Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
For at least 40,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages grouped into roughly 250 language groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The federation comprises six states and several territories. The population of 23.1 million is highly urbanized and heavily concentrated in the eastern states.
Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the world’s 12th-largest economy. In 2012 Australia had the world’s fifth-highest per capita income, Australia’s military expenditure is the world’s 13th-largest. With the second-highest human development index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Government and politics
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal division of powers. It uses a parliamentary system of government with Queen Elizabeth II at its apex as the Queen of Australia, a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen resides in the United Kingdom, and she is represented by her viceroys in Australia (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.
The federal government is separated into three branches:
- The legislature: the bicameral Parliament, defined in section 1 of the constitution as comprising the Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the Senate, and the House of Representatives;
- The executive: the Federal Executive Council, in practice the Governor-General as advised by the Prime Minister and Ministers of State;
- The judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Governor-General on advice of the Council.
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). The House of Representatives (the lower house) has 150 members elected from single-member electoral divisions, commonly known as “electorates” or “seats”, allocated to states on the basis of population, with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats. Elections for both chambers are normally held every three years.
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. Independent members and several minor parties have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses.
Australia is a country, and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. It is the sixth largest country in the world with a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometers (2,967,909 sq. mi) (including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island), making it slightly smaller than the 48 states of the contiguous United States and 31.5 times larger than the United Kingdom.
The Australian mainland has a total coastline length of 35,876 km (22,292 mi) with an additional 23,859 km (14,825 mi) of island coastlines. There are 758 estuaries around the country with most located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones. Australia claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometers (3,146,057 sq. mi). This exclusive economic zone does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory. Australia has the largest area of ocean jurisdiction of any country on earth. It has no land borders.
The northernmost points of the country are the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory. The western half of Australia consists of the Western Plateau, which rises to mountain heights near the west coast and falls to lower elevations near the continental Centre.
The Eastern Highlands, or Great Dividing Range, lie near the eastern coast of Australia, separating the relatively narrow eastern coastal plain from the rest of the continent. These Eastern Australian temperate forests have the greatest relief, the most rainfall, the most abundant and varied flora and fauna, and the densest human settlement.
Between the Eastern Highlands and the Western Plateau, lie the Central Lowlands, which are made up of the Great Artesian Basin and Australia’s largest river systems, Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre Basin.Off the eastern coast of Australia is the world’s largest coral reef complex, the Great Barrier Reef. The State of Tasmania, a large and mountainous island, resides in the south-eastern corner of Australia.
The Australian continental landmass consists of 6 distinct landform divisions. These are: –
- The Eastern Highlands—including the Great Dividing Range, the fertile Brigalow Belt strip of grassland behind the east coast, and the Eastern Uplands
- The Eastern alluvial Plains and Lowlands—Murray Darling basin covers southern part, also includes parts of the Lake Eyre Basin and extends to the Gulf of Carpentaria
- The South Australian Highlands—including the Flinders Range, Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula
- The Western Plateau—including the Nullarbor Plain
- The Central Deserts
- Northern Plateau and Basins—including the Top End
The climate of Australia varies widely due to its large geographical size, but by far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid. Only the south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate and moderately fertile soil. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate, varied between tropical rainforests, grasslands, part desert.
Australia’s climate is ruled by the hot, sinking air of the subtropical high pressure belt which moves north and south with the seasons. This causes the rainfall pattern over Australia to be highly seasonal. Australia’s rainfall is the lowest of the seven continents (besides Antarctica). Rainfall is variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons, thought to be caused in part by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. It has a market economy, a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland.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.
The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. 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.
Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquified natural gas and coal. Although agriculture and natural resources account for only 3% and 5% of GDP respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance. Australia’s largest export markets are Japan, China, the US, South Korea, and New Zealand. Australia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine, and the wine industry contributes $5.5 billion per year to the nation’s economy.
