the Royal Commonwealth Society has shown that trade with another Commonwealth member is up to 50% more than with a non-member on average.[86] SONY UDQFRZH13CF0 CPU Fan

There is a significant movement in the United Kingdom to increase trade in the Commonwealth,[87] with some suggesting a Commonwealth Union as an alternative to its membership in the European Union.

Commonwealth countries share many links outside government, with over a hundred Commonwealth-wide non-governmental organisations, HP COMPAQ 2510P CPU Fan

notably for sport, culture, education, law and charity. The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an important vehicle for academic links, particularly through scholarships, principally the Commonwealth Scholarship, for students to study in universities in other Commonwealth countries. APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

There are also many non-official associations that bring together individuals who work within the spheres of law and government, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

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The climate of Australia varies widely due to its large geographical size, but by far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid. Only the south-east and south-west corners have atemperate climate and moderately fertile soil. SONY Vaio VGN-FS660/W CPU Fan

The northern part of the country has a tropical climate, varied between tropical rainforests, grasslands, part desert.

Australia's climate is ruled by the hot, sinking air of the subtropical high pressure belt which moves north and south with the seasons. This causes the rainfall pattern over Australia to be highly seasonal. HP Pavilion G61-631NR CPU Fan

Australia's rainfall is the lowest of the seven continents (besides Antarctica). Rainfall is variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons and is thought to be caused in part by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

Since it is a small continent separated from polar regions by the Southern Ocean, Australia does not get the harsh snaps of polar air that swarm over Northern Hemisphere continents during winter. HP Pavilion dv6560el CPU Fan

The continents in the Northern Hemisphere have a considerable temperature contrast between summer and winter, whereas in Australia the temperature contrast is small. In many parts of the country, seasonal high and lows can be great with temperatures ranging from above 50 °C (122 °F) to well below zero. Minimum temperatures are moderated by the lack of mountains and the influence of surrounding oceans. HP Pavilion dv6-2128ca CPU Fan

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is associated to seasonal abnormality in many areas in the world, though Australia is one of the most affected continents, which experiences extensive droughtsalongside with considerable wet periods. Occasionally a dust storm will blanket a region and there are reports of the occasional tornado. Tropical cyclones, heat waves, bushfires and frosts in the country are also associated to the Southern Oscillation. HP Pavilion dv7-3004el CPU Fan

Rising levels of salinity anddesertification in some areas is ravaging the landscape.

Temperatures in Australia have followed an increasing trend between the years of 1910 to 2004 by approximately 0.7°C. Overnight minimum temperatures have warmed more rapidly than daytime maximum temperatures in recent years. The late-20th century warming has been largely attributed to the increased greenhouse effect. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ev CPU Fan

 [1] According to the Bureau of Meteorology, 80% of the land have a rainfall less than 600 mm (24 in) per year and 50% having even less than 300 mm (12 in).[2] As a whole, Australia has an annual average rainfall of 419 mm (16 in).

The rainfall patterns across Australia are highly seasonal. It however rains more in winter than in summer by approximately 11%, and compared to the Earth's other continental landmasses Australia is very dry. HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

More than 80% of the continent has an annual rainfall of less than 600 mm (24 in); only Antarctica receives less rainfall than Australia.[4] A place inland near Lake Eyre (in South Australia) would only receive 81 mm (3 in) of rain annually.[5] Another place,Troudaninna Bore (coordinates : 29° 11' 44" S, 138° 59' 28" E, altitude : 46 m) in South Australia, from 1893 to 1936, received, in average, 104.9 mm (4.13 inches) of precipitation.[6] HP Pavilion dv5-1172el CPU Fan

From one extreme to another, parts of the far North Queensland coast annually average over 4,000 mm (157 in), with the Australian annual record being 12,461 mm (491 in), set at the summit of Mount Bellenden Ker in 2000.

The average annual rainfall in the Australian desert is low, ranging from 81 to 250 mm (3 to 10 in) per year. Toshiba Satellite A105-S4084 CPU Fan

Thunderstorms are relatively common in the region, with an average of 15 - 20 thunderstorms per annum.[7] Summer daytime temperatures range from 32 to 40 °C (90 to 104 °F). In winter, this falls to 18 to 23 °C (64 to 73 °F).

The southern parts of Australia get the usual westerly winds and cold fronts that come with rain when the high pressure systems move towards northern Australian during winter. HP Pavilion dv4-1038tx CPU Fan

Cold snaps may bring frosts inland, though temperatures near the coast are almost mild all year round. Summers in southern Australia are generally dry and hot with coastal sea breezes. During a lengthy dry spell, hot and dry winds from the interior can cause bushfires in some of southern and eastern states, though most commonly Victoria and New South Wales. HP Pavilion dv7-3060sb CPU Fan

The tropical areas of northern Australia have a wet summer because of monsoon presence. During "the wet", typically October to April, humid north-westerly winds bring showers and thunderstorms. In occasional cases, tropical cyclones can bring heavy rainfall to tropical coastal regions, which are also likely to reach further inland. After the monsoonal season, the dry season comes ("winter"), which mostly brings clear skies and mild conditions. HP Pavilion dv7-6055sf CPU Fan

Low rate of evaporation from this very cool body of water result in little evaporation occurring. As a result, rain clouds are sparsely formed and very rarely do they form long enough for a continuous period of rain to be recorded. Australia's arid/semi-arid zone extends to this region. The absence of any significant mountain range or area of substantial height above sea level, results in very little rainfall caused by orographic uplift. SONY VGN-CS108D  CPU Fan

In the east the Great Dividing Rangelimits rain moving into inland Australia.

Australia has a compact shape and no significant bodies of water penetrate very far inland. This is important because it means that moist winds are prevented from penetrating to inland Australia, keeping rainfall low.

In Australia, snow falls on the highlands near the east coast, in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. DELL XPS M170 CPU Fan

There is a regular snow season in several areas which have seasonal ski tourism industries. Sometimes snow has even been reported in the mountains of South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, though this is rare.

Snow at sea level is occasionally recorded on mainland Australia, but is more frequent in Tasmania where snowfalls at sea level can occur during the winter months. Snow has been recorded across most of Tasmania, HP Pavilion G72-b15SV CPU Fan

though it is rare on the northern coast at sea level. Snow is rare in the southernmost capitals like Melbourne and Hobart, falling less than once every ten years, and in the other capitals it is unknown (however snow has fallen in the hill suburbs of Perth and Adelaide). However, there are extensive, well-developed ski fields in the Great Dividing Range, a few hours' drive from Melbourne and Sydney.[9] HP G62-120ES CPU Fan

The occasional cold snap, caused by cold air drifting north from Antarctica, can cause significant snowfall in rural areas, as well as major cities such as Hobart, Melbourne's outer mountain suburbs and Canberra. Such occasions are rare, but have occurred in 1951, 1986 and 2005.

Because of its elevation (650 m (2,130 ft)) and distance from the coast, HP Pavilion dv6-3034ss   CPU   Fan

the Australian Capital Territory experiences a continental climate, unlike many other Australian cities whose climates are moderated by the sea.[11] Canberra is notorious for hot, dry summers, and cold winters with occasional fog and frequent frosts. Many of the higher mountains in the territory’s south-west are snow-covered for at least part of the winter. HP Pavilion dv7-3165ef  CPU Fan

Thunderstorms can occur between October and March, and annual rainfall is 623 mm (25 in), with rainfall highest in spring and summer and lowest in winter

The highest maximum temperature recorded in the ACT was 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) at Acton on 11 January 1939. The lowest minimum temperature was −14.6 °C (5.7 °F)at Gudgenby on 11 July 1971. HP X16-1000 Series CPU Fan

Over half of New South Wales has an arid or semi-arid climate. However, the eastern portion has a temperate climate, ranging from humid subtropical to theCentral Coast and most of Sydney, and oceanic to the south coast. The Snowy Mountains region in the south-east falls in the alpine climate/highland climate zone, with cool to cold weather all year around and snowfalls in the winter. IBM ThinkPad Z61m  CPU Fan

Further inland, the climate gets semi-arid and a desert climate towards the western part of the state.

The weather in the south of the state is generally hot in summer and cool in the winter as the seasons are well-defined in the south. The hottest New South Wales Climate region is the north-west part of the state, seasons are not well-defined in the north, where summers are hot and can be wet and winters are cooler and drier. ACER Aspire One D250 CPU Fan

The coldest region is the Snowy Mountains where the snow and frost continues for quite long durations during the winter months.The highest maximum temperature recorded was 49.8 °C (121.6 °F) at Menindee in the state's west on 10 January 1939. The lowest minimum temperature was −23 °C(−9.4 °F) at Charlotte Pass on 29 June 1994 in the Snowy Mountains. ACER Ferrari 4000 CPU Fan

This is also the lowest temperature recorded in the whole of Australia excluding Australian Antarctic Territory.[13]

Rainfall varies throughout the state. The far north-west receives the least, less than 180 mm (7 in) annually, while the east receives between 600 to 1,200 mm (24 to 47 in) of rain.

The Northern Territory has two distinctive climate zones. HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

The northern end, including Darwin, has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw)[22] with high humidity and two seasons, the wet (November to April) and dry season (May to October). During the dry season nearly every day is warm and sunny, and afternoon humidity averages around 30%. There is very little rainfall between May and September. Toshiba Satellite L350-146 CPU Fan

In the coolest months of June and July, the daily minimum temperature may dip as low as 14 °C (57 °F), but very rarely lower, and frost has never been recorded.The wet season is associated with tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. The majority of rainfall occurs between December and March (the Southern Hemisphere summer), when thunderstorms are common and afternoon relative humidity averages over 70% during the wettest months. HP Pavilion dv7-3131ez CPU Fan

On average more than 1,570 mm (62 in) of rain falls in the north. Thunderstorms can produce spectacular lightning displaysThe central region is the desert centre of the country, which includes Alice Springs and Uluru, and is semi-arid with little rain usually falling during the hottest months from October to March. Central Australia receives less than 250 mm (10 in) of rain per year. Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

The highest maximum temperature recorded in the territory was 48.3 °C (118.9 °F) at Finke on 1 and 2 January 1960. The lowest minimum temperature was −7.5 °C(18.5 °F) at Alice Springs on 12 July 1976.

Because of its size, there is significant variation in climate across the state. Low rainfall and hot summers are typical for the inland west, a monsoonal 'wet' season in the far north, and warm temperate conditions along the coastal strip. SONY Vaio VGN-CR23/N CPU Fan

Inland and in southern ranges low minimum temperatures are experienced. The climate of the coastal strip is influenced by warm ocean waters, keeping the region free from extremes of temperature and providing moisture for rainfall.However, most of the Queensland populace experience two weather seasons: a "winter" period of rather warm temperatures and minimal rainfall and a sultry summer period of hot, sticky temperatures and higher levels of rainfall. HP Pavilion dv6-3043tx CPU Fan

The highest maximum temperature observed in the state is 49.5 °C (121.1 °F) at Birdsville on 24 December 1972. The temperature of 53.1 °C (127.6 °F) atCloncurry on 16 January 1889 is not considered official; the figure quoted from Birdsville is the next highest, so that record is considered as being official.

The lowest minimum temperature is −10.6 °C (12.9 °F) at Stanthorpe on 23 June 1961 and at The Hermitage on 12 July 1965. HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

The majority of the state has the arid and semi-arid climates. The southern coastal parts of the state have a Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. The highest rainfall occurs along the southern coasts and the Mount Lofty Ranges (with an average annual rainfall of 1,200 millimetres (47 in) in the vicinity of Mount Lofty); HP Pavilion dv7-1003eo CPU Fan

the lowest rainfall occurs in the Lake Eyre basin where the average annual totals are less than 150 millimetres (6 in) and possibly even 100 millimetres (4 in). Most of the rain in the southern districts of the State fall during the winter months when the sub-tropical high-pressure belt is displaced to the north over the Australian continent.[25]

South Australia's mean temperature range is 29 °C (84 °F) in January and 15 °C (59 °F) in July. Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

Daily temperatures in parts of the state in January and February can be up to 48 °C (118 °F). The highest maximum temperature was recorded as 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) at Oodnadatta on 2 January 1960, which is the highest official temperature recorded in Australia. The lowest minimum temperature was −8 °C (17.6 °F) at Yongala on 20 July 1976.

Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons.  HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

Summer lasts from December to February when the average maximum sea temperature is 21 °C(70 °F) and inland areas around Launceston reach 24 °C (75 °F). Other inland areas are much cooler with Liawenee, located on the Central Plateau, one of the coldest places in Australia with temperatures in February ranging between 4 to 17 °C (39 to 63 °F). SONY Vaio VGN-CR23/N CPU Fan

Autumn lasts between March and May and experiences changeable weather, where summer weather patterns gradually take on the shape of winter patterns.

