|Federal States of Australia|
Āhua e Hānga Ana o Ahitereiria (Māori)Timeline: Eureka!
Invenire Ignotum (Latin)
Ki te kitea e mōhiotia (Māori)
To find the unknown
Advance Australia Fair
|Official languages||No official languages|
|Major languages||English (National language)
|Government||Federal presidential parliamentary constitutional republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Bill Shorten|
|-||President of the Senate||TBD|
|-||Speaker of the House||TBD|
|-||Chief Justice||Robert French|
|-||Lower house||House of Representatives|
|-||Aboriginals arrive||~40,000 - 80,000 BC|
|-||First British colony established||26 January 1788|
|-||Australian Revolution||3 December 1854 - 26 January 1861|
|-||Treaty of Sydney||26 January 1861|
|-|| 5,314,021 km2
2,051,755 sq mi
|Time zone||Australian Standard Time (AST) (UTC+10)|
|-||Summer (DST)||Australian Daylight Time (ADT) (UTC+11)|
|Drives on the||Left|
Australia, officially the Federal States of Australia, is a federal presidential parliamentary constitutional republic in the southern Pacific Ocean. The majority of the nation consists of the two eastern thirds of the Australian continent. Nine contiguous states cover this area. The island of Tasmania also forms part of Australia, separated from the mainland by Bass Strait. Aotearoa, consisting of two large island and several smaller ones, is also an Australian state, lying approximately 2,000 km south-east of the Australian mainland, across the Tasman Sea. To the north of Australia, across the Torres Strait, is the states of Papua and New Guinea, consisting of half the island of New Guinea and numerous small islands. The country has a number of insular external territories, mostly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and also holds an unenforced claim on parts of Antarctica, known as the Australian Antarctic Territory.
At 5.34 million km2 in land area, Australia ranks 6th in the list of the world's largest nations, smaller than Brazil but just less than twice as large as India, which ranks seventh. Despite its large size, Australia has a comparatively small population, approximately 35 million. Australia is a multicultural and ethnically diverse nation, the product of large-scale immigration, though much of this influx is relatively recent. The Australian economy is regarded as one of the world's strongest and healthiest despite its small population, with a nominal GDP of approximately 1.9 million US dollars in 2008. The country is a member of the Group of 8 economic powers.
The nation was founded mostly as a penal colony by the United Kingdom in 1788, with the first Europeans settling near what is now the large city of Sydney. However, for more than 10,000 years Australasia had a diverse indigenous population, from Australian aborigines to Aotearoan Māoris (considered to be Polynesian peoples) Torres Strait Islanders and native Papuans, considered as Melanesian peoples. By the 1850s transportation of convicts had largely ceased and a mining boom in the goldfields of Victoria brought many more free settlers. On December 3, 1854, the Battle of Eureka began a large-scale rebellion against British rule brought on largely by issues of land title and mining rights, but soon spread into a full-scale secession movement. The Eureka Declaration of 1855 declared Australia as an independent nation. Aotearoa was admitted into the Federation as New Zealand in 1865; its name was formally changed to the state's Māori name in 1950.
The country remained economically prosperous throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and remained closely linked with the United States throughout most of the 20th century. The nation fought in the Second World War on the side of the Allies against Japan, which had designs on much Australian territory. The Japanese invasion of Papua, at the time an Australian territory, galvanised the Australian population and led to Japan's repulsion and contributed to their eventual defeat. Since the end of World War II, Australia has been a significant global and regional power.
Government and politics
Australia is a federal presidential parliamentary constitutional republic. The government is structured as a representative democracy with a strong tradition of voter participation. Voting is compulsory in all Australian elections, and all citizens aged 18 and above are registered on electoral rolls kept by the Australian Electoral Commission.
Executive power is vested in the President, who is directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a six-year term. There are no limits on the number of terms a President may serve, though no President has served more than three. The President has a broad range of powers, including the power to veto legislation. However, most of his powers can be overridden by or are subject to ratification by Parliament.
The national legislature of Australia is a bicameral Parliament, consisting of a 308-member House of Representatives and a 60-member Senate. Each of the thirteen Australian states are represented by four Senators, and each the four territories by two. Each Senator is elected for a six-year term, and half of the Senate stands for election at the triannual parliamentary elections. The House of Representatives serves a three-year term, and the seats are proportionally distributed by state population. In the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister of Australia leads the majority party or coalition, and acts as an adjutant and the primary adviser to the President.
The federal judicial system is led by the Supreme Court of Australia, presided over by the Chief Justice and six other judges, who serve for life or until they retire. The judges of the Supreme Court are nominated and appointed by the Federal Judicial Council, a body independent of the legislature. It is the Supreme Court's responsibility to interpret the Constitution of Australia and to preside hearings of national significance, such as disputes between states or between the federal government and other organisations.
The governments of each of the thirteen states are structured similarly. Each state has a directly-elected Governor, elected in most cases for terms of three years, though electoral rules vary from state to state.
National politics is dominated by Australia's three largest political parties: the left-wing Australian Labour Party, the centre-right National Front, and the right-wing United Australia Party.
|Short name||Official name||Coat of arms||Capital||Year admitted||Governor|
|Aotearoa||Union of Aotearoa||Wellington||1865||Jerry Mateparae|
|Arnhem||State of Arnhem||Darwin||1870||Warren Snowdon|
|Batman||Commonwealth of Batman||Melbourne||1866||Linda Dessau|
|Flinders||State of Flinders||Warrnambool||1866||Kylie Gaston|