For almost two centuries the majority of settlers, and later immigrants, came from the British Isles. As a result the people of Australia are primarily of British and/or Irish ethnic origin. The 2011 Census asked respondents to provide a maximum of two ancestries with which they most closely identify. The most commonly nominated ancestry was English (36.1%), followed by Australian (35.4%), Irish (10.4%), Scottish (8.9%), Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Chinese (4.3%), Indian (2.0%), Greek (1.9%), and Dutch (1.7%). Because Australia’s census doesn’t ask for racial background, it is unclear how many Australians are descendants of Europeans. Estimates vary from 85% – 92%. Asian Australians make up 12% of the population.
In 2011, 24.6% of Australians were born elsewhere and 43.1% of people had at least one overseas-born parent; the largest immigrant groups were those from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, India, Italy, Vietnam, and Philippines.Over 80 percent of Australia’s population is of European ancestry, and most of the rest are of Asian heritage, with a smaller minority of Indigenous background.
Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the de facto national language. Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling.English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 81% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are Mandarin (1.7%), Italian (1.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.3%), Greek (1.3%), and Vietnamese (1.2%); a considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.
Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia’s natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culture has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema.
Australian visual arts are thought to have begun with the cave paintings, rock engravings and body painting of its Indigenous peoples. From the time of European settlement, a major theme in Australian art has been the natural landscape, seen for example in the works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and others associated with the Heidelberg School, and Albert Namatjira.
The country’s landscape remains a source of inspiration for Australian modernist artists; it has been depicted in acclaimed works by the likes of Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, Margaret Preston and Clifton Pugh. Contemporary Indigenous Australian art is the only art movement of international significance to emerge from Australia. Australia has one of the world’s highest attendances of art galleries and museums per head of population—far more than Britain or America.
Each state has a publicly funded theatre company. Australian literature has also been influenced by the landscape; the works of writers such as Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, and Dorothea Mackellar captured the experience of the Australian bush. The character of the nation’s colonial past, as represented in early literature, is popular with modern Australians. In 1973, Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first Australian to have achieved this.
The Australian cinema industry began with the 1906 release of The Story of the Kelly Gang, which is regarded as being the world’s first feature-length film. By the late 1950s feature film production in Australia had effectively ceased and there were no all-Australian feature films made in the decade between 1959 and 1969. Thanks to initiatives by the Gorton and Whitlam federal governments, the New Wave of Australian cinema of the 1970s brought provocative and successful films.
Australia has two public broadcasters (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service), three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services, and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Each major city has at least one daily newspaper, and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.
The food of Indigenous Australians was largely influenced by the area in which they lived. Most tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet, hunting native game and fish and collecting native plants and fruit. The first settlers introduced British food to the continent, and much of that is now considered typical Australian food. Since the beginning of the 20th century, food in Australia has increasingly been influenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from Southern European and Asian cultures. Australian wine is produced in 60 distinct production areas totaling approximately 160,000 hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country.
Cricket has been an important part of Australia’s sporting culture since the 19th century. Approximately 24% of Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organized sporting activities. Australia has strong international teams in cricket, field hockey, netball, rugby league, and rugby union, having been Olympic or world champions at least twice in each sport in the last 25 years for both men and women where applicable.
Australia has participated in every summer Olympics of the modern era, and every Commonwealth Games. Australia hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and ranked among the top six medal-takers for the games of 2000, 2004 and 2008.Australia has also hosted the 1938, 1962, 1982, 2006 Commonwealth Games and will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
Tourism is an important industry for the Australian economy. In the financial year 2010/11, the tourism industry represented 2.5% of Australia’s GDP at a value of approximately A$35 billion to the national economy. This is equivalent to tourism contributing $94.8 million a day to the Australian economy. Domestic tourism is a significant part of the tourism industry, and was responsible for 73% of the total direct tourism GDP.
Popular Australian destinations include the coastal cities of Sydney and Melbourne, as well as other high profile destinations including regional Queensland, the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef. Uluru and the Australian outback are other popular locations, as is Tasmanian wilderness. The unique Australian wildlife is also another significant point of interest in the country’s tourism.
