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Commonwealth of Australia
Australia - national flag.jpg     File:Still to come
Motto None
National anthem Advance Australia Fair
Capital Canberra
Official language English
Government type Constitutional monarchy
Governor-General General Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Area 7,610,930 km²
2,938,597 mi²
Population 23.3 million (55th)
(2013 estimate)
Population density 2.6/km² (235th)
1 mi²
HDI 0.962 (high) (3rd) (2007–08)
Currency Australian dollars (AUD)
Time zone CST (UTC+9:30)
Summer:WST (UTC+8)
Country codes Internet TLD : au
Calling code : +61

Australia is the name of the smallest of the seven continents and the nation that occupies it. The westernmost landmass of Oceania, it lies south of Papua New Guinea, with the Indian Ocean to the west, the South Pacific Ocean to the east, and the Southern Ocean between it and Antarctica. The Commonwealth of Australia is the only sovereign nation to occupy an entire continent. It includes the island of Tasmania and seven external territories, including the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Aborigines inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years, and it was only relatively recently discovered by Europeans (1606) and claimed for Great Britain by Captain James Cook in 1770. The British established the first European settlement in Australia at Sydney on 26 January 1788. The six British colonies on the continent federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901.

Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations, and a close ally of the United States of America.


In January 2019, the population of Australia is estimated to be around 25.2 million.[1][2]

Population distribution

In 2006, more than two-thirds (68%) of the Australian population (20.7 million at that time) lived in major cities, the remaining 32% living in regional and remote areas.[3] The only part of Australia in which a significant proportion of the population is considered to live in remote (21.7%) or very remote (23.5%) areas is the Northern Territory. For all other states and territories, populations in those categories are in single digits (or even fractions of percentage points).

Population growth

Between 1996 and 2006 the Australian population grew by 2.4 million at an average annual rate of 1.2%. The greatest growth took place in the major cities, at an average annual rate of 1.6%. The population of inner regional areas continued to grow (0.8%) and that of outer regional areas remained generally stable, but in remote and very remote areas the population underwent a decline (-0.4% and -0.3% respectively) over the decade. Over the last five years of the decade, however, population growth slowed in the major cities and increased in the other areas.

Demographic characteristics

In 2006, the ratio of males to females in Australia was 99 to 100. There were more women than men in the major cities and inner regional areas, but this situation was reversed in more remote areas. The highest ratio of males to females was in very remote areas (113 males for every 100 females), probably because of the types of male-dominated industries common in those areas – agriculture, mining, etc.

The median age of the Australian population in 2006 was 37 years. In major cities, the median age was 36, in inner regional areas 39, and outer regional areas 38.

Australia's population is ageing.[4] Between June 2001 and June 2006 the proportion of males and females aged 19 years and younger decreased, while the proportion of the population aged 55 or older generally increased. The median age of the population (the age at which half the population is younger and half older), was 36.6 years in June 2006, up from the 35.7 years in June 2001 and 34 years in June 1996.

Indigenous Australian population

At 30 June 2006, the preliminary estimated population of Indigenous Australians (Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders)[5] was 517,200, some 2.5% of the total population. In marked contrast with the population as a whole, in 2006 only 32% of Indigenous people lived in major cities, significantly lower than the 68% of the general population who do so. Some 43% of Indigenous people lived in inner or outer regional areas, 10% in remote areas and 16% in very remote areas. Indigenous people therefore made up 48% of the overall population in very remote areas and 16% in remote areas.

The majority of Indigenous people live in New South Wales (29%), Queensland (28%), Western Australia (15%) and the Northern Territory (13%).

Indigenous Australians comprise only a small percentage of the total population in the states and the Australian Capital Territory. In the Northern Territory, by contrast, almost one-third of the population is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.


