The population of Australia is 19.4 million (DFAT, 2001). Just as the land is diverse, so too are the people. Nearly 25% of the population was born outside of Australia and have ethnic ties spanning over 140 countries.
This melting pot of cultures range from the indigenous groups, to early European settlement, particularly the UK and Ireland, to immigration from countries across the globe, including Italy, Greece, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka.
Although English is the official language of Australia, more than 2.4 million people speak another language at home.
Australia is the sixth largest continent in the world, yet it has the lowest population density, with only two people per square kilometre.
It is a land of contrasts, from harsh deserts to huge grazing lands, sweeping golden beaches and exotic coral reefs to mountain ranges, tropical rainforests to modern cities. It is world-renowned for its stunning landscapes. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia is home to an abundance of animals and plants, many of which are unique to the continent.
Government of Politics
Australia is a stable democracy, with compulsory voting for those over 18 years of age ensuring a representative government. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of any democracy and Australians have no hesitation in expressing their views on political and controversial issues. There are three levels of government:
Commonwealth Government or Federal Government
Led by the Prime Minister of Australia, responsibilities at this level of government include nation-wide matters such as defence, trade, foreign affairs and tele communications.
This level of government is led by various State Premiers, and complements the activities of the Commonwealth Government, especially in the areas of education, social welfare and law enforcement.
This level of government is administered by locally-elected councillors. Responsible for municipal activities such as town planning, building regulations and waste disposal.
Common law is the basis of Australia's legal system. The Parliament is based on the Westminster system of government. Australia is a member of the Commonwealth. Elected by the people of Australia, the Commonwealth Government of Australia governs our nation as a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is also the Queen of Australia. Formally, she is the head of state, represented in Australia by a Governor-General.
The Lucky Country
Australia is often referred to as "The Lucky Country." With its spacious surroundings, high standard of living and excellent health and education systems, Australia attracts visitors and migrants from all over the world. Add to that a temperate climate, beautiful landscape and political and economic stability, Australians really have a quality of life to be envied.
The appeal of Australia is evident in the large number of people who migrate under the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Migration Program every year. In recent years, over 100,000 people have migrated to Australia every year. These people have helped contribute to Australia's growing multicultural population and will continue to shape Australia's future.
Australian Working Conditions & Wages
Australian working conditions are often considered some of the best in the world. Contributing to these high standards is the fact that Australian industrial relations are characterized by high union membership numbers and a federally driven, but state controlled, mandatory arbitration and conciliation system.
In Australia, there is now only 1 major central union association, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). "Awards" are the legal decisions made by independent industrial organizations and they specify the minimum standards of pay and working conditions that an employer must meet or otherwise face legal penalties. According to the Bureau of Statistics, full-time earnings of workers living in Australia averaged A$57,387 per annum in 2007.
Life in Australia
Australia has much to offer to intended migrants:
1. Excellent weather
2. Friendly people
3. Balanced lifestyle
4. Fresh air and clear skies
5. Clean and safe
6. Great place to raise a family
7. Excellent schools and universities
8. Peaceful multicultural society
9. Political stability and freedom of speech
10. Outdoor lifestyle and sports
11. Lovely beaches
12. Wide open spaces
13. Technological and sporting achievements
Australia uses Australian Dollars: a decimal currency with 100 cents in the dollar. The currency consists of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bank notes. Coinage consists of 5, 10, 20, 50 cent pieces and 1 and 2 dollar coins.
Cost of Living in Australia
This is approx. calculation of expenses for one week for one person in Sydney. Cost may vary depending on your individual lifestyle.
Rent (studio unit) = $AU150
Food = $AU50
Travel = $AU30
Bills (electricity, water, telephone) = $AU20
Unemployment Rate in Australia approx. 6%. Job advertisements usually coming out on Wednesday and Saturday in local newspapers and web sites. See Links. You also can use services of employment agencies.
Housing in Australia
Homes for sale are usually advertised in newspapers, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you want to buy a house or home unit, look in the 'Real Estate' section.
When you come to Australia for the first time you will need, probably, rent a house or unit. Properties usually given for lease through Real Estate agency. Properties for rent are advertised in the 'To Let' section of newspapers. You should arrange to inspect the property you are interested in before making a decision to move in. To secure a property, you will need a security bond (refundable deposit) plus a payment of several week's rent which has to be paid in advance. In most cases you will also be required to provide two 'references'.
Health Care in Australia
Australia has an excellent public health care scheme known as Medicare. Benefits include free treatment as a Medicare patient in a public hospital and free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors, including some specific services performed by specialists, participating optometrists and dentists. Medicareis available to all Australian citizens and individuals holding a permanent visa.