australia

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. Neighbouring...

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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. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and 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 22.9 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated in the eastern states.

A highly developed country and one of the wealthiest, Australia is the world's 12th-largest economy and has 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 G20, OECD, WTO, APEC, UN, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS and the Pacific Islands Forum.

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experiences (7)

have you spent time in australia? share your experiences

5

australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/02/13.

I immigrated to Australia a little over 3 years ago when I was almost 22. To best highlight what it's like to live here, it's kind of important to give some information on my past. I'm from a small rural town in Western Washington. It was an impoverished area and my own family wasn't and still isn't doing much better than their neighbors. We were struggling so bad that by 16 my job went to pay for school supplies and lunches, otherwise I would have gone without. I attended university in Seattle on a full scholarship, but decided to move a year and a half short of graduation because I fell in love.

I met an Australian and decided to immigrate for him. I moved here and we were quickly married to help speed up the visa process. And let me tell you immigration is a bitch to deal with. The wanted a huge book of proof that we were in a committed relationship and it was an expensive (and time consuming) pain. However, now that I'm a permanent resident, I get the same benefits a citizen does except I cannot vote and I can't get HECS (A government program that loans people money for university and takes it out of their taxes as soon as they earn above a certain amount). What this means...

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4

melbourne, australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/26/13.

How much time have you spent in Australia?

A bit over 3 years now.

How old were you when you came to Australia? Where were you before?

28. I had been living in California, but immediately before arriving in Australia I had been traveling around South East Asia for about 4 months.

What brought you to Australia? What made you choose Australia over any other place you could've gone?

I originally came here as a continuation of my SE Asian adventure. I have met so many Aussies in my travels and they seemed like a good sort. So I figured while I was in this neck of the woods, I would take the money I had set aside to get re-established in California to set myself up here.

Describe Melbourne and your impressions of it.

There is a reason Melbourne won most livable city on the planet is quite plain to see once you've lived here. It is clean, safe and easy to get around. Melbourne residents like to complain about their mass transit system, but it is effective and reliable, especially when compared to the rest of the world. I can walk around any neighborhood at any time of day or night and feel safe which is great because there would be the occasional stabbing or driveby...

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3

australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 10/08/13.

What brought you to Australia? Where were you before?

I have been married/dating an Aussie for the last 16 years. I had been here previously 5 or 6 times.

Describe the part(s) of Australia you've lived in.

Sydney.

What are the the people of Australia like?

People of Australia are of virtually every variety very similar to the U.S. They are for the most part friendly and curious of my American accent.

Was making friends and meeting people in Australia easy or difficult?

Very easy. I have joined sports teams in Australia same as USA. My coworkers are very similar. No problems socially. Its very similar!

Has your race, nationality, gender, etc. ever affected how you were treated or how people reacted to meeting you in Australia?

White male...no problems.

Were there any language barriers? How did they affect you?

Everyone here talks funny and is in denial about it. They just mangle the English language with impunity. :)

Any social/cultural advice for others who might come to Australia? How do people in Australia socialize differently than other places you've been?

Australia is very heavily regulated (bordering on nanny state), but it is very heavily geared...

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2

australia - anonymous' reflections after spending decades there

posted by anonymous on 10/13/13.

How much time have you spent in Australia?

I have been here about 10 years "all up".

How old you are/were while in Australia?

I arrived when I was 18.

What are your thoughts and impressions of Perth?

Perth is great to raise a family. From a young persons perspective or no family it's a little slow, and a bit boring. There are things to do but you really need to make an effort to find it. Most of the entertainment is just going to the bars/pubs.

How does Perth compare to other cities in Australia? What drew you to Perth over other cities in Australia?

Each city I have been to is unique in its own way with pros and cons for each. I have felt I needed to be in Perth so I stayed here.

What are your impressions of Australians? In what ways are they different than people in other places you've lived?

Australians are generally friendly towards Americans so this made my stay pleasant. I found Australians to be similar to Americans so culture wasn't a shock. I haven't had trouble here but I don't attract it either.

Was making friends and meeting people in Australia in general easy or difficult?

I found it easy, but this might be my personality.

How did your...

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2

australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/09/13.

I came here in late December 2010, when I was 14, because my parents moved here. They told me we moved because there wasn't much of a future in South Africa for a while male, because of racial politics and because the general state of the economy and infrastructure was so poor that also helped their decision.

I live on the Gold Coast (Saying "in" feels off, even though it's technically a city), and it's.... er. Different. It's probably the seediest big city in Australia, and I've heard it called the Las Vegas of Australia (Though I would disagree with that). The overall populace of course varies, but for the most part everyone is really laid back (Which took a lot of getting used to!). A very very big drug, and drinking, culture among teenagers is something I've also noticed.

