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AB AF AL AM AN AR AS AT AU AZ

Australia

 

Australia
Introduction Australia
----------------------
Background: Australia became a commonwealth of
the British Empire in 1901. It was
able to take advantage of its
natural resources to rapidly develop
its agricultural and manufacturing
industries and to make a major
contribution to the British effort
in World Wars I and II. Long-term
concerns include pollution,
particularly depletion of the ozone
layer, and management and
conservation of coastal areas,
especially the Great Barrier Reef. A
referendum to change Australia's
status, from a commonwealth headed
by the British monarch to an
independent republic, was defeated
in 1999.

Geography Australia
-------------------
Location: Oceania, continent between the
Indian Ocean and the South Pacific
Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 27 00 S, 133 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 7,686,850 sq km
water: 68,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and
Macquarie Island
land: 7,617,930 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US
contiguous 48 states
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 25,760 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the
edge of the continental margin
Climate: generally arid to semiarid;
temperate in south and east;
tropical in north
Terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts;
fertile plain in southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
highest point: Mount Kosciuszko
2,229 m
Natural resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper,
tin, silver, uranium, nickel,
tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc,
diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
Land use: arable land: 6.88%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 93.09% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 24,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: cyclones along the coast; severe
droughts; forest fires
Environment - current issues: soil erosion from overgrazing,
industrial development,
urbanization, and poor farming
practices; soil salinity rising due
to the use of poor quality water;
desertification; clearing for
agricultural purposes threatens the
natural habitat of many unique
animal and plant species; the Great
Barrier Reef off the northeast
coast, the largest coral reef in the
world, is threatened by increased
shipping and its popularity as a
tourist site; limited natural fresh
water resources
Environment - international party to: Antarctic-Environmental
agreements: Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living
Resources, Antarctic Seals,
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity,
Climate Change, Desertification,
Endangered Species, Environmental
Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law
of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine
Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban,
Ozone Layer Protection, Ship
Pollution, Tropical Timber 83,
Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands,
Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate
Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: world's smallest continent but
sixth-largest country; population
concentrated along the eastern and
southeastern coasts; regular,
tropical, invigorating, sea breeze
known as "the Doctor" occurs along
the west coast in the summer

People Australia
----------------
Population: 19,546,792 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.4% (male 2,046,052;
female 1,949,725)
15-64 years: 67% (male 6,610,840;
female 6,480,354)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male
1,078,506; female 1,381,315) (2002
est.)
Population growth rate: 0.96% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 12.71 births/1,000 population (2002
est.)
Death rate: 7.25 deaths/1,000 population (2002
est.)
Net migration rate: 4.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population
(2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/
female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/
female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2002
est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80 years
female: 83 years (2002 est.)
male: 77.15 years
Total fertility rate: 1.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 14,000 (1999 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Australian(s)
adjective: Australian
Ethnic groups: Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal
and other 1%
Religions: Anglican 26.1%, Roman Catholic 26%,
other Christian 24.3%, non-Christian
11%, other 12.6%
Languages: English, native languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read
and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (1980 est.)