The winter months are between June and July and are generally the wettest and coolest months in the state, with most high lying areas receiving considerable snowfall. HP Pavilion dv7-1129wm CPU Fan

Winter maximums are 12 °C (54 °F) on average along coastal areas and 3 °C(37 °F) on the Central Plateau, thanks to a series of cold fronts from the Southern Ocean.[27] Spring is a season of transition, where winter weather patterns begin to take the shape of summer patterns, with snowfall still common up until October. Spring is generally the windiest time of the year with afternoon sea breezes starting to take effect on the coast. HP Pavilion G72-b15EV CPU Fan

Rainfall in Tasmania follows a complicated pattern rather analogous to that found on large continents at the same latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. On the western side rainfall increases from around 1,458 mm (57 in) at Strahan on the coast up to 2,690 mm (106 in) at Cradle Valley in the highlands.[28]

There is a strong winter maximum in rainfall: January and February typically averages between 30-40% the rainfall of July and August, Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX CPU Fan

though even in the driest months rain usually falls on every second day and the number of rainy days per year is much greater than on any part of the Australian mainland. Further east in the Lake Country, annual rainfall declines to around 900 mm (35 in), whilst in the Midlands, annual rainfall is as low as 450 mm (18 in) at Ross and generally below 600 mm (24 in). HP Pavilion dv7-3080eg CPU Fan

The eastern part of Tasmania has more evenly distributed rainfall than in the west, and most months receive very similar averages.The densely populated northern coast is much drier than the western side, with annual rainfall ranging from 666 mm (26 in) in Launceston to 955 mm (38 in) in Burnie in the north west and 993 mm (39 in) in Scottsdale located further to the east.[29][3HP Pavilion dv9233ca CPU Fan

0]Most rain falls in winter, and in summer the average can be as low as 31 mm (1 in) per month in Launceston. The east coast is wetter than the Midlands, with an average annual rainfall ranging from 775 mm (31 in) in St. Helens to around 640 mm (25 in) in Swansea.[31][32] Here the rainfall is evenly distributed over the year but can be very erratic as heavy rainfalls from the warm Tasman Sea are quite frequent. HP Envy 14-1195la CPU Fan

Whereas a three-day fall of 125 mm (5 in) occurs only once every fifty years on the north coast, it occurs on average once every four or five years around Swansea and Bicheno, and on 7–8 June 1954, there were many falls as large as 230 mm (9 in) in two days in that area. The east coast is sometimes called the "sun coast" because of its sunny climate.[33] HP Pavilion dv6-2115sf CPU Fan

Several sections of inland Tasmania, together with Flinders Island, were declared drought-affected areas by the state government in 2007.[34]

The highest recorded maximum temperature in Tasmania was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) at Scamander on 30 January 2009, during the 2009 south-eastern Australia heat wave. Tasmania's lowest recorded minimum temperature was −13 °C (8.6 °F) on 30 June 1983, at Butlers Gorge, Shannon, and Tarraleah. HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

Victoria has a varied climate despite its small size. It ranges from semi-arid and hot in the north-west, to temperate and cool along the coast. Victoria's main land feature, the Great Dividing Range, produces a cooler, mountain climate in the centre of the state.

Victoria's southernmost position on the Australian mainland means it is cooler and wetter than other mainland states and territories. HP Pavilion dv7-1129wm CPU FanThe coastal plain south of the Great Dividing Range has Victoria's mildest climate. Air from the Southern Ocean helps reduce the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Melbourne and other large cities are located in this temperate region.

The Mallee and upper Wimmera are Victoria's warmest regions with hot winds blowing from nearby deserts. Average temperatures top 30 °C (86 °F) during summer and 15 °C (59 °F) in winter. Victoria's highest maximum temperature of 48.8 °C (119.8 °F) was recorded in Hopetoun on 7 February 2009, during the 2009 south-eastern Australia heat wave.[13] A screen temperature of 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) was recorded on 7 January 1906 inMildura.[39][40] HP Pavilion G72-b15EV CPU Fan

The Victorian Alps in the north-east are the coldest part of Victoria. The Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range mountain system extending east-west through the centre of Victoria. Average temperatures are less than 9 °C(48 °F) in winter and below 0 °C (32 °F) in the highest parts of the ranges. The state's lowest minimum temperature of −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) was recorded at Omeo on 13 June 1965, and again at Falls Creek on 3 July 1970. HP Pavilion dv6-2140se CPU Fan

Victoria is the wettest Australian state after Tasmania. Rainfall in Victoria increases from north to south, with higher averages in areas of high altitude. Median annual rainfall exceeds 1,800 mm (71 in) in some parts of the north-east but is less than 250 millimetres (10 in) in the Mallee.

Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria and in the mountainous north-east. SONY Vaio VGN-SZ6RXN/C CPU Fan

Snow generally falls only in the mountains and hills in the centre of the state. Rain falls most frequently in winter, but summer precipitation is heavier. Rainfall is most reliable in Gippsland and the Western District, making them both leading farming areas. Victoria's highest recorded daily rainfall was 375 millimetres (14.8 in) at Tanybryn in the Otway Ranges on 22 March 1983. HP Pavilion dv7-2130ev CPU Fan

The south-west corner of the state has a Mediterranean climate.[41] The area was originally heavily forested, including large stands of the karri, one of the tallest trees in the world. This agricultural region of Western Australia is in the top nine terrestrial habitats for terrestrial biodiversity, with a higher proportion ofendemic species than most other equivalent regions. ACER eMachines G520 CPU Fan

Thanks to the offshore Leeuwin Current the area numbers in the top six regions for marine biodiversity, containing the most southerly coral reefs in the world.

Average annual rainfall varies from 300 mm (12 in) at the edge of the Wheatbelt region to 1,400 mm (55 in) in the wettest areas near Northcliffe, but in the months of November to March evaporation exceeds rainfall, and it is generally very dry. HP Pavilion dv5-2132dx CPU Fan

Plants must be adapted to this as well as the extreme poverty of all soils. A major reduction in rainfall has been observed, with a greater number of rainfall events in the summer months.

The central four-fifths of the state is semi-arid or desert and is lightly inhabited with the only significant activity being mining. Annual rainfall averages about 200 to 250 mm (8 to 10 in), most of which occurs in sporadic torrential falls related to cyclone events in summer months. Compaq Presario CQ60-307ea CPU Fan

An exception to this is the northern tropical regions. The Kimberley has an extremely hot monsoonal climate with average annual rainfall ranging from 500 to 1,500 mm (20 to 59 in), but there is a very long almost rainless season from April to November. Eighty-five percent of the state's runoff occurs in the Kimberley, but because it occurs in violent floods and because of the insurmountable poverty of the generally shallow soils, the only development has taken place along the Ord River. HP Pavilion dv6-2010sa CPU Fan

Australia's tropical/subtropical location and cold waters off the western coast make most of Western Australia a hot desert with aridity a marked feature of a greater part of the continent. These cold waters produce precious little moisture needed on the mainland. A 2005 study by Australian and American researchers[42]investigated the desertification of the interior, and suggested that one explanation was related to human settlers who arrived about 50,000 years ago. Regular burning by these settlers could have prevented monsoons from reaching interior Australia. Toshiba Satellite A40-702 CPU Fan

Occurrence of snow in the state is rare, and typically only in the Stirling Range near Albany, as it is the only mountain range far enough south and with sufficient elevation. More rarely, snow can fall on the nearby Porongurup Range. Snow outside these areas is a major event; it usually occurs in hilly areas of south-western Australia. The most widespread low-level snow occurred on 26 June 1956 when snow was reported in the Perth Hills, HP 535442-001 CPU Fan

as far north as Wongan Hills and as far east as Salmon Gums. However, even in the Stirling Range, snowfalls rarely exceed 5 cm (2 in) and rarely settle for more than one day.[43]

The highest observed maximum temperature of 50.5 °C (122.9 °F) was recorded at Mardie Station on 19 February 1998. The lowest minimum temperature recorded was−7.2 °C (19.0 °F) at Eyre Bird Observatory on 17 August 2008. HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

Climatic factors contribute to Australia's high incidence of bushfires, particularly during the summer months. Low relative humidity, wind and lack of rain can cause a small fire, either man-made or caused naturally by lightning strikes, to spread rapidly over large distances. Low humidity, the heat of the sun and lack of water cause vegetation to dry out becoming a perfect fuel for the fire. HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

High winds fan the flames, increasing their intensity and the speed and distance at which they can travel.[44]

Many of the worst bushfires in eastern Australia, such as the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, accompany El Niño-Southern Oscillation events which tend to cause a warm, dry and windy climate.[45] The worst bushfires in Australian history occurred on Black Saturday in February 2009. HP 535438-001 CPU Fan

The human death toll of the disaster was 173, and over 2000 homes were lost.

Though Australia is generally dry and arid, a large portion of the country lives in the tropics. Rainfall in these areas is extremely heavy. With some are areas recording world record breaking rain, such as the mountains which lie to the south west of Cairns. HP 533736-001 CPU Fan

Through La Niña years the eastern seaboard of Australia records above average rainfall usually creating damaging floods.The 2010–2011 La Nina system has broken many rainfall records in Australia, particularly in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, which have seen extensive flooding which has caused major damage to infrastructure and crops. IBM 13R2760 CPU Fan

The central east area of Queensland, an area the size of Germany and France combined, was under water in 2010–2011. The estimated damage bill could reach into the billions.

According to the majority of scientists, climate change is predicted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)[47] to have significant effects on the climate of and extreme weather events in Australia. ACER LU.S040A.067 CPU Fan

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.90 °C (1.62 °F) above the 1961-90 average, making it the nation’s second warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910.[48]

It is predicted that the Great Barrier Reef and reefs surrounding Lord Howe Island could be killed as a result of the rise in water temperature forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. ACER LU.S050B.078 CPU Fan

The Murray River, Darling River Coorong andMacquarie Marshes are all at risk from decreased rainfall from climate change.Coastal communities face risks from sea level rise, albeit over a long period of time based on current estimates of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. The Gold Coast, being built on sand and with many canal developments, could be considered particularly at risk. DELL Studio 1535 CPU Fan

Suburbs of Sydney like Drummoyne and Concord on rivers like the Parramatta River face risks of inundation of low lying areas such as parks (such as Timbrell Park and Majors Bay Reserve) reclaimed from mudflats at the heads of bays, or massive expenses in rebuilding seawalls to higher levels.

Currently, there are several environmental movements and campaigners advocating for action on climate change. HP Pavilion dv6736nr CPU Fan

One such campaign is "The Big Switch", Australia's largest community climate change campaign.

Drought in Australia is defined by rainfall over a three-month period being in the lowest ten percent of amounts having been recorded for that region in the past.[51] This definition takes into account that low rainfall is a relative term and rainfall deficiencies need to be compared to typical rainfall patterns including seasonal variations. HP Envy 15-1050ca CPU Fan

Specifically drought in Australia is defined in relation to a rainfall deficiency of pastoral leases and is determined by decile analysis applied to a certain area.[52]

Historical climatic records are now sufficiently reliable to profile climate variability taking into account expectations for regions.[53] State Governments are responsible for declaring a region drought affected and the declaration will take into account factors other than rainfall. HP Pavilion dv7-6100et CPU Fan

Australia is affected by tropical cyclones which primarily occur between December and April but have developed in November and May, as well.[54] Cyclones over mainland Australia occur on average five to six times each year.[4] The region between Broome andExmouth are most prone to cyclones.[55] Tropical cyclones are known to bring destructive winds, heavy rain with flooding creating storm surges along the coast, causing inundation in low lying areas. APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

The strongest Australian region cyclone was Cyclone Monica in 2006 which had wind gusts in excess of 350 km/h (220 mph). Cyclones can also move inland, decaying to a rain depression, which dump heavy rain in these areas and causing flooding.[56]

The worst cyclones of Australia have caused billions of dollars of damage and many deaths. IBM 42W2403 CPU Fan

Cyclone Tracy crossed directly over Darwin in 1974, 71 people were killed. Adjusted for inflation it was Australia's most damaging cyclone.[57] Cyclone Mahina in 1899 brought a storm surge to Far North Queensland reaching 13 m (43 ft) high, causing 400 deaths and making it the worst natural disaster to befall Australia.[58] ACER Aspire 9304WSMi CPU Fan

Cyclone Larry struck North Queensland and passed over Innisfail in 2006 causing damages estimated at A$1.5 billion but no lives were lost. Cyclone Yasi caused severe flooding and had a total estimated cost of A$3.5 billion making it the second most costliest cyclone to strike Australia.

Blizzards are not common in mainland Australia, but occur frequently in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Victoria.HP 610773-001 CPU Fan

When blizzards do occur, they can affect the Tasmanian Highlands and, particularly, Mount Wellington, which towers over the Tasmanian capital Hobart. Blizzards do not affect any major towns or cities, because there are no populated areas located in the mountains except for the ski resort towns of New South Wales and Victoria.