Before travelling make sure to get an insurance: –
- Medical problems
- Any adventure sports
- Learn from the customs about the goods limits.
The Australian Government controls the import of certain goods into Australia. The controls either take the form of: an absolute prohibition, which means that you are not allowed to import the goods in any circumstances, or a restriction, where you need to have written permission in order to import the goods.
- Take care of your personal safety.
- Have a local guide along.
- Avoid direct sunlight during hike.
- Water the fire completely when camping finished.
- Swim between the areas of red and the yellow flag.
- During snorkelling in Great Barrier Reef, be alert of the danger such as: –
- Poisonous insects
- Crocodiles and sharks
- Always carry a map of the country and spare tyre.
Not everyone wants to dive and, to be honest, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most accessible reefs and offers excellent snorkelling. The only requirements for snorkelling is an ability to swim, fairly good fitness as it a strenuous activity, and the ability to laugh at yourself when you first don the gear and feel rather like a fish out of water.
Most of the day trips offer instruction and include a guided tour as well. Some even take you to sandy cays or islands where you can walk straight in off the beach instead of jumping from a boat. Sometimes large resting buoys are placed short distances from each other so you can snorkel from float to float and rest when you need to. Or if you are still a little apprehensive some companies offer float coats designed to give you extra buoyancy, and all you have to do is kick and gaze.
Australia’s biggest city, Sydney has approximately 4.4 million people and is built around one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbors, which has moulded and shaped the city since settlement Sydney also boasts other major attractions including its distinctive Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the historic Rocks area, and excellent beaches and national parks. As host city for the Olympic Games in September 2000, Sydney underwent a metamorphosis that put its cityscape on a level with its natural beauty.
The harbour divides the city into northern and southern halves, with Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel joining the two shores. The best way to experience the spectacular harbour with its many bays and beaches is to jump aboard one of the numerous ferries that carry commuters across the water.
Sydney suburbs stretch more than 20 km north and south. The suburbs north of the bridge are collectively known as the North Shore. The upper North Shore, an area generally regarded as housing the city’s middle class, features the graceful, stately ‘garden’ suburbs of Wahroonga and St Ives. The northern beaches peninsula boasts the exclusive enclaves of Whale Beach and Palm Beach. East of the city center are the colorful and cosmopolitan inner city suburbs of Darling Hurst, Kings Cross and Paddington. Go further east and you will find the exclusive ‘Eastern’ suburbs of Double Bay and Vaucluse. To the south-east are the beach suburbs of Bronte, Coogee and Australia’s famous Bondi Beach.
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is the second largest city, with a population of approximately 3.89 million. Its birth and major period of development paralleled Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901) and the city in many ways is a product of its formative era, both architecturally and socially.
Traditionally, it is a conservative city of elaborate Victorian era buildings, parks and gardens, and tree-lined boulevards.
Since World War II its social fabric has been transformed by thousands of immigrants, and the city has been greatly enriched by the influences of people and cultures from around the world. Melbourne these days is a vibrant multicultural city, passionate about arts, food, wine and sport – particularly Australian Rules football. The city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and plans are afoot to bid for the Olympic Games. Its suburbs spread around the shores of picturesque Port Phillip Bay, with the city center situated on the north bank of the Yarra River, about 5 km inland from the bay. Its buildings are a blend of the soaring new and stately old.
One of the few cities in the world to retain complete tramway systems, Melbourne’s trams have become a celebrated tourist attraction in Australia and a popular means of transport to and from work for locals.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is the gateway to Australia’s favourite holiday playgrounds of the Gold and Sunshine coasts, two great getaway destinations, especially during the colder winter months in the south.
The city has often been viewed as something of an overgrown country town. That certainly isn’t the case today, if it ever was. In the 1980s it hosted a string of major international events including the 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expo ’88, turning it into a lively cosmopolitan city.
Like other areas of Australia, Brisbane began as the subtropical holding pen for the more recalcitrant convicts from the colony of New South Wales.
