7,682,292 square kilometres (2,966,133 square miles).
Canberra (inland from the east coast and halfway between Sydney and Melbourne).
- 85% European origin
- 9% Asian
- 3% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
- 3% Other
English is the official national language. Given Australia’s multicultural diversity, many other languages are also spoken.
The 2006 census identified that 64 per cent of Australians call themselves Christian: 26 per cent identifying themselves as Roman Catholic and 19 per cent as Anglican. Five per cent of Australians identify themselves as followers of non-Christian religions (including Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu), and 19 per cent are categorised as having 'No Religion'.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional, federal democracy. There are two major political groups that form government: the Australian Labor Party, and the Coalition which is a grouping of two parties: the Liberal Party, and its minor partner, the National Party.
The Labor Party, led by the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, was elected to power in September 2010.
Australia has generated nine Nobel Prize winners in the fields of science, medicine (winners for 2005), literature and immunology.
Australia is also the world's largest island and is the only country that is also a continent. It also has more beaches (7,000 in total) than any other nation.
Australia was the first place in the world where women were allowed to vote (in 1896).
Australia was named the second best country in the world to live in, behind Norway and ahead of Canada, in the 2006 / 2007 Human Development Report produced by the United Nations.