A dust storm or sandstorm, a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions, IBM ThinkPad R50p 1830 CPU Fan

arises when a gust front passes or when the wind force exceeds the threshold value where loose sand and dust are removed from the dry surface. Particles are transported by saltation and suspension, causing soil erosion from one place and deposition in another.

The term sandstorm is usedmost often in the context of desert sandstorms, especially in the Sahara, IBM ThinkPad T61 8898 CPU Fan

when, in addition to fine particles obscuring visibility, a considerable amount of larger sand particles moves closer to the surface. The term dust storm is more likely to be used when finer particles are blown long distances, especially when the dust storm affects urban areas.

Environmental issues in Australia describes a number of environmental issues which affect theenvironment of Australia.IBM ThinkPad R50p 2889 CPU Fan

There are a range of such issues, some of them relating to conservation in Australia while others, for example the deteriorating state of Murray-Darling Basin, have a direct and serious effect on human land use and the economy.

Many human activities including the use of natural resources have a direct impact on the Australianenvironment.

These issues are the primary concern of the environmental movement in Australia. IBM ThinkPad R50p 1830 CPU Fan

Climate change is now a major political talking point in Australia in the last two decades. Persistent drought and resulting water restrictions during the first decade of the twenty-first century are an example of natural events attributed by the mainstream media to climate change.[1][2][3][4]

Australia ranks within the top ten countries globally with respect to greenhouse gas emissions per capita.[5] IBM ThinkPad R50 1829 CPU Fan

The current federal and state governments have all publicly stated their belief that climate change is being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Vocal minority groups within the population campaign against mining and coal-fired power stations in Australia, and such demonstrations are widely reported by the mainstream media. Similarly, vocal minority groups concurrently oppose wind energy schemes, despite being 'carbon neutral', on the grounds of local visual an.IBM ThinkPad R50P CPU Fan

d noise impact and concern for the currently high cost and low reliability of wind energy.[6][7][8]

Despite the publication of the Garnaut report and the Green Paper on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, public belief in anthropogenic climate change has noticeably eroded following the leaking of e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.[9][10] IBM Thinkpad W500 CPU Fan

There is claimed to be a net benefit to Australia in stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450ppm CO2 eq[11] in line with the prevailing political stance. Public disagreement with this opinion is generally dismissed as expression of vested interests, for example from the coal industry.

Australia is a major exporter and consumer of coal, the combustion of which liberates CO2Compaq Presario CQ41-206TU CPU Fan

Consequently, in 2003 Australia was the eighth highest emitter of CO2gases per capita in the world liberating 16.5 tonnes per capita.[12] Australia is claimed to be one of the countries most at risk from climate change according to the Stern report.

Most of Australia's demand for electricity depends upon coal-fired thermal generation,[13]  SONY Vaio VPC-EB4X1E/BQ CPU Fan

owing to the plentiful indigenous coal supply, limited potential for hydro-electric generation and political unwillingness to exploit indigenous uranium resources (although Australia accounted for the world's second highest production of uranium in 2005 [14]) to fuel a 'carbon neutral' domestic nuclear energy program.

Conservation in Australia is an issue of state and federal policy. HP G62-374CA CPU Fan

Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, with a large portion of species endemic to Australia. Preserving this wealth of biodiversity is important for future generations.

A key conservation issue is the preservation of biodiversity, especially by protecting the remaining rainforests. The destruction of habitat by human activities, including land clearing, remains the major cause of biodiversity loss in Australia. HP Pavilion dv5-1203eg CPU Fan

The importance of the Australian rainforests to the conservation movement is very high. Australia is the only western country to have large areas of rainforest intact. Forests provide timber, drugs, and food and should be managed to maximize the possible uses. Currently, there are a number of environmental movements and campaigners advocating for action on saving the environment, one such campaign is the Big Switch and I Love Earth. TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

Land management issues including clearance of native vegetation, reafforestation of once-cleared areas, control of exotic weeds and pests, expansion of dryland salinity, and changed fire regimes. Intensification of resource use in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, and agriculture are widely reported to contribute to biodiversity loss in Australia. HP G62-a10EJ CPU Fan

Coastal and marine environments also have reduced biodiversity from reduced water quality caused by pollution and sediments arising from human settlements and agriculture. In central New South Wales where there are large plains of grassland, problems have risen from—unusual to say—lack of land clearing. HP 535766-001 CPU Fan

The Daintree Rainforest, a tropical rainforest near Daintree, Queensland covering around 1200 square kilometres, is threatened by logging, development, mining and the effects of the high tourist numbers. Dell MF60100V1-Q000-G99 CPU Fan

Over a hundred species of fauna are currently under serious threat of extinction. The plight of some of these species receives more attention than others and recently the focus of many conservation organisations has been the critically endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, the endangered Tasmanian Devil,[16] Northern Tiger Quoll, South Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Southern Cassowary, Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, Leadbeater's Possum and Southern Corroboree frog. DELL R859C CPU Fan

Australia has a poor record of conservation of native fauna. The extinction of Australian megafauna is attributed to the arrival of humans and since European settlement, 23 birds, 4 frogs, and 27 mammal species are also known to have become extinct.

One of the notable issues with marine conservation in Australia is the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Toshiba Satellite A105-S2101 CPU Fan

The Great Barrier Reef's environmental pressures include water quality from runoff, climate change and mass coral bleaching, cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, overfishing, and shipping accidents.

While there have been no oil spill environmental disasters of the scale of the Exxon Valdez in the country, Australia has a large oil industry and there have been several large oil spills [1]. Spills remain a serious threat to the marine environment and Australian coastline. SONY Vaio VGN-FW140E CPU Fan

The largest spill to date was the Kirki tanker in 1991 which dropped 17,280 tonnes of oil off the coast of Western Australia.In March 2009, the 2009 southeast Queensland oil spill occurred, where 200,000 litres were spilled from the MV Pacific Adventurer spilling more than 250 tonnes of oil, 30 tonnes of fuel and other toxic chemicals on Brisbane's suburban beaches.ACER Aspire 5730Z CPU Fan

Premier Anna Bligh described the spill as "worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen".

A serious issue to the Australian marine environment is the dumping of rubbish from ships. There have been a number of cases,[19] particularly involving the navy of Australian and other countries polluting Australian waters including the dumping of chemical warfare agents. SONY Vaio VPC-EB4S1E/WI CPU Fan

Recently documented cases include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in 2006 which was found to be dumping rubbish off the shores of Moreton Island.[20] In Victoria, a large number of toxic drums containing 1,2-Dichlorobenzene xylenol, a substance very toxic to aquatic creatures washed up on beaches during May 2009 presumably fallen off a passing container ship.HP Pavilion dv9580ed CPU Fan

Australia's geographical isolation has resulted in the evolution of many delicate ecological relationships that are sensitive to foreign invaders and in many instances provided no natural predators for many of the species subsequently introduced. Introduced plants that have caused widespread problems are lantana and the prickly pear bush. HP 538340-001 CPU Fan

The introduction and spread of animals such as the cane toad or rabbit can disrupt the existing balances between populations and develop into environmental problems. The introduction of cattle into Australia and to a lesser extent the dingo, are other examples of species that have changed the landscape. Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5934 CPU Fan

In some cases the introduction of new species can lead to plagues and the extinction of endemic species.

The introduced species red fox has single-handedly caused the extinction of several species. Tasmania takes the threat of red fox introduction so seriously that it has a government sponsored taskforce to prevent fox populations from taking hold on the island. SONY Vaio VGN-CR31S/P CPU Fan

In the prehistory of Australia the indigenous Australians used fire-stick farming which was an early form of land clearing which caused long term changes to the ecology. With European colonisation land clearing continued on a larger scale for agriculture - particularly for cattle, cotton and wheat production. Since European settlement a total of 13% of native vegetation cover has been lost. HP Pavilion dv5-1210et CPU Fan

The extinction of 20 different mammals, 9 bird and 97 plant species have been partially attributed to land clearing. Land clearing is a major source of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and contributed to approximately 12 percent of Australia’s total emissions in 1998.

The consequences of land clearing include dryland salinity and soil erosion. These are a major concern to the landcare movement in Australia. SONY Vaio VGN-FW465J/B CPU Fan

The clearing of native vegetation is controlled by Federal laws (indirectly), State law and local planning instruments. The precise details of regulation of vegetation clearing differ according to the location where clearing is proposed.

Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world. Many Australian cities have large urban footprints and are characterised by an unsustainable low density urban sprawl. HP Envy 15 CPU Fan

This places demand on infrastructure and services which contributes to the problems of land clearing, pollution, transport related emissions, energy consumption, invasive species,automobile dependency and urban heat islands.

The urban sprawl continues to increase at a rapid rate in most Australian cities, particularly the state capital cities, all of which (with the exception of Hobart) are metropoleis. HP Pavilion dv7-1190er CPU Fan

In some centres, such as Sydney and Greater Western Sydney,[22]Greater Melbourne[23] and South East Queensland[24] large metropolitan conurbations threaten to extend for hundreds of kilometres and based on current population growth rates are expected to become megacities in the 21st century. Most Australian cities population growth is a result of migration in contrast to the Birth rate and fertility rate in Australia, which is contributing to the ongoing trend of urbanisation. Toshiba Satellite A105-S4074 CPU Fan

In recent years, some cities have implemented transit-oriented development strategies to curb the urban sprawl. Notable examples include Melbourne 2030,[25] South East Queensland Regional Plan and the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy.

There are also population decentralisation programs at state and federal levels aimed at shifting populations out of the major centres and stemming the drivers to rapid urbanisation.  IBM MCF-208AM05-1 CPU Fan

Albury-Wodonga was part of the federal government's program of decentralisation begun in the 1970s, which has at times had relocation policies for immigration. The Victorian government has run a decentralisation program since the 1960s, having had a ministerial position appointed and ongoing promotional and investment programs for stimulating growth in Regional Victoria.IBM MCF-217PAM05 CPU Fan

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However policy has swung over the decades, primarily due to local development priorities and agendas and a lack of federal co-ordination to the problem.

The protection of waterways in Australia is a major concern for various reasons including habitat and biodiversity, but also due to use of the waterways by humans.

The Murray-Darling Basin is under threat due to irrigation in Australia, causing high levels of salinity which affect agriculture and biodiversity in New South Wales, HP Pavilion dv6-3385la CPU Fan

Victoria and South Australia. These rivers are also affected by pesticide run-off and drought.

Sustainable waste management is significant problem in Australia, and serious issues include large quantities of e-waste and toxic waste going into landfill. Australia does not have restrictions on the dumping of toxic materials that are common in other countries, such as dumping Cathode Ray Tubes which leech heavy metals into water catchments. HP Pavilion tx2510us  CPU  Fan

Due to the lack of sufficient sites for toxic waste disposal large quantities of toxic waste are trucked between states to remote dumping grounds or exported overseas in ships. HP G62-b55EV CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv6-2145sf CPU Fan,HP Pavilion dv7-1120ew CPU Fan

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The geography of Australia encompasses a wide variety of biogeographic regions being the world's smallest continentbut the sixth-largest country in the world. The population of Australia is concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts. The geography of the country is extremely diverse, ranging from the snow-capped mountains of theAustralian Alps and Tasmania to large deserts, tropical and temperate forests. ACER Aspire 3003LCi CPU Fan

Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatuand the French dependency of New Caledonia to the east, and New Zealand to the southeast.

Australia is a country, and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. It is the sixth largest country in the world with a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometers (2,967,909 sq. mi) HP Pavilion dv7-6187cl CPU Fan

(including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island), making it slightly smaller than the 48 states of the contiguous United States and 31.5 times larger than the United Kingdom.

The Australian mainland has a total coastline length of 35,876 km (22,292 mi) with an additional 23,859 km (14,825 mi) of island coastlines.[1] There are 758 estuaries around the country with most located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones.[2] HP Pavilion dv7-1128ca CPU Fan

Australia claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,057 sq. mi). This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory. Australia has the largest area of ocean jurisdiction of any country on earth.[3] It has no land borders. The northernmost points of the country are the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory. HP Pavilion dv6-3216us CPU Fan

The western half of Australia consists of the Western Plateau, which rises to mountain heights near the west coast and falls to lower elevations near the continental centre. The Western Plateau region is generally flat, though broken by various mountain ranges such as the Hamersley Range, the MacDonnell Ranges, and the Musgrave Range. Surface water is generally lacking in the Western Plateau, HP Pavilion dv6565el CPU Fan

although there are several larger rivers in the west and north, such as the Murchison,Ashburton, and Victoria river.

