استرالیا

مختصات: ۳۵°۱۸′ جنوبی ۱۴۹°۸′ شرقی / ۳۵٫۳۰۰°جنوبی ۱۴۹٫۱۳۳°شرقی / -35.300; 149.133
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فارسیEnglish
استرالیا
سرزمین همسود استرالیا
موقعیت استرالیا
پایتختکانبرا
بزرگترین شهرسیدنی
زبان(های) رسمیاسترالیا زبان رسمی ندارد و زبان ملی آن انگلیسی استرالیایی است.[۳]
دین(ها)
(۲۰۱۶)[۵]
حکومتپادشاهی مشروطه پارلمانی فدرال
• ملکه
الیزابت دوم
دیوید هرلی
آنتونی آلبانیزی
مساحت
• کل
۷٬۶۹۲٬۰۲۴ کیلومتر مربع (۲٬۹۶۹٬۹۰۷ مایل مربع) (۶ام)
• آبها (٪)
۰/۷۶
جمعیت
• برآورد سال ۲۰۲۰
۲۵٬۶۸۸٬۰۰۰[۶] (۵۱ام)
• سرشماری ۲۰۱۶
۲۳٬۴۰۱٬۸۹۲[۷]
• تراکم
۳٫۳ بر کیلومتر مربع (۸٫۵ بر مایل مربع) (۲۳۶ام)
تولید ناخالص داخلی (GDP)  برابری قدرت خرید (PPP)برآورد ۲۰۲۰ 
• کل
۱/۴۲۳ تریلیون دلار آمریکا[۸] (۱۹ام)
• سرانه
۵۴٬۷۹۹ دلار آمریکا[۸] (۱۷ام)
شاخص جینی (۲۰۱۸)۳۴[۹]
۲۲ام(بی‌تغییر)
شاخص توسعه انسانی (۲۰۱۸)۰/۹۳۸[۱۰]
۶ام()
واحد پولدلار استرالیا (AUD)
منطقه زمانیمتفاوت (+۸؛ +۹/۵؛ +۱۰)
• تابستان (ساعت تابستانی)
متفاوت (+۸؛ +۹/۵؛ +۱۰؛
+۱۰/۵؛ +۱۱)
گاه‌شماریسال/ماه/روز[۱۱]
برق شهری
- اختلاف پتانسیل ۲۳۰ ولت
جهت رانندگیچپ
پیش‌شماره تلفنی۶۱
کد ایزو ۳۱۶۶AU
دامنه سطح‌بالا.au
وبگاه رسمی

اُسترالیا (به انگلیسی: Australia، /ɑ:ˈstreɪl.jə/[۱۴]) با نام رسمی قلمرو همسود استرالیا (به انگلیسی: Commonwealth of Australia) یک کشور مستقل است که از سرزمین اصلی قاره استرالیا، جزیره تاسمانی و جزایر کوچکتر متعددی تشکیل شده‌است. این کشور از نظر مساحت بزرگترین کشور اقیانوسیه و ششمین کشور بزرگ جهان است. جمعیت استرالیا نزدیک به ۲۶ میلیون نفر و مساحت آن ۷٬۶۱۷٬۹۳۰ کیلومتر مربع (۲٬۹۴۱٬۳۰۰ مایل مربع) می‌باشد. استرالیا کشوری با نرخ شهرنشینی بسیار بالا است و بیشتر شهرهای این کشور در ساحل شرقی متمرکز هستند. کانبرا پایتخت کشور است، در حالی که بزرگترین شهر سیدنی است و سایر مناطق کلانشهری مهم شامل ملبورن، بریزبن، پرث و آدلاید است.

بومیان استرالیا از حدود ۶۵۰۰۰ سال پیش، قبل از ورود اولین کاشفان هلندی در اوایل سده هفدهم، که آن را نیوهلند نامیده بودند، در این قاره ساکن بودند. در سال ۱۷۷۰، نیمه شرقی استرالیا توسط بریتانیای کبیر تسخیر شد. در زمان هجوم طلا در دهه ۱۸۵۰، بیشتر قاره توسط مهاجران اروپایی اکتشاف شد و پنج مستعمره دیگر تأسیس شد. در ۱ ژانویه ۱۹۰۱، شش مستعمره با هم متحد شدند و مشترک المنافع استرالیا را تشکیل دادند. استرالیا از آن زمان یک سیستم سیاسی لیبرال دموکراتیک باثبات را حفظ کرده‌است که به عنوان یک سلطنت قانون اساسی پارلمانی فدرال عمل می‌کند که شامل شش ایالت و ده قلمرو است.

استرالیا قدیمی‌ترین، مسطح‌ترین، و خشک‌ترین قاره مسکونی است، با کمترین خاک حاصلخیز. این کشور بسیار متنوع است و وسعت آن تنوع زیادی از مناظر و آب و هوا را به آن می‌دهد، با بیابان‌ها در مرکز،

جنگل‌های بارانی استوایی در شمال شرقی و رشته کوه‌ها در جنوب شرقی. استرالیا درآمد خود را از منابع مختلف، از جمله صادرات مرتبط با معدن، ارتباطات از راه دور، بانکداری، تولید و آموزش بین‌المللی تولید می‌کند. استرالیا کشوری بسیار توسعه یافته و دارای دوازدهمین اقتصاد بزرگ جهان است. این کشور دارای یک اقتصاد پردرآمد است و دارای رتبه دهم درآمد سرانه در جهان است. استرالیا یک قدرت منطقه ای است و سیزدهمین هزینه نظامی در جهان را دارد. مهاجران ۳۰ درصد از جمعیت کشور را تشکیل می‌دهند، که بالاترین نسبت در میان کشورهای اصلی غربی است. استرالیا با داشتن هشتمین شاخص توسعه انسانی و نهمین رتبه برتر دموکراسی در سطح جهان تا سال ۲۰۲۰، از نظر کیفیت زندگی، سلامت، آموزش، آزادی اقتصادی، آزادی‌های مدنی، و حقوق سیاسی، با تمام موارد اصلی خود، رتبه بالایی دارد. این کشور عضو گروه‌های بین‌المللی از جمله سازمان ملل متحد، G20، مشترک المنافع ملل، ANZUS, AUKUS, Five Eyes, Quad, OECD, WTO, APEC، مجمع جزایر اقیانوس آرام و جامعه اقیانوس آرام است.

ریشه نام[ویرایش]

پس از ورود امپراتوری هلند به استرالیا، آبل تاسمان نام این سرزمین را هلند نو[۱۵] گذاشت.[۱۶] هلندی‌ها خودشان علاقه چندانی نسبت به سکونت در هلند نو نشان ندادند و این سرزمین تا چندین دهه ی بعدی دست نخورده باقی ماند.

تاریخ[ویرایش]

مراسم بومی ۱۰۰ سال پیش
نقشه استرالیا در نقشه ساموئل دان
نمای هوایی ملبورن دومین شهر بزرگ استرالیا

بر پایه شواهد به جا ماند ه، حدود۶۵ تا ۸۰ هزار سال پیش نخستین انسان‌ها وارد این سرزمین شدند.[۱۷] در آن هنگام گروهی از مردمان شکارچی جنوب آسیا، برای یافتن غذا و شکار، تدریجی شروع به مهاجرت به سرزمین‌های جنوبی تر نمودند و از راه جزایر و کانال‌هایی که آسیا را به شمال استرالیا وارد می‌کند به شمال کوئینزلند وارد شدند و سپس با پراکنده شدن در سراسر استرالیا، قبایل مختلف بومیان استرالیا را بنیان نهادند. این مردمان، ده‌ها هزار سال بدون ارتباط با سایر مناطق جهان در این سرزمین زیسته‌اند. [نیازمند منبع]

طبق تحقیقی که سال ۲۰۱۳ بر روی ژن‌های دی ان ای بومیان استرالیایی انجام شد در حدود ۴۲۳۰ سال پیش گروهی از مهاجران از هند وارد استرالیا شدند. طبق این مطالعه ۱۱٪ دی ان ای بومیان استرالیا از این مهاجران هندی آمده‌است. در همین دوره نخستین فسیل‌های دینگو (سگ وحشی استرالیا) کشف شده و این نشان می‌دهد که هندی‌ها دینگو را با خود به این قاره آوردند. آنها همچنین ابزار‌های سنگی جدیدی نیز با خود وارد استرالیا کردند.[۱۸]

پیشینه تاریخی تلاش برای دستیابی به سرزمین‌های ناشناخته در جنوب خاوری آسیا و نیز اقیانوسیه به هزاره نخست پس از میلاد بازمی‌گردد. در این دوره هندی‌های بودایی و هندو اقدام به استعمار جزیره‌های اندونزی و فراتر از آن کردند و تا جزیره لومبوک هم پیش رفتند. اما با لشکرکشی مسلمانان به هند در سده پانزدهم میلادیپیش روی آن‌ها در این منطقه هم متوقف شد. مهاجر نشینی در جزیره‌های این منطقه از سوی چینی‌ها در سده نهم میلادی آغاز شد. بازرگانان چینی در اوایل سده پانزدهم با سوماترا، جاوه و ماکاسار در سلبز داد و ستد میکرند. در نهایت این بازرگانان قایق‌های بسیار بزرگ ماهی‌گیری خود را تا به کرانه‌های شمالی استرالیا گسیل داشتند. سر انجام در سال ۱۳۴۲ در نتیجه دگرگونی در حکومت پکن و روی کار آمدن گروهی که با بازرگانان خارجی مخالف بودند جلوی پیشرفت چینی‌ها به دریاهای جنوب نیز گرفته شد.[۱۹]

نخستین بار هلندی‌ها در سال ۱۶۰۶ میلادی شبه جزیره کیپ یورک (Cape York Peninsula) در شمال کوئینزلند را اکتشاف کردند و در دهه‌های بعد، بیشتر مناطق شمالی و غربی استرالیا را مشاهده و ثبت نمودند. آبل تاسمان هلندی نام این سرزمین را هلند نو[۱۵] گذاشت.[۱۶] هلندی‌ها خود علاقه چندانی به سکونت در هلندنو نشان ندادند و این سرزمین تا چندین دهه بعد دست نخورده باقی‌ماند.

در سال ۱۷۷۰ م. کاپیتان جیمز کوک دریانورد بریتانیایی، نواحی اطراف سیدنی در شرق استرالیا را اکتشاف و ثبت کرد. کاپیتان آرتور فیلیپ در ۱۸ ژوئیه ۱۷۸۸ با یازده کشتی و ۱۳۵۰ مسافر به حدود سیدنی رسید و ضمن اعلام این منطقه با نام نیو ساوت ولز به عنوان یکی از مستعمره‌های بریتانیا، خود به فرمانداری آن برگزیده شد.[۲۰] بریتانیایی‌ها در دید اول به استرالیا به عنوان سرزمینی دوردست و خشک برای تبعید محکومین و زندانیان نگاه می‌کردند. به همین دلیل بیشتر مسافران اولیه، به اجبار به منطقه ولز جنوبی تازه آمدند. اما ساکنان دیگر ایالت‌ها بیشتر به اختیار خود به سرزمین تازه مهاجرت کردند.

