Commonwealth of Australia

Political Status: 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); 21,009,000 (2007E). The 2001 figure is not adjusted for underenumeration, estimated at 1.9 percent in the 2001 census.

Major Urban Centers (including suburbs, 2006 census): CANBERRA (323,056), Sydney (4,119,190), Melbourne (3,592,591), Brisbane (1,763,131), Adelaide (1,105,839), Perth (1,445,078), Hobart (200,525), Darwin (105,991).

Official Language: English.

Monetary Unit: Australian Dollar (market rate November 1, 2008: 1.52 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Quentin BRYCE, formerly governor of Queensland; appointment announced on April 13, 2008; scheduled to be sworn into office September 5, 2008, replacing Maj. Gen. Michael JEFFERY.

Prime Minister: Kevin RUDD (Australian Labor Party), sworn in December 3, 2007, following the general election of November 24 ...

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