For purposes of the Australian Census, ancestry is a self-defined and self-reported classification, further complicated by the fact that 35% of the population reported more than one ancestry in 2006 (hence the percentages in the following table add up to more than 100%).[6] Broadly, however, the ancestry of the Australian population is as follows:

Ancestry % of pop'n
Australian[7] 37.8
New Zealander, Maori,

other Pacific Islander

European 67.4
Middle Eastern 2.2
Asian 8.6
Other 1.9


The 2006 Census[8] found that the population of Australia was 26% Roman Catholic, 19% Anglican, 19% other Christian denominations and 6% non-Christian religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and others). Those professing no religion or failing to adequately respond to the question comprised almost 31% of the population.


Australia's national language is English, but the nation's cultural diversity has led to more than 200 languages being spoken in the community.[9] Major languages other than English include Italian, Greek, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese, speakers of which comprise around 7% of the total population.


In 2003 the estimated rates of literacy (defined by reference to those of age 15 and over can read and write) in Australia were 99% overall, and 99% for males and females alike.[10]


(PD) Photo: CIA World Factbook
Add image caption here.

One of about 210 countries in the world, at 7,610,930 km2 comprises 5% of the land area of the globe, but is the sixth-largest country on the planet (after Russia, Canada, China, the USA and Brazil).[11]

Dimensions and extremities

Of the six largest countries, Australia is the only one surrounded by water and has a total coastline length of 59,736 km. Of that, almost 40% (23,859 km) is made up of island coastlines, with the remaining 35,877 km surrounding the mainland.

Australia is almost 3700 km long from its most northerly point (Cape York, on the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, latitude 10º41'21"S longitude 142º31'50"E) to its most southerly point in Tasmania (South East Cape, 28º38'15"S 153º38'14"E). The southernmost mainland point of Australia is South Point, on Wilson's Promontory, Victoria (39º08'20"S 146º22'26"E).

From east to west, Australia is almost 4000 km wide. The easternmost point is Cape Byron, at Byron Bay, NSW (28º38'15"S 153º38'14"E), while the western extremity of Australia is at Steep Point, Shark Bay, WA (26º09'5"S 113º09'18"E).

States and territories

Australia comprises six states and two territories, as well as several smaller territories with varying degrees of habitation. Each state and territory has a capital city, which is the seat of the state or territory government. The Australian Capital Territory has at its capital Canberra, which is also the national capital of the Commonwealth of Australia.

State/Territory Abbreviation Capital Population

(2013 est.)[12]



Australian Capital Territory ACT Canberra 381,700 2,358
New South Wales NSW Sydney 7.4 million 800,642
Northern Territory NT Darwin 237,800 1,349,129
Queensland Qld Brisbane 4.6 million 1,730,648
South Australia SA Adelaide 1.7 million 983,482
Tasmania Tas Hobart 512,900 68,401
Victoria Vic Melbourne 5.7 million 227,416
Western Australia WA Perth 2.5 million 2,529,875

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Geoscience Australia (see notes below)


Half of the surface area of Australia is covered by the Western Shield.[13] This plateau, much of it desert, averages between 400 m and 600 m above sea level, but reaches 1,524 m at Mount Liebig, in the central Macdonnell Ranges.

East of the shield lies the Great Artesian Basin, which sprawls across an area from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north to the mouth of the Murray River in the south.

The third major physiographic region in Australia is the Great Dividing Range (or Eastern Uplands). Extending north-south from Queensland to Tasmania, the range cordons the western shield and basin regions from the populous and fertile south-eastern coastal plains.

The highest mainland point is Mount Kosciusko (2,228 m), while Mount Oisa in Tasmania climbs to 1,617 m. Lake Eyre, at 15 m below sea level, is the lowest point on the continent.

Around 18% of the continent is forested, mainly along the ranges, plateaux and basins of the Great Divide. The tropical rainforest belt lies along the north-east coast of Queensland, although there are scattered instances of such forests further south.

The Murray River, fed by the Darling, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers, is Australia's longest inland waterway, flowing 2,350 km from the Snowy Mountains to the Great Australian Bight.

Off the north-east coast lies the Great Barrier Reef, which runs 1,931 km almost parallel to the Great Dividing Range. Covering an area of some 350,000 km2, the reef (in reality a system of individual and fringing reefs) is an important environmental region and tourist attraction.