در سال ۱۹۰۰ میلادی، ملکه ویکتوریا طی قانونی به استرالیا استقلال سیاسی اعطا کرد. استقلال کشور استرالیا به‌طور رسمی در روز اول ژانویه ۱۹۰۱ اعلام شد و از این به بعد استرالیا به عنوان یک قلمرو همسود یا سرزمینی با حکومت مستقل اما در زمره کشورهای تحت حمایت بریتانیا درآمد. استرالیایی‌ها از این روز به عنوان روز ملّی خود یاد می‌کنند.[۲۱] از سال ۱۹۰۱ تا سال ۱۹۲۷ که کانبرا ساخته شد، فدراسیون استرالیا، ملبورن را پایتخت موقت کشور قلمداد می‌کرد.

این کشور در جنگ جهانی اول به عنوان حامی بریتانیا جنگید و «ارتش مشترک استرالیا و نیوزلند» یا به اختصار روز اَنزَک در نبرد گالیپولی در ترکیه امروزی شرکت کرد. در مجموع بیش از شصت هزار استرالیایی در خلال جنگ جهانی اول کشته شدند.[۲۲] در جنگ جهانی دوم مناطقی از شمال و شرق این کشور توسط ژاپنی‌ها بمباران شد و نیروهای آمریکایی در این کشور پیاده شدند. اما استرالیا از صدمات این جنگ به کنار ماند. طی قانونی در سال ۱۹۸۶ استرالیا به‌طور رسمی دخالت پادشاهی متحده را در امور سیاسی و نظامی این کشور پایان داد، استرالیایی‌ها در ۶ نوامبر ۱۹۹۹ با رأی اکثریت (۸۲٪ آرا) رأی به تحت قیمومیت بودن ملکه دادند تا همچنان ملکه انگلیس برایشان «فرماندار کل» تعیین کند. [نیازمند منبع]

جغرافیا[ویرایش]

تصویر ماهواره‌ای از استرالیا
بیشتر استرالیایی‌ها در نزدیکی خط ساحلی زندگی می‌کنند. در اینجا تصویر گلد کوست است.

استرالیا یا اقیانوسیه با ۷/۶ میلیون کیلومتر مربع مساحت، کوچک‌ترین قاره جهان به‌شمار می‌رود.[۲۳] استرالیا سرزمینی تقریباً هموار است. ناحیه غربی آن را فلات غربی استرالیا و شرق آن را رشته کوه جداکننده تشکیل می‌دهد و بین این دو، سرزمین پست و همواری قرار گرفته که بیشتر آن خشک و خالی از سکنه است. بلندترین نقطه استرالیا قله‌ای در کوهستان برفی است که ۲۲۲۸ متر ارتفاع دارد و پست‌ترین نقطه آن ۱۵- متر است که در دریاچه اِیر قرار دارد.[۲۴] بلندترین رودخانه استرالیا رود دارلینگ است که بیش از ۲۷۰۰ کیلومتر طول دارد. این رود با پیوستن به رود ماری که دومین رود بزرگ استرالیا است در نهایت در جنوب ویکتوریا به اقیانوس منجمد جنوبی می‌ریزد.

استرالیا که همچون جزیره‌ای بزرگ در اقیانوس آرام واقع شده، از نظر زمین‌شناسی کهنترین خشکی جهان به‌شمار می‌آید. استرالیا اقیانوس آرام جنوبی را از اقیانوس هند جدا می‌کند. درازای سرزمین اصلی از شمال تا جنوب ۳٬۱۳۵ کیلومتر و پهنای آن از شرق به غرب ۳٬۷۸۲ کیلومتر است. استرالیا ۲۵٬۷۶۰ کیلومتر مرز دارد که تماماً مرز آبی است.[۲۵] و بالغ بر ۴۰٪ از زمین‌های این کشور تپه ماسه‌ای است.[۲۶] کشور استرالیا با داشتن ۷۵۵ گونه متنوع‌ترین کشور در جهان از لحاظ زیست‌بوم است.[۲۷]

جنوبگان[ویرایش]

استرالیا با ادعای مالکیت نزدیک به ۴۰٪ از جنوبگان، سرمایه‌گذاری چشمگیری روی پروژه‌های پژوهشی در این قاره انجام داده‌است. بر پایه برنامه راهبردی ۱۰ ساله پژوهشی این کشور در جنوبگان، استرالیا تمرکز ویژه‌ای بر پژوهش‌ها در این بخش دارد. یکی از دلایل اصلی این پژوهش‌ها، ارتباط تنگاتنگ اکوسیستم جنوبگان و استرالیا است. این کشور، چهار ایستگاه پژوهشی در جنوبگان دارد و به‌طور میانگین ۸۰ تا ۹۰ نفر از دو کشور استرالیا و نیوزیلند در آنها زندگی می‌کنند.[۲۸]

تقسیمات کشوری[ویرایش]

تقسیمات کشوری، سلسله مراتب اداری ـ سیاسی در تقسیم هر کشور به واحدهای کوچکتر، برای سهولت اداره آن و تأمین امنیت و بهبود اوضاع اجتماعی و اقتصادی است. تقسیمات کشوری استرالیا، حدنگاری (کاداستر) استرالیا به منظور شناسایی سرزمین‌ها برای اطمینان از امنیت مالکیت زمین است. در اکثر ایالت‌های استرالیا این تقسیمات شامل شهرستان و در برخی موارد پریش و یکصد (هاندرد) می‌باشد.

ایالت‌ها و قلمروها[ویرایش]

لازم است ذکر شود استرالیا پنجمین قاره ازنظر بزرگی است.

استرالیا از شش ایالت و دو سرزمین تشکیل شده‌است که اختیاراتشان کمتر از ایالت‌ها است. ایالت‌های استرالیا عبارت‌اند از:

  1. ایالت کوئینزلند (QLD) که مرکز آن بریزبن است.
  2. ایالت استرالیای جنوبی (SA) که مرکز آن آدلاید است.
  3. ایالت تاسمانی (TAS) که جزیره‌ای است در جنوب شرقی سرزمین اصلی و مرکز آن هوبارت است.
  4. ایالت ویکتوریا (VIC) که مرکز آن ملبورن است.
  5. ایالت استرالیای غربی (WA) که مرکز آن پرت است.
  6. ایالت نیو ساوت ولز (NSW) یا ولز جنوبی تازه که مرکز آن سیدنی است.

قلمروهای استرالیا عبارت‌اند از:

  1. قلمرو پایتختی استرالیا (ACT) شامل شهر کانبرا (پایتخت استرالیا) در ایالت نیو ساوت ولز.
  2. قلمرو سرزمین شمالی (NT) که مرکز شهر آن داروین است.

شهرها[ویرایش]

پایتخت استرالیا شهر کانبرا است و از شهرهای استرالیا؛ سیدنی، ملبورن، بریزبن، پرت، آدلاید، و تانزویل جزو شهرهای مهم هستند. پایتخت استرالیا شهر کانبرا است، شهری که در آن مجلس کشور و خانه فرماندار کل قرار دارد. او به صورت تشریفاتی و به نمایندگی الیزابت دوم ریاست دولت را در استرالیا به عهده دارد. در عمل نخست‌وزیر منتخب در کنار دولت و مجلس اداره کشور را در دست دارند.

سرزمین‌های فرادریایی[ویرایش]

مردم‌شناسی[ویرایش]

جمعیت استرالیا در ژوئیه ۲۰۱۵ به‌طور تقریبی ۲۲٬۷۵۱٬۰۱۴ نفر بوده‌است.[۲۱] و با تراکم نسبی ۳/۱۴ نفر در هر کیلومتر مربع، یکی از پایین‌ترین ارقام میزان تراکم در جهان را دارد.[۳۰] کرانه جنوب شرق این کشور تراکم جمعیتی بیشتری نسبت به سایر نقاط دارد. یک سوم جمعیت کشور در ایالت نیو ساوت ولز و یک چهارم دیگر در ایالت ویکتوریا به سر می‌برند. میانگین نرخ رشد جمعیت در سال ۱/۲۲۱ است[۲۱] و تقریباً در هر دو دقیقه یک نوزاد در این کشور زاده می‌شود.[۳۱]

بومیان استرالیا حدود نیم میلیون نفر تخمین زده شده‌اند که دو و نیم درصد جمعیت کل کشور را تشکیل می‌دهند[۳۲].

جامعه[ویرایش]

ادیان و مذاهب[ویرایش]

تا پیش از ورود اروپاییان به استرالیا، مردمان بومی این سرزمین از آیین دیرینه و بدوی خود پیروی می‌کردند، ولی امروزه برخی از این بومیان به مسیحیت گرویده‌اند. مسیحیت را اروپاییان به استرالیا آوردند و با آغاز مهاجرت به این سرزمین فرقه‌های گوناگون مسیحیت، در آنجا به فعالیت پرداختند. در سده بیستم، با مهاجرت شمار اندکی از آسیایی‌ها از چین، آسیای جنوب شرقی، هند و خاورمیانه، آیین‌ها و ادیان بودایی، اسلام، یهودی و بهائی به آن راه یافتند. استرالیا دین رسمی ندارد و قانون اساسی استرالیا دولت را از تصویب هر قانونی که بر پایه دین بنا شده باشد منع می‌کند. در استرالیا دین از حکومت جدا بوده و طبق قانون، دین و مذهب آزاد بوده و هر کس می‌تواند آئین‌های ویژه دینی خود را آزادانه پیگیری کند. در سال ۲۰۰۱، بیش از ۷۰٪ استرالیایی‌ها خود را مسیحی معرفی کرده‌اند و بیش از ۱۵٪ نیز پیرو هیچ آئینی نبوده‌اند. بودائیسم و اسلام نیز هر یک با کمتر از دو درصد، در رده‌های بعدی قرار داشته‌اند.[۳۳]

اقوام[ویرایش]

حدود ۴۰ هزار سال پیش اولین انسان‌ها (بومیان استرالیا) از جنوب آسیا و گینه نو وارد استرالیا شدند. بر پایه اولین برآوردها جمعیت بومیان استرالیا در سال ۱۷۸۸ که اروپایی‌ها وارد این قاره شدند حدود ۳۱۴ هزار نفر بود اما مطالعات تازه‌تر نشان می‌دهد که جمعیت بومیان می‌توانسته بین ۵۰۰ تا ۷۵۰ هزار نفر و حتی تا یک میلیون نفر باشد و بیشترین تراکم جمعیتی هم بر پایه تمامی شواهد در منطقه کوئینزلند بوده‌است. از جمعیت بومیان استرالیا به تدریج کاسته شده و امروزه بومیان، بخش کوچکی از جمعیت استرالیا را تشکیل می‌دهند. بر پایه سرشماری سال ۲۰۱۱ حدود ۳۶ درصد مردم اصلیت خود را انگلیسی ذکر کرده‌اند. ایرلندی‌ها ۱۰٫۴٪، اسکاتلندی ۸٫۹٪، ایتالیایی ۴٫۶٪، آلمانی ۴٫۵٪، چینی ۴٫۳٪، هندی ۲٪، یونانی ۱٫۹٪ و هلندی ۱٫۷٪ در رتبه‌های بعدی قرار می‌گیرند. تعداد بومیان در این سرشماری ۵۴۶ هزار نفر (۲٫۵٪) بود.