The Eastern Highlands, or Great Dividing Range, lie near the eastern coast of Australia, separating the relatively narrow eastern coastal plain from the rest of the continent. These Eastern Australian temperate forests have the greatest relief, the most rainfall, the most abundant and varied flora and fauna, and the densest human settlement. DELL Latitude E6410 CPU Fan

Between the Eastern Highlands and the Western Plateau, lie the Central Lowlands, which are made up of the Great Artesian Basin and Australia's largest river systems, Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre Basin.

Off the eastern coast of Australia is the world's largest coral reef complex, the Great Barrier Reef. The State of Tasmania, a large and mountainous island, resides in the south-eastern corner of Australia. HP Pavilion dv6-2066dx CPU Fan

Australia is the lowest, flattest, and oldest continental landmass on Earth  and it has had a relatively stable geological history. Geological forces such as tectonic uplift of mountain ranges or clashes between tectonic plates occurred mainly in Australia's early history, when it was still a part of Gondwana. Its highest peak is Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), which is relatively low in comparison to the highest mountains on other continents. HP 610777-001 CPU Fan

Erosion has heavily weathered Australia's surface.

Australia is situated in the middle of the tectonic plate, and therefore currently has no active volcanism. Minor earthquakes which produce no damage occur regularly, while major earthquakes measuring greater than magnitude 6 occur on average every five years.[4] Samsung MCF-913PAM05-40 CPU Fan

The terrain is mostly low plateau with deserts, rangelands and a fertile plain in the southeast. Tasmania and the Australian Alps do not contain any permanent icefields or glaciers, although they may have existed in the past. The Great Barrier Reef, by far the world's largest coral reef, lies a short distance off the north-east coast.

Because much of Australia's interior is arid, the low average annual rainfall means interior rivers are often dry and lakes empty.HP Pavilion dv7-2140eo CPU Fan

The headwaters of some waterways are located in tropical regions where summer rains create a high rate of discharge. Flood events drastically alter the dry environment in which the ecology of central Australia has had to adapt to the boom and bust cycle.

The Great Artesian Basin is an important source of water, the world's largest and deepest fresh water basin. HP Envy 15-1060ea CPU Fan

Access to water from the basin has led to the expansion of grazing into areas that were previously far too dry for livestock. Towns and cities across the country sometimes face major water storage and usage crisis in which restrictions and other measures are implemented to reduce water consumption. Water restrictions are based on a gradient of activities that become progressively banned as the situation worsens. HP Pavilion dv4-2140us CPU Fan

Billabong is the Australian name given to the oxbow lakes that can form along a meandering river's course. In a world-wide comparison of height, Australia's waterfalls are relatively insignificant, with the longest drop ranked 135th according to the World Waterfall Database.

Australia consists of six states, two major mainland territories, and other minor territories. COMPAQ Presario F500 CPU Fan

The states areNew South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The two major mainland territories are the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Western Australia is the largest state covering just under one third of the Australian landmass, followed by Queensland and New South Wales.

Australia also has several minor territories; the federal government administers a separate area within New South Wales, the Jervis Bay Territory, as a naval base and sea port for the national capital. HP Pavilion dv2310ca CPU Fan

In addition Australia has the following, inhabited, external territories: Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and several largely uninhabited external territories: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory.

By far the largest part of Australia is arid or semi-arid. A total of 18% of Australia's mainland isdesert.[7] Compaq Presario C554US CPU Fan

Only the south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate and moderately fertile soil. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate: part is tropical rainforests, part grasslands, and part desert.

Rainfall is highly variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons thought to be caused in part by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. HP Pavilion dv9660ef CPU Fan

Occasionally a dust storm will blanket a region or even several states and there are reports of the occasional large tornado. Rising levels of salinity and desertification in some areas is ravaging the landscape.

Australia's tropical/subtropical location and cold waters off the western coast make most of western Australia a hot desert with aridity, a marked feature of the greater part of the continent. SONY UDQF2PH05-AS CPU Fan

These cold waters produce little moisture needed on the mainland. A 2005 study by Australian and American researchers investigated the desertification of the interior, and suggested that one explanation was related to human settlers who arrived about 50,000 years ago. Regular burning by these settlers could have prevented monsoons from reaching interior Australia. The outback covers 70 percent of the continent. SONY Vaio VGN-A17CP CPU Fan

Current environmental issues include: soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification (partly as a result of the introduction by European settlers of Rabbits); introduced pest species; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; Toshiba G20 CPU Fan

the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources; threats from invasive species.

The geology of Australia includes virtually all known rock types and from all geological time periods spanning over 3.8 billion years of the Earth's history. DELL Vostro 1510 CPU Fan

Australia's geology can be divided into several main sections; the Archaean cratonic shields, Proterozoic fold belts and sedimentary basins, Phanerozoicsedimentary basins, and Phanerozoic metamorphic and igneous rocks.

Australia as a separate continent began to form after the breakup of Gondwana in the Permian, with the separation of the continental landmass from the African continent and Indian subcontinent. Australia rifted from Antarctica in the Cretaceous.ACER Aspire One A150-1249 CPU Fan

The current Australian continental mass is composed of a thick subcontinental lithosphere, over 200 km thick in the western two thirds and 100 km thick in the younger eastern third. The Australian continental crust, excluding the thinned margins, has an average thickness of 38 km, with a range in thickness from 24 km to 59 km.

The continental crust is composed primarily of Archaean, Proterozoic and some Palaeozoic granites and gneisses. A thin veneer of mainly Phanerozoic sedimentary basins cover much of the Australian landmass (these are up to 7 km thick). HP Pavilion dv9766ez CPU Fan

These in turn are currently undergoing erosion by a combination of aeolian and fluvial processes, forming extensive sand dune systems, deep and prolonged development of laterite and saprolite profiles, and development of playa lakes, salt lakes and ephemeral drainage.

The geologic history of the Australian continental mass is extremely prolonged and involved, continuing from the Archaean to the recent. Dell Vostro 3400 CPU Fan

In a gross pattern, continental Australia grew from west to east, with Archean rocks mostly in the west, Proterozoic rocks in the centre, and Phanerozoic rocks in the east. Recent geologic events are confined to intraplate earthquakes, as the continent of Australia sits distant from the plate boundary.

The Australian continent evolved in five broad but distinct time periods, namely: 3800–2100 Ma, 2100–1300 Ma, 1300–600 Ma, 600–160 Ma and 160 Ma to the present. SONY Vaio VGN-SZ4MRN/B CPU Fan

The first period saw the growth of nuclei about which cratonic elements grew, whereas the latter four periods involved the amalgamation and dispersal of Nuna, Rodinia and Pangea, respectively.

The Australian landmass has been part of all major supercontinents, but its association with Gondwana is especially notable as important correlations have been made geologically with the African continental mass and Antarctica. DELL Inspiron 1720 CPU Fan

Australia separated from Antarctica over a prolonged period beginning in the Permian and continuing through to the Cretaceous(84 Ma).Continental Australia is unique among the continents in that the measured stress field is not parallel to the present day north–northeast directed plate motion. Most of the stress state in continental Australia is controlled by compression originating from the three main collision boundaries located in New Zealand, ASUS BFB0705HA CPU Fan

Indonesia and New Guinea, and the Himalaya(transmitted through the Indian and Capricorn plates). South of latitude -30°, the stress trajectories are oriented east–west to northwest–southeast. North of this latitude, the stress trajectories are closer to the present day plate motion, being oriented east-northeast–west-southwest to northeast–southwest. HP G56-106EA CPU Fan

Notably, the main stress trajectories diverge most markedly from one another in north–central New South Wales (east–southeast to north–northeast), although the area is not known historically for earthquake activity. Young mountain building (< 5 Ma) in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia is driven from plate convergence at the boundary in New Zealand. HP Pavilion dv7-1135nr CPU Fan

There are three main cratonic shields of recognised Archaean age within the Australian landmass: The Yilgarn, the Pilbara and the Gawler cratons. Several other Archaean-Proterozoic orogenic belts exist, usually sandwiched around the edges of these major cratonic shields.

The history of the Archaean cratons is extremely complex and protracted. Dell Latitude E6510 CPU Fan

The cratons appear to have been assembled to form the greater Australian landmass in the late Archaean to mesoProterozoic, (~2400 Ma to 1,600 Ma).

Chiefly the Capricorn Orogeny is partly responsible for the assembly of the West Australian landmass by joining the Yilgarn and Pilbara cratons. The Capricorn Orogeny is exposed in the rocks of the Bangemall Basin, DELL DC280005FF0 CPU Fan

Gascoyne Complex granite-gneisses and the Glengarry, Yerrida and Padbury basins. Unknown Proterozoic orogenic belts, possibly similar to the Albany Complex in southern Western Australia and the Musgrave Block, represent the Proterozoic link between the Yilgarn and Gawler cratons, covered by the Proterozoic-Palaeozoic Officer and Amadeus basins. HP KSB0605HB CPU Fan\

The assembly of the Archaean Yilgarn and Pilbara cratons of Australia was initiated at ~2200 Ma during the first phases of the Capricorn orogen.

The last stages of the 2770-2300 Ma Hamersley Basin on the southern margin of the Pilbara Craton are Palaeoproterozoic and record the last stable submarine-fluviatile environments between the two cratons prior to the rifting, HP 580696-001 CPU Fan

contraction and assembly of the intracratonic ~1800 Ma Ashburton and Blair basins, the 1600-1070 Ma Edmund and Collier basins, the 1840-1620 Ma northern Gascoyne Complex, the 2000-1780 Ma Glenburgh Terrane in the southern Gascoyne Complex and the Errabiddy Shear Zone at the northwestern margin of the Yilgarn Craton.

Between approximately 2000-1800 Ma, on the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton, the c. HP Pavilion dv7-4014eo CPU Fan

1890 Ma Narracoota Volcanics of the Bryah Basin formed in a transverse back-arc rift sag basin during collision. Culmination of the cratonic collision resulted in the foreland sedimentary Padbury Basin. To the east the Yerrida and Eerarheedy Basins were passive margins along the Yilgarn's northern margin.

The c. 1830 Ma phase of the Capricorn Orogeny in this section of the Pilbara-Yilgarn boundary resulted in deformation of the Bryah-Padbury Basin and the western fringe of the Yerrida Basin, along with flood basalts. DELL Studio 1555 CPU Fan

The Yapungku Orogeny (~1790 Ma) formed the Stanley Fold Belt on the northern margin of the Eerarheedy Basin, via assembly of the Archaean-Proterozoic fold belts of Northern Australia.

East Australian Events

The Palaeoproterozoic in southeastern Australia is represented by the polydeformed high-grade gneiss terranes of the Willyama Supergroup, Olary Block and Broken Hill Block, in South Australia and New South Wales. HP G62-339WM CPU Fan

The Palaeoproterozoic in the north of Australia is represented mostly by the Mount Isa Block and complex fold-thrust belts.

These rocks, aside from suffering intense deformation, record a period of widespread platform cover sedimentation, ensialic rift-sag sedimentation including widespread dolomite platform cover, and extensive phosphorite deposition in the deeper sea beds.HP Pavilion dv5-1145ev CPU Fan

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The Stavely Zone in Victoria is a boninite to MORB basalt terrane considered to have been connected with the boninites the Mount Read Volcanics of Northern Tasmania. In New South Wales, extensive deepwater sedimentation formed the Adaminaby Beds in Victoria and New South Wales. The Lachlan Fold Belt ophiolite sequences are considered to be of Cambrian age, and are obducted during the Lachlan Orogen. HP Pavilion dv7-3155eb CPU Fan

The Petermann Orogeny in Central Australia, which started at the end of the Neoproterozoic, continued into the Cambrian, shedding a thick intracontinental sequence of fluvial sediments into the central Australian landmass. Marginal platforms and passive margin basins existed in South Australia - - formed in the foreland of the Delamerian Orogeny. Western Australian passive margin basins and platform cover begin at this stage. DELL Studio 1458 CPU Fan

The extensive Antrim Plateau flood basalts, covering in excess of 12,000 square kilometres, erupt in the Cambrian of Western Australia, providing a useful chronostratigraphic marker.

The late Cambrian to early Ordovician saw deepwater sedimentation of the St Arnaud and Castlemaine Group turbidites, which are now emplaced in the Stawell and Bendigo Zones. Toshiba Satellite A505-S6970 CPU Fan

The middle Ordovician saw the deposition of the Sunbury Group in the Melbourne Zone, Bendoc Group and formation of the Molong Arc, a calc-alkaline volcanic arc which is related to the Kiandra Group turbidites.