External territories

Australia has seven external territories, which range from hundreds to thousands of kilometres from the mainland. These include:

Oceans and seas

Australia lies between the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east.[14] It has coasts along the Timor Sea and Arafura Sea to the north, off which the Gulf of Carpentaria extends into the northern landmass of the continent. To the north-east is the Coral Sea, which washes onto the Great Barrier Reef, while the Tasman Sea laps against the south-eastern shoreline of the nation. Bass Strait divides Tasmania from the mainland. The Southern Ocean lies to the south, meeting the coastline in an extensive waterway known as the Great Australian Bight.

Australia retains the right to explore and exploit the seabed and waters in the nation's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which totals 8,148,250 km2 (one of the largest EEZ's in the world, the total area exceeding the country's land area). The EEZ generally extends to a limit 200 nautical miles from Australia's coastline, including her external territories.






Australia a strong economy and a per capita GDP (US$37,500, 2007 est.) comparable with the four most powerful European economies. The economy has in recent years been buoyed by strong business and consumer confidence, and by robust export prices for raw materials and agricultural produce. Over the past almost two decades the Australian government has emphasised economic reform and low inflation, encouraged a booming housing market, and strengthened ties with China, which has led to relatively consistent expansion of the economy.

An extended drought across much of rural Australia, high demand for imports, and a strong currency have, however, led to an increased trade deficit in recent years. Constraints on export growth and inflation concerns have been created by infrastructure bottlenecks and a tight labour market.

Despite this, however, strong revenue growth has seen the Australian budget remain in surplus since 2002.[15]


Australia is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State. She is represented by the Governor-General, General Peter Cosgrove, who holds broad, but for the most part nominal, executive powers.

Australia's head of government is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the Liberal and National parties coalition. The Opposition is the Australian Labor Party (ALP), led by Bill Shorten.

The Australian system of government is based on that of the United Kingdom (the Westminster system), with elements of that of the USA. Parliament comprises two houses. The House of Representatives (lower house) is where most legislation is initiated. Members of Parliament in this house are elected to represent seats based on population. The Senate (upper house) is generally considered a house of review. Each state of the Commonwealth of Australia elects an equal number of Senators. Unlike many other countries, voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged 18 or over.

Australia has close relations with the United States and Asia, and has special trade treaties with both. Australia currently has a free-trade agreement with the United States.

International relations

Globalisation has brought new opportunities for Australia, promoting trade liberalisation and raising living standards, but has also led to an increased vulnerability to transnational threats such as international terrorism.[16] To advance its national interests on both sides of this global equation, Australia cultivates close bilateral relationships with countries in the Asia–Pacific region and a robust alliance with the United States of America, and is a member of a number of regional organisations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit and the Pacific Islands Forum. Australia uses its membership of multilateral bodies such as the United Nations and World Trade Organisation to work towards important goals such as regional security, trade liberalisation, human rights and sustainable development.


(For a more in-depth treatment, see Australia, history)

Before European settlement

Archaeological evidence suggests that Aborigines were living in Australia at least 40,000 years ago,[17] although a skeleton found at Lake Mungo, NSW, is believed perhaps to have been buried between 57,000 and 71,000 years ago.[18] The Aborigines, like many other indigenous and ethnic groups, have a rich oral tradition based on the Dreaming (also the Dreamtime), when ancestral beings created life and significant landmarks across the country. Dreaming stories are a critical means of passing crucial knowledge, cultural values and belief systems from one generation to the next.[19] Prior to European settlement, Aborigines lived an often nomadic life as hunters, fishers and gatherers, in groups of 25 to 50 people. Estimates vary, but the Aboriginal population at the time of colonisation may have been around 750,000, speaking some 700 languages.[20] These numbers dropped sharply after 1788 because of introduced diseases and the killings by settlers.[21]

In conventional 19th- and 20th-century versions of Australian history, Captain James Cook "discovered" the Great South Land in 1770, but Macassan traders, from the eastern part of modern Indonesia, were visiting and trading with northern-Australian Aborigines for at least a century prior to European settlement in 1788.[22] Europeans other than Cook had also visited southern continent earlier. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, for example, charted the coast of what is now Tasmania in 1642, and of northern Australia in 1644. English explorer and sometime buccaneer William Dampier explored the western and north-western coastline during voyages in 1688 and 1699. Cook was, however, first to claim part of mainland Australia for a European nation, when in 1770 claimed the east coast for England.

