"Australia" was released by Manic Street Preachers on 2 December 1996 through Epic and was the fourth and final single release from the Everything Must Go album of May that same year. The song peaked on number 7 in the UK Singles Chart, and it was the fourth consecutive top 10 hit for the band.
The sentiment of the song is that Australia is just about the furthest one can go to get away from their home in Wales and is a metaphor for Nicky Wire's desire to escape from the emotional turmoil caused by the disappearance of his close friend and co-lyricist, Richey Edwards.
The music helps the lyrics convey the sense of freedom, featuring heavy guitar sound coupled with a raw emotion, and a crescendo bolstered by Sean Moore's drumming.
On 14 December 1996, "Australia" reached number seven in the UK charts, giving the Manics their fourth consecutive top ten hit. It charted for 9 weeks in the UK charts. With this, all singles from Everything Must Go charted within the top 10 in the UK. It also made an appearance as track number seven on Forever Delayed, the band's greatest hits album, released in November 2002, however like many other songs, the single was edited in order to fit on the album, it has 3:42, while the album version has 4:05.
The first CD included "Velocity Girl", "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (all three being cover versions of songs originally performed by Primal Scream, Camper Van Beethoven and Frankie Valli, respectively) and the cassette featured a live recording of "A Design for Life". All 3 of the CD cover versions would later feature on the Lipstick Traces compilation album in 2003 (although "Take the Skinheads Bowling" was re-recorded). The lack of original Manics material for the single's extra tracks was attributed to Nicky Wire having a case of writer's block as he approached writing material for the band's next album. He attributed this to the fact that it was the first time he had written a whole album without Richey's help.