The World Factbook (1982)/Australia

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World Factbook (1982) Australia.jpg
(See reference map X)


7,692,300 km2; 6% arable, 58% pasture, 2% forested, 34% other


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm (fishing 200 nm; prawn and crayfish on continental shelf)

Coastline: about 25,760 km


Population: 15,011,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.3%

Nationality: noun—Australian(s); adjective—Australian

Ethnic divisions: 99% Caucasian, 1% Asian and aborigine

Religion: 98% Christian

Language: English

Literacy: 98.5%

Labor force: 6.5 million; 14% agriculture, 32% industry, 37% services, 15% commerce, 2% other; 6.2% unemployment

Organized labor: 44% of labor force


Official name: Commonwealth of Australia

Type: federal parliamentary state recognizing Elizabeth II as sovereign or head of state

Capital: Canberra

Political subdivisions: 6 states and 2 territories—Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) and Northern Territory

Legal system: based on English common law; constitution adopted 1900; High Court has jurisdiction over cases involving interpretation of the constitution; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: 26 January

Branches: Parliament (House of Representatives and Senate); Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible to House; independent judiciary

Government leaders: Governor General Sir Zelman COWEN; Prime Minister J. Malcolm FRASER

Suffrage: universal over age 18

Elections: held at three-year intervals or sooner if Parliament is dissolved by Prime Minister; last election October 1980

Political parties and leaders: government—Liberal Party (Malcolm Fraser) and National Country Party (Douglas Anthony); opposition—Labor Party (William J. Hayden)

Voting strength (1980 parliamentary election): lower house—Liberal-Country coalition, 74 seats; Labor Party, 51 seats; Senate—Liberal-Country coalition, 31 seats; Labor, 27 seats; Australian Democrats, 5 seats; Independents, 1 seat

Communists: 5,000 members (est.)

Other political or pressure groups: Democratic Labor Party (anti-Communist Labor Party splinter group)

Member of: ADB, AIOEC, ANZUS, CIPEC (associate), Colombo Plan, Commonwealth, DAC, ELDO, ESCAP, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IATP, IBA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, International Lead and Zinc Study Group, IMCO, IMF, IOOC, IPU, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG


GNP: $120.4 billion (1979), $8,360 per capita; 60% private consumption, 16% government current expenditure, 24% investment (1975); 2.8% real average annual growth (1979)

Agriculture: large areas devoted to livestock grazing; 60% of area used for crops is planted in wheat; major products—wool, livestock, wheat, fruits, sugarcane; self-sufficient in food; caloric intake, 3,300 calories per day per capita

Fishing: catch 122,947 metric tons (1978); exports $94.5 million (FY75), imports $86.2 million (FY75)

Major industries: mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals

Crude steel: 7.8 million metric tons produced (FY76), 560 kg per capita

Electric power: 26,358,140 kW capacity (1980); 98.843 billion kWh produced (1980), 6,728 kWh per capita

Exports: $18.7 billion (f.o.b., 1979); principal products (1979)—44% agricultural products, 14% metalliferous ores, 10% wool, 10% coal

Imports: $18.3 billion (c.i.f., 1979); principal products (1977)—41% manufactured raw materials, 28% capital equipment, 25% consumer goods

Major trade partners: (1979) exports—28% Japan, 12% US, 5% New Zealand, 4% UK; imports— 23% US, 11% UK, 18% Japan

Aid: economic—Australian aid abroad in Australian dollars, $662 million (FY81-82); for Papua New Guinea in US dollars, $290 million per year 1981-86

Budget: expenditures, A$40.86 billion; receipts A$40.72 billion (FY81-82)

Monetary conversion rate: 1.0 Australian dollar=US$1.08 (February 1982)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: 42,855 km total (1980); 9,689 km 1.60-meter gauge, 15,783 km standard gauge (1.435 m), 17,383 km 1.067-meter gauge; 800 km electrified (June 1962); government owned (except for few hundred kilometers of privately owned track)

Highways: 837,872 km total (1980); 207,650 km paved, 205,454 km gravel, crushed stone, or stabilized soil surface, 424,768 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 8,368 km; mainly by small, shallow-draft craft

Ports: 12 major, numerous minor

Pipelines: crude oil, 740 km; refined products, 340 km; natural gas, 6,947 km

Civil air: around 150 major transport aircraft

Airfields: 1,584 total, 1,526 usable; 207 with permanent-surface runways, 2 with runways over 3,660 m; 16 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 570 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: very good international and domestic service; 7.4 million telephones (52 per 100 popl.); 223 AM, 5 FM, and 111 TV stations; 3 earth satellite stations; submarine cables to New Zealand, New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Guam


Military manpower: males 15-49, 3,907,000; 3,334,000 fit for military service; 131,000 reach military age (17) annually

Military budget: for fiscal year ending 30 June 1982, $4.7 billion; about 10.1% of total central government budget