Today, it has a population of approximately 1.94 million people, with an increasing influx of international and local students enjoying excellent educational facilities, warm weather loving tourists and retirees, and property investors exploring land value potential.
Adelaide, the famed city of churches, has splendid natural rural settings. The city center is surrounded by parkland and the metropolitan area is bounded by the hills of the Mt Lofty Ranges which crowd it against the sea. The capital of South Australia, Adelaide is laid out on a grid and has several distinct civic squares.
Thirty minutes away, and part of the magnificent Mt Lofty Ranges, are the Adelaide Hills. In addition to the beauty of the hills themselves with their huge gum trees and their picturesque landscapes, there are more than 1000 km of bushwalking trails and many fascinating townships to explore. With a proud agricultural heritage built on the production of wheat and wool, Adelaide is also known for producing some of the finest wines in Australia, from delicate Rieslings to the robust Shiraz.
The state of South Australia is sparsely settled with 73% of its population in the capital – which has a population of almost 1.2 million – and a handful of major rural centers.
Western Australia claims to be the sunniest state in Australia. Its capital, Perth, is thought to be the most isolated capital city in the world Western Australia takes up one third of the Australian land mass. About 74% of its almost 2.3 million people live in and around Perth.
A vibrant and modern city, Perth is situated on the Swan River with the port, Fremantle, just 20 km down-stream. The city was founded in 1829 as the Swan River Settlement and grew slowly until 1850, when convicts were brought to alleviate a labour shortage. Some of the city’s finest buildings, such as government House and Perth Town hall, were built with convict labor.
More recently, the state’s mineral wealth has contributed to the city’s wealth and the resultant construction boom has spread into other suburbs. The city center is compact and situated on the sweep of the Swan River, which borders the city center to the south and east and links Perth to its port, Fremantle.
The island state of Tasmania has a population of 507,600 making it the least populated state in Australia. Its capital, Hobart, with a population of 214,700 is Australia’s second oldest city and its southern most capital. It straddles the mouth of the Derwent River and is backed by the towering Mt Wellington. Hobart combines the benefits of a modern city with a rich colonial heritage. The beautiful Georgian buildings, the busy harbour and the easy going atmosphere make the city one of the most enjoyable and engaging in Australia.
This is in striking contrast with its past, when it was a location for penal settlements for convicts who re-offended on the Australian mainland. Australia also has two territories – the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which is the home of the Federal Seat of Government, and the Northern Territory. The ACT has a population of 358,600, of which the vast majority live in and around the capital Canberra.
Some of the best modern architecture and exhibitions in Australia are here and the city is particularly interesting as, unlike so much of Australia, it is totally planned. As a place of government, and with few local industries, it has a unique atmosphere only found in dedicated national capitals. The Northern Territory is the most barren and least populated area of Australia, with only 1% of the Australian population living in an area that covers nearly 18% of the country’s landmass.
It is in the center – the Red Heart – untamed and sometimes surreal, from which the picture book Australia, emerges. The center is not just Uluru, commonly known as Ayers Rock, but a unique mysterious landscape composed of ancient meteorite craters, spiritually charged canyons and waterholes, and lost valleys of palms teeming with native species. By contrast are the noisy festivals and rugged outback culture of Alice Springs. At the other end of the track – the Stuart Highway, 1500 km of roadway that connects Alice Springs to the north coast – is Darwin with a population of just 107,270 people.
Type of visas: –
- Australian Citizenship
You might come to Australia for reasons such as holidays, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends, to be a business visitor or for other short-term non-work things like medical treatment or medical consultations. Or you might just be passing through on your way to somewhere else. Whether you are visiting for less than 72 hours or planning on a stay of several years you must have a valid Australian visa.