Government Australia
--------------------
Country name: conventional long form: Commonwealth
of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
Government type: democratic, federal-state system
recognizing the British monarch as
sovereign
Capital: Canberra
Administrative divisions: 6 states and 2 territories*;
Australian Capital Territory*, New
South Wales, Northern Territory*,
Queensland, South Australia,
Tasmania, Victoria, Western
Australia
Dependent areas: Ashmore and Cartier Islands,
Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling)
Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard
Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk
Island
Independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of UK
colonies)
National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Constitution: 9 July 1900, effective 1 January
1901
Legal system: based on English common law; accepts
compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with
reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and
compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II
(since 6 February 1952), represented
by Governor General Rt. Rev. Dr.
Peter HOLLINGWORTH (since 29 June
2001)
head of government: Prime Minister
John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March
1996); Deputy Prime Minister John
ANDERSON (since 20 July 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet Parliament
nominates, from among its members, a
list of candidates to serve as
government ministers; from this
list, the governor general makes the
final selections for the Cabinet
elections: none; the monarch is
hereditary; governor general
appointed by the monarch; following
legislative elections, the leader of
the majority party or leader of a
majority coalition is usually
appointed prime minister by the
governor general for a three-year
term
note: government coalition - Liberal
Party and National Party
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Parliament
consists of the Senate (76 seats -
12 from each of the six states and
two from each of the two mainland
territories; one-half of the members
elected every three years by popular
vote to serve six-year terms) and
the House of Representatives (150
seats - this is up from 148 seats in
2001 election; members elected by
popular vote on the basis of
preferential representation to serve
three-year terms; no state can have
fewer than five representatives)
elections: Senate - last held 10
November 2001 (next to be held by
November 2004); House of
Representatives - last held 10
November 2001 (next to be held by
November 2004)
election results: Senate - percent
of vote by party - NA%; seats by
party - Liberal Party-National Party
coalition 35, Australian Labor Party
28, Australian Democrats 8, Green
Party 2, One Nation Party 1, Country
Labor Party 1, independent 1; House
of Representatives - percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party -
Liberal Party-National Party
coalition 82, Australian Labor Party
65, independent and other 3
Judicial branch: High Court (the chief justice and
six other justices are appointed by
the governor general)
Political parties and leaders: Australian Democrats [Natasha STOTT-
DESPOJA]; Australian Labor Party
[Simon CREAN]; Country Labor Party
[leader NA]; Green Party [Bob
BROWN]; Liberal Party [John Winston
HOWARD]; National Party [John
ANDERSON]; One Nation Party [leader
NA]
Political pressure groups and Australian Democratic Labor Party
leaders: (anti-Communist Labor Party splinter
group); Australian Monarchist League
[leader NA]; Australian Republican
Movement [leader NA]
International organization ANZUS, APEC, ARF (dialogue partner),
participation: AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner),
Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CP,
EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO,
ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD,
IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO,
Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM
(guest), NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA,
Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD,
UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMEE, UNTAET, UNTSO,
UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO,
WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael
J. THAWLEY
consulate(s) general: Atlanta,
Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New
York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador J.
US: Thomas SCHIEFFER
embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla,
Canberra, Australian Capital
Territory 2600
mailing address: APO AP 96549
telephone: [61] (02) 6214-5600
FAX: [61] (02) 6214-5970
consulate(s) general: Melbourne,
Perth, Sydney
Flag description: blue with the flag of the UK in the
upper hoist-side quadrant and a
large seven-pointed star in the
lower hoist-side quadrant; the
remaining half is a representation
of the Southern Cross constellation
in white with one small five-pointed
star and four, larger, seven-pointed
stars

