The beautiful land of Australia is home to over 22 million people. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, the land down under is made up of the main Australian continent, as well as a few surrounding islands. Australia has a democratic government system with a federal parliament and constitutional monarchy. A completely Westernized society, this country is among the wealthiest and most developed in the world.
Australia is divided into six states and two major territories. The states are Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The territories are the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, also called ACT. A large majority of the popular resides in urban areas. In fact, 40% of the population lives Sydney or Melbourne.
Other major cities include Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coat-Tweed, Newcastle, Canberra-Queanbeyan, Wollongong and Sunshine Coast. Most of these cities or located along the coastal areas of Australia, mainly due to climate and geography. Much of western and central Australia is made of dessert, bush and grasslands, leaving the more populated areas to the areas with a temperate climate. The varying landscapes of Australia create a vast landscape of natural beauty. From beautiful sunsets and expansive beaches to tropical forests and natural grasslands, Australia has a bit of everything.
Australia has a fairly stable economic climate, especially in the face of worldwide economic decline. Poverty levels are relatively low across the country, and most Australians experience a high quality of life. Additionally, immigration is common in Australia. 22% of the population of Australia is foreign-born. Many people choose to immigrate to Australia, and find increased quality of life and opportunity for economic growth.
Australia boasts a diverse population, rich with culture and tradition. The original population included numerous Aboriginal tribes and other indigenous groups. The original boom of immigrants were of British descent. While there are still immigrants from the UK, many others travel from China, Vietnam, New Zealand, India and the Philippines.
While there is no official language in Australia, English is the most commonly spoken language. There is a distinct Australian dialect, which is close to the British dialect. There is no official religion, as religious freedom is a constitutional right in Australia. Education is required through the age of 16 and Australia boasts a very high literacy rate.
Australian culture is Western in every sense of the word despite its geographic location. Like all cultures, there are outside influences that give Australian culture its unique qualities. Aboriginal people groups have influenced art and cultural traditions, introducing such icons as the didgeridoo, the boomerang and Aboriginal music. Australian people are passionate about the arts and sporting events.
The arts, including film, literature, fine art and theatre are renowned throughout the world. Humour and comedy is especially popular among the laid-back people of Australia. Sports are very popular both athletes and fans. Australian rules football, cricket and rugby are popular in this country, as well as field hockey, netball, golf and surfing. Australian athletes play in professional arenas across the country, and in many international athletic competitions, including their strong Olympic presence.
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