زبان و خط[ویرایش]

استرالیا زبان رسمی ندارد و زبان ملی آن انگلیسی استرالیایی است.[۳] اختلافات بسیار نامحسوسی در لهجه مناطق گوناگون وجود دارد. زبان‌های دیگر مانند ایتالیایی و چینی نیز در بین مهاجران بسیار رایج است.[۲۱]

کشاورزی[ویرایش]

بر اساس گزارش فائو[۳۴]مهمترین محصولات کشاورزی و باغی استرالیا در سال ۲۰۱۸ به این شرح بوده‌است:

بادام (۶۹٬۸۸۰ تن)- سیب (۲۶۸٬۰۰۰ تن)- جو (۹٬۲۵۳٬۰۰۰ تن)- باقلا (۳۷۷٬۰۰۰ تن)- انگور (۱٬۶۶۳٬۰۰۰ تن)- کاسنی (۱۴۸٬۰۰۰ تن)- قارچ (۴۳٬۴۴۰ تن)

یولاف(۱٬۲۲۷٬۰۰۰ تن) - زیتون (۶۲٬۱۸۰ تن) - پیاز (۲۷۹٬۰۰۰ تن)- پرتقال (۳۷۸٬۰۰۰ تن)- گلابی (۱۰۳٬۰۰۰ تن)- آناناس (۸۸٬۶۰۰ تن)

سیب زمینی (۱٬۱۸۸٬۰۰۰تن)- دانه کلزا (۳٬۸۹۳٬۰۰۰ تن)- برنج (۶۳۵٬۰۰۰ تن)- ذرت خوشه ای (۱٬۲۵۷٬۰۰۰ تن)- نیشکر (۳۳٬۵۰۰٬۰۰۰ تن)

گوجه فرنگی (۳۸۶٬۰۰۰ تن)- گندم (۲۰٬۹۴۰٬۰۰۰ تن)

اقتصاد[ویرایش]

استرالیا کشوری توسعه یافته با اقتصاد متکی بر بازرگانی و کشاورزی است. در میان قابل زندگی‌ترین شهرهای جهان در سال ۲۰۰۸ به گزارش اکونومیست، ملبورن دوم، پرت چهارم، آدلاید هفتم و سیدنی نهم بود.[۳۵] محصولات اصلی استرالیا نیشکر، پنبه، غلات و گوشت است.[۳۶] این کشور معادن فراوانی دارد. شرکای بازرگانی استرالیا بیشتر چین، ژاپن و کره جنوبی در آسیا و نیز ایالات متحده آمریکا هستند. بنا بر گزارش بانک جهانی، این کشور در سال ۲۰۰۵ از نظر تولید ناخالص داخلی یا GDP در رده پانزدهم جهان قرار داشته‌است[۳۷] و نیز بر پایه گزارش برنامه توسعه سازمان ملل متحد، استرالیا از نظر شاخص توسعه انسانی در سال ۲۰۰۶ سومین کشور توسعه یافته جهان به حساب می‌آید.[۳۸]

مجموع صادرات این کشور در سال ۲۰۱۹ حدود ۲۶۶ میلیارد دلار و واردات آن حدود ۲۲۱ میلیارد دلار بوده‌است.[۳۹]

واحد پول این کشور دلار استرالیا نام دارد. هر دلار استرالیا معادل ۰٫۷۳۹ دلار آمریکاست.(آوریل ۲۰۲۲).[۴۰]

تحصیل و آموزش عالی[ویرایش]

دانشگاه‌های استرالیا یکی از بهترین دانشگاه‌های جهان هستند و شمار زیادی از دانشجویان بین‌المللی در آن تحصیل می‌کنند. در سال ۲۰۱۹ بیش از ۳۳۰ هزار دانشجوی بین‌المللی در استرالیا تحصیل می‌کردند. بیشترین مراکز تجمع دانشجویان بین‌المللی در شهرهای سیدنی، ملبورن و آدلاید هستند. هزینه تحصیل در استرالیا نسبت به کشورهای هم‌رده خود یعنی بریتانیا و ایالات متحده آمریکا کمتر است. به دانشجویان خواهان تحصیل در استرالیا روادید SubClass 500 تعلق می‌گیرد.[نیازمند منبع]

استرالیا دارای ۳۷ دانشگاه با بودجه دولتی و سه دانشگاه خصوصی و همچنین تعدادی مؤسسه تخصصی دیگر است که دوره‌های مورد تأیید را در سطح آموزش عالی ارائه می‌دهند. OECD استرالیا را در میان گران‌ترین کشورها برای حضور در دانشگاه قرار می‌دهد. ۳۰٫۹ درصد از جمعیت استرالیا دارای مدرک تحصیلی دانشگاهی هستند که در میان بالاترین درصدها در جهان است.

انگلیسی زبان بودن، امن بودن و کیفیت آموزش بالا باعث محبوبیت این کشور در بین دانشجویان بین‌المللی شده‌است. دانشجویان بین‌المللی بسیاری در شهرهای ملبورن، سیدنی آدلاید و … در حال تحصیل هستند. اکثر دانشجویان بین‌المللی از کشورهای چون چین، هند، کره، انگلستان، ایران، تایوان و … در این کشور مشغول به تحصیل هستند.[نیازمند منبع]

سیاست[ویرایش]

استرالیا کشوری از مجموعه کشورهای همسود با حکومت پادشاهی مشروطه است و بالاترین مقام سلطنتی بریتانیا یعنی الیزابت دوم پادشاه استرالیا نیز به حساب می‌آید. جانشین ملکه در این کشور فرماندار کل استرالیا است که وی نیز به نوبه خود فرمانداران ایالت‌های این کشور را تعیین می‌کند. هرچند فرماندار کل بر پایه قانون اساسی، از اختیارات فراوانی برخوردار است اما در عمل شخص اجرایی اول در استرالیا نخست‌وزیر است که طی یک فرایند دموکراتیک انتخاب می‌شود و دولت را تشکیل می‌دهد.[۴۱][۴۲]

در استرالیا، مردم ابتدا نمایندگان مجلس را انتخاب می‌کنند. رئیس حزبی که بیشترین نفرات انتخاب شده را در مجلس داشته باشد به‌عنوان نخست‌وزیر مسئول تشکیل کابینه دولت می‌شود. دولت استرالیا از سه زیرشاخه تشکیل می‌شود:قانون گذاری، اجرایی و قضایی.

پارلمان استرالیا از دو مجلس تشکیل شده‌است. مجلس سنا (مجلس علیا) و مجلس نمایندگان (مجلس سفلا).

دادگاه عالی استرالیا نیز قدرت والای قضایی را در این کشور در اختیار دارد.

حزب‌ها[ویرایش]

احزاب عمده استرالیا عبارت‌اند از:

از سال ۱۹۹۶ تا نوامبر ۲۰۰۷ حزب لیبرال قدرت را در این کشور در دست داشت و جان هوارد به مدت یازده سال نخست‌وزیر این کشور بود.[۴۳] در انتخابات فدرال که در نوامبر سال ۲۰۰۷ برگزار شد حزب کارگر توانست رقیب خود حزب لیبرال را شکست دهد و به این ترتیب کوین راد رئیس این حزب به عنوان نخست‌وزیر تازه استرالیا مسئول تشکیل کابینه دولت شد.[۴۴] در ماه ژوئن سال ۲۰۱۰ پس از کناره‌گیری کوین راد از مقام نخست‌وزیری، جولیا گیلارد که رهبری حزب کارگر را بر عهده دارد توانست به عنوان نخستین نخست‌وزیر زن استرالیا زمام امور را به دست بگیرد[۴۵] در فوریه سال ۲۰۱۳ پس از انتقاداتی که از رهبری حزب کارگر جولیا گیلارد شد و همچنین با درخواست ۳۰ درصد از اعضای حزب، ایشان با انتخابات درون حزبی برای رهبری حزب موافقت کردند که منجر به پیروزی کوین راد شد. در تاریخ ۷ سپتامبر ۲۰۱۳ و در انتخابات فدرال، جناح ائتلافی استرالیا پیروز شد و در نتیجه رهبر این حزب، تونی ابوت، به عنوان نخست‌وزیر آینده استرالیا انتخاب شد. وی بیست و هشتمین نخست‌وزیر استرالیا، محسوب می‌شود. پیروزی تونی ابوت به شش سال حاکمیت حزب چپ‌گرای کار بر استرالیا پایان داد. امروز اسکات موریسون نخست‌وزیر استرالیا است.

دفاع[ویرایش]

در کشور استرالیا اجباری برای خدمت وظیفه عمومی وجود نداشته و افراد برای عضویت و خدمت در ارتش مثل سایر شغل‌ها حقوق دریافت می‌کنند.[نیازمند منبع] در استرالیا وظیفه دفاع از این کشور بر عهده نیروی دفاع استرالیا است.

فرهنگ و هنر[ویرایش]

یک کوآلا و اکالیپتوس بخشی از نماد محیط زیست استرالیا

با اسکان اروپاییان در استرالیا در سده ۱۸ میلادی، شیوه زندگی اروپایی به فرهنگ غالب استرالیا تبدیل شد. افزایش جذابیت فرهنگ استرالیا توسط کمک‌های مالی دولت بود که این کمک برای هنر، تغذیه و بهبود وسایل رفاهی بود. شهرهای کوچک و بزرگی ساخته شد که پر از ساختمان‌های هنری، گالری و تئاتر بود. در اواخر سده ۱۹

«ملبورن حیرت‌آور» (marvelous melbourne) پرجمعیت‌ترین شهر استرالیا و از ثروتمندترین شهرهای جهان و پس از لندن بزرگترین شهر در سراسر امپراتوری بریتانیا و دارای گالری‌ها، تئاترها و موزه بود. بهترین معماران، تالار اپرای سیدنی را ساختند. اپرا، رقص باله، ارکستر سمفونی‌ها، بازیگران، نمایش نامه نویسان، شرکت‌های هنری و غیره توسط مجلس استرالیا حمایت می‌شدند. دولت‌های فدرال بر روی کمپانی‌های رادیویی استرالیایی مستقل از شبکه رادیویی و تلویزیونی سراسری سرمایه‌گذاری کردند. استرالیا همچنین دارای شرکت‌های رسانه ای، روزنامه و مجلات زیادی است که به فرهنگ منطقه‌ای کمک بسزایی می‌کنند. امروزه شهر ملبورن به عنوان پایتخت فرهنگی کشور شهرت دارد.

