[[caption-width-right:330:The country that kills everybody.]]
->''"In summer the bushfires rage and rage\\
And rage and rage on such beautiful days\\
And we fight them with water that runs through the cracks\\
Water we're desperately trying to save"''
-->--'''Music/TheCatEmpire''', "Wine Song"
Does not include UsefulNotes/NewZealand, because that's its own thing. Its formal name is the Commonwealth of Australia.
Note that, contrary to stereotypes, very few Australians live in the outback. There are several cities, some of which are considered the least environmentally polluted, and most liveable on Earth. Australia's southeast coast (between Sydney in New South Wales, and Hobart in Tasmania) is the most densely populated area of the country. Indigenous presence south of Sydney is relatively small; Aboriginal people are virtually never seen in Victoria in particular.
Australia is a country of great contrasts; some might say paradoxes. Although large portions of the country are desert, it has examples of almost every possible climate known on Earth; including rainforests, beaches, grasslands, swamps/wetlands, and even alpine areas.
Economically, again we find paradox. Although the economy is stable (though you probably won't hear that claim very often), and the country has managed to avoid the riots resulting from austerity measures which have plagued Europe in particular, one thing that is consistently commented on by international visitors, is that Australian food prices are among the highest on the planet.
Socially, the country is extremely diverse. Multiculturalism was declared an official policy in the 1970s. Since this time, racial tensions have erupted into fullscale riots only once, when a group of white Australians tried to rid their suburb of 'Muslims' which in turn resulted in retaliatory violence from a group of Arab Australians. This occured in 2002, and no similar conflict has been repeated. In 2013, a Muslim MP became the Parliamentary Secretary to the bilingual Prime Minister, while the ruling party's leader in the Senate is a lesbian woman of Chinese descent. The Federal Election later that year resulted in a notoriously conservative government and a Cabinet which went backwards to only one woman.
* UsefulNotes/AussiesWithArtillery (The Australian Defence Force)
** Main/GdayMate (Aussie Slang)
* UsefulNotes/FirstAustralians (Indigenous Australians)
* UsefulNotes/ThoseWhoveComeAcrossTheSeas (Multiculturalism)
''Places in Australia:''
* Main/TheCommonLaw, the legal system inherited from TheBritishEmpire
* EverythingTryingToKillYou, as there is ''significant'' TruthInTelevision with just how close to a DeathWorld Australia, or at least the Outback can be. Especially when trees and even the ''ground itself'' have been known to cause casualties.
* LandDownUnder, for Australia as it appears in fiction
* UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney was the basis for Australia's old currency with Australian pounds, shillings and so forth. Australia decimalised and addapted the dollar in 1966, but the old currency is used in period pieces like ''Literature/PhryneFisher.''
* UnitConfusion (Australia switched from Imperial to Metric in the 1960s rapidly and it worked fairly well - only the older Australians will still use Imperial, and only for estimates. Inches and feet still tend to be used for peoples' heights, somewhat interchangeably with metric, because it's easier to say "five foot seven" than "one-hundred and seventy centimetres" or "one point seven metres". While most people know roughly what a foot and an inch are, nobody uses miles except metaphorically.
** It's amazing how often police reports give an unidentified suspect's height as 183 cm. [[spoiler: That's six feet, to the nearest centimetre.]]
[[folder: The Australian flag ]]
[[caption-width:125:It has the Southern Cross on it]]
This is the Australian national flag -- first adopted in 1901, modified a few times after that, then finally made properly official in its present form in 1954. It is a modified version of the United Kingdom's "blue ensign" flag (flown at sea by ships in public service), which looks the same but without the stars. The national flag of New Zealand, as well as all of Australia's state flags, are also based on the blue ensign.[[note]]Originally, there were actually two versions of the Australian flag: the blue one we know today, and a version with a red background based on the UK's ''red'' ensign -- and, by law, Parliament House flew the blue version while ''everywhere'' else on land flew the red version. In 1954 the blue version was made the sole official flag because [[RedScare the colour red had gained certain unwelcome connotations]].[[/note]]
As they do look very similar, here are a couple of quick ways of telling the Australian and New Zealand flags apart:
* The Commonwealth Star is present on the Australian flag where the NZ flag has a bank field. It's the large, white, seven-pointed star beneath the Union Jack, with the seven points standing for the six states plus the territories. [[note]]Interestingly, it used to have six points before Australia acquired the Territory of Papua (now southern Papua New Guinea) in 1906.[[/note]]
* The design of the Southern Cross varies in a couple of ways:
** 1: The Australian Flag has five stars, the New Zealand Flag only has four (omitting Epsilon Crucis in the middle).
** 2: The stars are white on the Australian flag, and red with a white outline on the NZ flag. [[BlatantLies This is because New Zealand is communist.]]
** 3: The NZ flag has all the stars with five points; the Australian flag has all the stars with seven points except for Epsilon Crucis, which has five. [[note]]Originally the Australian flag had all five stars with different numbers of points (ranging in size from five to nine points) depending on their apparent magnitude within the constellation, but in 1903 this was standardised to the four biggest stars all having seven.[[/note]]