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
35°18′29″S 149°07′28″E / 35.30806°S 149.12444°E / -35.30806; 149.12444
Largest citySydney (metropolitan)
Melbourne (urban)[N 2]
National languageEnglish (de facto)
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Charles III
David Hurley
Anthony Albanese
House of Representatives
1 January 1901
15 November 1926
9 October 1942
3 March 1986
• Total
7,688,287[7] km2 (2,968,464 sq mi) (6th)
• Water (%)
1.79 (2015)[8]
• 2024 estimate
Neutral increase 27,053,000[9] (53rd)
• 2021 census
Neutral increase 25,890,773[10]
• Density
3.5/km2 (9.1/sq mi) (192nd)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.719 trillion[11] (20th)
• Per capita
Increase $64,674[11] (23rd)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.688 trillion[11] (14th)
• Per capita
Increase $63,487[11] (10th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 32.5[12]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.951[13]
very high · 5th
CurrencyAustralian dollar ($) (AUD)
Time zoneUTC+8; +9.5; +10 (AWST, ACST, AEST[N 4])
• Summer (DST)
UTC+10.5; +11 (ACDT, AEDT[N 4])
DST not observed in Qld, WA and NT
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy[14]
Driving sideleft
Calling code+61
ISO 3166 codeAU

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia,[15][16] is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands.[b] Australia is the largest country by area in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country. Australia is the oldest,[17] flattest,[18] and driest inhabited continent,[19][20] with the least fertile soils.[21][22] 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, tropical savannas in the north, and mountain ranges in the south-east.

The ancestors of Aboriginal Australians began arriving from south-east Asia 50,000 to 65,000 years ago, during the last glacial period.[23][24][25] They settled the continent and had formed approximately 250 distinct language groups by the time of European settlement, maintaining some of the longest known continuing artistic and religious traditions in the world.[26] Australia's written history commenced with European maritime exploration. The Dutch were the first known Europeans to reach Australia, in 1606. British colonisation began in 1788 with the establishment of the penal colony of New South Wales. By the mid-19th century, most of the continent had been explored by European settlers and five additional self-governing British colonies were established, each gaining responsible government by 1890. The colonies federated in 1901, forming the Commonwealth of Australia.[27] This continued a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom, highlighted by the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942, and culminating in the Australia Acts of 1986.[27]

Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and ten territories. Its population of nearly 27 million[9] is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard.[28] Canberra is the nation's capital, while its most populous cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.[29] Australian governments have promoted multiculturalism since the 1970s.[30] Australia is culturally diverse and has one of the highest foreign-born populations in the world.[31][32] Its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade relations are crucial to the country's economy, which generates its income from various sources: predominately services (including banking, real estate and international education) as well as mining, manufacturing and agriculture.[33][34] It ranks highly for quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights.[35]

Australia has a highly developed market economy and one of the highest per capita incomes globally.[36][37][38] It is a middle power, and has the world's thirteenth-highest military expenditure.[39][40] It is a member of international groups including the United Nations; the G20; the OECD; the World Trade Organization; Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation; the Pacific Islands Forum; the Pacific Community; the Commonwealth of Nations; and the defence and security organisations ANZUS, AUKUS, and the Five Eyes. It is a major non-NATO ally of the United States.[41]