تلویزیون و سینما[ویرایش]

استرالیا دارای پنج شبکه تلویزیونی هر یک با چند کانال در سطح ملّی است که برنامه‌های آنها در نواحی مختلف ممکن است متفاوت باشد. همچنین شبکه‌های تلویزیونی پولی زیادی در این کشور قابل دریافت است. به دلیل بزرگی سرزمین استرالیا، تعداد ایستگاه‌های رادیویی این کشور بسیار زیاد است و بیشتر شهر‌های کوچک نیز یک یا چند رادیوی محلی دارند. سینمای استرالیا بیشتر بازتاب زندگی استرالیایی‌ها به ویژه در نقاط غیرشهری است. سینما از تفریحات مورد علاقه استرالیائی هاست و سالن‌های سینمای این کشور از رونق و کثرت زیادی برخوردارند. صنعت فیلمسازی استرالیا با «داستان دار و دسته کلی» که اولین فیلم بلند ساخته شده در جهان است در سال ۱۹۰۶ در ملبورن آغاز گشت. این کشور هنرمندانی چون نیکول کیدمن، کیت بلانشت، مارگو رابی، نائومی واتس، هیت لجر، هیو جکمن، ارول فلین، جودیت اندرسون، جفری راش و تونی کُلِت و هوگو ویوینگ و اریک بانا به سینمای جهانی عرضه کرده‌است. شکوفایی مجدد صنعت فیلم‌سازی در استرالیا به موج نوی دهه ۱۹۷۰ بازمی‌گردد با فیلم‌هایی مانند «پیک نیک در هنگینگ راک» (۱۹۷۵) به کارگردانی پیتر ویر. برخی از معروفترین فیلم‌های استرالیا در عرصه جهانی پیانو، کروکودیل دندی، پریسلا ملکه بیابان، گالیپولی، مدمکس، شاین و بابی پسر بد و ده کانو هستند.[نیازمند منبع]

موسیقی، رقص و نمایش[ویرایش]

تاریخ موسیقی اروپایی در استرالیا به دوران ساکن شدن بریتانیایی‌ها در این قاره برمی‌گردد که با خود آواهای دسته جمعی را نیز آوردند. امروزه هر شهر بزرگ، دارای سالن ارکستر و اپرا به همراه شرکت رادیویی استرالیا است. ستارگان بزرگ و رهبران ارکستر از بسیاری از کشورها مرتباً به استرالیا سفر کرده و گرد هم می‌آیند. استرالیا از طریق صدای رسا و بی‌همتای «نلی ملبا» و «جان ساترلند» برای موسیقی جهان اقدام به جمع‌آوری کمک‌های مالی می‌کند. استرالیا در زمینه موسیقی مردمی (پاپراک و متال نیز هنرمندان مشهوری دارد. گروه متال ای‌سی/دی‌سی (AC/DC) و خواننده پاپ مشهور کایلی مینوگ این از دسته هستند. کایلی مینوگ که اکنون ساکن بریتانیا است در سال ۲۰۰۷ «نشان امپراتوری بریتانیا» (OBE) را به خاطر خدمات ارزنده اش به هنر موسیقی از الیزابت دوم دریافت کرد.[۴۶][۴۷] او همچنین در یکی از قسمت‌های سریال تلویزیونی محبوب «دکتر هو» (Doctor Who) نقش آفرید که در شب کریسمس سال ۲۰۰۷ از شبکه تلویزیونی بی‌بی‌سی پخش شد.[۴۸]

گل و رنگ ملی[ویرایش]

آکاسیای طلایی گل ملی استرالیا است. این گل، بیشتر روی درخت‌های کوچک در جنوب خاوری استرالیا می‌روید. گلبرگ‌های این گل، طلایی و برگ‌های آن سبز هستند. به خاطر رنگ‌های این گل، پوشاک ورزشی تیم‌های ملی استرالیا طلایی و سبز هستند. این گل، پس زمینه نشان ملی استرالیا است.[۴۹] هر یک از ایالت‌ها و قلمروهای استرالیا گل نمادین ویژه خود را دارند.

آکاسیای طلایی گل ملی استرالیا است.

ورزش[ویرایش]

ورزش در استرالیا به صورت جدی و گسترده پیگیری می‌شود و به جزئی از سبک زندگی و فرهنگ مردمان آن درآمده‌است. استرالیا از مدال آورترین کشورها در بازی‌های المپیک است. شهر ملبورن به عنوان پایتخت ورزشی استرالیا، همه ساله میزبان بسیاری از رخدادهای مهم ورزشی جهان مانند مسابقات ماشین رانی جایزه بزرگ استرالیا، جام اسب سواری معروف ملبورن کاپ و نیز تنیس آزاد استرالیا است. المپیک تابستانی ۱۹۶۵ و بازی‌های همسود ۲۰۰۶ در ملبورن برگزار شد همچنین المپیک تابستانی ۲۰۰۰ در سیدنی برگزار شد. ورزش‌های گروهی پرطرفدار در استرالیا عبارت‌اند از: راگبی ۱۵ نفره، راگبی ۱۳ نفره، فوتبال استرالیایی (نوعی از ورزش راگبی که به فوتی هم معروف است)، کریکت و بسکتبال. علاوه بر این تیم ملی هاکی روی چمن و تیم ملی واترپولو و والیبال ساحلی بانوان این کشور هم در جمع بهترین تیم‌های جهان قرار دارند. استرالیایی‌ها در برخی ورزش‌های انفرادی هم مانند گلف، شنا و دیگر ورزش‌های آبی، تنیس و اسکواش هم در ردیف کشورهای درجه اول جهان قرار می‌گیرند. در سال‌های اخیر کوشش زیادی برای گسترش ورزش فوتبال در این کشور به عمل آمده‌است[۵۰] [نیازمند منبع] از دهه ۱۹۹۰ تعداد زیادی از فوتبالیست‌های شاخص استرالیایی در لیگ برتر انگلستان بازی می‌کنند. از جمله این بازیکنان می‌توان به هری کیول، مارک بوسنیچ و مارک ویدوکا اشاره کرد.

استرالیا میزبان دو المپیک ۱۹۵۶ ملبورن و المپیک ۲۰۰۰ سیدنی بوده‌است و یکی از شش کشوری‌ست که بیش از یک بار میزبان المپیک تابستانی بوده‌اند. این کشور در تمام ادوار المپیک حاضر و بیش از همه در شنا و دو و میدانی موفق بوده، ضمن اینکه در پاروزنی، دوچرخه‌سواری و سوارکاری نیز موفقیت‌هایی داشته‌است. داون فریزر، مورای روز، یان تورپ، گرانت هکت و سوزی اونیل در شنا و مارجوری جکسون، بتی کاتبرت، هرب الیوت و ران کلارک در دو و میدانی از موفق‌ترین ورزش‌کاران استرالیایی در المپیک بوده‌اند. باشکوه‌ترین موفقیت این کشور در المپیک سیدنی به دست آمد که آن‌ها به ۵۸ مدال (شامل ۱۶ طلا) در بیست رشته دست یافت. در المپیک آتن نیز با ۱۷ مدال طلا رده چهارم جدول مدال‌ها را به خود اختصاص دادند.[۵۱] بازی‌های کشورهای همسود هم تاکنون ۴ بار در استرالیا برگزار شده؛ ۱۹۳۸ در سیدنی، ۱۹۶۲ پرث، ۱۹۸۲ بریزبن و ۲۰۰۶ ملبورن. استرالیا با ۱۰ قهرمانی در ۱۸ دوره این مسابقات در جدول مدال‌ها بهترین نتیجه را به دست آورده‌است. رقابت‌های بین‌المللی تنیس آزاد استرالیا نیز که هرساله در ملبورن برگزار می‌شود، یکی از ۴ گرنداسلم ورزش تنیس است. کاپ اسب سواری ملبورن نیز به عنوان یکی از پر طرفدارترین بازیها در استرالیا شناخته می‌شود.

محیط زیست[ویرایش]

استرالیا بخشی از بهترین محیط از نظر پوشش گیاهی است حیواناتی همچون کوالا و کانگورو و سگ‌های دینگو را دارد؛ حیواناتی که تنها در این کشور ادامه حیات می‌دهند.

رتبه‌های جهانی[ویرایش]


جستارهای وابسته[ویرایش]

* آزار جنسی کودکان در استرالیا

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منابع[ویرایش]

پیوند به بیرون[ویرایش]

Commonwealth of Australia
Anthem: Advance Australia Fair[N 1]
A map of the eastern hemisphere centred on Australia, using an orthographic projection.
Commonwealth of Australia, including the Australian territorial claim in the Antarctic
CapitalCanberra
35°18′29″S 149°07′28″E / 35.30806°S 149.12444°E / -35.30806; 149.12444
Largest citySydney
Official languagesNone at the federal level
National languageEnglish[N 2]
Religion
(2021)[3]
Demonym(s)
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
David Hurley
Anthony Albanese
LegislatureParliament
Senate
House of Representatives
Independence 
1 January 1901
9 October 1942 (with effect
from 3 September 1939)
3 March 1986
Area
• Total
7,692,024 km2 (2,969,907 sq mi) (6th)
• Water (%)
1.79 (2015)[6]
Population
• 2022 estimate
Increase 25,932,000[7] (53rd)
• 2021 census
25,766,605[8]
• Density
3.4/km2 (8.8/sq mi) (192nd)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.605 trillion[9] (18th)
• Per capita
Increase $61,941[9] (21st)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.748 trillion[9] (13th)
• Per capita
Increase $67,464[9] (11th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 32.5[10]
medium · 16th
HDI (2019)Increase 0.944[11]
very high · 8th
CurrencyAustralian dollar ($) (AUD)
Time zoneUTC+8; +9.5; +10 (Various[N 3])
• Summer (DST)
UTC+8; +9.5; +10;
+10.5; +11
(Various[N 3])
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
yyyy-mm-dd[12]
Driving sideleft
Calling code+61
ISO 3166 codeAU
Internet TLD.au

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands.[13] With an area of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi),[14] Australia is the largest country by area in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country. Australia is the oldest,[15] flattest,[16] and driest inhabited continent,[17][18] with the least fertile soils.[19][20] It is a megadiverse country, and its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes and climates, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east, and mountain ranges in the south-east.

Indigenous Australians have inhabited the continent for approximately 65,000 years.[21] The European maritime exploration of Australia commenced in the early 17th century with the arrival of Dutch explorers. In 1770, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The European population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the time of an 1850s gold rush, most of the continent had been explored by European settlers and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and wealthy market economy.

