Australia

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Australia

  • Is a country in the southern hemisphere that includes the mainland for the smallest continent in the world, the main island of Tasmania, and a number of other islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
  • Neighboring countries are Indonesia, East Timor and New Guinea to the north, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast.
  • It was discovered by Dutch explorers in 1606.
  • The population is over 21 million, with around 60% concentrated around state capitals.
  • The name “Australia” is derived from the Latin word “Australis” and means “south”.
  • The first indigenous peoples who migrated to the continent 60,000 years ago from South-East Asia, called tribes, were multilingual.
  • Main language in Australia: Australian English.

Arrival of the Europeans

  • The number of indigenous peoples has been reduced as a result of the emergence of infectious diseases, which have no immunity against them, and the abuse of colonized Europeans.
  • The first European settlers came to Southeast Australia in 1788, where they established a British settlement that developed into the city of Sydney.
  • The rush to Australian gold began in the early 1850s, and five other colonies were founded.
  • The six colonies independently obtained a responsible but subordinate British government.
  • On 1 January 1901 the Union of Colonies was established after a decade of planning, consultation, and voting.
  • Melbourne was a temporary government seat from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was under construction.

The Nation

  • The “Westminster” Act of 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional ties between Australia and the United Kingdom when it was ratified by Australia in 1942.
  • Since 1951, Australia has become a formal military ally of the United States under the “Anzos” treaty.
  • After World War II, Australia encouraged immigration from all over the world.

The Government

  • The system of government was established in Australia in the liberal democratic style.
  • Although Australia is an independent country, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is also the official Queen of Australia.
  • The “General Governor” shall be appointed by the Queen to represent them, nominated by the elected Government.
  • The “General Governor” has broad authority but has traditionally been consulted by ministers in all matters.

Elections System

  • In 1855, state of “Victoria” launched the “Secret Ballot System”, which became known as the “Australian Vote”.
  • In 1856, state of “South Australia” gave the right to vote for all adult males, and in 1892 gave the right to vote for all adult females.
  • In 1980, the colonies adopted the principle of “One Vote Per Person”, suspending the practice of “Multiple Voting”.
  • The general national elections must be held within three years of the first meeting of the “Federal Parliament”, and the average life of parliament is about two and a half years.
  • General elections shall be held when the “General Governor” approves a request from the “Prime Minister”, who chooses the election date.
  • Voting is mandatory for all citizens over the age of 18 during federal and state elections.

Political Parties

  • The processes of Australian domestic political parties are unorganized, while its systems remain very strict.
  • There is a formal party registration and reporting system, which is the “Australian Electoral Commission” and its state and district counterparts.
  • Australia has four main parties:
    • “The Australian Labor Party”, a democratic socialist Party, the ruling party since late 2007.
    • “The Liberal Party”, which is the center-right party.
    • “The Australian National Party”, which is a conservative party.
    • “The Australian Green Party”, a left-wing party that cares about environmental issues.

Legislative Power

  • The Australian government is based on the popularly elected parliament, which is divided into two chambers: the “House of Representatives” and the “Senate”.
  • The Ministers appointed by these two councils shall govern the “Executive Government”.
  • The discussions of the Council remain undeclared, with the exception of the proclamation of resolutions.
  • The “Council of Ministers” is the account to “Parliament”.

The Constitution

  • Australia has a written constitution, which defines the functions of the federal government.
  • All state and county governments assume all non-Commonwealth affairs and abide by the principles of the responsible government. The queen is represented by a governor for each state.
  • The Australian Supreme Court arbitrates disputes between the Commonwealth and the states.
  • The Australian Constitution can be amended only by referendum, and the draft amendment must be approved by the two Houses of Parliament, and sometimes by one of them.
  • Any amendment must be approved by a double majority, in addition to the majority of voters in most states (at least four states of six), usually referred to as the “tripartite majority” rule.
  • For the difficulty of ruling the “tripartite majority”, eight out of 44 proposals to amend the Constitution have been approved since Australia emerged.

Parliament

  • The Australian Constitution defines government powers in three separate sectors (legislative, executive and judicial), but members of the legislature must also be members of the executive branch.
  • The government is formed in the “House of Representatives” by the party capable of controlling the majority in that Council.
  • Minority parties usually control the balance of power in the “Senate”.
  • Questions can be asked to governments without prior permission, called “Period Of Questions”, which are broadcasted and written about by newspapers.

