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Australia has a system of government based on the liberal democratic tradition, which embraces religious tolerance and freedom of speech and association.
Following Australia's federation in 1901, the six former colonies (now states) opted for a written constitution with a relationship between national and state governments similar to that of the United States. At the same time, they chose to retain the Westminster model as the basis for the legislature, executive government and judiciary. This blend of two democratic traditions is now uniquely Australian.
Australia is the 21st largest export economy in the world and the 56th most complex economy under Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In 2014, Australia exported $ 243 Billion and imported $ 219 billion, resulting in a positive trade balance of $ 24.8 Billion. In 2014 Australia's GDP was $ 1.45 trillion and GDP per capita was $ 45.9 Miles. The main exports of Australia are Iron Ore ($ 60 billion), charcoal briquettes ($ 37.2 billion), Petroleum ($ 16.3 billion), Gold ($ 16.3 billion) and Crude Oil ($ 9.1 billion), according wing classification Harmonized System (HS). Its main imports are petroleum refining ($ 16.6 billion), crude oil ($ 16.2 billion), cars ($ 15.7 billion), Computers ($ 7.37 billion) and packaged Drugs ( $ 6.5 billion). The main export destinations of Australia are China ($ 82.9 billion), Japan ($ 43.1 billion), South Korea ($ 19 billion), India ($ 11.1 billion) and the United States ($ 10 billion). The main sources of imports are China ($ 45.7 billion), the United States ($ 24.5 billion), Japan ($ 15.4 billion), Singapore ($ 11.8 billion) and Germany ($ 10.6 billion). Australia is an island bordering Indonesia, Timor-Leste, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands by sea.
New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, was the site of Captain James Cook’s original landing in Australia, and the place where the first European settlement was established in 1788.
Australia’s biggest city, Sydney has approximately 4.4 million people and is built around one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours, which has moulded and shaped the city since settlement.
Sydney also boasts other major attractions including its distinctive Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the historic Rocks area, and excellent beaches and national parks.
As host city for the Olympic Games in September 2000, Sydney underwent a metamorphosis that put its cityscape on a level with its natural beauty.
The harbour divides the city into northern and southern halves, with Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel joining the two shores.
The best way to experience the spectacular harbour with its many bays and beaches is to jump aboard one of the numerous ferries that carry commuters across the water.
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is the second largest city, with a population of approximately 3.89 million.
Its birth and major period of development paralleled Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901) and the city in many ways is a product of its formative era, both architecturally and socially.
Adelaide, the famed city of churches, has splendid natural rural settings. The city centre is surrounded by parkland and the metropolitan area is bounded by the hills of the Mt Lofty Ranges which crowd it against the sea.
The capital of South Australia, Adelaide is laid out on a grid and has several distinct civic squares.
Thirty minutes away, and part of the magnificent Mt Lofty Ranges, are the Adelaide Hills. In addition to the beauty of the hills themselves with their huge gum trees and their picturesque landscapes, there are more than 1000 km of bushwalking trails and many fascinating townships to explore.
With a proud agricultural heritage built on the production of wheat and wool, Adelaide is also known for producing some of the finest wines in Australia, from delicate Rieslings to the robust Shiraz.
The state of South Australia is sparsely settled with 73% of its population in the capital — which has a population of almost 1.2 million — and a handful of major rural centres.