Politically, Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Australia's population of nearly 26 million[7] is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard.[22] Canberra is the nation's capital, while the five largest cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. Australia's demography has been shaped by centuries of immigration: immigrants account for 30% of the country's population,[23] and almost half of Australians have at least one parent born overseas.[24] Australia's abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade relations are crucial to the country's economy, which generates its income from various sources including services, mining exports, banking, manufacturing, agriculture and international education.[25][26][27]

Australia is a highly developed country with a high-income economy; it has the world's thirteenth-largest economy, tenth-highest per capita income and eighth-highest Human Development Index.[28] Australia is a regional power, and has the world's thirteenth-highest military expenditure.[29] Australia ranks amongst the highest in the world for quality of life, democracy, health, education, economic freedom, civil liberties, safety, and political rights,[30] with all its major cities faring exceptionally in global comparative livability surveys.[31] It is a member of international groupings including the United Nations, the G20, the OECD, the WTO, ANZUS, AUKUS, Five Eyes, the Quad, APEC, the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Community and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Etymology

The name Australia (pronounced /əˈstrliə/ in Australian English[32]) is derived from the Latin Terra Australis ("southern land"), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times.[33] When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was naturally applied to the new territories.[N 4]

Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as New Holland, a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 (as Nieuw-Holland) and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts.[N 5] The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the Earth".[39] Several famous early cartographers also made use of the word Australia on maps. Gerardus Mercator used the phrase climata australia on his double cordiform map of the world of 1538, as did Gemma Frisius, who was Mercator's teacher and collaborator, on his own cordiform wall map in 1540. Australia appears in a book on astronomy by Cyriaco Jacob zum Barth published in Frankfurt am Main in 1545.[40] The first time that Australia appears to have been officially used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst.[41] In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted.[42] In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially by that name.[43] The first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office.[44]

Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under" (usually shortened to just "Down Under"). Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land". The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".[45]

History

Indigenous peoples

Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia

Human habitation of the Australian continent is known to have begun about 65,000 years ago,[21][46][47] with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea crossings from what is now Southeast Asia.[48] The Madjedbebe rock shelter in Arnhem Land is recognised as the oldest site showing the presence of humans in Australia.[49] The oldest human remains found are the Lake Mungo remains, which have been dated to around 41,000 years ago.[50][51] These people were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians.[52] Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual cultures on Earth.[53]

At the time of first European contact, Indigenous Australians were Stone Age hunter-gatherers with diverse economies and societies.[54][55] Recent archaeological finds suggest that a population of 750,000 could have been sustained.[56][57] Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime.[58] The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas.[59] The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically for trade by Makassan fishermen from what is now Indonesia.[60]

European exploration and colonisation

Landing of Lieutenant James Cook at Botany Bay, 29 April 1770
Landing of James Cook at Botany Bay on 29 April 1770 to claim Australia's eastern half for Great Britain

The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch.[61] The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon.[62] He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February 1606 at the Pennefather River near the modern town of Weipa on Cape York.[63] Later that year, Spanish explorer Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through and navigated the Torres Strait Islands.[64] The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent "New Holland" during the 17th century, and although no attempt at settlement was made,[63] a number of shipwrecks left men either stranded or, as in the case of the Batavia in 1629, marooned for mutiny and murder, thus becoming the first Europeans to permanently inhabit the continent.[65] In 1770, Captain James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named "New South Wales" and claimed for Great Britain.[66]

Following the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the First Fleet, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales. A camp was set up and the Union flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January 1788,[67][68] a date which later became Australia's national day. Most early convicts were transported for petty crimes and assigned as labourers or servants to "free settlers" (non-convict immigrants). While the majority of convicts settled into colonial society once emancipated, convict rebellions and uprisings were also staged, but invariably suppressed under martial law. The 1808 Rum Rebellion, the only successful armed takeover of government in Australia, instigated a two-year period of military rule.[69] The following decade, social and economic reforms initiated by Governor Lachlan Macquarie saw New South Wales transition from a penal colony to a civil society.[70][71]

The indigenous population declined for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease.[72] Thousands more died as a result of frontier conflict with settlers.[73]

Colonial expansion

A calm body of water is in the foreground. The shoreline is about 200 metres away. To the left, close to the shore, are three tall gum trees; behind them on an incline are ruins, including walls and watchtowers of light-coloured stone and brick, what appear to be the foundations of walls, and grassed areas. To the right lie the outer walls of a large rectangular four-storey building dotted with regularly spaced windows. Forested land rises gently to a peak several kilometres back from the shore.
Tasmania's Port Arthur penal settlement is one of eleven UNESCO World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites

The British continued to push into other areas of the continent in the early 19th century, initially along the coast. In 1803, a settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land (present-day Tasmania),[74] and in 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, opening the interior to European settlement.[75] The British claim extended to the whole Australian continent in 1827 when Major Edmund Lockyer established a settlement on King George Sound (modern-day Albany).[76] The Swan River Colony (present-day Perth) was established in 1829, evolving into the largest Australian colony by area, Western Australia.[77] In accordance with population growth, separate colonies were carved from New South Wales: Tasmania in 1825, South Australia in 1836, New Zealand in 1841, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859.[78] South Australia was founded as a "free province" — it was never a penal colony.[79] Western Australia was also founded "free" but later accepted transported convicts, the last of which arrived in 1868, decades after transportation had ceased to the other colonies.[80]

In 1823, a Legislative Council nominated by the governor of New South Wales was established, together with a new Supreme Court, thus limiting the powers of colonial governors.[81] Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, thus becoming elective democracies managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.[82] The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs[83] and defence.[84]

In the mid-19th century, explorers such as Burke and Wills went further inland to determine its agricultural potential and answer scientific questions.[85] A series of gold rushes beginning in the early 1850s led to an influx of new migrants from China, North America and continental Europe,[86] as well as outbreaks of bushranging and civil unrest; the latter peaked in 1854 when Ballarat miners launched the Eureka Rebellion against gold license fees.[87]

From 1886, Australian colonial governments began introducing policies resulting in the removal of many Aboriginal children from their families and communities (referred to as the Stolen Generations).[88]

Federation to the World Wars

The Big Picture, a painting by Tom Roberts, depicts the opening of the first Australian Parliament in 1901

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, constitutional conventions and referendums, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia as a nation and the entering into force of the Australian Constitution.[89]

After the 1907 Imperial Conference, Australia and several other self-governing British settler colonies were given the status of self-governing "dominions" within the British Empire.[90][91] Australia was one of the founding members of the League of Nations in 1920,[92] and subsequently of the United Nations in 1945.[93] Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the United Kingdom. Australia adopted it in 1942,[94] but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II.[95][96]

The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra. Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being constructed.[97] The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911.[98] Australia became the colonial ruler of the Territory of Papua (which had initially been annexed by Queensland in 1883)[99] in 1902 and of the Territory of New Guinea (formerly German New Guinea) in 1920. The two were unified as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in 1949 and gained independence from Australia in 1975.[100][101][102]

The 1942 Bombing of Darwin, the first of over 100 Japanese air raids on Australia during World War II

In 1914, Australia joined the Allies in fighting the First World War, and took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front.[103] Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded.[104] Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli in 1915 as the nation's "baptism of fire" — its first major military action,[105][106] with the anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove commemorated each year on Anzac Day.[107]

From 1939 to 1945, Australia joined the Allies in fighting the Second World War. Australia's armed forces fought in the Pacific, European and Mediterranean and Middle East theatres.[108][109] The shock of Britain's defeat in Asia in 1942, followed soon after by the bombing of Darwin and other Japanese attacks on Australian soil, led to a widespread belief in Australia that a Japanese invasion was imminent, and a shift from the United Kingdom to the United States as Australia's principal ally and security partner.[110] Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the United States, under the ANZUS treaty.[111]

Post-war and contemporary eras

Postwar migrants from Europe arriving in Australia in 1954

In the decades following World War II, Australia enjoyed significant increases in living standards, leisure time and suburban development.[112][113] Using the slogan "populate or perish", the nation encouraged a large wave of immigration from across Europe, with such immigrants referred to as "New Australians".[114]

A member of the Western Bloc during the Cold War, Australia participated in the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency during the 1950s and the Vietnam War from 1962 to 1972.[115] During this time, tensions over communist influence in society led to unsuccessful attempts by the Menzies Government to ban the Communist Party of Australia,[116] and a bitter splitting of the Labor Party in 1955.[117]

As a result of a 1967 referendum, the Federal Government received a mandate to implement policies to benefit Aboriginal people, and all Indigenous Australians were included in the Census.[118] Traditional ownership of land ("native title") was recognised in law for the first time when the High Court of Australia held in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) that the legal doctrine of terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") did not apply to Australia at the time of European settlement.[119]

Following the final abolition of the White Australia policy in 1973,[120] Australia's demography and culture transformed as a result of a large and ongoing wave of non-European immigration, mostly from Asia.[121][122] The late 20th century also saw an increasing focus on foreign policy ties with other Pacific Rim nations.[123] While the Australia Act 1986 severed the remaining vestigial constitutional ties between Australia and the United Kingdom,[124] a 1999 referendum resulted in 55% of voters rejecting a proposal to abolish the Monarchy of Australia and become a republic.[125]

Following the September 11 attacks on the United States, Australia joined the United States in fighting the Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2021 and the Iraq War from 2003 to 2009.[126] The nation's trade relations also became increasingly oriented towards East Asia in the 21st century, with China becoming the nation's largest trading partner by a large margin.[127]

During the COVID-19 pandemic which commenced in Australia in 2020, several of Australia's largest cities were locked down for extended periods of time, and free movement across state borders was restricted in an attempt to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.[128]

Geography and environment

General characteristics

Map showing the topography of Australia, showing some elevation in the west and very high elevation in mountains in the southeast
Topographic map of Australia. Dark green represents the lowest elevation and dark brown the highest

Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans,[N 6] Australia is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and the Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand. The world's smallest continent[130] and sixth largest country by total area,[131] Australia—owing to its size and isolation—is often dubbed the "island continent"[132] and is sometimes considered the world's largest island.[133] Australia has 34,218 km (21,262 mi) of coastline (excluding all offshore islands),[134] and claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,060 sq mi). This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory.[135]

Mainland Australia lies between latitudes and 44° South, and longitudes 112° and 154° East.[136] Australia's size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and desert in the centre.[137] The desert or semi-arid land commonly known as the outback makes up by far the largest portion of land.[138] Australia is the driest inhabited continent; its annual rainfall averaged over continental area is less than 500 mm.[139] The population density is 3.4 inhabitants per square kilometre, although a large proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.[140]

Fitzroy Island, one of 600 islands within the main archipelago of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef,[141] lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over 2,000 km (1,200 mi). Mount Augustus, claimed to be the world's largest monolith,[142] is located in Western Australia. At 2,228 m (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 m (9,006 ft)), on the remote Australian external territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount McClintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 m (11,457 ft) and 3,355 m (11,007 ft) respectively.[143]

Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria. The name is not strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than 1,600 m (5,200 ft) in height.[144] The coastal uplands and a belt of Brigalow grasslands lie between the coast and the mountains, while inland of the dividing range are large areas of grassland and shrubland.[144][145] These include the western plains of New South Wales, and the Mitchell Grass Downs and Mulga Lands of inland Queensland.[146][147][148][149] The northernmost point of the mainland is the tropical Cape York Peninsula.[136]

Uluru in the semi-arid region of Central Australia

The landscapes of the Top End and the Gulf Country—with their tropical climate—include forest, woodland, wetland, grassland, rainforest and desert.[150][151][152] At the north-west corner of the continent are the sandstone cliffs and gorges of The Kimberley, and below that the Pilbara. The Victoria Plains tropical savanna lies south of the Kimberly and Arnhem Land savannas, forming a transition between the coastal savannas and the interior deserts.[153][154][155] At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia. Prominent features of the centre and south include Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), the famous sandstone monolith, and the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony, Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami, and Great Victoria deserts, with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern coast.[156][157][158][159] The Western Australian mulga shrublands lie between the interior deserts and Mediterranean-climate Southwest Australia.[158][160]

Geology

Basic geological regions of Australia, by age.

