Migration to Australia
Living in Australia
The population of Australia is 22.3 million (DFAT, 2012). Just as the land is diverse, so too are the people. Nearly 25% of the population was born outside of Australia and have ethnic ties spanning over 140 countries. This melting pot of cultures range from the indigenous groups, to early European settlement, particularly the UK and Ireland, to immigration from countries across the globe, including Italy, Greece, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka.
Although English is the official language of Australia, more than 2.4 million people speak another language at home.
Australia is the sixth largest continent in the world, yet it has the lowest population density, with only two people per square kilometre. It is a land of contrasts, from harsh deserts to huge grazing lands, sweeping golden beaches and exotic coral reefs to mountain ranges, tropical rainforests to modern cities. It is world-renowned for its stunning landscapes. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia is home to an abundance of animals and plants, many of which are unique to the continent.
Governance & Politics
Australia is a stable democracy, with compulsory voting for those over 18 years of age ensuring a representative government. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of any democracy and Australians have no hesitation in expressing their views on political and controversial issues. There are three levels of government:
- Commonwealth Government or Federal Government
Led by the Prime Minister of Australia, responsibilities at this level of government include nation-wide matters such as defence, trade, foreign affairs and telecommunications.
- State Governments
This level of government is led by various State Premiers, and complements the activities of the Commonwealth Government, especially in the areas of education, social welfare and law enforcement.
- Local Governments
This level of government is administered by locally-elected councillors. Responsible for municipal activities such as town planning, building regulations and waste disposal. Common law is the basis of Australia’s legal system. The Parliament is based on the Westminster system of government. Australia is a member of the Commonwealth. Elected by the people of Australia, the Commonwealth Government of Australia governs our nation as a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is also the Queen of Australia. Formally, she is the head of state, represented in Australia by a Governor-General.
The Lucky Country
Australia is often referred to as “The Lucky Country.” With its spacious surroundings, high standard of living and excellent health and education systems, Australia attracts visitors and migrants from all over the world. Add to that a temperate climate, beautiful landscape and political and economic stability, Australians really have a quality of life to be envied. The appeal of Australia is evident in the large number of people who migrate under the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Migration Program every year. In recent years, over 100,000 people have migrated to Australia every year. These people have helped contribute to Australia’s growing multicultural population and will continue to shape Australia’s future.