During the Silurian Period most of the Australian continent in the west and centre was dry land. However from Geraldton north to Exmouth Gulf along the far Western Australian coast a fluvial sediment basin existed. HP Pavilion dv6-3090si CPU Fan

Near Kalbarri on the Murchison River the footprints of a giant water scorpion were found on land, the first animal to walk on the Australian continent. A gulf linked to the sea existed under what is now the Great Sandy Desert. Meanwhile in the east there were volcanic arcs in New England, also west of Townsville and Cairns, and in NSW and Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.HP G60-215EM CPU Fan

Deep water sediments formed in the Cowra, Tumut and Hillend Troughs. The Yass Molong rise was a row of volcanoes. Granite intrusions formed in New South Wales and Victoria from 435 to 425 Mya, with the Bega batholith as young as 400 Mya. In NSW granites the distinction between I-type and S-type granites was discovered.

During the Devonian Period conditions were warm in Australia. Toshiba Satellite A100-011 CPU Fan

There was a large bay in the great Sandy Desert with reefs. The Calliope Arc went from the north of Rockhampton south to Grafton. Most of the centre and west of Australia was land mass. There were volcanic mountains off the current east coast supplying sediment into a basin on parts of the east. The basin contained limestone and river deposited sand. DELL XPS M1210 CPU Fan

Andesite and Rhyolite volcanoes were found in central NSW, the Snowy Mountains, Eden, New England and near Clermont, Queensland. Baragwanathia longifolia was the first Australian land plant appearing at this time.

The Tabberabberan Orogeny compressed the eastern seaboard in an east west direction, with Tasmania, Victoria and southern New South Wales folded 385 - 380 Mya. Northern NSW and Queensland was compressed 377 to 352 Mya.  HP G62-120SL CPU Fan

A major river drained the continental interior and passed eastwards at Parkes. The Bungle Bungle Range sandstone was formed in Western Australia from river sands. More Granite was intruded in the Devonian.

The Carboniferous Period saw the Eastern Highlands of Australia form as a result of its collision with what are now parts of South America (e.g. the Sierra de Cordoba) and New Zealand. HP Pavilion dv6-2117eo CPU Fan

At the time they were formed they are believed to have been as high as any mountains on the planet today, but they have been almost completely eroded in the 280 million years since.

Another notable feature of Carboniferous Australia was a major ice age which left over half of the continent glaciated. Evidence for the cold conditions can be seen not only in glacial features dating from this period but also in fossil Gelisols from as far north as the Hunter River basin. Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5950 CPU Fan

he Permian to Triassic in Australia is dominated by subduction zones on the eastern margin of the landmass, part of the Hunter-Bowen Orogeny. This was a major arc-accretion, subduction and back-arc sedimentary basin forming event which persisted episodically from approximately late Carboniferous in its initial stages, through the Permian and terminated in the Middle Triassic at around 229Ma to 225Ma. SONY Vaio VGN-BZ11MN CPU Fan

In Western and Central Australia the then-extensive central Australian mountain ranges such as the Petermann Ranges were eroded by the Permian glacial event, resulting in thick marine to fluvial glacial tillite and fossiliferous limestone deposits and extensive platform cover. Rifting of Australia from India and Africa began in the Permian, resulting in the production of a rift basin and half-grabens of the basal portions of the long-lived Perth Basin. SONY Vaio VGN-TX91S CPU Fan

Petroleum was formed in the Swan Coastal Plain and Pilbara during this rifting, presumably in a rift valley lake where the bottom was deoxygenated (akin to Africa's Lake Tanganyika today).

In the west of Australia the Jurassic was a tropical savannah to jungle environment, shown by advanced tropical weathering preserved in the regolith of theYilgarn craton which is still preserved today. Toshiba Satellite A100-849 CPU Fan

Australia began rifting away from Antarctica in the Jurassic, which formed the Gippsland, Bass and Otway Basins in Victoria and the offshore shelf basins of South Australia and Western Australia, all of which host significant oil and gas deposits.

Jurassic coal-bearing basins were formed in north central Queensland, with significant marine platform cover extending across most of central Australia. Gateway MT6400 CPU Fan

Continued passive-margin subsidence and marine transgressions in the Perth Basin of Western Australia continued, with the Jurassic Cattamarra Coal Measures a notable fluvial terrigenous formation of the Jurassic.

The initial rifting of Australia and Antarctica in the Jurassic continued through the Cretaceous, with offshore development of a mid ocean ridge seafloor spreading centre. Toshiba Satellite A100-849 CPU Fan

Tasmania was rifted off during this stage.
Cretaceous volcanism in the offshore of Queensland was related to a minor episode of arc formation, typified by the Whitsunday Islands, followed by development of offshore coral platforms, passive margin basins and far-field volcanism throughout the quiet Hunter-Bowen orogenic belt.
Cretaceous sedimentation continued in the Surat Basin. Dell Vostro 3350 CPU Fan

Some small Cretaceous volcanism was present at the edges of basement highs in the Great Artesian Basin, resulting in some sparse volcanic plugs today.

Water security in Australia has become a major concern over the course of the late 20th and early 21st century as a result of population growth, severedrought, fears of the effects of global warming on Australia, environmental degradation from reduced environmental flows, competition between competing interests such as grazing, irrigation and urban water supplies, and competition between upstream and downstream users. ACER Aspire 4733 CPU Fan

Water reform was first placed on the national agenda at the 1994 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting when a strategic framework was devised.[1] As the knowledge of surface and groundwater systems grew and the awareness of the significance of sustainable water markets increased, further water reform was agreed to at the 2004 COAG meeting, under a national blueprint known as the National Water Initiative (NWI). HP Pavilion dv8335ea CPU Fan

Australia can be divided into 12 major drainage divisions. For example, the Murray-Darling drainage division consists of the Murray River basin and the Darling River basin. Three of these drainage division account for 87% of the water that Australia consumes – the North East Coast division, the South East Coast division, and the Murray-Darling. This means that the supply of water within Australia is highly concentrated, and any defect to one of these major water divisions can cause major water security issues. Dell Vostro 3400 CPU Fan

Since the turn of the 21st century, there have been attempts to establish a privatised water market in Australia, with the state of Victoria acting as a model for other states. Many political parties, community groups, NGO's and other groups and people see the privatisation of water as a denial of basic human rights on behalf of State and Federal Governments. APPLE MG62090V1-Q020-S99 CPU Fan

Water privatisation is a highly controversial topic and touches on the much broader arguments for and against the private control of formerly public services.

A major boundary which affects effective water management is the highly variable precipitation levels of Australia – Australian rainfall is more variable than rainfall in rest of the world since it is driven by the Southern Oscillation rather than by seasonal changes.[2] APPLE 15" Macbook Pro Unibody CPU Fan

The result is that for the same level of reliability of supply, dams in Australia need to be six times as large as those in Europe and twice as large as the world average to ensure water sources do not run dry during dry seasons.

In Australia there is competition for the resources of the Darling River system between Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. Similarly there is competition for the resources of the Murray River between NSW, Gateway 6020GZ CPU Fan

Victoria and South Australia. The South Australian government established a new ministerial portfolio of Water Security as the water security issues facing South Australia and the Lower Lakes and Coorong emerged.[3] South Australia also has an Independent Commissioner for Water Security.

The National Water Commission is an independent statutory body within the Department of Sustainability, Toshiba Satellite Pro M30-891 CPU Fan

Environment, Water, Population and Communities that was established under the National Water Commission Act 2004 to implement the National Water Initiative and reform the broader national water agenda.[1] The National Water Commission published a report on the future need for desalination technologies to play a role in securing Australia’s water supplies.[8] Toshiba Satellite Pro M30-782 CPU Fan

It also publishes a biennial assessment of progress in implementation of the National Water Initiative, the latest being in October 2009. The 2009 assessment nominates areas of slow or inadequate reform and makes 68 recommendations for action over the next two years.

Several major capital works are currently under construction in an effort to privatise the nation's water. HP Pavilion dv5-1050eo CPU Fan

Water desalination has been introduced as a way of creating new water to increase the security of the supply of water, at huge financial costs, environmental losses and increased greenhouse gas emissions, while several pipelines are under construction in an effort to link regional systems to facilitate the trading of water.[19] Price rises for consumers have been highest in Sydney where water deliveries are provided by Australia's largest utility, Sydney Water.[20] SONY VGN-SZ220 CPU Fan

The policies of several State Governments moves away from sustainable water management and divests themselves of their responsibilities to provide sustainable, just and affordable, potable water to their population.

The Kurnell Desalination Plant constructed by the NSW Government at Kurnell near Botany Bay has commenced operations. The power usage is to be offset by a new wind farm. Sydney also draws water from the Shoalhaven River near Nowra. Dell Studio XPS 1645 CPU Fan

Hunter Water Corporation proposes a dam, Tillegra Dam, on the Williams River in Dungog Shire in the Upper Hunter Region. When completed, the dam will hold 450 billion litres of water. The estimated cost of the dam is around $300 million ($477 Million as at April 2010). Included in the dam proposal is a hydro-power generation plant which will generate around 3,000 megawatt hours of energy each year. ACER eMachines 7230 CPU Fan

Hunter Water is also proposing to plant 1.5 million trees as carbon offsets. The need for this dam is strongly disputed and subject to review by the NSW Government Department of Planning. Hunter Water claims the dam is required to "drought proof" Newcastle and the Central Coast.[21] Opponents say the dam is grossly excessive for this need, will drown valuable agricultural land and greater water efficiency, demand management and recycling would eliminate the need for the dam. DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

The Victorian state government plans several major construction projects to be completed as Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs), in an effort to link state water supplies. These projects are designed to establish a state-wide water market in preparation of the privatisation of Victoria's water.[19] The works include a $3.1 billion desalination plant to be built near Wonthaggi by the end of 2011,[24] SONY Vaio VGN-A29LP CPU Fan

the North-South pipeline to connect water supplies from the Goulburn Valley to Melbourne and Central Victoria, and an interconnector pipeline connecting the Geelong-Ballarat region.

Many argue that in privatising Victoria's water resources and creating a market to trade water between regions, the State Government is divesting itself from its core human rights responsibilities to ensure potable water to the population it represents.[19HP Pavilion dv7t-6100 CTO CPU Fan

] This would come at great environmental cost, increase energy usage, decrease efficience, ignore sustainable water management options and increase end-user water costs, placing water privatisation as a high risk to water security in Victoria, despite its acceptance by the state government.

On 24 October 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Lachlan River would stop flowing west of Condoblin within weeks as flows are slashed to keep only part of the river flowing, HP Pavilion dv7-3163cl CPU Fan

that the Wyangala Dam could be empty by mid summer (15 January 2010) and that thousands of households will need to have water trucked to them. This situation follows 8 years of drought. Farmers in the area of the Lachlan Valley where the river will not flow are deeply concerned for the viability of their farms. More than 100,000 people live in the total Lachlan catchment. HP Pavilion dv7-4140ed CPU Fan

14% of NSW agricultural production is generated in the region from a land area of approximately 10% of NSW.

The states and mainland territories of the Commonwealth of Australia combine to make up the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Australia comprises six states and various territories; the Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories (including small, somewhat anomalous Jervis Bay), Compaq Presario CQ60-155ep CPU Fan

with the sixth island state of Tasmania to the south of the mainland. In addition, there are six island territories, known as external territories, and Australian Antarctic Territory.

All states and two of the three internal grounds have their own parliaments and administer themselves; all remaining territories are administered by the federal government, but with Norfolk Island having some degree of self-government. HP Mini 110-3000sd CPU Fan

The states originated as separate British colonies prior to Federation (in 1901). The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Lord Howe Island, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and Van Diemen's Land, in addition to the area currently referred to as the state of New South Wales. Compaq Presario CQ60-155ep CPU Fan

During the 19th century, large areas were successively separated to form the colonies of Tasmania (established as a separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), New Zealand (1840),[3] Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859). The Swan River Colony (present-day city of Perth) was established in Western Australia in 1829. SONY Vaio VPC-EA46FM/B CPU Fan

On Federation, the six colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania became original states of the new Commonwealth of Australia.

Legislative powers of the States are protected by the Australian constitution, and under the principle of federalism Commonwealth legislation only applies to the states where permitted by the constitution. Toshiba Satellite L500-1XL CPU Fan

The territories, by contrast, are from a constitutional perspective directly subject to the Commonwealth government. The Australian Parliament has powers to legislate in the territories that it does not possess in the states.

