April 19, 2012
* Purpose of Paper * Location * Government * National Government * Capital * Leader/President * People * Population * Ancestry * Language * Way of Life * City Life * Rural Life * Clothing * Food and Drink * Recreation/Sports * Education * Religion * The Arts * The Land * Climate * Economy * Infrastructure * Manufacturing * Agriculture * Mining * Energy * Trades * Transportation and Communication * Bibliography
The purpose of this paper was to educate myself, and the reader on the
country of Australia. Prior to writing this paper I knew little about this diversified
country and I am grateful that I am able to pass on this knowledge.
The continent of Australia is located between the Indian Ocean and the
South Pacific Ocean with a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometers. The coastline
of Australia stretches for 25,760 kilometers and the Exclusive Economic Zone of
8,148,250 square kilometers. It lies southeast of Asia, between the Pacific and
Indian oceans, and is almost completely surrounded by ocean expanses.
Australia’s official name is the Commonwealth of Australia which was
federalized in 1901 when six independent British colonies agreed to join together
and become states of a new nation. The form of government used is called a
constitutional monarchy – ‘constitutional’ because the powers and procedures are
referred to by a written constitution, and ‘monarchy’ because the head of state is
Queen Elizabeth II. The birth of the nation is called a federation because the
Constitution created a federal system of government. Usually in a federal system,
powers are divided between a central government and individual states. In
Australia, power is divided between the Australian government and the six state
The Australian government passes laws which affect the whole country.
There are three complete sections of the government; the legislature/parliament
which is responsible for debating and voting on new laws to be introduced under
the power of section 51 in their constitution; the executive which is responsible for
enacting and upholding the laws established by the legislature; lastly, the judiciary
which is the legal arm of the Australian Government. It is independent of the other
two arms, and is responsible for enforcing the laws and deciding whether the other
two arms are acting within their powers.
Each of the six states in Australia retain the power to make their own laws
over matters not controlled by the Commonwealth under section 51 of the
country’s constitution. In addition, state governments have their own constitutions,
as well as a structure of legislature, executive and judiciary. There are also
territories within Australia’s borders that are not claimed by one of the six states.
Territories can be administered by the Australian government, or granted a
privilege of self-governing.
Local governments are established by state and territory governments to take
responsibility for a number of community services. They have a legislature and an
executive but no judiciary arm. Their powers are defined by the state or territory
government that established them. The capital of Australia is Canberra. The Prime
Minister is Julia Gillard and the Governor/General is Quentin Bryce.
Australia is home to about 20.6 million people. Descendants of the 19th and
20th century settlers from European countries like Britain and Ireland make up
most of the present-day populace. Australia mainly promoted the immigration of
whites from European countries and restricted non-white immigration. However
this was abolished in 1973 and now