Colonisation to federation

The British established a penal colony at Port Jackson (now Sydney) on 26 January 1788 (and event now celebrated annually as Australia Day). Another penal colony was established in Tasmania (then called Van Diemen's Land) in 1803. Free settlers began to arrive in the colony from the 1790s, and wheat and merino sheep were also introduced in the late 18th century. As settlement spread and the country opened up, squatters[23] began to occupy grazing land. Resentment among free settlers of competition for jobs with convict labour, and a decline in Britain in the popularity of transporting felons, saw transportation to NSW end in 1840 and to Tasmania in 1853. It was reintroduced briefly in WA (1853–1867) to provide labour. Some 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia between 1788 and 1867.

During the 1830s and 1840s, there was growing demand for self-government. This was granted in 1850, when the British allowed colonies a significant degree of independence under the Australian Colonies Government Act. Under the Act colonies could, for example, amend their constitutions, determine electoral franchise and fix tariffs.

The discovery of gold in NSW and Victoria in 1851 led to a large influx of migrants; the population of Victoria quadrupled by 1855. The Australian economy was now firmly based on wool and gold. The large holdings of squatters were now preventing small farmers from purchasing land, so most colonies tried to break them up, but with limited success. Trade unions also began to emerge, particularly among miners and shearers, and the 1880s saw intermittent industrial unrest. Labour became a significant political force in the 1890s, with industrial action among wharf labourers spreading to miners and farm workers in a strike that was ultimately put down by troops and police. Further strike action followed nonetheless, and by 1891 the newly emergent Australian Labor Party (ALP) held the balance of power in NSW.

The final decade of the 19th century was difficult for Australia. An extended drought, industrial unrest, overexpansion and excessive borrowing to cause bank failures and a financial crisis. Problems were also arising because of the independent nature of the various colonies — differing postal systems and railway gauges, for example, and the want of a unified defence policy. Growing trade protectionism among the majority of colonies from 1866 made clear the need for some form of intercolonial cooperation.

Although in 1833 the first of a series of intercolonial conferences aimed at closer ties failed to make significant headway, in 1891 initial moves towards a unified nation were taken at the first Australian Federal Convention, which worked out a draft constitution that later became the basis for federation. On 1 January 1901 the colonies of NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia.

The new federal government now controlled foreign affairs, defence, trade, and so on. The first piece of legislation passed by the new parliament was the Immigration Restriction Act (1901), which put in place what became known as the White Australia policy (aimed especially at keeping out Chinese immigrants, who had arrived in large numbers to work the goldfields). A great deal of social legislation was also passed during this period, however — in 1902 women were given federal franchise; an industrial arbitration court, which established the principle of a basic wage, was set up in 1906; and free and compulsory education was introduced, as were old-age and invalid pensions. The first ship of the Australian navy was ordered in 1909. The Commonwealth Bank was established in 1911, and in the same year the Commonwealth bought land from NSW to form the federal capital, Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory, where Parliament was to meet for the first time in 1927.

Genocide of Aboriginal Australians

The history and legacy of the genocide of Aboriginal Australians is detailed in the 1997 report /Bringing Them Home/ [24]. After colonisation, due to the culture of scientific racism in Europe, Aboriginal Australians were regarded as a racially inferior, dying race. As the report details, State Governments implemented a policy of assimilation to eliminate blackness in Anglo-Australian society by forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their family. Such a practice is listed as genocide under article 2(e) of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide [25]. The consequences of such a policy was disastrous, leading to mass intergenerational trauma, whose victims are now called The Stolen Generation. Children who were removed were put into government institutions, foster families or Christian missionaries, which often perpetrated systemic abuse of the children. This legacy continues today, as forced removals still occur under similar legal pretexts [26], despite the important symbolic apology by the former PM Kevin Rudd [27].