Most of the territories are directly administered by the Commonwealth Government, while three (the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island) administer themselves. HP Mini 110-3000sd CPU Fan

In the self-governing territories, the Australian Parliament retains the full power to legislate, and can override laws made by the territorial institutions, which it has done on rare occasions. For the purposes of Australian (and joint Australia-New Zealand) intergovernmental bodies, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are treated as states. HP Pavilion dv7-3162nr CPU Fan

Furthermore, the distribution of powers between the Commonwealth and the territories is different from that between the Commonwealth and the states. In the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth retains the power to directly administer uranium mining and Aboriginal lands – powers which it does not possess with respect to the states. HP 480481-001 CPU Fan

Each state has a Governor, appointed by the Queen, which by convention she does on the advice of the state Premier. The Administrators of the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island are, by contrast, appointed by the Governor-General. The Australian Capital Territory has neither a Governor nor an Administrator, but the Governor-General exercises some powers that in other jurisdictions are exercised by the Governor of a state or Administrator of a territory, such as the power to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. HP 622029-001 CPU Fan

Jervis Bay Territory is unique in being the only non-self-governing territory that was an internal territory. Until 1989, it was administered as if it were a part of the ACT, although it has always been a separate territory. Under the terms of the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act, the laws of the ACT apply to the Jervis Bay Territory insofar as they are applicable and providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance.[4] Toshiba Satellite L555-12P CPU Fan

Although residents of the Jervis Bay Territory are generally subject to laws made by the ACT Legislative Assembly, they are not represented in the Assembly. They are represented in the Parliament of Australia as part of the Electoral Division of Fraser in the ACT and by the ACT's two Senators. In other respects, the territory is administered directly by the Federal Government through the Territories portfolio. HP GB0507PGV1-A CPU Fan

Each state has a bicameral parliament except Queensland, which abolished its upper house in 1922. The lower house is called the Legislative Assembly, except in South Australia and Tasmania, where it is called the House of Assembly. Tasmania is the only state to use proportional representation for elections to its lower house; all others elect members from single member constituencies, using preferential voting. SONY Vaio VGN-AR21B CPU Fan

The upper house is called the Legislative Council and is generally elected from multi-member constituencies using proportional representation. The three self-governing territories, the ACT, the Northern Territory, and Norfolk Island, have unicameral Legislative Assemblies.

The head of government of each state is called the Premier, appointed by the state's Governor. SONY Vaio VPC-EB3E1E/PI CPU Fan

In normal circumstances, the Governor will appoint as Premier whoever leads the party or coalition which exercises control of the lower house (in the case of Queensland, the only house) of the state Parliament. However, in times of constitutional crisis, the Governor can appoint someone else as Premier. The head of government of the self-governing internal territories is called the Chief Minister. SONY Vaio VPC-EB3E1E/WI CPU Fan

The Northern Territory's Chief Minister, in normal circumstances whoever controls the Legislative Assembly, is appointed by the Administrator.

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In 2013, the Swiss Parliament approved a law that allows Swiss banks to cooperate with United States tax authorities as specified in the FATCA.

Some bank accounts are afforded an extra degree of privacy. Information concerning such accounts, known as numbered accounts, is restricted to senior bank officers, rather than being accessible to all the employees of a bank. HP Pavilion dv6-3070tx CPU Fan

However, the information required to open such an account is no different from that of an ordinary account; completely anonymous accounts are not allowed by law. Should a criminal investigation take place, law enforcement has access to information related to a numbered account in the same way it has access to information about any other account. IBM 41W5269 CPU Fan

There are several measures in place to counter money laundering. The Money Laundering Act sets forth requirements of account holders' identification, and requires reporting of any suspicious transactions to the Money Laundering Reporting Office.[50]

According to the CIA World Factbook, Switzerland is "a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; ASUS A8H CPU Fan

despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries..."[51] However, Switzerland's cooperation in transnational financial issues has been praised by several major U.S. officials. SONY UDQFRZH13CF0 CPU Fan

A Federal Bureau of Investigation anti-terrorism official noted that Switzerland was one of several countries to participate in joint task forces targeting financing of Al-Qaeda terrorist cells; a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury praised Swiss cooperation and the country's assistance in the finding and freezing of terrorist and Iraqi assets. HP COMPAQ 2510P CPU Fan

Swiss bank secrecy was dealt a severe setback by the revelations made by ex-UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who blew the whistle on UBS providing Americans with vehicles to hide up US$20 billion in assets to avoid taxes.[53][54][55] Birkenfeld's revelations to the U.S. government concerning UBS's practices led to a massive fraud investigation against the Swiss bank UBS.[56][57][58] As a result of the information he gave U.S. authorities, the DOJ announced it had reached adeferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UBS that resulted in a $780 million fine and the release of previously privileged information on American tax evaders.[59][60]

On 11 September 2012, the U.S. IRS Whistleblower Office paid Birkenfeld a $104 million award for acting as a corporate whistleblower.[61] APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

The Swiss media credit Birkenfeld's act with affecting a sea change in Swiss banking. After Birkenfeld's award, the Swiss newspaper Blick claimed, “Birkenfeld was a blessing for the Swiss financial industry,” in that his revelations helped accelerate the industry's transition away from from its reliance on “dirty” money by dooming the bank secrecy laws that enabled tax evasion.[62] HP Pavilion dv6-3034ca CPU Fan

Birkenfeld has compared the Swiss banking industry with gangsters. "In essence, bank secrecy is analogous to criminal racketeering — and the Swiss government, along with every Swiss private banker, is a co-conspirator.

Swiss Banks are alleged to stash black money (money not reported to the government for tax purposes);[64][65] reportedly, the value of deposits in Swiss banks by Indians exceeds the value of deposits by any other nationality.[64] HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

Editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, noted that, as per documents of bank accounts by a former banker and whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, the "names in the documents came from 'US, Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia' – from all over".

Several inquiries have been made into the conduct of Swiss banks during the Nazi Germany period (1933–1945), especially regarding funds deposited by or allegedly stolen from victims of the Holocaust. Compaq Presario C556CA CPU Fan

The campaign causing the highest outlays (US$1.25 billion in 1999) on the part of the Swiss banking industry as of 2009 was the World Jewish Congress lawsuit against Swiss banks launched by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in concert with US Senator Alfonse d'Amato of New York.[72]

The audit run by the Volcker commission which resulted from this lawsuit cost CHF300 million and gave its final report in December 1999. SONY Vaio VGN-NR360E CPU Fan

It determined that the 1999 book value of all dormant accounts possibly belonging to victims of Nazi persecution that were unclaimed, closed by the Nazis, or closed by unknown persons was CHF95 million. Of this total, CHF24 million were "probably" related to victims of Nazi persecution.[73] In addition the commission found "no proof of systematic destruction of records of victim accounts, organized discrimination against the accounts of victims of  persecution, HP Pavilion dv5170us CPU Fan

or concerted efforts to divert the funds of victims of Nazi persecution to improper purposes." It also "confirmed evidence of questionable and deceitful actions by some individual banks in the handling of accounts of victims".[73]

In response to the lawsuit, the Swiss government commissioned an independent panel of international scholars known as the Bergier Commission to study the relationship between Switzerland and the Nazi regime. SONY Vaio VPC-EE3WFX/WI CPU Fan

It reached similar conclusions about the banks' conduct in its final report,[74] and found that trade with Nazi Germany did not significantly prolong the war.

With recent changes in the Swiss bank secrecy regime the assets held by foreign persons in Swiss bank accounts declined according to data by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) by 28.1% between January 2008 and November 2009.] Other states, such as Singapore, have attracted depositors seeking privacy and protection. HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

Having taken steps to make its banks more attractive, Singapore strengthened penalties for violators of bank secrecy (and now imposes steeper fines and longer jail sentences for offenders), and modified its laws on trusts and inheritance. Singapore is also now the location of Credit Suisse's international banking headquarters.[75] Despite these changes, however, Switzerland still ranks at the top of the Tax Justice Network's "Financial Secrecy Index" as of 2011. HP 3MLX8TATP20 CPU Fan

numbered bank account is a type of bank account where the name of the account holder is kept secret, and they identify themselves to the bank by means of a code word known only by the account holder and a restricted number of bank employees, thus providing accountholders with a degree of bank privacy in their financial transactions. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240F/S CPU Fan

Numbered bank accounts are frequently associated in the public mind with a desire by the account holder to either minimize governmental scrutiny and taxation, perhaps to conceal an illegal or unethical origin of the money in the account or to avoid arbitrary government interference in the affairs of a political dissident. For this reason, numbered bank accounts are illegal in most banking jurisdictions, SONY Vaio VPC-EB1Z0E/B CPU Fan

but are available (subject to heavy international regulations) in some Western European countries with a long tradition of specializing in international banking, such as Switzerland and Austria; the holder has to be fully identified but there is no law that enforces the bank to fix the name of the holder in the title of the account.[1] Compaq Presario CQ60-514NR CPU Fan

Modern numbered bank accounts are not fully "anonymous", but they do serve to provide the account holder with a greater degree of protection from scrutiny while minimizing the exposure of the account holder's name in public settings. For example, the Swiss banking system (in contrast to banks in other countries) will not reveal information about an account (whether "numbered" or not) Toshiba Satellite X205-S9800 CPU Fan

ASUS G2P CPU Fan

to any governmental agency unless proof of deliberate fraud is established, not merely thenon-reporting of assets in order to avoid taxation. However, bilateral treaties negotiated in 2009 between Switzerland and a number of countries may weaken this type of protection from scrutiny,[2] as did a special agreement negotiated in 2009 between the United States and Switzerland concerning clients of the bank UBSSA.[3] Compaq Presario CQ60-430SA CPU Fan

In order to restrict the use of numbered accounts for money laundering and other forms of financial fraud, the Council of Europe mandated in 1980 that numbered bank accounts be subject to international and domestic regulations pertaining to the verification of the identities of account holders and their activities.[4][5] Under these regulations, DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

banks which operate numbered accounts may be required by a court order to reveal the owner's name and financial details, and the identity of the holder or beneficial owner must be examined for obvious fraudulent intentions at the start of the banking relationship.[6][7]Since July 1, 2005, Switzerland (as the largest holder of European numbered bank accounts) HP Pavilion dv5-1272et CPU Fan

has also charged a withholding tax on all interest earned in the personal Swiss accounts of European Union residents, a measure designed to satisfy EU tax requirements while still preserving account holder anonymity.

With the advent of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, users store digital currency in numbered accounts. These accounts are not managed by any central authority and do not have any personal identification attached to them. Toshiba AB7005HX-SB3 CPU Fan

However, it should be noted that in some instances an identity could be connected to these types of numbered accounts. For example: Bitcoin uses a public ledger called the blockchain to determine what accounts have ownership of currency. By tracing known transactions to and from the account an identity could be established. Toshiba Satellite A500-18T CPU Fan

Also, if an account is controlled by an entity on behalf of a user for whom the entity has identity information (such as a currency exchange) that entity could reveal the ownership of the account.

The Swiss economy is characterised by a skilled and generally 'peaceful' workforce. One quarter of the country's full-time workers are unionised. Labour and management relations are amicable, characterised by a willingness to settle disputes instead of resorting to labour action. HP Pavilion dv5-2135dx CPU Fan

They take place between trade unions and branch associations, that are themselves often grouped in Union of Employers, like the Fédération patronale vaudoise or the Fédération des Entreprises Romandes Genève. About 600 collective bargaining agreements exist today in Switzerland and are regularly renewed without major problems. ASUS EEE PC 1201NL CPU Fan

With the peak of the number of bankruptcies in 2003, however, the mood was pessimistic. Massive layoffs and dismissals by enterprises resulting from the global economic slowdown, major management scandals and different foreign investment attitudes have strained the traditional Swiss labour peace. Swiss trade unions have encouraged strikes against several companies, including Swiss International Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Orange. Total days lost to strikes, however, remain among the lowest in the OECD. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D/T CPU Fan

Switzerland is among the world's most prosperous countries in terms of private income. In 2007 the gross median household income in Switzerland was an estimated 107,748 CHF, or USD 137,094 at purchasing power parity (PPP).] The median income after social security, taxes and mandatory health insurance was 75,312 CHF, or USD 95,824 at PPP.][dubious – discuss] Compaq Presario CQ60-418DX CPU Fan

In October 2011, Switzerland had the highest average wealth per adult, at USD 540,000 (c. 325,000 at PPP)[32] This development was tied to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Swiss franc, which caused capital in Swiss francs to more than double its value in dollar terms during the 2000s and especially in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, without any direct increase in value in terms of domestic purchasing power.[33] SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D CPU Fan

At the same time, wealth distribution of Switzerland has the high Gini coefficient of 0.8, indicating unequal distribution, see list of countries by distribution of wealth.[34] The high average wealth is explained by a comparatively high number of individuals who are extremely wealthy and says nothing about a typical Swiss citizen. The median wealth of a Swiss adult (50th percentile) is five times lower than the average, at USD 100,900 (c. USD 61,000 at PPP). SONY VGN-BX197XP CPU Fan

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Switzerland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Switzerland has a population of 8.02 million as of 2012. Its population has quadrupled over the period 1800 to 1990 (average doubling time 95 years). Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Population growth was steepest in the period after World War II (1.4% per annum during 1950-1970, doubling time 50 years), it slowed down during the 1970s to 1980s and has since again picked up to 1% during the 2000s (doubling time 70 years).