Lying on the Indo-Australian Plate, the mainland of Australia is the lowest and most primordial landmass on Earth with a relatively stable geological history.[161][162] The landmass includes virtually all known rock types and from all geological time periods spanning over 3.8 billion years of the Earth's history. The Pilbara Craton is one of only two pristine Archaean 3.6–2.7 Ga (billion years ago) crusts identified on the Earth.[163]

Having been part of all major supercontinents, the Australian 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. It separated from Antarctica over a prolonged period beginning in the Permian and continuing through to the Cretaceous.[164] When the last glacial period ended in about 10,000 BC, rising sea levels formed Bass Strait, separating Tasmania from the mainland. Then between about 8,000 and 6,500 BC, the lowlands in the north were flooded by the sea, separating New Guinea, the Aru Islands, and the mainland of Australia.[165] The Australian continent is moving toward Eurasia at the rate of 6 to 7 centimetres a year.[166]

The Australian mainland's continental crust, excluding the thinned margins, has an average thickness of 38 km, with a range in thickness from 24 km to 59 km.[167] Australia's geology can be divided into several main sections, showcasing that the continent grew from west to east: the Archaean cratonic shields found mostly in the west, Proterozoic fold belts in the centre and Phanerozoic sedimentary basins, metamorphic and igneous rocks in the east.[168]

The Australian mainland and Tasmania are situated in the middle of the tectonic plate and have no active volcanoes,[169] but due to passing over the East Australia hotspot, recent volcanism has occurred during the Holocene, in the Newer Volcanics Province of western Victoria and southeastern South Australia. Volcanism also occurs in the island of New Guinea (considered geologically as part of the Australian continent), and in the Australian external territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands.[170] Seismic activity in the Australian mainland and Tasmania is also low, with the greatest number of fatalities having occurred in the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.[171]

Climate

The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia.[173][174] These factors cause rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer-rainfall (monsoon).[139] The south-west corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate.[175] The south-east ranges from oceanic (Tasmania and coastal Victoria) to humid subtropical (upper half of New South Wales), with the highlands featuring alpine and subpolar oceanic climates. The interior is arid to semi-arid.[139]

Driven by climate change, average temperatures have risen more than 1°C since 1960. Associated changes in rainfall patterns and climate extremes exacerbate existing issues such as drought and bushfires. 2019 was Australia's warmest recorded year,[176] and the 2019–2020 bushfire season was the country's worst on record.[177] Australia's greenhouse gas emissions per capita are among the highest in the world.[178]

Water restrictions are frequently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages due to urban population increases and localised drought.[179][180] Throughout much of the continent, major flooding regularly follows extended periods of drought, flushing out inland river systems, overflowing dams and inundating large inland flood plains, as occurred throughout Eastern Australia in the early 2010s after the 2000s Australian drought.[181]

Biodiversity

A koala holding onto a eucalyptus tree with its head turned so both eyes are visible
The koala and the eucalyptus form an iconic Australian pair.

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, the continent includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests. Fungi typify that diversity—an estimated 250,000 species—of which only 5% have been described—occur in Australia.[182] Because of the continent's great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biota is unique. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic.[183] Australia has at least 755 species of reptile, more than any other country in the world.[184] Besides Antarctica, Australia is the only continent that developed without feline species. Feral cats may have been introduced in the 17th century by Dutch shipwrecks, and later in the 18th century by European settlers. They are now considered a major factor in the decline and extinction of many vulnerable and endangered native species.[185] Australia is also one of 17 megadiverse countries.[186]

Australian forests are mostly made up of evergreen species, particularly eucalyptus trees in the less arid regions; wattles replace them as the dominant species in drier regions and deserts.[187] Among well-known Australian animals are the monotremes (the platypus and echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, and wombat, and birds such as the emu and the kookaburra.[187] Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in the world.[188] The dingo was introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000 BCE.[189] Many animal and plant species became extinct soon after first human settlement,[190] including the Australian megafauna; others have disappeared since European settlement, among them the thylacine.[191][192]

Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced animal, chromistan, fungal and plant species.[193] All these factors have led to Australia's having the highest mammal extinction rate of any country in the world.[194] The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal framework for the protection of threatened species.[195] Numerous protected areas have been created under the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity to protect and preserve unique ecosystems;[196][197] 65 wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention,[198] and 16 natural World Heritage Sites have been established.[199] Australia was ranked 21st out of 178 countries in the world on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index.[200] There are more than 1,800 animals and plants on Australia's threatened species list, including more than 500 animals.[201]

Paleontologists discovered a fossil site of a prehistoric rainforest in McGraths Flat, in South Australia, that presents evidence that this now arid desert and dry shrubland/grassland was once home to an abundance of life.[202][203]

Government and politics

Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia
David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia
Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia

Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy.[204] The country has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system under its constitution, which is one of the world's oldest, since Federation in 1901. It is also one of the world's oldest federations, in which power is divided between the federal and state and territorial governments. The Australian system of government combines elements derived from the political systems of the United Kingdom (a fused executive, constitutional monarchy and strong party discipline) and the United States (federalism, a written constitution and strong bicameralism with an elected upper house), along with distinctive indigenous features.[205][206]

The federal government is separated into three branches:[207]

Elizabeth II reigns as Queen of Australia and is represented in Australia by the governor-general at the federal level and by the governors at the state level, who by convention act on the advice of her ministers.[209][210] Thus, in practice the governor-general acts as a legal figurehead for the actions of the prime minister and the Federal Executive Council. The governor-general does have extraordinary reserve powers which may be exercised outside the prime minister's request in rare and limited circumstances, the most notable exercise of which was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of 1975.[211]

In the Senate (the upper house), there are 76 senators: twelve each from the states and two each from the mainland territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory).[212] The House of Representatives (the lower house) has 151 members elected from single-member electoral divisions, commonly known as "electorates" or "seats", allocated to states on the basis of population,[213] with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats.[214] Elections for both chambers are normally held every three years simultaneously; senators have overlapping six-year terms except for those from the territories, whose terms are not fixed but are tied to the electoral cycle for the lower house; thus only 40 of the 76 places in the Senate are put to each election unless the cycle is interrupted by a double dissolution.[212]

Australia's electoral system uses preferential voting for all lower house elections with the exception of Tasmania and the ACT which, along with the Senate and most state upper houses, combine it with proportional representation in a system known as the single transferable vote. Voting is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in every jurisdiction,[215] as is enrolment.[216] The party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms the government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. In cases where no party has majority support, the Governor-General has the constitutional power to appoint the Prime Minister and, if necessary, dismiss one that has lost the confidence of Parliament.[217] Due to the relatively unique position of Australia operating as a Westminster parliamentary democracy with an elected upper house, the system has sometimes been referred to as having a "Washminster mutation",[218] or as a semi-parliamentary system.[219]

There are two major political groups that usually form government, federally and in the states: the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition, which is a formal grouping of the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National Party.[220][221] The Liberal National Party and the Country Liberal Party are merged state branches in Queensland and the Northern Territory that function as separate parties at a federal level.[222] Within Australian political culture, the Coalition is considered centre-right and the Labor Party is considered centre-left.[223] Independent members and several minor parties have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses. The Australian Greens are often considered the "third force" in politics, being the third largest party by both vote and membership.[224][225]

The most recent federal election was held on 22 May 2022 and resulted in the Australian Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, being elected to government.[226]

States and territories

A map of Australia's states and territories

Australia has six states — New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA) — and three mainland territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the Northern Territory (NT), and the Jervis Bay Territory (JBT). In most respects, the ACT and NT function as states, except that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to modify or repeal any legislation passed by the territory parliaments.[227]

Under the constitution, the states essentially have plenary legislative power to legislate on any subject, whereas the Commonwealth (federal) Parliament may legislate only within the subject areas enumerated under section 51. For example, state parliaments have the power to legislate with respect to education, criminal law and state police, health, transport, and local government, but the Commonwealth Parliament does not have any specific power to legislate in these areas.[228] However, Commonwealth laws prevail over state laws to the extent of the inconsistency.[229]

Each state and major mainland territory has its own parliamentunicameral in the Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland, and bicameral in the other states. The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. The lower houses are known as the Legislative Assembly (the House of Assembly in South Australia and Tasmania); the upper houses are known as the Legislative Council. The head of the government in each state is the Premier and in each territory the Chief Minister. The Queen is represented in each state by a governor; and in the Northern Territory, the administrator.[230] In the Commonwealth, the Queen's representative is the governor-general.[231]

The Commonwealth Parliament also directly administers the external territories of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and the claimed region of Australian Antarctic Territory, as well as the internal Jervis Bay Territory, a naval base and sea port for the national capital in land that was formerly part of New South Wales.[208] The external territory of Norfolk Island previously exercised considerable autonomy under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 through its own legislative assembly and an Administrator to represent the Queen.[232] In 2015, the Commonwealth Parliament abolished self-government, integrating Norfolk Island into the Australian tax and welfare systems and replacing its legislative assembly with a council.[233] Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania,[234] and Lord Howe Island of New South Wales.[235]

Foreign relations

Over recent decades, Australia's foreign relations have been driven by a close association with the United States through the ANZUS pact, and by a focus on relationships within the Asia-Pacific region. A regional power, Australia is a member of regional and cultural groupings including the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Community and the Commonwealth of Nations, and is a participant in the ASEAN+6 mechanism and the East Asia Summit.

Australia is a member of several defence, intelligence and security groupings including the Five Eyes intelligence alliance with the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand; the ANZUS alliance with the United States and New Zealand; the AUKUS security treaty with the United States and United Kingdom; the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with the United States, India and Japan; the Five Power Defence Arrangements with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore; and the Reciprocal Access defence and security agreement with Japan.

Australia has pursued the cause of international trade liberalisation.[236] It led the formation of the Cairns Group and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation,[237][238] and is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).[239][240] In recent decades, Australia has entered into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership multilateral free trade agreements as well as bilateral free trade agreements with the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.[241]

Australia maintains a deeply integrated relationship with neighbouring New Zealand, with free mobility of citizens between the two countries under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement and free trade under the Closer Economic Relations agreement.[242] The most favourably viewed countries by the Australian people in 2021 include New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and South Korea.[243] A founding member country of the United Nations, Australia is strongly committed to multilateralism,[244] and maintains an international aid program under which some 60 countries receive assistance.[245] Australia ranks fifteenth overall in the Center for Global Development's 2012 Commitment to Development Index.[246]

Military

Australia's armed forces — the Australian Defence Force (ADF) — comprise the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), in total numbering 81,214 personnel (including 57,982 regulars and 23,232 reservists) as of November 2015. The titular role of Commander-in-Chief is vested in the Governor-General, who appoints a Chief of the Defence Force from one of the armed services on the advice of the government.[247] In a diarchy, the Chief of the Defence Force serves as co-chairman of the Defence Committee, conjointly with the Secretary of Defence, in the command and control of the Australian Defence Organisation.[248]

In the 2016–2017 budget, defence spending comprised 2% of GDP, representing the world's 12th largest defence budget.[249] Australia has been involved in United Nations and regional peacekeeping, disaster relief, as well as armed conflicts from the First World War onwards.