World War I

Australia's role during World War I, although relatively minor overall, was significant given the size of the nation and the toll of the conflict on its population.[28] In terms of lives shattered or lost, the war was the most costly in Australian history: of the 416,809 men who enlisted (from a population of fewer than 5 million), more than 60,000 died and 156,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

Australian troops first took part in the ultimately abortive Allied operations against the Ottoman Empire on the Gallipoli Peninsula (25 April to 20 December 1915), considered by Australians their baptism of fire. After Gallipoli, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) fought on the Western Front from March 1916 until war's end, making their name in battles such as Fromelles (July 1916); Bullecourt, Messines and Passchendaele (1917); and Hamel, Mont St Quentin and Péronne (1918). In October 1918 the depleted Australian divisions were withdrawn from the line for rest and refitting, and were preparing to return when the Germans surrendered on 11 November.

Australians also acquitted themselves admirably in the Middle East, where Australian Light Horse troopers assisted the Allies against the Ottomans in the defence of the Suez Canal and the reconquest of the Sinai peninsula (1916), the advance into Palestine and the taking of Gaza and Jerusalem (1917), and the occupation of Lebanon and Syria (1918). Australia also provided naval and air forces. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was under the command of the British Royal Navy, and scored an early and significant victory when it destroyed the German raider Emden in 1914. Around 3,000 airmen served in the Middle East and France with the newly formed Australian Flying Corps (AFC).

In 1916 the Labor Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, decided that conscription was necessary if the strength of Australia's military forces at the front was to be maintained. The Labor Party and the trade unions were bitterly opposed to conscription, and Hughes and his followers were expelled from the party when they refused to back down. In 1916 and again in 1917 the Australian people voted against conscription in national plebiscites.

Between the wars

After World War I, Australia participated in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. During the 1920s, high prices for wool and wheat supported an expansion of the Australian economy. Manufacturing industries received protection from newly introduced tariffs, while primary producers gained subsidies. Hughes united with the Liberals to form the Nationalist Party, and remained in office until 1923, when he was succeeded by Stanley Bruce. Hughes became one of the longest serving members of parliament in Australian history.

The Depression of the 1930s hit hard in Australia, but rising prices for wool and gold, combined with preferential trade terms within the British Commonwealth, enabled it to recover from the Depression faster than many other nations. Australia had, in 1931, become a dominion with the Commonwealth of Nations (sometimes called the British Commonwealth) by virtue of the passage of the Statute of Westminster.

World War II

Almost a million Australians, men and women, served during World War II.[29][30] Of those, around 30,000 died. Australians fought Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, and Japan in South-East Asia and elsewhere in the Pacific. For the first time the Australian mainland was directly attacked, and Australia conducted its war accordingly.

The Australian Army first saw combat in early 1941, against the Italians in the Mediterranean and North Africa. After the Germans entered the war, Australian troops conducted a desperate defence of the Libyan port of Tobruk, earning the nickname "the Rats of Tobruk". Upon being relieved, most returned to Australia to take up the war against Japan, who had swiftly and suddenly entered the war in December 1941.

By the end of March 1942 the Japanese occupied most of South-East Asia and large areas of the Pacific. When Singapore fell (February 1942) the entire Australian 8th Division became prisoners of war at Changi, and later on the Thai-Burma Railway. By now, though, Japan's southward advance was slowing. Australian invasion fears were eased as AIF veterans returned from the Mediterranean, and United States forces under General Douglas Macarthur took over responsibility for Australia's defence. The Allies also began to defeat the Japanese in a series of decisive land and sea battles, and the threat of invasion faded further still. During 1943 and early 1944 Australian troops were predominantly involved in land battles in New Guinea. They also began, in 1944, a series of campaigns against the Japanese from Bougainville to Borneo. Australians were still fighting in Borneo when the war ended in August 1945.

