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Basic Facts
Country name conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
Gevernment typefederal parliamentary democracy
Capital name: Canberra
geographic coordinates: 35 17 S, 149 08 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in October; ends last Sunday in March
note: Australia is divided into three time zones
Flag descriptionblue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars
CurrencyAustralian dollar (AUD)
Internet country code.au
Ports and terminalsBrisbane, Dampier, Fremantle, Gladstone, Hay Point, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Hedland, Port Kembla, Port Walcott, Sydney
Agriculture productswheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep, poultry
Industriesmining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel
Geography
LocationOceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Coordinates27 00 S, 133 00 E
ContinentOceania
Area total: 7,686,850 sq km
land: 7,617,930 sq km
water: 68,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
Boundaries0 km
Coastline25,760 km
Climategenerally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
Terrainmostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
Natural resourcesbauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
Natural hazardscyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
People
Population20,264,082 (July 2006 est.)
Ethnic groupsCaucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%
ReligionsCatholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%, Buddhist 1.9%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 12.7%, none 15.3% (2001 Census)
LanguagesEnglish 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8% (2001 Census)

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