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  • Links page
    Registration for Assistance About Us Contact us Sitemap Secure Client Log in A Migration Lawyer is available to assist you Register now Links page Australian Immigration and Visa Services Discover

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  • Overview of Australia
    summer temperatures range between 26 7 and 29 4 C 80 and 85 F but can frequently exceed 38 C 100º F The warm temperate regions of the southern coast of continental Australia have four seasons with cool winters and hot summers January and February are the hottest months with average temperatures varying between 18 3 and 21 1 C 65 and 70 F June and July are the coldest months with an average July temperature of about 10 C about 50 F except in the Australian Alps where temperatures of 1 7 C 35 F occur snowfields exist in the Mount Kosciusko area The eastern coastal lowlands receive rain in all seasons although mainly in summer The warm temperate western and southern coasts receive rain mainly in the winter months usually from prevailing westerly winds Tasmania lying in the cool temperate zone receives heavy rainfall from the prevailing westerly winds in summer and from cyclonic storms in winter In addition to the Australian Alps in southern New South Wales snow also falls during the winter in the northern part of Victoria and in Tasmania All of the southern states are exposed to hot dry winds from the interior which can suddenly raise the temperature considerably In most years drought affects some part of Australia and localized floods and tropical cyclones are common South eastern Australia including Tasmania has the highest incidence of bushfires in the world along with California in the United States and Mediterranean Europe In 1994 bushfires swept through New South Wales destroying hundreds of homes in suburban Sydney Natural Resources Australia is rich in mineral resources The most commercially notable include bauxite found in Queensland and Western Australia bituminous coal Queensland and New South Wales iron ore Western Australia and Tasmania nickel and gold both Western

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  • Overview list
    the judicial system of the Commonwealth of Australia is the High Court of Australia Soils Fauna and Flora Australia has a distinctive flora comprising some 22 000 species of plants More than 90 per cent are indigenous and many species are not found elsewhere Aboriginal Land Rights One of the most important legal issues of recent years has been that of Aboriginal land rights The issue first became significant in the 1960s with the growth of Aboriginal activism and a shift in claims from wage equality with Europeans to land rights over territory with religious cultural historical and other associations Currency and Banking The unit of currency is the Australian dollar divided into 100 cents and coined in 5 10 20 50 1and 2 pieces Foreign Trade Under Australian tariff policy protection is afforded to essential Australian industries and preferential treatment is granted to imports from certain Commonwealth countries Transport The majority of Australia s rail network was laid down in the second half of the 19th century by colonies independent of each other and trading primarily with Great Britain Defence The system of defence employed by Australia dates from 1911 when the Commonwealth government instituted compulsory military service Health and Welfare The federal and state governments of Australia have played an important role in advancing social services There are benefits for people who are sick aged widowed orphaned disabled or unemployed Education Education is primarily the responsibility of the six states and the Northern Territory In each the training and recruitment of teachers are centralized under an education department Culture Initially the dominant way of life in Australia substantially reflected the heritage of the British settlers Customs were modified as the settlers adapted to the new country and its exceptionally fine climate Forestry Fishing and mining Forests today cover

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  • Government - Australian Government
    governor general to dissolve the House and call new elections at any time Australia has universal suffrage for all citizens over the age of 18 Political Parties There are four major political parties in Australia The Australian Labor Party has been the dominant party for much of the period since the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia The others are the National Party of Australia the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Democratic Party All are moderate social democratic parties with the National Party being the most conservative and the Labor Party the least so and the other two fluctuating in the centre ground The Labor Party s strength has been the support of the trade union movement The aims of the Liberal and National parties have had much in common and the two parties have traditionally worked in coalition For practical purposes Australian politics operates on a two party system which results in relative stability of government Local Government A bicameral system of government exists in each state except Queensland the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory which have only one house The British sovereign is represented in each state by a governor Governmental affairs are handled by a cabinet the head of which is known as the premier In each Australian state hundreds of local government authorities are responsible for traffic and building regulation the maintenance of streets bridges local roads water and sewerage parks libraries and hospitals and similar functions Among these authorities are shire councils borough councils and town and city councils Legislation granting power to local authorities exists in each state Executive Formally executive authority in Australia is vested in the governor general who is appointed by the British monarch in consultation with the Australian prime minister The British monarch through the governor