Robert Menzies became Prime Minister of Australia in 1939, until 1941. He returned to office in 1949, and became Australia's longest-serving prime minister and the dominant figure in Australian politics until the mid-1960s.

Living in a Cold War world

Australian troops took part in a number of Cold War conflicts, including the Korean War (1950–1953), the Malayan Emergency (1950–1960) and the Vietnam War (1962–1972). It was also a signatory to significant regional treaties and agreements such as ANZUS and SEATO. Cold War fears allowed Menzies to retain office, and in 1951 he narrowly failed to win a referendum to allow him to ban the Communist Party. Monarchist sentiment in Australia peaked during the Menzies era with the successful 1954 tour by Queen Elizabeth II. Menzies' policies were also responsible for expanding higher education and industrial development. Australia's participation in Vietnam, and particularly the use of conscription, became politically contentious and saw massive protests, though they were for the most part peaceful. The Liberal Party maintained power through Menzies' successors, Harold Holt (who disappeared in 1967, while swimming off Cheviot Beach in Victoria), John Gorton and William McMahon, though each Prime Minister was generally considered to be less popular and less politically skilled than his predecessor. In 1972, Labor leader Gough Whitlam was elected, marking the end of Australia's participation in the Vietnam War and changes to foreign policy, including formally recognizing the People's Republic of China. Whitlam's administration was troubled with high unemployment, uncontrolled inflation, political scandals, Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, and a hostile Senate which blocked supply leading to a constitutional crisis ending with the dismissal of the Prime Minister, in November 1975. The Liberal-National Country Party coalition under Malcolm Fraser won a landslide election victory in December 1975, with a record 55-seat majority.

The Howard era

In 1996, former Liberal Party treasurer John Howard was elected Prime Minister. The Howard government reduced Australia's government deficit and the influence of labour unions, placing more emphasis on workplace-based collective bargaining for wages. The government also accelerated the pace of privatisation, beginning with the government-owned telecommunications corporation, Telstra. Howard's coalition government continued some elements of the foreign policy of its predecessors, based on relations with four key countries: the United States of America, Japan, China, and Indonesia. Following the 9/11 attack in 2001, Australia aligned itself further with the United States, and participated in military campaigns in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The 2002 Bali bombings and the bombing of the Jakarta Marriott hotel in 2003, saw terrorism on Australia's doorstep, and the Howard government was returned to office comfortably on a strong national security platform in 2004. Changes to industrial relations policies proved unpopular and the Howard government subsequently lost the 2007 federal election, despite strong economic growth and low unemployment. Howard was Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister.

Many Aborigines exist today, and there is a large ethnically mixed population with Aboriginal inheritance as well. Some Aborigines are able to continue their native traditions and some have been assimilated into the larger society, while others remain at odds with society in general and feel that they have not been been adequately compensated for many years of disenfranchisement and mistreatment. Recently, many initiatives have been taken to increase the quality of life of the Aborigines. An important step in improving relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech of 13 February 2008. Rudd apologised for past wrongs against Aborigines and spoke of a future in which Australians of all races were united.[31] Rudd's Prime Ministership however was eroded, with disquiet over his autocratic style of management within his own party, the ALP, and falling popularity in the opinion polls after the apology. In 2013, it was revealed in leaked documents that Rudd had authorized spying on Asian neighbour Indonesia in 2009, the revelation of which resulted in widespread protests against Australia in that country.[32] Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister of Australia during an unprecedented leadership spill in 2010, motivated by the ALP's drop in the opinion polls and loss of union support for Rudd. It was the first time in Australian history that an elected Prime Minister had lost the leadership of their own party. Gillard's leadership was not without controversy including opposing support for same-sex marriage equality, and public criticism in January 2013 when she 'parachuted' Aboriginal sportswoman Nova Peris into the Northern Territory senate candidacy, overruling the party pre-selection of Trish Crossin, in what she termed a 'captain's pick'.[33] Gillard's popularity was steadily declining in the opinion polls, and in June 2013, in another unprecedented move, Gillard was removed as leader by a Caucus vote, and Rudd returned as Prime Minister. The ALP had become destabilised and at the 2013 Federal election, was swept out of office by the Liberal-National Party coalition, led by Tony Abbott.

