Commonwealth of Australia

Political Status: Original member of the Commonwealth; established as a federal state under democratic parliamentary regime in 1901.

Area: 2,966,136 sq. mi. (7,682,300 sq. km.).

Population: 18,972,350 (2001C), 19,651,000 (2004E).

Major Urban Centers (including suburbs, 1999C): CANBERRA (307,700), Sydney (3,879,400), Melbourne (3,283,147), Brisbane (1,520,600), Perth (1,295,100), Adelaide (1,079,200), Hobart (195,800), Darwin (86,000).

Official Language: English.

Monetary Unit: Australian Dollar (market rate July 1, 2005, 1.32 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Maj. Gen. Michael JEFFERY; appointed on June 22, 2003, and sworn into office August 11, following the resignation on May 25 of Peter HOLLINGWORTH and the acting incumbency of Sir Guy GREEN, Governor of Tasmania.

Prime Minister: John Winston HOWARD (Liberal Party of Australia); sworn in March 4, 1996, following election of March 2, succeeding Paul KEATING ...

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