Australia was discovered by Captain Cook in 1770. The English King George III engaged Captain Cook that he should take possession of the east part of Australia. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It is in the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. The population is 19 million. In Australia live 2 - 3 person per km² this is not very much, for example in Germany live 132 persons per km². Australia is about 4.000 km from the east to the west and from the south to the north is it about 3.200 km. Australia is about 7.7million (7.700.000) km². The coastline is 36,735km long and is divided in 8 states (West Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Canberra and Tasmania).Canberra is the capital of Australia and Sydney is the biggest city. The three biggest towns are Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The most towns are in the coast areas because there is water and it is colder. In Australia there is vegetation from dust to tropical areas.
The climate zones are divided in a tropical climate and a subtropical climate. Actually this is strange because of the huge area of this country. The summer months are from December to January, and the temperature lies between 29° C in the North and 18° C in the South. The average temperature in winter lies between 24° C and 10° C. In the tropical part and on the Northern coasts it rains average 3500mm a year, but in the heartland it rains only 250mm. In the mountains it either rains or snows. So the Australians celebrate Christmas in summer, sometimes at the beach.
But the enormous heat causes forest fire in the whole country. You could notice that in 2003. There was a great forest fire which destroyed many square miles of land, especially around Canberra.
The government of Australia is formed by members of a free-chosen parliament with two chambers, the House of Representatives (150 members) and the Senate (76 members). The majority party in the House of Representatives forms the government and appoints secretaries and ministers, they can select members of both chambers.
The legislature period lasts only 3 years, from the 1st meeting of the new parliament. But a Prime minister is able to ask the General Governor to hold new elections, either before the legislature period is ending.
The Australians have the elect the members of the House of Representatives by name with numbers. The average poll is about 96%, which is very high compared to other countries, especially the USA which has an average poll of max. 60%.
Queen Elisabeth II is the head of Australia. She appoints the General Governor in suggestion with the elected government. Peter Hollingworth is the Australian General Governor since 2001. On the 10th November 2001 Johan Howard was elected to be the Prime Minister of Australia.
The national holiday is on the 26th January, it is called Australia Day. This date was selected because Captain Arthur Phillip landed with 736 prisoners on the coast of Sydney. They settled there and he named the settlement "Lord Sydney" after an English politician which had the responsibility of the transport. This day also means shame of the invasion for the Aborigines. So this national holiday separates the native inhabitants and the "settlers".