Economy

A wealthy country, Australia has a market economy, a high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland from 2013 until 2018.[250] In 2018, Australia overtook Switzerland and became the country with the highest average wealth.[250] As of June 2021, there were 13,154,200 people employed (either full-time or part-time), with an unemployment rate of 4.9%.[251] Australia's relative poverty rate is 13.6%.[252] It was identified by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as the nation with the highest median wealth in the world and the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013.[253][needs update] The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation. With the 2006 merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange became the ninth largest in the world.[254][needs update]

Australian energy resources and major export ports map

Ranked fifth in the Index of Economic Freedom (2017),[255] Australia is the world's 13th largest economy and has the tenth highest per capita GDP (nominal) at US$55,692. The country was ranked third in the United Nations 2017 Human Development Index. Total government debt in Australia is about A$190 billion[256]—20% of GDP in 2010.[257][needs update] Australia has among the highest house prices and some of the highest household debt levels in the world.[258][needs update]

Buildings and equipment of a large mining operation
The Boddington Gold Mine in Western Australia is the nation's largest open cut mine.[259]

The Hawke Government floated the Australian dollar in 1983 and partially deregulated the financial system.[260] The Howard Government followed with a partial deregulation of the labour market and the further privatisation of state-owned businesses, most notably in the telecommunications industry.[261] The indirect tax system was substantially changed in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST).[262] In Australia's tax system, personal and company income tax are the main sources of government revenue.[263]

As of 2020 interest rates in Australia were set at a record low of 0.1%, targeting an inflation rate of 2 to 3%.[264] The service sector of the economy, including tourism, education, and financial services, accounts for about 70% of GDP.[265] Australia's creative and cultural sectors contribute significantly to its national economy. In 2017, The Australian Copyright Council (ACC) estimated that the copyright industries contributed $122.8 billion to the Australian economy in 2016 amounting to 7.4% of Australia's total economic output, becoming its third-largest industry overall.[266] Australia's largest export markets are Japan, China, the United States, South Korea, and New Zealand.[267] Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, and the wine industry contributes A$5.5 billion per year to the nation's economy.[268][needs update]

Access to biocapacity in Australia is much higher than world average. In 2016, Australia had 12.3 global hectares[269] of biocapacity per person within its territory, much more than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person.[270] In 2016 Australia used 6.6 global hectares of biocapacity per person – their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use half as much biocapacity as Australia contains. As a result, Australia is running a biocapacity reserve.[269]

In 2020 the Australian Council of Social Service released a report stating that relative poverty was growing in Australia, with an estimated 3.2 million people, or 13.6% of the population, living below an internationally accepted relative poverty threshold of 50% of a country's median income. It also estimated that there were 774,000 (17.7%) children under the age of 15 in relative poverty.[271][272]

Energy

In 2003, Australia's energy sources were coal (58.4%), hydropower (19.1%), natural gas (13.5%), liquid/gas fossil fuel-switching plants (5.4%), oil (2.9%), and other renewable resources like wind power, solar energy, and bioenergy (0.7%).[273] During the 21st century, Australia has been trending to generate more energy using renewable resources and less energy using fossil fuels. In 2020, Australia used coal for 62% of all energy (3.6% increase compared to 2013), wind power for 9.9% (9.5% increase), natural gas for 9.9% (3.6% decrease), solar power for 9.9% (9.8% increase), hydropower for 6.4% (12.7% decrease), bioenergy for 1.4% (1.2% increase), and other sources like oil and waste coal mine gas for 0.5%.[274][275]

In August 2009, Australia's government set a goal to achieve 20% of all energy in the country from renewable sources by 2020.[276] They achieved this goal, as renewable resources accounted for 27.7% of Australia's energy in 2020.[274]

Science and technology

In 2019, Australia spent A$35.6 billion on research and development, allocating about 1.79% of GDP.[277] A recent study by Accenture for the Tech Council shows that the Australian tech sector combined contributes $167 billion a year to the economy and employs 861,000 people.[278] The country's most recognized and important sector of this type is mining,[279] where Australia continues to have the highest penetration of technologies, especially drones, autonomous and remote-controlled vehicles and mine management software.[280] In addition, the Australian recent startup ecosystem is growing annually at rates of 5.8%,[281] and the Sydney and Melbourne ecosystems are already valued at $25 billion.[282] Australia consistently has ranked high in the Global Innovation Index (GII). In 2021, Australia ranked 25th out of the 132 economies featured in the GII 2021,[283][284][285] down from 23rd in 2020[286] and 22nd position in 2019.[287]

With only 0.3% of the world's population, Australia contributed 4.1% of the world's published research in 2020, making it one of the top 10 research contributors in the world.[288][289] CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, contributes 10% of all research in the country, while the rest is carried out by universities.[289]

Demographics

A beach populated by people; a city can be seen in the horizon
Australia has one of the world's most highly urbanised populations with the majority living in metropolitan cities on the coast, such as Gold Coast, Queensland.

Australia has an average population density of 3.4 persons per square kilometre of total land area, which makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is heavily concentrated on the east coast, and in particular in the south-eastern region between South East Queensland to the north-east and Adelaide to the south-west.[290]

Australia is highly urbanised, with 67% of the population living in the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (metropolitan areas of the state and mainland territorial capital cities) in 2018.[291] Metropolitan areas with more than one million inhabitants are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.[292]

In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2018 the average age of the Australian population was 38.8 years.[293] In 2015, 2.15% of the Australian population lived overseas, one of the lowest proportions worldwide.[294]

 
Largest populated areas in Australia
Rank Name State Pop. Rank Name State Pop.
1 Sydney NSW 5,312,163 11 Geelong Vic 275,794
2 Melbourne Vic 5,078,193 12 Hobart Tas 236,136
3 Brisbane Qld 2,514,184 13 Townsville Qld 181,668
4 Perth WA 2,085,973 14 Cairns Qld 153,951
5 Adelaide SA 1,359,760 15 Darwin NT 147,255
6 Gold CoastTweed Heads Qld/NSW 693,671 16 Toowoomba Qld 138,223
7 NewcastleMaitland NSW 491,474 17 Ballarat Vic 107,652
8 CanberraQueanbeyan ACT/NSW 462,136 18 Bendigo Vic 100,991
9 Sunshine Coast Qld 341,069 19 Albury-Wodonga NSW/Vic 93,603
10 Wollongong NSW 306,034 20 Launceston Tas 87,382

Ancestry and immigration

Australian residents by country of birth, 2021 census

Between 1788 and the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles (principally England, Ireland and Scotland), although there was significant immigration from China and Germany during the 19th century. In the decades immediately following the Second World War, Australia received a large wave of immigration from across Europe, with many more immigrants arriving from Southern and Eastern Europe than in previous decades. Since the end of the White Australia policy in 1973, Australia has pursued an official policy of multiculturalism,[296] and there has been a large and continuing wave of immigration from across the world, with Asia being the largest source of immigrants in the 21st century.[297]

Today, Australia has the world's eighth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 30% of the population, the highest proportion among major Western nations.[23][298] 160,323 permanent immigrants were admitted to Australia in 2018–2019 (excluding refugees),[297] whilst there was a net population gain of 239,600 people from all permanent and temporary immigration in that year.[299] The majority of immigrants are skilled,[297] but the immigration program includes categories for family members and refugees.[299] In 2020, the largest foreign-born populations were those born in England (3.8%), India (2.8%), Mainland China (2.5%), New Zealand (2.2%), the Philippines (1.2%) and Vietnam (1.1%).[300]

The Australian Bureau of Statistics does not collect data on race, but asks each Australian resident to nominate up to two ancestries each census.[301] These ancestry responses are classified into broad standardised ancesty groups.[302] At the 2021 census, the number of ancestry responses within each standardised group as a proportion of the total population was as follows:[303] 57.2% European (including 46% North-West European and 11.2% Southern and Eastern European), 33.8% Oceanian[N 7], 17.4% Asian (including 6.5% Southern and Central Asian, 6.4% North-East Asian, and 4.5% South-East Asian), 3.2% North African and Middle Eastern, 1.4% Peoples of the Americas, and 1.3% Sub-Saharan African. At the 2021 census, the most commonly nominated individual ancestries as a proportion of the total population were:[305]

At the 2021 census, 3.2% of the Australian population identified as being IndigenousAboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.[N 10][306]

Language

Although Australia has no official language, English is the de facto national language.[2] Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon,[307] and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling.[308] General Australian serves as the standard dialect.[309]

At the 2021 census, English was the only language spoken in the home for 72% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are Mandarin (2.7%), Arabic (1.4%), Vietnamese (1.3%), Cantonese (1.2%) and Punjabi (0.9%).[310] Over 250 Indigenous Australian languages are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact,[311] of which fewer than twenty are still in daily use by all age groups.[312][313] About 110 others are spoken exclusively by older people.[313] At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home.[314] Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 10,112 deaf people who reported that they use Auslan language at home in the 2016 census.[315]

Religion

Australia is secular and hosts a diversity of religions. St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, Australia's largest religious denomination.

