Principal languages: English (official)
Ethnicity/race: Australian (59.9)%
Religions: Catholic (29.2%)
National Holiday: National Day, January
Literacy rate: 99%
Economic summary: GDP/PPP 337,450 million. Inflation: 1.5%. Unemployment: 6.2%. Arable land: 6.0%. Labor force: 12,245,908 Industries: cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar. Natural resources: coal, iron ore, lead, diamonds, rutile, zinc and zirconium, second largest of gold and uranium, and third largest of aluminium. Exports: $258.8 billion (2012 est.) Imports: $224 billion Major trading partners: China, Japan, USA, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, United Kingdom.
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 10,470,000(2012); mobile Radio broadcast stations: AM 18, FM 40, shortwave 2 (2006) Television broadcast stations: 15 (1999). Internet hosts: 266 (2005). Internet users: 300,000 (2005).
Transportation: Railways: total: 2,706 km (2004). Highways: total: 239,226 km; paved: 22,726 km; unpaved: 216,500 km (2003). Waterways: 8,372 km; note: includes 2,635 km main cargo routes (2005). Ports and harbors: Chittagong, Mongla Port. Airports: 16 (2005).
Australia has a number of on going international disputes. Australia's role in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq without UN sanction has been a cause of protest. Presently, there is tension in Australia's relations with Indonesia over the release of Abu Bakar Bashir as well as Australia's recent decision to grant temporary protection visas to 42 West Papuans, after which Indonesia's ambassador was recalled. There was also minor tensions between the two countries in 2004–05 when Schapelle Corby was imprisoned for 20 years for possessing 4.2 kg of marijuana.
Australia has removed an Israeli diplomat after Israel forged Australian passports to carry out a Mossad assassination. Relations with Israel further deteriorated after Israel attacked an AID ship in Gaza, injuring an Australian. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd condemned Israel's actions.
Tourism in Sydney, Australia forms an important part of the city's economy. The city received 7 million domestic visitors and 2.7 million international visitors in year ending December 2010, making it the 42nd most visited city in the world. The most famous attractions include the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other attractions include the Sydney Mardi Gras, Royal Botanical Gardens, Luna Park, the beaches and Sydney Tower.
Port Jackson is the natural harbour of Sydney. It is known for its spectacular natural beauty, and in particular as the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area around the harbour foreshore contains pockets of bushland which was once common around Sydney, containing a surprising range of native animals.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous 20th-century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world. Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, with parkland to its south and close to the equally famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the building and its surroundings form an iconic Australian image.
The shores of Sydney Harbour are home to a number of historic batteries, bunkers and forts, many of which are now heritage listed. Some of these forts date back to 1871 and were part of Sydney Harbours defence system that was designed to withstand a seaborn attack. There are four historical fortifications located between Bradleys Head and Middle Head on the north side of the harbour; the Middle Head Fortifications, the Georges Head Battery, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position and a small fort located on Bradleys Head. The forts were constructed from mostly large sandstone blocks and consist of many tunnels, catacombs and underground rooms.