This visa generally allows stays of 3 or 6 months in Australia, although a stay of up to 12 months can be granted. A stay beyond 12 months is ONLY granted where ‘exceptional’ circumstances exist. It may be granted for a single entry or multiple entries within a specified period. Generally, this visa allows people to enter Australia within 12 months from the date of grant. It should be noted, however, under Australia’s migration regulations, decision-makers may grant a Tourist visa permitting the visa holder to travel to and to remain in Australia for a specified period that they see as appropriate. In some circumstances the stay period granted may be less than the stay period requested by the applicant.
if you are one of the following:
- Outside Australia and intend to apply for a visa to study in Australia
- A student visa holder in Australia intending to enroll in a course of study
- A student visa holder intending to apply for permission to work
- A student visa holder intending to change from one education sector to another
- A visitor, working holiday-maker or other temporary visa holder intending to extend your stay in Australia to undertake full-time study in a registered course.
General requirements you must meet include that:
- You are of good character.
- You are of sound health.
- You have acceptable health insurance through the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for yourself and members of your family unit accompanying you to Australia. Refer to OSHC.
- You have no outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia, or have made arrangements acceptable to the Minister to repay such debts.
- Where you are under 18 years of age, acceptable arrangements for your accommodation, support and general welfare are in place.
- If you are in Assessment Level 2 or 3, do not hold a student visa and are applying in Australia, you must provide exceptional reasons to justify the grant of your visa.
Work (Business Long time)
The Australian Government encourages people to gain an understanding of Australia, its people and their way of life, before applying for a visa to live in Australia. As part of this application every person aged 18 years or over must declare that they will respect Australian values, as outlined below and obey the laws of Australia. Australian values include respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the common good. Australian society also values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background. It is also important to understand that English is the national language.
Work (Business shot time upto 3 months)
Who should use this form?
Genuine business visitors seeking short-term entry to Australia of up to 3 months for purposes such as: official visits, to attend meetings, conferences, business negotiations, exploratory visits, undertaking training or building inspections.
If you are coming to Australia for one of the following purposes you are required to complete a different application form: a tourist, to work, a religious worker, an entertainer, a medical practitioner, for medical treatment, to attend primary or secondary school, to engage in a course leading to a degree, diploma, trade certificate or formal award. Business (Short Stay).
This is an application for a single or multiple entry visa which provides for a stay of up to 3 months on each arrival. As the travel validity date can vary, you should check the travel validity date on your visa label or visa grant letter.
be aged between 18 years and 30 years inclusive (at the time you apply);
- hold a passport from an eligible country, preferably valid for at least 6 months; • not be accompanied by dependent children;
- be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is granted (except applicants for a second Working Holiday visa, who can apply while in Australia – see ‘Second Working Holiday visa’ below);
- not have previously entered Australia on a Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa;
- not have previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday visa (except applicants for a second Working Holiday visa – see ‘Second Working Holiday visa’ below);
- have sufficient funds (generally AUD5,000);
- have funds for a return or onward ticket to depart Australia (or an actual ticket);
- meet Australia’s health requirement – depending on the country you are from and your intentions in Australia (such as entering a hospital, health care area, childcare centre or classroom), you may need to undertake a health examination.
Australian citizenship is an important step in your migration story. Becoming an Australian citizen means that you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and all that this country stands for. It is also the beginning of your formal membership of the Australian community. It is the step that will enable you to say ‘I am Australian’. Australian citizenship is a privilege that offers enormous rewards. By becoming an Australian citizen, you are joining a unique national community. Our country has been built on the combined contributions of our Indigenous people and those who came later from all over the world. We celebrate this diversity and at the same time, strive for a unified and harmonious nation. The strength of the Australian community means that we work together to solve problems and to make Australia the great country that it is. We have a stable system of government and Australians respect the authority and laws of the government. Our stability, our culture and our laws have been shaped by our history. By joining the Australian community, you will inherit this history and you will be in a position to contribute to it.
As a permanent resident of Australia, you have already enjoyed living in a free and democratic society. When you become an Australian citizen, you will have new responsibilities. You will also have a range of new benefits.
Melbourne: the most liveable and the remarkable city in the world!