Australia has no state religion; Section 116 of the Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion.[316]

At the 2021 Census, 38.9% of the population identified as having "no religion",[317] up from 15.5% in 2001.[318] The largest religion is Christianity (43.9% of the population).[319] The largest Christian denominations are the Roman Catholic Church (20% of the population) and the Anglican Church of Australia (9.8%). Multicultural immigration since the Second World War has led to the growth of non-Christian religions, the largest of which are Islam (3.2%), Hinduism (2.7%), Buddhism (2.4%), Sikhism (0.8%), and Judaism (0.4%).[320]

In 2021, just under 8,000 people declared an affiliation with traditional Aboriginal religions.[320] In Australian Aboriginal mythology and the animist framework developed in Aboriginal Australia, the Dreaming is a sacred era in which ancestral totemic spirit beings formed The Creation. The Dreaming established the laws and structures of society and the ceremonies performed to ensure continuity of life and land.[321]

Health

Australia's life expectancy is the fourth highest in the world for males and the third highest for females.[322] Life expectancy in Australia in 2014–2016 was 80.4 years for males and 84.6 years for females.[323] Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world,[324] while cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease, responsible for 7.8% of the total mortality and disease. Ranked second in preventable causes is hypertension at 7.6%, with obesity third at 7.5%.[325][326] Australia ranked 35th in the world in 2012 for its proportion of obese women[327] and near the top of developed nations for its proportion of obese adults;[328] 63% of its adult population is either overweight or obese.[329]

Total expenditure on health (including private sector spending) is around 9.8% of GDP.[330] Australia introduced universal health care in 1975.[331] Known as Medicare, it is now nominally funded by an income tax surcharge known as the Medicare levy, currently at 2%.[332] The states manage hospitals and attached outpatient services, while the Commonwealth funds the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (subsidising the costs of medicines) and general practice.[331]

During the COVID-19 pandemic Australia had one of the most restrictive quarantine policies, resulting in one of the lowest death rates worldwide.[333]

Education

Five Australian universities rank in the top 50 of the QS World University Rankings, including the Australian National University (19th).[334]

School attendance, or registration for home schooling,[335] is compulsory throughout Australia. Education is the responsibility of the individual states and territories[336] so the rules vary between states, but in general children are required to attend school from the age of about 5 until about 16.[337][338] In some states (Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales), children aged 16–17 are required to either attend school or participate in vocational training, such as an apprenticeship.[339][340][341][342]

Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated to be 99% in 2003.[343] However, a 2011–2012 report for the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Tasmania has a literacy and numeracy rate of only 50%.[344]

Australia has 37 government-funded universities and three private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher education level.[345] The OECD places Australia among the most expensive nations to attend university.[346] There is a state-based system of vocational training, known as TAFE, and many trades conduct apprenticeships for training new tradespeople.[347] About 58% of Australians aged from 25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications,[267] and the tertiary graduation rate of 49% is the highest among OECD countries. 30.9% of Australia's population has attained a higher education qualification, which is among the highest percentages in the world.[348][349][350]

Australia has the highest ratio of international students per head of population in the world by a large margin, with 812,000 international students enrolled in the nation's universities and vocational institutions in 2019.[351][352] Accordingly, in 2019, international students represented on average 26.7% of the student bodies of Australian universities. International education therefore represents one of the country's largest exports and has a pronounced influence on the country's demographics, with a significant proportion of international students remaining in Australia after graduation on various skill and employment visas.[353] Education is Australia's third-largest export, after iron ore and coal, and contributed over $28 billion to the economy in 2016–17.[289]

Culture

Ornate white building with an elevated dome in the middle, fronted by a golden fountain and orange flowers
The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne was the first building in Australia to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.[354]

Australia is home to a diversity of cultures, a result of its history of immigration.[355] Since 1788, Australian culture has primarily been a Western culture strongly influenced by early Anglo-Celtic settlers.[356][357] Other influences include Australian Aboriginal culture, the traditions brought to the country by waves of immigration from around the world,[358] and the culture of the United States.[359] The cultural divergence and evolution that has occurred over the centuries since European settlement has resulted in a distinctive Australian culture.[360][361]

Arts

Sidney Nolan's Snake mural (1970), held at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania, is inspired by the Aboriginal creation myth of the Rainbow Serpent, as well as desert flowers in bloom after a drought.[362]

Australia has over 100,000 Aboriginal rock art sites,[363] and traditional designs, patterns and stories infuse contemporary Indigenous Australian art, "the last great art movement of the 20th century" according to critic Robert Hughes;[364] its exponents include Emily Kame Kngwarreye.[365] Early colonial artists showed a fascination with the unfamiliar land.[366] The impressionistic works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and other members of the 19th-century Heidelberg School—the first "distinctively Australian" movement in Western art—gave expression to nationalist sentiments in the lead-up to Federation.[366] While the school remained influential into the 1900s, modernists such as Margaret Preston, and, later, Sidney Nolan, explored new artistic trends.[366] The landscape remained central to the work of Aboriginal watercolourist Albert Namatjira,[367] as well as Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley and other post-war artists whose works, eclectic in style yet uniquely Australian, moved between the figurative and the abstract.[366][368]

Australian literature grew slowly in the decades following European settlement though Indigenous oral traditions, many of which have since been recorded in writing, are much older.[369] In the 19th-century, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson captured the experience of the bush using a distinctive Australian vocabulary.[370] Their works are still popular; Paterson's bush poem "Waltzing Matilda" (1895) is regarded as Australia's unofficial national anthem.[371] Miles Franklin is the namesake of Australia's most prestigious literary prize, awarded annually to the best novel about Australian life.[372] Its first recipient, Patrick White, went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973.[373] Australian Booker Prize winners include Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally and Richard Flanagan.[374] Australian public intellectuals have also written seminal works in their respective fields, including feminist Germaine Greer and philosopher Peter Singer.[375]

Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's Australia Council.[376] There is a symphony orchestra in each state,[377] and a national opera company, Opera Australia,[378] well known for its famous soprano Joan Sutherland.[379] At the beginning of the 20th century, Nellie Melba was one of the world's leading opera singers.[380] Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state companies. Each state has a publicly funded theatre company.[381]

Media

Actor playing the bushranger Ned Kelly in The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), the world's first feature-length narrative film

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), the world's first feature-length narrative film, spurred a boom in Australian cinema during the silent film era.[382] After World War I, Hollywood monopolised the industry,[383] and by the 1960s Australian film production had effectively ceased.[384] With the benefit of government support, the Australian New Wave of the 1970s brought provocative and successful films, many exploring themes of national identity, such as Wake in Fright and Gallipoli,[385] while Crocodile Dundee and the Ozploitation movement's Mad Max series became international blockbusters.[386] In a film market flooded with foreign content, Australian films delivered a 7.7% share of the local box office in 2015.[387] The AACTAs are Australia's premier film and television awards, and notable Academy Award winners from Australia include Geoffrey Rush, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Heath Ledger.[388]

Australia has two public broadcasters (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service), three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services,[389] and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Each major city has at least one daily newspaper,[389] and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.[389] In 2020, Reporters Without Borders placed Australia 25th on a list of 180 countries ranked by press freedom, behind New Zealand (8th) but ahead of the United Kingdom (33rd) and United States (44th).[390] This relatively low ranking is primarily because of the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia;[391] most print media are under the control of News Corporation and Nine Entertainment Co.[392]

Cuisine

The meringue-based pavlova is generally eaten at Christmas time.

Most Indigenous Australian groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet of native fauna and flora, otherwise called bush tucker.[393] The first settlers introduced British and Irish cuisine to the continent.[394][395] This influence is seen in the enduring popularity of several British dishes such as fish and chips, and in quintessential Australian dishes such as the Australian meat pie, which is related to the British steak pie. Post-war immigration transformed Australian cuisine. For instance, Southen European migrants helped to build a thriving Australian coffee culture which gave rise to Australian coffee drinks such as the flat white,[396] while East Asian migration led to dishes such as the Cantonese-influenced dim sim and Chiko Roll,[397] as well as a distinct Australian Chinese cuisine. Sausage sizzles, pavlovas, lamingtons, meat pies, Vegemite and Anzac biscuits are regarded as iconic Australian foods.[398]

Australia is a leading exporter and consumer of wine.[399] Australian wine is produced mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country.[400] The nation also ranks highly in beer consumption,[401] with each state and territory hosting numerous breweries. Australia is also known for its cafe and coffee culture in urban centres.[402]

Sport and recreation

The Melbourne Cricket Ground is strongly associated with the history and development of cricket and Australian rules football, Australia's two most popular spectator sports.[403]

Cricket and football are the predominant sports in Australia during the summer and winter months, respectively. Australia is unique in that it has professional leagues for four football codes. Originating in Melbourne in the 1850s, Australian rules football is the most popular code in all states except New South Wales and Queensland, where rugby league holds sway, followed by rugby union.[404] Soccer, while ranked fourth in popularity and resources, has the highest overall participation rates.[405] Cricket is popular across all borders and has been regarded by many Australians as the national sport. The Australian national cricket team competed against England in the first Test match (1877) and the first One Day International (1971), and against New Zealand in the first Twenty20 International (2004), winning all three games. It has also participated in every edition of the Cricket World Cup, winning the tournament a record five times.[406]

Australia is one of five nations to have participated in every Summer Olympics of the modern era,[407] and has hosted the Games twice: 1956 in Melbourne and 2000 in Sydney.[408] It is also set to host the 2032 Games in Brisbane.[409] Australia has also participated in every Commonwealth Games,[410] hosting the event in 1938, 1962, 1982, 2006 and 2018.[411] As well as being a regular FIFA World Cup participant, Australia has won the OFC Nations Cup four times and the AFC Asian Cup once—the only country to have won championships in two different FIFA confederations.[412]

Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. The annual Melbourne Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race also attract intense interest.[413] Australia is also notable for water-based sports, such as swimming and surfing.[414] The surf lifesaving movement originated in Australia, and the volunteer lifesaver is one of the country's icons.[415] Snow sports take place primarily in the Australian Alps and Tasmania.[416]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Australia's royal anthem is "God Save the Queen", played in the presence of members of the royal family when they are in Australia. In other contexts, the national anthem of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair", is played.[1]
  2. ^ English does not have de jure status.[2]
  3. ^ a b There are minor variations from three basic time zones; see Time in Australia.
  4. ^ The earliest recorded use of the word Australia in English was in 1625 in "A note of Australia del Espíritu Santo, written by Sir Richard Hakluyt", published by Samuel Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, a corruption of the original Spanish name "Austrialia del Espíritu Santo" (Southern Land of the Holy Spirit)[34][35][36] for an island in Vanuatu.[37] The Dutch adjectival form australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia (Jakarta) in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south.[38]
  5. ^ For instance, the 1814 work A Voyage to Terra Australis
  6. ^ Australia describes the body of water south of its mainland as the Southern Ocean, rather than the Indian Ocean as defined by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). In 2000, a vote of IHO member nations defined the term "Southern Ocean" as applying only to the waters between Antarctica and 60° south latitude.[129]
  7. ^ Includes those who nominate "Australian" as their ancestry. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stated that most who nominate "Australian" as their ancestry have at least partial Anglo-Celtic European ancestry.[304]
  8. ^ The Australian Bureau of Statistics has stated that most who nominate "Australian" as their ancestry have at least partial Anglo-Celtic European ancestry.[304]
  9. ^ Those who nominated their ancestry as "Australian Aboriginal". Does not include Torres Strait Islanders. This relates to nomination of ancestry and is distinct from persons who identify as Indigenous (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) which is a separate question.
  10. ^ Indigenous identification is separate to the ancestry question on the Australian Census and persons identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may identify any ancestry.

References

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    "16. Other matters – 16.3 Australian National Anthem". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
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  2. ^ a b "Pluralist Nations: Pluralist Language Policies?". 1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference Proceedings, Sydney. Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2009. "English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language."
  3. ^ https://www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data/community-profiles/2021/AUS/download/GCP_AUS.xlsx[bare URL spreadsheet file]
  4. ^ See entry in the Macquarie Dictionary.
  5. ^ Collins English Dictionary. Bishopbriggs, Glasgow: HarperCollins. 2009. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-00-786171-2.
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  27. ^ "Australians the world's wealthiest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  28. ^ Data refer mostly to the year 2017. World Economic Outlook Database, October 2018, International Monetary Fund. Accessed on 1 April 2019.
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  30. ^ "Australia: World Audit Democracy Profile". WorldAudit.org. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  31. ^ "Melbourne named world's most liveable city". ABC News. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  32. ^ Australian pronunciations: Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005) Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
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