Australia (capital Canberra) and neighboring states
Country Comparisons: chart
Economic growth rate
Government health care spending: 17 percent of the nation's budget, compared to 37 percent for the United States.
Australia has a national heath care system, introduced in 1984, financed by taxing 1.5 percent of income. It covers two-thirds of most doctor fees and public hospital care. One-third of health care costs are paid either out of pocket by patients or by their private health care insurance. Seventy-five percent of all hospital beds are in public hospitals, 25 percent in private hospitals. People with private health insurance choose their own doctor and hospital and have less of a wait for non-urgent procedures.
Australia is said to have produced an abundance of "important medical researchers and scientists."
Nation sales tax (value added tax) is at 10 percent. For a single worker without children, in the year 2001, including contributions to Social Security, an Australian earning an average wage paid 23.1 percent of income for taxes. In the U.S. this was 30 percent, in Belgium 55.6 percent.
Australia has had 0.01 murders per 1,000 population, compared to 0.04 for the United States. It has had 1.56 in prison compared to 7.15 in the United States and 0.85 for France.
2010: favorable, with exports 105% of imports
Distribution of Wealth – the gini index
Australia is 24th most equal among 140 countries, its gini score (in 2007) 30.5 – lower numbers for greater equality. Australia has a high revenue to GDP ratio: 51.0% (compared to15% for the United States) like other nations that score high in equal distribution.
Miltary expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 2.4% (BBC News)
Living in an urban area
Ninety-two percent are Caucasian, 7 percent Asian, and 1 percent aboriginal and others. Anglicans and Catholics are about equal in number, each around 26 percent of the population. Other Christians are 24 percent, and the rest 24 percent.
Net migration rate
2012: More people arriving than leaving. A net gain of 5.93 persons per 1,000 population.
The World Economic Forum lists Australia as eighth in the world in the elimination of a gender gap. This is ahead of the United States, which does not appear among the top ten.
White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%.
The happiness survey, described at Nationmaster.com, gives Australia a 90 percent rating compared to 84 for United States, 2 for Russia and minus 24 for Bulgaria.
Chief of state: Elizabeth II (queen, House of Windsor). Prime Minister: Tony Abbott, since 18 September 2013, Liberal Party (conservative).
Name: the Commonwealth of Australia. Parliament is bicamera: the Senate as 76 members, 12 from each of the six states, and the House of Representatives has 150 members. All are elected by popular vote.
January 1, 1901: Australia becomes independent from the Federation of United Kingdom (British) colonies.
1999: A referendum to make Australia a republi, by removing the Queen of England as head of state, is defeated.
September 9, 2010:
During the recent global downturn, Australia had one of the best-performing economies, and with the Labor Party in power. This has helped the Labor Party in elections, while conservatives have portrayed the Labor government as having been reckless in its saddling the nation with record debts and deficits.
Today, the leader of the Labor Party, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, forms a minority government for her second term in office. Ms Gillard says she will be held to the highest standards of transparency and reform. She has promised better education, health and telecommunications services.
In May, 55% of Austrialians polled believed that Australia had become a nanny state. This was 59% for those who lived in a rural area and 61% for those over fifty. One man described the Australian way of life as having the freedom to do what you like as long as you're not hurting anybody. He complained of government telling him where he can fly a kite with his children, how he can enjoy a beer and what sort of food he can eat.
In Australia, too much boozing has become a public issue, and Australia has its environmental issues.
According to the CIA World Factbook, "Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines."
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