The Australian continent is considered the world’s largest island in terms of land area. It is the only nation to govern a whole continent. The country has a stable democracy with distinct culture and highly competitive economy. Australia is one of the most ideal countries to live in based on economic performance, national income, civil rights, healthcare services and human development. Ironically, the population is small compared to its huge territory.
This nation has a budding orientation with respect to its neighbors in Asia. This is manifested clearly in the current economic policies of its government. Australia is one of the principal members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. The APEC is engaged in various free trade accords with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and major power China. Australia has also arbitrated between warring groups in Papua, New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
The Australian economy has performed well even during the recent global recession. The nation struggled last year mainly because of the elections but national economists and officials of the Reserve Bank of Australia believe that the country can recover this year. Last year, business organizations and ordinary consumers were not prepared to increase spending. At the same time, the national economy was undergoing transition. Top industries were mining and construction.
Forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund expect that international economic growth to be normal and go up by 3.5 percent in 2014. However, the Federal Government is quite uncompromising in squeezing budget spending instead of depending on stronger economic growth. This is meant to enhance government revenues and reduce budget deficit. The Reserve Bank can bring down interest rates if fiscal or budget policy is too tight. This risk is expected to shift back to higher interest rates as economic growth becomes normal again.
The educational system is analogous across Australia with only slight differences between states and territories. Primary and secondary education is mandatory between the ages of six and sixteen years. The total number of years is 13 and divided according to the following: Primary School is from seven to eight years and starts with Kindergarten and Preparatory until year Six or Seven. Secondary School is for three to four years: Year Seven to Ten. Senior Secondary School is from year 11 to 12.
Australia has one of the most progressive and pioneering education and training systems globally. According to the United Nations Human Development and Education Indices, Australia is number two among 191 countries in terms of teaching and educational research. The country also achieves remarkably with regards to international university rankings. The performance of Australian universities is unfailingly better compared to educational institutions in several developed nations with higher populations.
The Australian Government also has stringent gun laws. Conservative legislators were responsible for the passing of an elaborate gun control program. The laws outlawed automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Severe licensing laws were also implemented which included background checks and waiting periods for gun acquisition. The conservative government also came up with a buyback program. Citizens were compensated for surrendering or reporting on illegal automatic and semi-automatic rifles. With this program, more than 650,000 firearms were given up and destroyed. The cost was estimated at $360 million. Australians cannot possess firearms without acceptable cause. Australia is one of the few countries that became stricter in terms of gun control laws recently. Crime rate for murder is also decreasing gradually.
The murder rate in both countries is not high compared to other developed nations. Perhaps, one reason is the small population aside from strict firearms laws.
According to OECD statistics, 17.4 percent of Australians are at a <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_adu_at_hig_lit_lev>high rate of literacy</a>, 55.2 percent have a <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_adu_wit_at_lea_mod_lit>moderate level of literacy</a>, and 44.8 are at a <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_adu_at_low_lit_lev>low literacy level</a>. Almost 50 percent of Australian <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_adu_wit_at_lea_mod_lit_fem>women are at least a moderate literacy level</a>, while the <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_adu_wit_at_lea_mod_lit_mal>moderate literacy rate for men</a> is 52.2 percent. <p>The overall <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_tot_pop>literacy rate</a> in Australia is pegged at 100 percent, as is the <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_mal>literacy rate for men</a> and <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_fem>women</a>. <p>The <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph/edu_lit_def&int=-1>literacy rate is defined</a> as the number of people aged 15 and over who can read and write.
In response to <i>ashley</i>:
<p>The <a href=/graph/edu_lit_tot_pop>literacy rate</a> for Australia is 100%. Literacy, however, is really a continuum from illiterate through low literacy to high literacy. </p>
<p>The <a href=http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/24/2345257.pdf>International Adult literacy survey</a> (1998) of OECD countries concluded that 44.8% of Australian adults had a <a href=/graph/edu_lit_adu_at_low_lit_lev>low level of literacy</a>. In this study, a low level of literacy represents a skill level lower than that required for successful completion of secondary education. </p>
<p>These people may have difficulty comparing data, understanding data which is not clearly laid out and following complex instructions. Low literacy can affect the training and employment options available to the person, their financial status and their ability to access services such as health and welfare assistance.</p>
In response to everyone looking for 'amazing' facts on Australia, try the country's rankings, <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/country/as/Top-Rankings>top</a> as well as <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/country/as/Bottom-Rankings>bottom</a> global rankings, and then try <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/correlations/eco_cor>correlations</a>.
Hi Josie -- see the page on <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/country/as/Transportation>transportation</a> in Australia and follow the links for broad, narrow and standard gauge, as well as electrified routes, both total capacity and per capita.
Does Austria have military conscription, or is military service voluntary?