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Australia Facts

Australia’s Flags and Emblems

The Australian National Flag was first flown on September 3, 1901 over the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. The date is still celebrated as ‘Australian National Flag Day’. Today, the National Flag is a symbol of the Australian identity and serves as an important part of almost all our national events.

The National Flag is most often flown by the general public on celebrated days of Australian history such as Australia Day (January 26) or on days of remembrance such as ANZAC Day (April 25). On these days flags can be seen in the streets attached to cars, in shop windows and on an endless array of t-shirts, bumper stickers, badges, fake and real tattoos and even face painted flags are commonplace. The Flag is also flow at international sporting events where Australia competes and it demonstrates the national pride and support of our competitors and sporting ambassadors.

The colours and symbols within the Australian Flag have great significance, there are three primary elements;

The Australian federation consists of six States and two Territories. Most inland borders follow lines of longitude and latitude. The largest State, Western Australia, is about the same size as Western Europe.

Economy

Australia has a developed modern market economy and has had one of the most outstanding economies of the world in recent years with high-growth, low-inflation and  low interest rates. Over the past decade, inflation has typically been 2–3% and the base interest rate 5–6%. There is an efficient government sector, a flexible labour market and a very competitive business sector.

Since 1992 Australia has averaged greater than 3 per cent economic growth and recorded over 17 consecutive years. This economic stability places Australia in the top echelon of developed countries in terms of sustained rates of growth.

The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, representing 68% of Australian GDP. The agricultural and mining sectors account for 57% of the nation’s exports.

With its abundant physical resources, Australia has enjoyed a high standard of living since the nineteenth century. Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquified natural gas and coal. It has made a comparatively large investment in social infrastructure, including education, training, health and transport.

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian per capita GDP growth is higher than that of New Zealand, US, Canada and The Netherlands.  The past performance of the Australian economy has been heavily influenced by US, Japanese and Chinese economic growth. 

Immigration

Australia’s culturally diverse society includes its Indigenous peoples who arrived more than 50,000 years ago, and settlers from countries all around the world.

Immigration is an important feature of Australian society. Since 1945, over six million people from 200 countries have come to Australia as new settlers. Migrants have made a major contribution to shaping modern Australia. People born overseas make up almost one quarter of the total population.

The federal government sets immigration intake numbers on a yearly basis. Australia’s immigration policies are non-discriminatory and all applicants to migrate must meet the same selection criteria.

In recent years the mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals with the intention of applying for refugee status (asylum seekers) by boat has generated great levels of controversy.

Mandatory detention laws were introduced in Australia by the Keating Labor government, with bipartisan support, in 1992. The legislation was proposed as a result of an influx of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cambodian refugees over the previous few years.