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Useful Notes / Australia

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"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, likely due to the continent's hot desert climate.note  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. The Indigenous population of Australia, of approximately 727,000 as of last census, is concentrated in the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. However, there are still smaller active Indigenous communities and groups in every state and territory.

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. 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 that have plagued Europe in particular, which the right credits big business and mining for, while the left credits Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's economic stimulus for it. On the flip side, international visitors often notice that Australian food, property and energy prices are among the highest on the planet. Ironically, Australia is a major food exporter, producing enough food to feed 60 million people, and exports minerals and energy (for example, half the coal Australia produces is consumed locally, the rest is exported). The reason that food and energy prices are so high include:

  • Australia has an extremely low population density. For comparison, another similarly prosperous nation of similar population size is The Netherlands - which has 150 times the population density. You can drive across The Netherlands faster than you can FLY across Australia. Connecting this widely distributed population is expensive.
  • Australian agriculture receives very little, if any, in the way of subsidies. Compare with the EU and the USA.
  • The Australian dollar was overvalued during the terms of Howard, Rudd and Gillard, causing the prices of Australian goods to remain the same for Australians, but cost more by foreigners' standards - and thanks to a mining slowdown for the last 2 years, the Australian dollar's value is plummeting, bringing Australian food prices within normal levels for a 1st world country.
  • The price of Australian labour is amongst the highest in the world: $19.84 AUD per hour, for a 38 hour work week. Granted, the work week isn't as generous as many EU countries, but the minimum wage is the equivalent to $13.56 USD per hour, at purchasing power parity, which Australia has a relatively low level of.
  • Energy is expensive (despite more than enough Coal or Uranium for everyone) largely because Australia is big and the population density is low - so the poles and wires needed account for 53% of the price of electricity.
  • Most of all, Australians will complain of petrol (what Americans call "gas") prices being too high, which results from Australia being oil-poor - Australia needs to import 75% of its oil needs. The petrol is lightly taxed, however, and thus is not as expensive as in much of the EU.

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 Ministernote , while the ruling party's leader in the Senate was a lesbian of Malaysian Chinese descent.note  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 Attitudes

Australian companies:

See also:

  • Awesome Aussie
  • The Bogan: A crude, ill-mannered Australian character
  • Boxing Kangaroo
  • The British Empire
  • British Honours: List of creators that have received national awards from British royal families through the Commonwealth.
  • The Common Law, the legal system inherited from The British Empire
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Australia has an incredibly diverse array of wildlife, with a disproportionate amount of said wildlife being dangerous or outright lethal to humans. A small sample includes:
    • the Blue-Ringed Octopus, a tiny and cute ocean-dweller with a near-painless bite and enough venom stored in their bodies to kill twenty-six average-sized humans
    • the Box Jellyfish or Sea Wasp, a nearly invisible denizen of the shallows responsible for over 60 deaths, which mostly come from shock-induced drowning or heart attacks due to the intensity of their painful sting (described by one victim as "like having a bucket of fire poured on my arm")
    • the Cassowary, a flightless bird standing anywhere from five to six feet tall, with a bad attitude and a powerful kick, made worse by an enormous talon on their middle toe
    • the Funnel-Web Spider, whose venom is dangerous enough that medical protocol demands it be treated with the same seriousness as a snake bite
    • the Saltwater Crocodile, an extremely territorial, aggressive, and fast (for their immense size) apex predator who can easily grow to fifteen feet long and over 1,000 pounds
    • additionally, Australia has over 170 different species of snakes, with 100 of these being venomous; further, the continent has 21 of the 25 deadliest species.
  • High Koala-ty Cuteness
  • Hollywood Dreamtime, where the Australian Aboriginal concept "the Dreamtime" is portrayed inaccurately in fiction.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia
  • Laid-Back Koala
  • 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 adapted 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.
  • Volatile Tasmanian Devil

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.

The Australian national anthem

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are one and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

  • Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The British monarch appoints the Governor-General. Australia has a Westminster-style parliamentary system, like the UK.
    • Monarch: Charles III (from the UK)
    • Governor General: David Hurley
    • Prime Minister: Anthony Albanese
    • Deputy Prime Minister: Richard Marles
      • Australians do not directly elect the Prime Minister; rather, Australians vote for a Member of Parliament (MP) in their area. The political party that elects the most MPs is then asked by the Governor-General to form the government. The leader and deputy leader of this political party then becomes the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.

  • Capital: Canberra
  • Largest city: Sydney
  • Population: 25,790,200
  • Area: 7,692,024 km² (2,969,907 sq mi) (6th)
  • Currency: Australian dollar ($) (AUD)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: AU
  • Country calling code: 61
  • Highest point: Three candidates:
    • Mainland Australia (including Tasmania): Mount Kosciuszko (2228 m/7,310 ft) (118th)
    • Australia-controlled territory: Mawson Peak (2,745 m/9,006 ft) in the subantarctic Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    • Australia-claimed territory: Mount McClintock (3,490 m/11,450 ft) in Australia's Antarctic territorial claim (not generally recognised)
  • Lowest point: Lake Eyre (−15 m/−49 ft) (19th)


Video Example(s):


Advance Australia Fair

Advance Australia Fair is the national anthem of Australia.

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