Country Profile Notes : Australia
Goverement type: federal parliamentary democracy
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
Prime Minister Julia GILLARD (since 3 December 2007)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
All citizens age 18 and older are required to vote in federal and state elections. Those who do not, may be fined.
Environment - current issues:
1. Frequent Droughts
2. Clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species;
3. The Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
1. Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines
1. December 26 is Boxing Day. Boxing Day comes from an old British tradition of giving small boxed gifts to service employees or the poor. It is now simply a day to visit friends and relatives and to “box up” exchange items for return to the store.
2. Aboriginal art has portrayed dreamtime ancestors, who created life and the landscape. Rock art, paintings, dances, and musical stories called songlines focus on these creation legends. The Aboriginal didgeridoo is a five-foot.-long wooden musical instrument into which the player blows to produce a distinctive resonation sound.
3. Australian writers and poets have celebrated the nation’s frontier spirit. One poem of the outback “Waltzing Maltilda” by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, has become an...