I couldn't say much apart from them being extremely laid back, and for the most part it seems they have abandoned social politics. There's some mild racial tension when dealing with Aboriginals/Torres Strait Islanders, but... for the most part, everyone is incredibly laid back, and the pace is pretty slow, and politics aren't taken much into consideration.

It was very difficult at first because everyone...

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2

australia - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/16/13.

How much time have you spent in Australia?

I spent one year in Sydney, but I was managing Surf/Skate tours up and down the East Coast, so I was able to travel quite a bit.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Australia?

I was 22-23.

What brought you to Australia? Where were you before?

I was living in LA, but had a rough 3 months. 3 of my close friends passed away and I broke up with my longterm girlfriend. I needed an escape and I was lucky enough to work for an international company that allowed me to move.

Describe the city you live/lived in in Australia and your impressions of it.

Sydney was great! I lived in a mansion with 5 other aussie's on the beach. Sydney is definitely the metropolitan city compared to the "culture" Melbourne, "Beach'y" Gold Coast, or Perth.

What makes the people of Australia unique? In what ways are they different than people in other places you've lived?

Everyone in Oz was very accepting. People there are generally just down for a good time. Sports make up such a large part of the Australian lifestyle, so along with it comes drinking and socializing.

Was making friends and meeting people in Australia in general easy...

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1

australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/31/13.

How much time have you spent in Australia? Where were you before? How old were you when you came to Ausralia?

1 year. NYC. 25.

What brought you to Australia?

This is a long and convoluted story but if we were to boil it down and a truthful, yet amusing way: WORLD OF WARCRAFT. haha yes I met some friends on WOW. no they were not axe murders and consequently neither am I.

What made you choose Australia over any other place you could've gone?

I was debating between Germany and OZ. I opted for the happier looking country! Describe the city you live in in Australia and your impressions of it. Brisbane. It's a very young city, about the size of Philly or Boston. There's a lot going on, you've just got to know where to look. It has a lot of hidden gems.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in Australia?

From my experience Melbourne is known to be the 'artsy' city. As an artist myself I thought I'd wind up there until I realised Brisbane's charm. Again, you have to know where to look where as 'Melbin' (as it's pronounced) is much older and has more European so it's a bit more obvious in that way. I found Sydney to be much more touristy and business-like...

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demographics

population

22,015,576 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%

languages

English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census)

religions

Protestant 27.4% (Anglican 18.7%, Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 3%), Catholic 25.8%, Eastern Orthodox 2.7%, other Christian 7.9%, Buddhist 2.1%, Muslim 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 11.3%, none 18.7% (2006 Census)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 18.2% (male 2,050,403/ female 1,946,829)

15-64: 15-64 years: 67.5% (male 7,532,611/ female 7,326,120)

65+: 65 years and over: 14.4% (male 1,451,869/ female 1,707,744) (2012 est.)

urbanization

89% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

81.9 years

obesity rate

16.4% (2005)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

21 years

economics

cost of living

9/10 (very-high)

economic overview

Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas,...

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Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources. A series of major investments, such as the US$40 billion Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas project, will significantly expand the resources sector. Australia also has a large services sector and is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food. Key tenets of Australia's trade policy include support for open trade and the successful culmination of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, particularly for agriculture and services. The Australian economy grew for 17 consecutive years before the global financial crisis. Subsequently, the former RUDD government introduced a fiscal stimulus package worth over US$50 billion to offset the effect of the slowing world economy, while the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to historic lows. These policies - and continued demand for commodities, especially from China - helped the Australian economy rebound after just one quarter of negative growth. The economy grew by 1.4% during 2009 - the best performance in the OECD - by 2.7% in 2010, and by 1.8% in 2011. Unemployment, originally expected to reach 8-10%, peaked at 5.7% in late 2009 and fell to 5.0% in 2011. As a result of an improved economy, the budget deficit is expected to peak below 4.2% of GDP and the government could return to budget surpluses as early as 2015. Australia was one of the first advanced economies to raise interest rates, with seven rate hikes between October 2009 and November 2010. The GILLARD government is focused on raising Australia's economic productivity to ensure the sustainability of growth, and continues to manage the symbiotic, but sometimes tense, economic relationship with China. Australia is engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and ongoing free trade agreement negotiations with China, Japan, and Korea.

major industries

mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel

mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel

gdp per capita

$40,800 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

2.1% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 4% industry: 26.6% services: 69.4% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

5.1% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

NA%

gini index

30.5 (2006) country comparison to the world: 113 35.2 (1994)