More than 75% of the population live in the central plain, which stretches between the Alps and the Jura Mountains and from Geneva in the southwest to the Rhine River and Lake Constance in the northeast. Toshiba AB7805HX-GB3 CPU Fan

Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 20% of the population.

Encompassing the Central Alps, Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures. Its population includes a two-thirds majority of Alemannic German speakers and a one-quarter Latin minority (French, Italian and Romansh), see linguistic geography of Switzerland. 10% of the population natively speak an immigrant language. Toshiba Satellite L500-208 CPU Fan

Switzerland consistently ranks high on quality of life indices, including per capita income, concentration of computer and internet usage per capita, insurance coverage per individual, and health care rates. For these and many other reasons, such as the four languages, it serves as an excellent test market for businesses hoping to introduce new products into Europe. HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

The Federal Population Census (German: Eidgenössische Volkszählung, French: Recensement fédéral de la population, Italian: Censimento federale della popolazione, Romansh: Dumbraziun federala dal pievel) has been carried out every 10 years starting in 1850.[1] The census was initiated by Federal CouncillorStefano Franscini, who evaluated the data of the first census all by himself after Parliament failed to provide the necessary funds.[2] Toshiba Satellite P100-444 CPU Fan

The census is now being conducted by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, which makes most results available on its website.

Collected data includes population data (citizenship, place of residence, place of birth, position in household, number of children, religion, languages, education, profession, place of work, etc.), household data (number of individuals living in the household, etc.), accommodation data (surface area, amount of rent paid, etc.) HP Pavilion dv7-3114eo CPU Fan

and building data (geocoordinates, time of construction, number of floors, etc.). Participation is compulsory and reached 99.87% of the population in 2000.[3]

Since 2010, the population census has been carried out and analysed annually in a new format by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). In order to ease the burden on the population, the information is primarily drawn from population registers and supplemented by sample surveys. HP Mini 110-1125SA CPU Fan

Only a small proportion of the population (about 5%) are surveyed in writing or by telephone. The first reference day for the new census was 31 December 2010.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, population growth rate has been at 0.7% to 0.8%, with a doubling time of ca. 90 years. In the later 20th century, the growth rate has fallen below 0.7% (1980s: 0.64%; 1990s: 0.65%), and in the 2000s it has risen again slightly (2000–2006: 0.69%), mostly due to immigration. HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

In 2007 the population grew at a much higher 1.1% rate, again mostly due to immigration. For 2008, the population grew 1.6%, a level not seen since the early 1960s.

As population growth curbs, the percentage of elderly people increases. In July 2006, the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics published a projection estimating that by 2050, one in three adult Swiss will be of retirement age (as opposed to one in five in 2005). Compaq Presario CQ60-210eo CPU Fan

Total population was projected to stagnate in 2036 at around 8.1 million and fall slightly to 8 million in 2050.

The number of registered resident foreigners was 1,001,887 (16.17%) in 1970. This amount decreased to 904,337 (14.34%) in 1979, and has increased steadily since that time, passing the 20% mark during 2001 and rising to 1,524,663 (20.56%) in 2004. HP Pavilion dv7-2250sf CPU Fan

The number of Swiss citizens thus numbered about 5.9 million in that year.

In 2007, 1.45 million resident foreigners (85.4%, or 19.1% of the total population[12]), had European citizenship (Italian: 295,507; German: 224,324; citizens of Serbia and Montenegro: 196,078; Portuguese: 193,299; French: 83,129; Turkish: 75,382; Spanish: 66,519, Macedonian: 60,509; Bosnian: 41,654; HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

Croatian: 38,144; Austrian: 36,155; British: 32,207). ; 109,113 residents were from Asia; 69,010 from the Americas; 66,599 from Africa; and 3,777 from Oceania.[13]

In 2004, 35,700 people acquired Swiss citizenship according to Swiss nationality law, a figure slightly larger than that of the previous year (35,424), and four times larger than the 1990 figure (8,658). HP G60-230us CPU Fan

About a third of those naturalized are from a successor state of Former Yugoslavia: 7,900 Serbia-Montenegro, 2,400 Bosnia-Herzegowina, 2,000 Macedonia, 1,600 Croatia. 4,200 were from Italy, 3,600 from Turkey, 1,600 from Sri Lanka, 1,200 from Portugal, and 1,200 from France.[14]

The yearly rate of naturalization has quintupled over the 1990s and 2000s, from roughly 9,000 to 45,000. HP Pavilion dv6365us CPU Fan

Relative to the population of resident foreigners, this amounts to an increase from 8‰ in 1990 to 27‰ in 2007, or relative to the number of Swiss citizens from 1.6‰ in 1990 to 7.3‰ in 2007. The following table shows the historical development of the rate of naturalization.

In recent decades, many Portuguese and Ukrainians represent large immigrant communities in the country]HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

Tamil refugees fleeing from war in Sri Lanka are the largest number of Asians, while Albanians and other former Yugoslavians continue to grow in number. Switzerland is also the second largest European country in number of acceptance of Iraqi refugees fleeing from the violence in Iraq since 2003, but behind Great Britain, Germany and Sweden in the number of Iraqis taken residence for a European country. COMPAQ 6910c CPU Fan

In 2004, 623,100 Swiss citizens (8.9%) lived abroad, the largest group in France (166,200), followed by the USA (71,400) and Germany (70,500). (see Swiss diaspora).

Switzerland has no state religion, though most of the cantons (except for Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognize official churches (Landeskirchen), in all cases including the Catholic Church and the Swiss Reformed Church. IBM Lenovo IdeaPad G510 CPU Fan

These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents.Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland but is slowly shrinking over the decades (74% of total resident population in 2010). 20% of the total population were irreligious in 2010. The largest minority religion is Islam: 4,5% (2010 census). HP G62-110SO CPU Fan

DELL Precision M6400 CPU Fan

In 2000, 5.78 million residents (79.2%, compared to 93.8% in 1980) were Christian (Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Orthodox1.8%). 809,800 (11.1%, compared to 3.8% in 1980) were without any religious affiliation. 310,800 (4.3%) were Muslim (compared to 0.9% in 1980), 17,900 (0.2%) were Jewish. The 2005 Eurobarometer poll[16] found 48% of Swiss residents to be theist, 39% expressing belief in "some sort of spirit or life force", 9% atheist and 4% said that they "don't know".SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. Native speakers number about 64% (4.6 million) for German (mostly Swiss German dialects), 20% (1.5 million) for French (mostly Swiss French, but including some Franco-Provençal dialects), 7% (0.5 million, mostly Swiss Italian, but including Insubricdialects) for Italian and less than 0.5% (35,000) for Romansh. HP Envy 17-1090eo CPU Fan

The non-official language with the largest group of native speakers is Serbo-Croatian with 103,000 speakers in 2000, followed by Albanian with 95,000, Portuguese with 89,500, Spanish with 77,500, English with 73,000,Macedonian 61,300,[18] and a total of 173,000 speakers of other languages, amounting to roughly 10% of the population with a native language not among the four official languages. Toshiba Satellite A210-1CF CPU Fan

Almost all Swiss are literate. Switzerland's 13 institutes of higher learning enrolled 99,600 students in the academic year of 2001-02. About 25% of the adult population hold a diploma of higher learning. According to the CIA World Factbook data for 2003, 99% of the Swiss population aged 15 and over could read and write, with the rate being identical for both sexes.[20] Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

During the 2008/09 school year there were 1,502,257 students in the entire Swiss educational system. In kindergarten or pre-school, there were 152,919 students (48.6% female). These students were taught by 13,592 teachers (96.0% female) in 4,949 schools, of which 301 were private schools. There were 777,394 students (48.6% female) in the obligatory schools, which include primary and lower secondary schools. Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

These students were taught by 74,501 teachers (66.3% female) in 6,083 schools, of which 614 were private. The upper secondary school system had 337,145 students (46.9% female). They were taught by 13,900 teachers (42.3% female) in 730 schools, of which 240 were private. The tertiary education system had 234,799 students (49.7% female). They were taught by 37,546 teachers (32.8% female) in 367 schools. Compaq Presario A900 CTO CPU Fan

The police registered a total of 553,421 criminal offences in 2009, including 51 killings and 185 attempted murders. There were 666 cases of rape. In the same year, 94,574 adults (85% of them male, 47.4% of them Swiss citizens) were convicted under criminal law. 57.3% of convictions were for traffic offences.[23]

In the same year, 15,064 minors (78.3% of them male, 68.2% of them of Swiss nationality, 76.3% aged between 15 and 18) were convicted.[24] ACER Aspire 4736ZG CPU Fan

The number of convictions in the last five years is given in the following table.

The first Federal population census in Switzerland took place in March 1850 under the direction of Federal Councillor Stefano Franscini. As well as counting the number of inhabitants, respondents were also asked about their sex, age, marital status, occupation and religion. Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

Between 1860 and 2000, a census took place every ten years in December. The only exceptions to this 10-year rhythm were the population census of 1888 (brought forward as the basis for the revision of the constituency boundaries) and the population census of 1941 (delayed due to the mobilisation of the army in May 1940). The census of 2000 was the last to use traditional methods. SONY MCF-519PAM05 CPU Fan

Since 2010, the population census has been carried out and analysed annually in a new format by the Federal Statistical Office(FSO). In order to ease the burden on the population, the information is primarily drawn from population registers and supplemented by sample surveys. Only a small proportion of the population (about 5%) are surveyed in writing or by telephone. The first reference day for the new census was 31 December 2010. SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

The new census is primarily based on a register survey that evaluates existing administrative data. To this end, the FSO uses cantonal and communal population registers, federal registers of persons and the Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings.

Information that is not recorded in any register has to be collected by means of additional sample surveys (structural survey, thematic surveys, omnibus surveys). HP Pavilion dv7-2043cl CPU Fan

The Register survey provides basic information about the entire population. It furnishes results on the size and structure of the population and of households, as well as of residential buildings and dwellings. The results are available each year at the end of August (population statistics, buildings and dwellings statistics) or at the beginning of the year following the survey (household statistics, housing conditions). HP Pavilion dv7-2130ev CPU Fan

For the Structural Survey[1] 200,000 people are surveyed in writing each year. Cantons and cities can enlarge the sample for their area. The survey provides additional statistics on the structure of the population and thus complements the information in the registers. The first results are available one year after the reference day. Cumulative results for the 2010-2012 period will be available by the end of 2013. HP 608772-001 CPU Fan

Apart from agriculture, there are minimal economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzerland. In the wake of the Swiss voters' rejection of the European Economic Area Agreement in 1992, the Swiss Government set its sights on negotiating bilateral economic agreements with the EU. Four years of negotiations culminated in Bilaterals, a cross-platform agreement covering seven sectors: Toshiba Satellite A100-194 CPU Fan

research, public procurement, technical barriers to trade, agriculture, civil aviation, land transport, and the free movement of persons. Parliament officially endorsed the Bilaterals in 1999 and it was approved by general referendum in May 2000. The agreements, which were then ratified by the European Parliament and the legislatures of its member states, entered into force on June 1, 2002. HP Pavilion tx1205/ CT CPU Fan

The Swiss government has since embarked on a second round of negotiations, called the Bilaterals II, which will further strengthen the two organisations' economic ties.