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  • Communication & Labour
    early 1990s more than 8 million telephones were in operation Government and commercial radio and television systems operate concurrently The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC is a statutory authority operating more than 400 radio stations on different frequencies Commercial stations number about 200 unlike the national stations these carry advertising Television programmes are transmitted within range of 99 per cent of the population by the ABC s national television network and by some 43 commercial stations In the early 1990s there were estimated to be some 29 million radios and more than 9 million television sets in use Australia has about 500 newspapers some 60 of which are dailies with a combined daily circulation of about 4 7 million There is one national daily The Australian Large circulation metropolitan dailies include the Sydney Morning Herald the Age and Herald Sun News Pictorial both published in Melbourne the Courier Mail Brisbane the Advertiser Adelaide and the West Australian Perth Labour Australia shares with New Zealand the arbitration system an attempt to fix wages and working conditions by law The constitution allows the federal government to intervene to conciliate and arbitrate in industrial disputes Federal power is confined to disputes extending beyond the limits of any one state Compulsory arbitration has also been established at state level for internal disputes Conciliation and arbitration is carried out by the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission its courts and conciliation commissioners Where conciliation fails the courts have the power to make awards binding on employer and employee Failure to abide by the court s ruling can result in a fine In practice the judges of the Commission fix the minimum wages and working conditions of most workers In 1991 the Commission decided to allow direct employer employee wage bargaining provided resulting agreements are endorsed by the

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  • Soils, Fauna and Flora - soils, fauna and flora
    way for agriculture and settlement According to rough estimates produced by government scientists in the late 1980s loss of indigenous cover ranges from more than two thirds in Victoria to around one third in Western Australia only in the Northern Territory has clearance been negligible The result has been not only an increase in erosional problems but also the extinction of 83 known indigenous plant species There are in addition 840 known species threatened with extinction The spread of weeds and other aggressive introduced plants into areas of original vegetation is also a serious environmental problem Australia s wildlife has been detrimentally affected by the loss of habitat which has pushed a number of species to the verge of extinction see Animals below However since the 1980s there has been a considerable increase in public awareness of the need for conservation and pressure to contain further loss of natural vegetation strongly resisted at times by some economic interests Fauna Flora Australia is thought to have up to 300 000 different species of animal life of which only about 100 000 have been described There are some 280 known species of mammals more than 700 species of birds 380 species of reptiles more than 120 species of frogs and almost 200 species of freshwater fish the remainder are invertebrates The fauna of Australia is distinctive deriving mainly from the time when the continent formed part of Gondwanaland It has most in common with the wildlife of New Guinea which falls within the Australian faunal zone and with that of South Africa which also formed part of Gondwanaland Many species are unique to Australia however reflecting its long isolation from other land masses They include seven families of mammals as well as four families of birds comprising about 70 per cent of known species It is also estimated that about 88 per cent of reptile species and 94 per cent of frog species are unique to the continent The Gondwanan origins of Australia s fauna are most striking among the mammals because of the absence of representatives of most of the orders found on other continents The world s only egg laying mammals the primitive monotremes the platypus and echidna which is also found in New Guinea are Gondwanan The platypus a zoological curiosity is an aquatic furred mammal with a bill like that of a duck and with poisonous spurs It lives in the streams of south eastern Australia The echidna is also known as the spiny anteater The Platypus The most characteristic native mammals are marsupials the young of which are nourished in an external marsupium or abdominal pouch Although also found in South America marsupials in Australia have evolved to virtually all mammalian niches The best known Australian marsupial is the kangaroo of which there are about 50 species found in both the Temperate and Tropical Zones The kangaroo is vegetarian and can be tamed The large red or grey kangaroo may stand as high as 2 1 m

