In terms of land area, Australia is the sixth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. It has, however, a relatively small population of more than 20 million. Most of the population is concentrated along the eastern seaboard and the south-eastern corner of the continent.
Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Isolated from other continents, Australia has an abundance of unique plant and animal life. Australia occupies the continental part of Oceania and the island of Tasmania, and has a predominantly flat terrain. The Great Dividing Range runs along the eastern coast. Inland lies the Central Basin, a desert plateau surrounded by plains and savannas. The desert region which represents twenty-percent of the country runs west to the huge Western Plateau.
The Australian federation consists of six states and two territories and a few island territories. Most inland borders follow lines of longitude and latitude. The largest State, Western Australia, is about the same size as Western Europe.
Australia is an independent Western democracy which has had one of the most outstanding economies of the world in recent years. As a high-growth, low-inflation, low interest rate economy, it is more vibrant than ever before. There is an efficient government sector, a flexible labor market and a very competitive business sector. It is one of the world’s most urbanized countries, with about 70 per cent of the population living in the 10 largest cities.
|Leader:||Prime Minister: Tony Abbott|
|Government type:||Democratic, federal-state system recognizing British monarch as sovereign|
|Population:||23,417,256 (Mar. 2014, Australian Bureau of Statistics)|
|Languages:||English 84% (official) & Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic (including Lebanese), Mandarin, and Spanish. 1|
|Ethnic Diversity:||More than 95 per cent of Australians are of European or Asian descent, about 2.4 per cent of the population identify as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin. 2|
|Official Currency:||Australian Dollar (AUD)
|Climate:||Australia’s climate is subtropical arid. The north has hot, humid, and rainy summers and dry, warm winters. In the south, summers are dry and sunny, and winters are mild and rainy. Except on the eastern coast, rainfall is generally low.|
|National Holiday:||1 January|
|Religion:||Christianity is the dominant religion with other major religions - Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism|
|Area:||total: 7,690,000 sq km|
|Country Phone Code:||61|