Switzerland has since brought most of their practices into conformity with European Union policies and norms in order to maximise the country's international competitiveness. HP Pavilion dv6640ep CPU Fan

While most of the EU policies are not contentious, police and judicial cooperation to international law enforcement and the taxation of savings are controversial, mainly because of possible side effects on bank secrecy.Swiss and EU finance ministers agreed in June 2003 that Swiss banks would levy a withholding tax on EU citizens' savings income. The tax would increase gradually to 35% by 2011, with 75% of the funds being transferred to the EU. Recent estimates value EU capital inflows to Switzerland to $8.3 billion. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-401TU CPU Fan

Taxes in Switzerland are levied by the Swiss Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities. Switzerland is sometimes considered a tax haven due to its general low rate of taxation, its political stability as well as the various tax exemptions or reductions available to Swiss companies doing business abroad, or foreign persons resident in Switzerland. Toshiba Satellite A300D CPU Fan

Switzerland is a federal republic in which the sovereignty of the constituent states (the cantons) is limited by the enumerated powers delegated to the federal state (the Confederation) through the federal constitution. Consequently, the original authority to levy taxes is vested in the individual cantons of Switzerland through their constitutions.[1] Within the bounds of the authority delegated to them by cantonal law, the municipalities may also levy taxes. The extent of that authority varies from canton to canton.[2] HP Pavilion dv8397ea CPU  Fan

While the formal framework of the most important cantonal direct taxes has been harmonised through the 1990 Federal Tax Harmonisation Law, the cantons (and, as the case may be, the municipalities) remain free to set their tax rates or establish new taxes, except on tax objects already taxed under federal law.[3]

Since World War II, the federal constitution authorises the Confederation to levy a number of taxes, HP Pavilion dv9821ea CPU Fan

the most significant of which are an income tax, awithholding tax and a value added tax. However, Switzerland is unique among modern sovereign states in that the authority to levy these taxes is limited in duration and extent.[4][5] The Constitution imposes an upper limit on the federal tax rates and causes the federal authority to levy taxes to expire in 2020. HP COMPAQ TC4200 CPU Fan

A renewal of that authority requires a constitutional amendment, which must be approved in a popular referendum by both a majority of the popular vote and the cantons. If that renewal is not approved at the polls (as it has been six times since 1958),[5] the Confederation itself will conceivably dissolve for lack of funds. All attempts to remove this limitation by amending the constitution to provide for a permanent federal authority to levy taxes have been rejected in Parliament or – no less than five times – by popular vote, most recently in 1991. SONY Vaio VGN-NW228F CPU Fan

The federal constitution imposes certain limits on taxation at the federal cantonal and municipal levels. To begin with, it provides that no tax may be levied except where provided for by federal, cantonal or municipal statute.[7] Because statutes can at all levels be made subject to a popular referendum, Swiss tax rates are in practice set directly by the voters through instruments of direct democracy.[8] HP G62-b16ST CPU Fan

The constitution mandates that taxation must be general and equal in nature, and it must be proportionate to one's ability to pay.[7] The Federal Supreme Courthas interpreted this as prohibiting a regressive tax,[7] although flat rate taxes (as instituted in several cantons) are held to be constitutional by tax law scholars. Moreover, double taxation by several cantons is constitutionally prohibited, as is a confiscatory rate of taxation. HP 580696-001 CPU Fan

All people resident in Switzerland are liable for the taxation of their worldwide income and assets, except on the income and wealth from foreign business or real estate,[9] or where tax treaties limit double taxation. For tax purposes, residence may also arise if a person stays in Switzerland for 30 days, or for 90 days if he or she does not work.[10] HP Pavilion dv6-3049tx CPU Fan

Moreover, non-residents are also taxed on certain Swiss assets or on the income from certain Swiss sources, such as fromreal estate, permanent business establishments or pensions.[11] The income and assets of spouses are pooled and taxed jointly, but at a lower rate to offset the effects of tax progression.

Either a progressive or proportional income tax is levied by the Confederation and by the cantons on the income of natural persons. HP G42-380LA CPU Fan

The income tax is imposed as a payroll tax on foreign workers without a residence permit,[12] and in the form of a withholding tax on certain transient persons, such as foreign musicians performing in Switzerland.

Taxable income includes all funds accruing to a person from all sources, in principle without deduction of losses or expenses,[13] and including the rental value of a house lived in by its owner.[14Toshiba Qosmio G30-167 CPU Fan

] However, capital gains on private property (such as profits from the sale of shares) are tax-free, except where the cantons levy a tax on real estate capital gains.[15] Certain expenses are also deductible. These include social security or pension fund payments,[16] expenses related to the gain of income (such as employment expenses and maintenance costs of real estate) and alimonies.[17HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

] Gifts and inheritances are also exempt from the income tax, but are subject to separate cantonal taxes.[13]

Non-working foreigners resident in Switzerland may choose to pay a "lump-sum tax" instead of the normal income tax. The tax, which is generally much lower than the normal income tax, is nominally levied on the taxpayer's living expenses, Compaq Presario CQ40-408AX CPU Fan

but in practice (which varies from canton to canton), it is common to use the quintuple of the rent paid by the taxpayer as a basis for the lump-sum taxation.[18] This option contributes to Switzerland's status as a tax haven, and has induced many wealthy foreigners to live in Switzerland.

In 2011, the federal income tax varied from a bracket of 1% (for single tax payers) and 0.77% (for married taxpayers) to the maximum rate of 11.5%.HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

Individuals earning below 13,600 and couples earning below 27,000 Swiss francs were exempt. On cantonal level, tax rates varies heavily, Obwalden adapted a 1.8% flat tax on all personal income following a cantonal referendum in 2007. In most cantons, the rate is proportional with a maximum rate of 6.5% in Bern, whereas in Zurich it was 13% and in Geneva 17.58-.76 % (depending upon taxes as single or jointly). HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Switzerland has a "classical" corporate tax system in which a corporation and its owners or shareholders are taxed individually, causing economic double taxation.

All legal persons are subject to the taxation of their profit and capital, with the exception of charitable organisations.[23] Tax liability arises if either the legal seat or the effective management of a corporation is in Switzerland.[24] HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

To the extent non-resident companies have Swiss sources of income, such as business establishments or real estate, they are also liable for taxation.[24] Conversely, as a unilateral measure to limit double taxation, profits from foreign business establishments or real estate are exempted from taxation. HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

A proportional or progressive tax is levied by the Confederation (at a flat rate of 8.5%) and the cantons (at varying rates) on corporate profits. The tax is based on the net profit as accounted for in the corporate income statement, as adjusted for tax purposes.[24] For instance, expenditures that have no business reason such as excessive depreciations, accruals or reserves, as well as disguised dividends are taxed as profits.[25] HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

A number of provisions limit the double taxation of profits at the corporate level and contribute to Switzerland's tax haven status. To begin with, a "participation exemption" is granted to companies who hold 20 percent or more of the shares of other companies; the amount of tax due on the corresponding profit is reduced in proportion to the percentage of shares held.[26] HP Pavilion dv7-4150ec CPU Fan

At the cantonal level only, a "holding privilege" applies to pure holding companies. They are exempt from the cantonal corporate profit tax.[26] Moreover, cantonal law confers a "domicile privilege" on companies who are only administered in Switzerland, but whose business is conducted abroad; including shell corporations.[27] The cantons tax only around 10 percent of the worldwide profits of such companies. HP Pavilion dv5-1102tu CPU Fan

A proportional tax is levied by the cantons (at varying rates) on the Eigenkapital (ownership equity) of companies.[28] Thinly capitalised companies are taxed, moreover, on the liabilities that function as equity. This also means that debts paid on such liabilities cannot be deducted for purposes of the profit tax, and are subject to the federal withholding tax. SONY VGN-SZ220 CPU Fan

The value added tax (VAT; Mehrwertsteuer / Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée / Tassa sul valore aggiunto) is one of the Confederation's principal sources of funding. It is levied at a rate of 8 percent on most commercial exchanges of goods and services. Certain exchanges, including those of foodstuffs, drugs, books and newspapers, are subject to a reduced VAT of 2.4 percent.[30] HP Pavilion dv7-6011tx CPU Fan

Yet other exchanges, including those of medical, educational and cultural services, are tax-exempt; as are goods delivered and services provided abroad.[31] The party providing the service or delivering the goods is liable for the payment of the VAT, but the tax is usually passed on to the customer as part of the price.

The federal withholding tax (Verrechnungssteuer / impôt anticipé / Imposta preventiva) is levied at a rate of 35 percent on certain forms of income, HP Pavilion dv5-1040eb CPU Fan

most notably dividend payments, interest on bank loans and bonds, liquidation proceeds, lottery prizes and payments by life insurances and private pension funds.[33]The debtor of such payments is liable for the payment of the tax; they must pay the creditor only the net amount.[34]

With respect to creditors resident in Switzerland, the withholding tax is only a means of securing the payment of the income or profit tax, ASUS F3Jv CPU Fan

from which the creditor may then deduct the amount already withheld, or request its refund.[35] The same applies to foreign creditors to the extent that a tax treaty provides for it.[36] Other foreign creditors are not eligible for a refund; with respect to them, the withholding tax is a genuine tax.

Stamp duties are a group of federal taxes levied on certain commercial transactions. IBM ThinkPad R50p 2887 CPU Fan

The name is an anachronism and dates back to the time when such taxes were administered with physical stamps.[37]

The issue tax (Emissionssteuer / Tassa di emissione) is levied on the issue of certain securities such as shares and bonds. Exceptions are made, inter alia, for securities issued in the course of a commercial reorganization, and the first million CHF of funds raised are in effect exempt from taxation.[38] SONY VGN-CS36GJ/R CPU Fan

The tax amounts to one percent of the funds raised and is payable by the issuer.[39] The trade in shell companies (Mantelhandel) is also subject to the issue tax.[40]

The transfer tax (Umsatzsteuer / Imposta sulla cifra d'affari) is levied on the trade in certain securities by certain qualified traders (Effektenhändler; mostly stockbrokers and large holding companies). TToshiba Satellite A215-S4807 CPU Fan

he tax amounts to 0.15 or 0.3 percent depending on whether Swiss or foreign securities are traded.[41]Finally, an insurance premiums tax of 5 or 2.5 percent is levied on certain insurance premiums.

The Confederation is constitutionally empowered to levy tariffs,[43] which were its principal sources of funding up until World War I, but are now more important as an instrument of trade policy. Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-SP405 CPU Fan

Additional federal taxes of lesser economic importance include taxes on the importation or manufacture of spirits, beer,tobacco, automobiles and mineral oil, as well as on gambling establishments.[44] Citizens exempt from military service are required to pay a tax in compensation.

In addition to the taxes mentioned above, the cantons are free to introduce others. HP Pavilion dv4-1120us CPU Fan

Several cantons levy an inheritance tax (Erbschaftssteuer / Imposta di successione) and a gift tax (Schenkungssteuer / Imposta di donazione), although there is a trend towards abolishing those.[46] Moreover, the cantons are required by federal law to levy a tax on the profit from the sale of real estate (Grundstückgewinnsteuer / impôt sur les gains immobiliers / Imposta sugli utili immobiliari).[47Compaq Presario C550EM CPU Fan

] Most also levy a tax on the value of the property sold (Handänderungssteuer / impôt sur les mutations / Tassa di mutazione) so as to discouragespeculation in real estate.[48] Taxes are also frequently levied on the ownership of dogs and motor vehicles,[49] on lotteries, on the sale of tickets to public entertainments, or on overnight stays in certain tourist destinations. Toshiba Qosmio E15-AV101 CPU Fan

Depending on the nature of the tax at issue, criminal offences related to the nonpayment of taxes are regulated in substantially different ways by cantonal and federal statutes.[51] This section will therefore discuss only the outlines of the harmonised rules governing tax evasion and tax fraud with respect to the federal and cantonal income, profit, property and capital taxes. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

It is a criminal offence under cantonal and federal law to wilfully cause one's taxes to be incompletely assessed. The statutes distinguish, however, betweentax evasion and tax fraud. Tax evasion is the act of causing a tax to be falsely assessed, such as through the failure to report taxable income.[52] It is classed as a misdemeanour (Übertretung / contravention) and is punishable by a fine of 33% to 300% of the amount of tax evaded.[53Toshiba Satellite A305-S6837 CPU Fan

] Tax fraud, on the other hand, occurs if a tax evasion is committed by using false documents (such as untrue corporate financial reports) for deceptive purposes.[54] It is classed as a crime (Vergehen / crime) and is punishable by additional imprisonment of up to three years or an additional fine of up to 30,000 CHF.[55]

This distinction is of particular importance with respect to the level of international judicial assistance afforded by Swiss authorities to foreign states that prosecute their own citizens for tax evasions committed in Switzerland, HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl CPU Fan

such as by depositing undeclared income with a Swiss bank. Up until recently, Swiss law prohibited all support to foreign jurisdictions for the prosecution of fiscal offences, except to the U.S. under the terms of a 1973 agreement.[56] Since 1983, enforcement assistance is provided (such as the search and seizure of accounts and documents) for the prosecution of fiscal crimesHP Pavilion dv5-1118es CPU Fan

(notably, tax fraud) but not for the prosecution of fiscal misdemeanours (notably, tax evasion).[57] Under pressure from the G20 and the OECD, the Swiss government announced in March 2009 that it will abolish the distinction between tax fraud and tax evasion in dealings with foreign clients. The Swiss authorities will from now on also provide judicial assistance in the event of tax evasion by a foreign client.[58] Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050 CPU Fan

The distinction remains valid for domestic clients.In 2002, some CHF 134 billion in taxes were levied in Switzerland, of which roughly one third was levied by the Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities, respectively.[59]

The overall fiscal rate was 38.5 percent of GDP in 2002.[60] The effective individual tax rate is subject to considerable variation depending on the canton and municipality of residence. HP Pavilion G72-259WM CPU Fan

For instance, companies subject to ordinary taxation paid between 13 and 25 percent of income tax in 2006, and the maximum individual tax rates in major cities ranged between 12.3 percent in the canton of Zug and 32.3 percent in the canton of Jura. HP Pavilion dv6-3109ca  CPU  Fan,HP Pavilion dv6782eg CPU Fan,SONY UDQF2PH52CF0 CPU Fan

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