Demography and economic geography. – State entirely included in the southern hemisphere, between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The population of the Australia it remains very limited, in relation to the vast extension of the available lands. According to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) for 2014, there are 23,630,169 residents, with an increase of 1.2% compared to the previous year. The overall density is around 3 residents per km 2, and the contrasts between the northern areas dominated by the desert and the populous southeast coast remain unchanged. The fertility rate was 1.9 children per woman in 2012, with an overall birth rate of 13.6 ‰. The simultaneous lowering of mortality (6.5 ‰, with 82.5 years of average life) led to an expansion in the percentage of elderly people. Although greater attention has been paid to the state of indigenous populations, which are in demographic recovery (517,000 people, 2.5% of the population), these are still characterized by severe delays in life expectancy (fifteen years lower than the average ; 67.2 versus 82.5), in education levels and in the availability of income. The urban population, estimated in 2012 at about 89% of the total, is largely concentrated in the eight metropolitan areas, all distributed along the southern coast. In particular, the coast of New South Wales includes over 6 million residents. along the arc of a hundred kilometers, which has its pivot in Sydney and its margins in Newcastle and Wollongong.
Economic conditions. – According to the forecasts of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), in 2014 the GDP grew by 2.8%, the GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPA) it is 46,631 dollars, while unemployment stood at around 6.2% (in previous years it was around 5%). A significant contribution derives from the vast availability of mineral raw materials and energy sources, which together fuel exports for over a third. In particular, the Australia is the world’s largest producer of bauxite, aluminum and opals, the second largest in the world of nickel, gold and zinc, the third largest of iron, uranium, diamonds and natural gas, the fourth largest of coal and one of the largest producers of other commonly used resources in industries. The mining sector produces 10% of the country’s GDP, while the related industries contribute another 9%. The exploitation of this great wealth fuels the economic growth of Asian giants such as China, India and Indonesia,
The trade produced approximately 440 billion dollars in revenues in 2012, of which 240 billion were due to exports (mineral raw materials, wheat, meats, dairy products and wool). Agriculture maintains a certain importance (less than 3% of the share of GDP), industry, which in the second half of the twentieth century gave the country a rapid development, now occupies 15%, while the manufacturing sector 11%. The tertiary sector is still the sector that participates in the GDP most consistently, with over 70%.
History. – The victory of the Labor party in the 2007 general elections put an end to the hegemony of the conservatives, continuously in government since 1996. Kevin Rudd, new leader of the executive, with a large parliamentary majority and a broad consensus in public opinion, he inaugurated a policy of reforms in stark contrast to that of his predecessors. One of his first acts was the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol (Dec. 2007) which was followed, the following year, by the first official apology addressed to the Aboriginal people for the treatment inflicted, between 1870 and 1960, on almost 100,000 of their children, taken from their families to be raised in orphanages (the so-called stolen generations). Always in stark contrast to the directives of previous governments, Rudd then repealed the deregulation industrial relations and proceeded to withdraw the last troops from Irāq. However, the policy towards irregular immigrants remained more ambiguous, including asylum seekers, mostly from Srī Laṅkā, Irān, ῾Irāq and Afghānistān. The law that required his detention remained in force, although mitigated by the abolition of the so-called Pacific solution, which provided for imprisonment in extraterritorial detention centers, located in some Pacific islands. The slowdown in the economy, the increase in the public deficit and the fear of a growth in migratory waves undermined the popularity of the premier, who was challenged even by the more moderate wing of his own party. In June 2010 Rudd resigned and was succeeded by Julia Gillard (first woman to hold the position) who, following the downsizing of Labor in the 2010 elections, he formed a minority government with the decisive external support of the Greens. While taking up some strong themes of his predecessor – approval of the carbon tax aimed at penalizing the most polluting industries (2012) and the bill that recognized the aborigines and islanders of the Torres Strait as the first residents of the Australia (2013) – Gillard ushered in a more moderate policy, softening many measures of the previous government. He reached an agreement with the big mining companies by scaling back Rudd’s announced super-profits tax and substantially restored the Pacific solution, reopening many extraterritorial detention centers for immigrants. One of the strengths of his mandate was foreign policy aimed at redefining the country’s role in the geopolitical context. The new line aimed at establishing a solid economic link with China, India, Japan and Indonesia, while leaving the relationship with the United States intact. However, the international success, sanctioned by a series of advantageous agreements with China, and the maintenance of the Australian economy out of the hard crisis that had hit many Western economies did not reduce the haemorrhage of consensus from the Labor Party, which tried to run for cover. handing over the government leadership to Rudd in June 2013. In the elections of the following September, Labor was defeated by the Conservatives, who thus returned to power after six years. New Prime Minister Tony Abbott, placed the reduction of the public deficit, a hard fight against illegal immigration and the revitalization of the economy through market liberalization among the government’s priorities. Thus, cuts in public spending were enacted and both the law on excess profits and the carbon tax were repealed (July 2014). As far as immigration was concerned, the government adopted the hard line of rejections at sea, planning to increase the diversion of asylum seekers to extraterritorial detention facilities. As part of a strengthening of relations with NATO, in September 2014 Abbott granted the US government military support in the fight against militants of the Islamic State group and sided with Europe in sanctions against Russia following its intervention in Ukraine. For Australia history, please check ehistorylib.com.