Politically, Australia is divided into six states and two territories 2.
The land mass for each state and Australia in total is shown in the table. But to give you a visual indication of its size, we have superimposed the map of Australia over Europe and the USA (below).
Australia is about three-quarters the size of either of these.
As can be seen from the table and the illustration below, some 77% of the population is concentrated in three eastern states (New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland).
There was a wide range of growth rates between the various states, as shown in the table below. WA grew the fastest, as a result of strong overseas and interstate migration. The ACT, Queensland and Victoria also showed the same trend.
Interestingly, New South Wales experienced strong overseas migration, but there was a significant number of people already living in NSW who moved to other states (WA,QLD and VIC).
Summer - December to February
Autumn - March to May
Winter - June to August
Spring - September to November.
Because Australia is so big, there are several distinct climates. You can find out a lot more about this on the Bureau of Meteorology website. But on this page we will stick to the basics, which is what most people will want to know about each area; How warm is it? How sunny is it? How wet is it?
There are a few obvious points that jump out from the three charts below:
Constitutionally, the monarch has overriding powers, but in everyday life, it's the elected Australian government which runs the country.
It is elected by the people and holds office for a maximum of three years. Voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens over the age of 18. Currently, the Labour Party is in government and the head of government (The Prime Minister) is Julia Gillard.
Compared to much of the developed world, Australia's economy is in pretty good shape.Throughout the Global Financial Crisis, Australia's resource-based economy has continued to grow, largely as a result of China's demand for iron ore and other natural resources.
Basically, the states which have the most mineral resources (WA, NT & QLD) are growing strongly while the others are experiencing moderate or even negative growth.
The table to the right shows these migrants by their state of intended residence. As well as the actual headcount, we see the percentage of the Australian total. The three states at the top (NSW, Vic, Qld) are also the most populated states, and have received the most new migrants for many years.
We also see the numbers as a percentage of each state's population (ie, the state's growth rate due to overseas migration) and this shows that the "resource boom" states of WA and NT are currently growing at the fastest rates.
The same numbers are also represented in the illustration below.