Australia’s population is over 23 million and, while around 90% of Australia’s population is of European ancestry, there has been significant immigration from Asia. English is the national language and, while over 60% of Australians are Christian, it has no state religion.
The federated Commonwealth of Australia is composed of six states and two territories. The head of state is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Elections for the Senate and House of Representatives are normally held every three years, simultaneously. The political party with majority support in the House forms the government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. Julia Gilard was Prime Minister from July 2010 until September 2013, when the Labor Party was defeated and Tony Abbott took the premiership.
In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. Australia’s economy is dominated by its service sector, representing 70% of GDP, but the agricultural and mining sectors (10% of GDP combined) account for more than 60% of its exports. The narrow export base has, however, undermined the country's balance of payments, and Australia has had persistently large current account deficits. For that reason, the government has attempted to develop the country’s manufacturing sector.
Telecommunications is an important aspect of the Australian economy, as is road and rail transportation, since distances are large and the country has a very low population density. There are seven designated international airports – Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Ports serving international commercial traffic are also concentrated around the main cities, but there are additional specialised ports serving mineral resources, such as iron ore.
Coordinates: 32°00'S 141°00'E
Capital Coordinates: 35°18'S 149°7'E
Other Main Cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide
Official Language(s): English
Ethnic Group(s): 92% White, 7% Asian, 1% Aboriginal and other
Demonym: Australian, "Aussie"
Currency: Australian Dollar, AUD, A$
GDP: $960.722 billion
Time Zone: Various (UTC+8 to +10.5), Summer (DST) Various (UT
International Dialling Code: 61
Internet TLD: .au
Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts AC (50Hz)