Economy Australia
-----------------
Economy - overview: Australia has a prosperous Western-
style capitalist economy, with a per
capita GDP on par with the four
dominant West European economies.
The Australian economy has been
resilient in the face of the global
economic downturn in 2001 chalking
up 2.3% GDP growth, as the domestic
economy is offsetting the external
slump and business and consumer
confidence remains robust.
Canberra's emphasis on reforms is a
key factor behind the economy's
strength, and Australia is expected
to outperform its trading partners
in 2002, with GDP growth projected
to be 3% or better. Australia
probably will experience some
weakness in mid-2002 as its business
cycle tends to lag the US by about
six months, and larger problems
could emerge if Australia's trade
position worsens.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $465.9
billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $24,000
(2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3%
industry: 25%
services: 72% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2%
percentage share: highest 10%: 25.4% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini 35.2 (1994)
index:
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 9.2 million (December 2001)
Labor force - by occupation: services 73%, industry 22%,
agriculture 5% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.7% (2001)
Budget: revenues: $86.8 billion
expenditures: $84.1 billion,
including capital expenditures of
$NA (FY00/01 est.)
Industries: mining, industrial and
transportation equipment, food
processing, chemicals, steel
Industrial production growth rate: 0.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production: 202.676 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 89.79%
hydro: 8.47%
other: 1.74% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption: 188.489 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits;
cattle, sheep, poultry
Exports: $68.8 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: coal, gold, meat, wool, alumina,
iron ore, wheat, machinery and
transport equipment
Exports - partners: Japan 19%, US 9%, South Korea 7%,
China 6%, New Zealand 5.8%,
Singapore 4% (2001 est.)
Imports: $70.2 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment,
computers and office machines,
telecommunication equipment and
parts; crude oil and petroleum
products
Imports - partners: US 20%, Japan 13%, China 7.7%, UK
6%, Germany 5%, South Korea 4%, NZ
4%, Malaysia 3.6% (2001 est.)
Debt - external: $168.7 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $894 million (FY99/00)
Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code: AUD
Exchange rates: Australian dollars per US dollar -
1.9354 (January 2002), 1.9320
(2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497
(1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Communications Australia
------------------------
Telephones - main lines in use: 10.05 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 8.6 million (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: excellent
domestic and international service
domestic: domestic satellite system;
much use of radiotelephone in areas
of low population density; rapid
growth of mobile cellular telephones

international: submarine cables to
New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and
Indonesia; satellite earth stations
- 10 Intelsat (4 Indian Ocean and 6
Pacific Ocean), 2 Inmarsat (Indian
and Pacific Ocean regions) (1998)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 262, FM 345, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 25.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 104 (1997)
Televisions: 10.15 million (1997)
Internet country code: .au
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 603 (2001)
Internet users: 10.06 million (2001)

Transportation Australia
------------------------
Railways: total: 33,819 km (2,540 km
electrified)
broad gauge: 3,719 km 1.600-m gauge
narrow gauge: 14,506 km 1.067-
m gauge
standard gauge: 15,422 km 1.435-
m gauge
dual gauge: 172 km NA gauges (1999
est.)
Highways: total: 913,000 km
paved: 353,331 km (including 1,363
km of expressways)
unpaved: 559,669 km (1996)
Waterways: 8,368 km (mainly used by small,
shallow-draft craft)
Pipelines: crude oil 2,500 km; petroleum
products 500 km; natural gas 5,600
km
Ports and harbors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin,
Devonport (Tasmania), Fremantle,
Geelong, Hobart (Tasmania),
Launceston (Tasmania), Mackay,
Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville
Merchant marine: total: 55 ships (1,000 GRT or over)
totaling 1,469,362 GRT/1,869,262 DWT

ships by type: bulk 26, cargo 5,
chemical tanker 4, container 1,
liquefied gas 4, passenger 2,
petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off
6, includes some foreign-owned ships
registered here as a flag of
convenience: France 2, United
Kingdom 2, United States 14 (2002
est.)
Airports: 421 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 282
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 128
914 to 1,523 m: 124
under 914 m: 9 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 139
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 111
under 914 m: 12 (2001)

Military Australia
------------------
Military branches: Royal Australian Army, Royal
Australian Navy, Royal Australian
Air Force
Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 5,013,406 (2002
est.)
Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 4,321,387 (2002
service: est.)
Military manpower - reaching males: 142,686 (2002 est.)
military age annually:
Military expenditures - dollar $9.3 billion (FY01/02 est.)
figure:
Military expenditures - percent of 2% (FY01/02)
GDP:

Transnational Issues Australia
------------------------------
Disputes - international: Australia-East Timor-Indonesia are
working to resolve maritime boundary
and sharing of seabed resources in
"Timor Gap"; Australia asserts a
territorial claim to Antarctica and
to its continental shelf
Illicit drugs: Tasmania is one of the world's major
suppliers of licit opiate products;
government maintains strict controls
over areas of opium poppy
cultivation and output of poppy
straw concentrate
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