Background: Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include ageing of the population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as more frequent droughts.
Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Area land: 7,682,300 sq km
Area water: 58,920 sq km
Coastline: 25,760 km
Country name conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
Country name conventional short form: Australia
Country name former: Commonwealth of Australia
Population: 21,766,711 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.3% (male 2,040,848/female 1,937,544); 15-64 years: 67.7% (male 7,469,092/female 7,266,143); 65 years and over: 14% (male 1,398,576/female 1,654,508) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.148% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 12.33 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 6.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 6.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.055 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female; total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.61 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 4.93 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 4.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.81 years; male: 79.4 years; female: 84.35 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.78 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 20,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 100 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Australian(s); adjective: Australian;
Ethnic groups: white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%;
Religions: Catholic 25.8%, Anglican 18.7%, Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 3%, Eastern Orthodox 2.7%, other Christian 7.9%, Buddhist 2.1%, Muslim 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 11.3%, none 18.7% (2006 Census);
Languages: English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census);
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99%; male: 99%; female: 99% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $889.6 billion (2010 est.); $861.1 billion (2009 est.); $850.9 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.22 trillion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2010 est.); 1.2% (2009 est.); 2.2% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $41,300 (2010 est.); $40,500 (2009 est.); $40,500 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4%; industry: 24.8%; services: 71.2% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: NA%;
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%; highest 10%: 25.4% (1994);
Labor force: 11.62 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 3.6%; industry: 21.1%; services: 75% (2009 est.);
Unemployment rate: 5.1% (2010 est.); 5.6% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $396.1 billion; expenditures: $426.5 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel;
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 239.9 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 222 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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(Radical newspaper), New South Wales
Displaying 1 to 4 of 62 items.
Australia is a case study for how the West prioritizes fossil fuels and military intervention over developing alternative energy and regional accord.
Three decades after a brutal period in their history, indigenous Australians are still struggling for land rights and identity on their native soil.
Australian Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is willing to put his leadership on the line over carbon emissions.
Comment and analysis from Australia, United Kingdom, Iceland, Japan, France, China, Egypt, and Russia