  1. ^ "Australian National Anthem". Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 27 October 2023. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Regional population". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 20 April 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  3. ^ Turnbull, Tiffanie (17 April 2023). "Melbourne overtakes Sydney as Australia's biggest city". BBC News. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference :02 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Aussie". Macquarie Dictionary. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  6. ^ Collins English Dictionary. Bishopbriggs, Glasgow: HarperCollins. 2009. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-0078-6171-2.
  7. ^ "Area of Australia - States and Territories". Geoscience Australia. Australian Government. 26 July 2023. Archived from the original on 18 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Population clock". Australian Bureau of Statistics website. Commonwealth of Australia. 11 January 2024. Retrieved 11 January 2024. The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at 00:00 UTC and is based on data obtained from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.
  10. ^ "National, state and territory population". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 26 September 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2023 Edition. (Australia)". International Monetary Fund. 10 October 2023. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Income Distribution Database". (Database). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 16 December 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  14. ^ Australian Government (March 2023). "Dates and time". Style Manual. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  15. ^ "About Australia". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian Government. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  16. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (Imp) 63 & 64 Vict, c 12, s 3
  17. ^ Korsch RJ.; et al. (2011). "Australian island arcs through time: Geodynamic implications for the Archean and Proterozoic". Gondwana Research. 19 (3): 716–734. Bibcode:2011GondR..19..716K. doi:10.1016/
  18. ^ Macey, Richard (21 January 2005). "Map from above shows Australia is a very flat place". The Sydney Morning Herald. ISSN 0312-6315. OCLC 226369741. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  19. ^ "The Australian continent". Archived from the original on 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Deserts". Geoscience Australia. Australian Government. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  21. ^ Kelly, Karina (13 September 1995). "A Chat with Tim Flannery on Population Control". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010. "Well, Australia has by far the world's least fertile soils".
  22. ^ Grant, Cameron (August 2007). "Damaged Dirt" (PDF). The Advertiser. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2010. Australia has the oldest, most highly weathered soils on the planet.
  23. ^ Clarkson, Chris; Jacobs, Zenobia; Marwick, Ben; Fullagar, Richard; Wallis, Lynley; Smith, Mike; Roberts, Richard G.; Hayes, Elspeth; Lowe, Kelsey; Carah, Xavier; Florin, S. Anna; McNeil, Jessica; Cox, Delyth; Arnold, Lee J.; Hua, Quan; Huntley, Jillian; Brand, Helen E. A.; Manne, Tiina; Fairbairn, Andrew; Shulmeister, James; Lyle, Lindsey; Salinas, Makiah; Page, Mara; Connell, Kate; Park, Gayoung; Norman, Kasih; Murphy, Tessa; Pardoe, Colin (2017). "Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago". Nature. 547 (7663): 306–310. Bibcode:2017Natur.547..306C. doi:10.1038/nature22968. hdl:2440/107043. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 28726833. S2CID 205257212.
  24. ^ Cite error: The named reference :4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  25. ^ Williams, Martin A. J.; Spooner, Nigel A.; McDonnell, Kathryn; O'Connell, James F. (January 2021). "Identifying disturbance in archaeological sites in tropical northern Australia: Implications for previously proposed 65,000-year continental occupation date". Geoarchaeology. 36 (1): 92–108. Bibcode:2021Gearc..36...92W. doi:10.1002/gea.21822. ISSN 0883-6353. S2CID 225321249.
  26. ^ Cite error: The named reference :9 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  27. ^ a b Contiades, X.; Fotiadou, A. (2020). Routledge Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Change. Taylor & Francis. p. 389. ISBN 978-1-3510-2097-8.
  28. ^ "Geographic Distribution of the Population". 24 May 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  29. ^ "Regional population". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 20 April 2023. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  30. ^ "The Success of Australia's Multiculturalism". Australian Human Rights Commission. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2024. [In Australia], multiculturalism as policy emerged in the 1970s. It replaced the initial policy approach of assimilation that was adopted towards mass immigration from Europe in the immediate post-Second World War years. In the very simplest of terms, multiculturalism means there is public endorsement and recognition of cultural diversity. It means a national community defines its national identity not in ethnic or racial terms, but in terms that can include immigrants. It means a national community accepts that its common identity may evolve to reflect its composition.
  31. ^ "Culturally and linguistically Diverse Australian". Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2024. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  32. ^ O'Donnell, James (27 November 2023). "Is Australia a cohesive nation?". ABC Australia. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  33. ^ "Trade and Investment at a glance 2021". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian Government. 2021.
  34. ^ "Australian Industry". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Government. 26 May 2023.
  35. ^ "Statistics and rankings". Global Australia. 18 May 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  36. ^ "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2015". International Monetary Fund. 6 September 2015. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Human Development Report 2021-22" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 2022. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  38. ^ "Australians the world's wealthiest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  39. ^ Lowy Institute Asian Power Index (PDF) (Report). 2023. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-6480189-3-3.
  40. ^ "Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2017" (PDF).
  41. ^ Rachman, Gideon (13 March 2023). "Aukus, the Anglosphere and the return of great power rivalry". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 March 2023.

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