Is Australia A Nation Or A Continent?

Australia is each a continent and a rustic. It’s situated to the south of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, within the southeast a part of the Indian Ocean. New Zealand lies to its east, and many of the Indian Ocean lies to its west. Antarctica will be discovered to Australia’s south. The Australian continent consists of the mainland, in addition to the island of Tasmania, which lies to the south of mainland, throughout the Bass Strait. It additionally contains many smaller islands, akin to Kangaroo Island, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Australia is the world’s smallest continent, although additionally it is the sixth-largest nation on this planet. The whole land space of Australia is 7,682,300 sq. km.

What Makes Australia A Continent?

7 continents of the world.
7 continents of the world.

Defining a continent will be difficult. The truth is, there may be even disagreement on what number of continents there are on this planet. For instance, many individuals in Russia, the remainder of Jap Europe, and Japan think about Europe and Asia to be one continent, often known as Eurasia. In some international locations, North and South America are thought of one continent, whereas Europe and Asia are divided. There are even some who consider that Europe, Asia, and Africa ought to be thought of one united continent as a result of they’re all joined collectively by land. Probably the most prevailing view, nonetheless, is that there are seven continents on this planet, and certainly one of them is Australia.

There’s additionally a extensively accepted view of what a continent is. This view defines a continent as a big, steady, distinct landmass, ideally separated by an enormous expanse of water. This definition is problematic as a result of lots of immediately’s continents aren’t separated by huge expanses of water. The truth is, all of the continents are related by land to a minimum of one different continent, with one exception: Australia. Australia is surrounded by huge expanses of water on all sides. Thus, one might argue that it meets the prevailing definition of a continent higher than most different continents.

What Makes Australia A Nation?

Along with being a continent, Australia can also be a rustic, which is formally often known as the Commonwealth of Australia. The nation was formally created in 1901, when the British Parliament allowed the six separate British colonies on the continent to unite into one dominion. From then on, Australia ruled its personal home affairs, although its overseas coverage was nonetheless decided by the British authorities, as Australia was a dominion of the British Empire. In 1931, nonetheless, the British authorities accredited what was often known as the Statute of Westminster, which gave Australia and the opposite dominions of the British Empire management over overseas coverage, although this regulation was not formally adopted by Australia till 1942. Thus, Australia grew to become a completely sovereign nation.

Administrative Divisions

States and territories of Australia
States and territories of Australia.

As we speak’s Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy, which implies that the British monarch is the pinnacle of state, however serves solely a ceremonial operate, whereas the true energy lies within the palms of the Australian folks and their elected representatives. Australia is structured as a federation, just like how the US is structured. The Australian federation consists of six entities often known as states, and ten different entities often known as territories. The states are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. These states have sure powers delegated to them below the Australian structure, whereas different powers are the unique area of the nation’s federal authorities, based mostly within the Australian capital, Canberra.

In distinction, the territories both have various levels of autonomy, or are below the direct management of the federal authorities. The 2 mainland territories, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the place Canberra is situated, and the Northern Territory have been given restricted self-governing powers by the federal authorities. The web site of the Australian federal authorities notes that these two territories are handled very a lot as in the event that they had been states due to their sizeable populations. One other territory, Norfolk Island, used to have self-governing powers, however these had been largely taken away by the federal authorities in 2015. Australia’s eight different territories are below the direct management of the federal authorities.

Federal Authorities

Australian government
Inside Home of Representatives, the decrease home of the bicameral Parliament of Australia in Canberra, Australia.

The federal authorities of Australia has an govt department led by a Prime Minister, who heads a cupboard. The legislative department of Australia’s authorities is called the parliament. It’s a bicameral legislature, which implies that it has two legislative organs or homes. The decrease home is called the Home of Representatives. The higher home is called the Senate. Just like the U.S. Home of Representatives, the Australian counterpart is structured on a illustration by inhabitants mannequin, which implies that the extra populous areas of the nation have extra representatives than much less populated areas. The Australian senate additionally resembles the US Senate. Every Australian state elects 12 senators, whereas the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Area elect two every. As well as, the Australian judicial department operates very very similar to the federal judiciary within the US. The Excessive Court docket of Australia is the equal of the US Supreme Court docket. The state governments of Australia largely parallel the construction of the federal authorities. Thus, they’ve their very own govt, legislative, and judicial branches.

Economic system

Australian dollars
Australian {dollars}.

As a sovereign state, Australia not solely has its personal authorities, however its personal economic system as effectively. This contains its personal forex, the Australian greenback. The economic system of Australia, valued at about 1.323 trillion U.S. {dollars}, is the 13th largest on this planet, and one of many wealthiest within the Asia-Pacific area. Australia’s economic system has additionally been rated the threerd freest economic system on this planet, based on the 2021 Index of Financial Freedom. Furthermore, Australia has free commerce agreements with 15 completely different international locations, together with the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, and the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Nationwide Id

Aboriginal Australians man dancing conventional dance throughout Australia Day celebrations.In 2016 Australian CensusEditorial credit score: ChameleonsEye /

What else makes Australia a rustic? Its folks, after all. Greater than 25 million folks name Australia residence. Typically nicknamed, “The Land Down Underneath,” due to its location on this planet’s southern hemisphere, Australia has a nationwide identification all its personal. This identification is usually popularized in motion pictures and TV, however there may be much more to it than what seems on the large or small display. Australians are sometimes recognized for having egalitarian views, that means that they’re very supportive of ideas like common healthcare and publicly-funded schooling. Australians are additionally very various, with quite a lot of completely different inhabitants teams starting from the indigenous Aborigine teams that lived within the nation hundreds of years earlier than any Europeans arrived, to rising numbers of Asians and Africans. Thus, Australia is much more than kangaroos, boomerangs, and Foster’s beer.

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