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  • Aboriginals, currency
    The May 1991 report of a royal commission set up to investigate Aboriginal deaths in custody contained evidence of racism in the police force and more than 300 recommendations to improve race elations and increase Aboriginal self determination In June the government imposed a permanent ban on mining at a historic Aboriginal site in the Northern Territory A year later in June 1992 in a landmark ruling the High Court recognized the existence of land title before the first European settlement in 1788 The so called Mabo decision said that Aborigines and Torres Straits Islanders should be able to claim native title if they could show a close and continuing relationship with the land in question It overturned the concept of terra nullius land belonging to no one on which many previous Aboriginal land claims had foundered and established a new entitlement to land not grounded in statute law but acknowledging the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders as the original owners of the continent However at the same time the Mabo decision sought not to disturb lawful non Aboriginal land title In 1993 the Government enacted the Native Title Act which tried to harmonize the two aspects of the court s ruling by setting up a federal tribunal to validate existing land titles and to provide compensation if Aboriginal claims were deemed to have been extinguished About US 1 1 billion was provisionally allocated to pay compensation Most states adopted compatible legislation except Western Australia where mining interests are particularly strong and where it is estimated that up to 40 per cent of the state could fall subject to native title claims The state government in fact legislated to extinguish all native title and offered only some rights to traditional usage of land Western Australia also took the federal government to the High Court contesting the validity of the Native Titles Act On March 16 1995 the court ruled that the Native Title Act was valid and declared Western Australia s rival legislation to be unconstitutional Currency and Banking Click on the image to view the full range The unit of currency is the Australian dollar divided into 100 cents and coined in 5 10 20 50 1and 2 pieces A 1 28 equals US 1 1997 The currency system was converted in 1966 from the old British system of pounds shillings and pence to the decimal one At the changeover the new Australian dollar was worth approximately half the value of the pound the currency it replaced With the absence of a one and two cent coin the price of commodities gets rounded of to the nearest cent when it s time to pay up The first Australian bank was established in Sydney in 1817 The Reserve Bank of Australia established in 1911 is the central bank and bank of issue including note issue The banking system includes the components of the Federal Commonwealth Banking Corporation comprising the Commonwealth Federal Bank the commonwealth Development Bank and the Commonwealth Savings

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  • Transport, defence
    network follows a similar pattern to that of the railways radiating from the ports and especially the state capitals Australia has approximately 816 370 km 507 270 mi of roads including some 16 000 km 9 941 mi of national highways Many main roads were improved during the 1980s under a bicentennial federal programme but road quality generally is variable In the early 1990s more than 10 million motor vehicles equivalent to more than one vehicle for every two people were registered The capital cities are connected by inexpensive bus services A comprehensive network of airline services links major cities and remote settlements Because of the long distances between cities and the country s ideal flying conditions Australians are frequent users of air travel In the early 1990s domestic airlines carried more than 18 million passengers a year The domestic airlines were deregulated in 1990 ending agreements between the national domestic carrier Australian Airlines and its sole private sector competitor Ansett allowing duplication of times and services The ending of their monopoly allowed smaller private operators to enter the market In 1992 Australian Airlines merged with Qantas Airways Australia s privatized international line Qantas operates services to more than 20 countries some 43 international airlines flew to Australia in the early 1990s The main national and international airports are at Sydney Kingsford Smith and Melbourne Tullamarine the other state capitals also have international airports as does Cairns Coastal and transoceanic shipping is vital to the Australian economy There are about 70 ports of commercial significance most of them on the east coast Sydney with adjacent Botany Bay is the most important port for mixed freight Other major ports include Port Hedland specializing in bulk iron ore shipments Melbourne Fremantle Newcastle Port Kembla Geelong Brisbane Port Gladstone and Port Walcott Defence

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