Notes and references

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, "Population clock". Retrieved 17 January 2019 from
  2. Unless otherwise specified, information in this section, and its associated subsections, comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, "Population distribution", 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008 from
  3. This is throws into sharp relief the myth that Australia is a nation of bronze-skinned giants living in the outback – the nation has always been highly urbanised, with the stereotypical Australian "bushman" (farmer, stockman – the Australian version of the US cowboy – etc.) being very much in the minority.
  4. Information in this paragraph is from Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3235.0 – Population by age and sex, Australia, 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2008 from
  5. "An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he (she) lives." Gardiner-Garden, J. 2000. The Definition of Aboriginality. Research Note 18 2000-01. Canberra: Department of the Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 15 August 2008 from
  6. Information in this subsection is from ABS. 2008. Year Book Australia 2008 (cat. no. 1301.0). Canberra: ABS. pp. 460–1. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from
  7. Includes Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian of South Sea Islander descent
  8. ABS. 2008. Year Book Australia 2008. pp. 457–8. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from
  9. ABS. 2008. Year Book Australia 2008". pp. 455–7
  10. CIA 2008.
  11. Unless otherwise specified, information in this section, including the subsections, comes from the Australian Government's Geoscience Australia website and the various pages contained therein. Retrieved 15 August 2008 from
  12. Australian Bureau of Statistics (30 March 2013). 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2013 - Main Features. Accessed 6 October 2013.
  13. Information in this subsection, is from SBS. 1995. The SBS World Guide. 4th edn. Melbourne: Reed Reference.
  14. Information in this paragraph is from Geoscience Australia. 2006. "Appendix E: Limits of Oceans and Seas", in Geoscience Australia Topographic Data and Map Specifications for TOPO250K and TOPO100K National Topographic Databases and NTMS Series 1:250 000 and 1:100 000 Scale Topographic Map Products. Retrieved 20 August 2008 from
  15. Information and statistics in this section are from the CIA 2008 (see previous reference).
  16. Information in this section is from ABS. 2008. Year Book Australia 2008". p. 141.
  17. Unless otherwise specified, background information in this "History" section, including the subsections, comes from SBS. 1995. The SBS World Guide. 4th edn. Melbourne: Reed Reference.
  18. Thorne, A., et al. 1999. "Australia's oldest human remains: Age of the Lake Mungo 3 skeleton". Journal of Human Evolution 36, 591–612. Retrieved 18 August 2008 from$file/Thorne+et+al.+1999.pdf
  19. Australian Government. 2008. "The Dreaming." Culture and Recreation Portal. Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  20. Australian Museum. 2004. "Introduction." Indigenous Australia. Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  21. See, for example, "Racism. Now Way: Key dates", – a search for the term "massacre" in your browser will give an idea, albeit incomplete, of the scale of what is being referred to here.
  22. Northern Territory Government. 2007. "Monsoon traders (Macassans)." Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  23. People who settled on Crown (government-owned) land to run stock, particularly sheep, without government permission at first, but from 1836 with a lease or licence.
  28. Information in this subsection is from Australian War Memorial. n.d. "First World War I914–18". Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  29. Unless otherwise specified, information in this subsection is from Australian War Memorial. n.d. "Second World War I939–45". Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  30. Australia's population was only 7 million in 1939. Australian Bureau of Statistics, "Table 2. Population by sex, states and territories, 30 June, 1901 onwards", 3105.0.65.001 - Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006 (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Retrieved 18 August 2008 from
  31. Rudd, K., "Apology to Australia's Indigenous people". Retrieved 10 August 2008 from
  32. Henderson, Anna, George Roberts. Tony Abbott should promise not to tap Indonesian president's phone in future, Julia Gillard says, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 22 November 2013. Retrieved on 22 November 2013.
  33. Staff writer. Gillard faces criticism over Peris Senate preselection, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23 January 2013. Retrieved on 13 November 2013.