States Parliaments

  • State parliaments are subject to the national constitution as well as state constitutions.
  • A federal law repeals any law of a jurisdiction in the event of a conflict.
  • Government and state cooperation is carried out in all areas where states and provinces are formally responsible, such as education, transportation, health, and law enforcement.
  • Income taxes are levied at the federal level.
  • Government departments are created by state and district legislation.
  • The Council of Australian Governments is a forum for initiating, developing and implementing national political reforms that require cooperative activity between the three levels of government (national, state, district, and local). The Council consists of the Prime Minister, the Prime Ministers of the States, the senior ministers of the provinces and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.
  • Australia is divided into six states:
    • “New South Wales”, its capital “Sydney”.
    • “Queensland”, with its capital “Brisbane”.
    • “Southern Australia”, its capital “Adelaide”.
    • “Tasmania”, whose capital is “Hobart”.
    • “Victoria”, whose capital is “Melbourne”.
    • “Western Australia”, with its capital, “Perth”.

Foreign Affairs

  • In recent decades, Australia’s foreign relations have been closely linked to the United States through the “Anzos” alliance.
  • In 2005, Australia won an inaugural seat in the “East Asia Summit” following its accession to the treaty of “Friendship and Cooperation”.
  • Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Australia led the formation of the “Cairns Group” and “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation”.
  • Australia is a member of the “Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development” and the “World Trade Organization”.
  • Australia is a founding member of the “UN”, and Australia also maintains an international aid program in which 60 countries receive assistance.

The Military

  • Australian armed forces consist of the Australian Royal Navy, the Australian Army, and the Australian Royal Air Force, with an estimated 51,000 personnel.
  • All Australian Defense Forces sectors participate in UN and regional peacekeeping operations.
  • The Government appoints the Chief of the Defense Force from a branch of the Armed Forces and the current President of the Defense Forces is Air Force Marshal “Angus Huston”.

Geography

  • The area of Australia is 7, 686, 850 square kilometers, bordered by the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, and enjoys 25, 760 km of coastline.

The Environment

  • The bulk of Australia’s land is covered by deserts and semi-arid regions.
  • The climate of the south-eastern (subtropical humid), south (oceanic), south-west (Mediterranean climate) and in the northern part of the country (tropical climate).
  • The vegetation consists of rainforest, pastures, mangroves, swamps, and deserts.
  • “Great Barrier Reef”, is the largest coral reef in the world.
  • “The Great Dividing Range”, is the largest mountain range in Australia.
  • The top of “Mount Kosciuszko” is the highest peak on the mainland (2228 meters), followed by the summit of “Mount Mausin” (2,745 meters).
  • Australia is the flattest continent with an average height of 300 meters.

The Plants and Animals life

  • Although large areas of Australia are deserts, Australian land differs from any other land, in its animals, plants, and landscapes.
  • The number of species found in Australia is estimated at more than one million species, a large proportion of which are found nowhere other than Australia.
  • Australia has a huge collection of floral plants more than anywhere else in the world.

Environmental issues

  • Australia is one of only 17 countries with “enormous diversity”. One of the biggest environmental challenges facing Australia now is its loss of diversity.
  • “The 1999 Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act” provides great benefits to all Australians, the international community and future generations by protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity.

Economy

  • Australia has a prosperous Western-style mixed economy.
  • Average per capita income is slightly lower than in the UK but slightly higher than in Germany and France in terms of purchasing power.
  • Ranked third in the “United Nations Human Development Index” in 2007 and sixth in the “Economist’s World Quality of Life Index” in 2005.
  • The absence of export-oriented manufacturing is the main weakness of the Australian economy.

Religion

Religion in Australia
Religion Percent
Catholicism 25.3%
Anglicanism 17.1%
Other Christian 18.7%
Buddhism 2.5%
Islam 2.2%
Hinduism 1.3%
Judaism 0.5%
Other 0.8%
No religion 22.3%
Not specified 9.4%

 

Culture

  • Since 1788, the primary foundation of Australian culture has been the Anglo-Caltech culture.
  • Over the past 50 years, Australian culture has been strongly influenced by American popular culture and extensive migration to Australia.
  • The heritage of Australian indigenous peoples has a clear impact on contemporary Australian culture.
  • In each state capital, there is a playgroup, orchestra, and national opera band.
  • Australian music includes classical music, jazz and many popular genres.
  • Ballet performances across the country are performed by the Australian Ballet Band and various national dance groups, and the most famous dancers are Sir “Robert Holpman” and “David McAllister”.
  • Australia has produced many great actors, including “Nicole Kidman” and “Kate Blanchet”.
  • In 1973, “Patrick White” won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Media

  • Australia has two government broadcasters (ABC) and (SBC), and three commercial television networks.
  • Each major city has daily newspapers, and there are two national daily newspapers (The Australian and The Australian Review).
  • Australia ranked 28th on the list of countries according to press freedom. This low ranking is mainly due to the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia.

Sports

  • 5% of Australians over 15 years are engaged in organized sports activities.
  • At the international level, Australia has strong teams in cricket, hockey, and good clubs in cycling, kayaking, and swimming.
  • At the national level, there are other famous sports including Australian football, horse racing, football, and a motorcycle race.

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