Useful Notes: Australia

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"
The Cat Empire, "Wine Song"

Does not include New Zealand, because that's its own thing (...for now...). 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 Adelaide in South Australia) 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. Some indications of the country's diverse population being reflected in the broader society have occurred. For example, in 2013, a Bosnian Muslim MP became the Parliamentary Secretary to the bilingual Prime Minister, while the ruling party's leader in the Senate was a lesbian of Malaysian Chinese descent. The Federal Election later that year resulted in a notoriously conservative government and a Cabinet which went backwards to only one woman. The concept of multiculturalism remains solidly entrenched in Australia's self-perception. However, diversity and equality are fiercely fought over politically, so that arguments over what is "going too far" or "a step back" allow for flexibility in how seriously the nation takes tolerance. Australia is a young nation, and its national identity is still in its infancy.

Places in Australia:

Australian companies:

See also:
  • Awesome Aussie
  • Boxing Kangaroo
  • The British Empire
  • The Common Law, the legal system inherited from The British Empire
  • Everything Trying to Kill You, as there is significant Truth in Television with just how close to a Death World Australia, or at least the Outback, can be. Especially when trees and even the ground itself have been known to cause casualties.
  • Everything's Better with Platypi
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia
  • Land Down Under, for Australia as it appears in fiction
  • Old British Money 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 Phryne Fisher.
  • Sentenced to Down Under
  • Shiny New Australia
  • Unit Confusion (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. That's six feet, to the nearest centimetre.
    • For some reason, many Australians know food-related imperial measurements (ounces, pounds, and fluid ounces and pints) but won't generally use those measurements.

The Australian flag
First adopted in 1901 and finalized in 1954, the Australian flag is based on the "blue ensign", bearing the Union Jack at the canton, signifying ties with Britain. Directly below it is the white Commonwealth Star, whose seven points allude to the original six states — New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia — and any future territory (Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, as of present). At the fly side is a rendition of Crux Australis, one of the most notable constellations visible on Australia, whose four main stars are seven-pointed, while the smaller fifth star is five-pointed.

Alternative Title(s):

Useful Notes On Australia