Talk:Australia/Archive 7

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Separation of church and state

I changed an opening sentence in the Demographics section from: "The Australian Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state; there is no state religion" to "The Australian Constitution guarantees a limited form of the separation of church and state; there is no state religion." (Emphasis obviously not in original.)

This was challenged: "why do you say it is limited? the terms are absolute."

Separation of church and state is only partly about:

  • Not having governments nominate a state church (as happens in much of Europe, for example); and
  • Governments not running churches' day-to-day business.

The term can have a limited meaning, which is covered by the two items above. It can also have a broader meaning, such as is found in the US, where for example if legislatures have opening prayers they cannot be limited to a certain faith (as compared to Australia, where the Lord's Prayer is the only one used to open the sessions of the federal houses of parliament). It can also have the broadest meaning, perhaps shown by countries like France where the separation extends to the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools.

Australia has many examples of close church-state relations

Here are just a few examples of how governments in Australia engage with churches in ways that contravene the strictest notions of the separation of church and state:

  • About 1/3 of school children are educated in independent, mostly Catholic systemic, schools. When the federal government made its controversial decision to fund private schools by the income of students' parents, it explicitly excluded Catholic systemics, which were instead funded through multi-billion dollar grants to the centralised Catholic education offices.
  • Here in the ACT, there are two main hospitals: the Canberra Hospital (government-run), and Calvary Hospital, run by the Little Company of Mary. Calvary is publicly funded, but has a gigantic illuminated cross on its exterior and sells anti-abortion paraphernalia in its shop.
  • After the federal government, church agencies are the biggest providers of welfare in the country - much of it provided through government grants.
  • A large portion of government-funded aged care is done through the Anglican Church.
  • Most public schools have Scripture Week when the Easter and/or Christmas stories are taught from explicitly Christian perspectives.
  • Most schools engage in Aboriginal dreamtime mythology (which of course is as much a faith as the Christmas and Easter stories).

Etc etc. etc.

Furthermore, the vast majority of jurists agrees that the separation clause in the Constitution is not interpreted as being a "high wall". It is a restriction only on compelling membership of a church. It was largely a result of Catholics (then a small minority compared to Anglicans) being concerned that they would be compelled to belong to the C of E. It is not about forcing the government to bow out of religious and spiritual matters, as the strict form of separation entails. A good example of that recognition was the High Court's DoGS case in the 1980s, which found with only one dissenting opinion that the clause is about preventing the creation of a state church, not about any other restriction.

Australia's is hence only a limited form of separation, so my edit was wholly and totally correct - and indeed more correct than leaving the term unqualified. As such I'm reverting to my edit, since it is demonstrably beneficial to the accuracy of the article. El T 05:08, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

church / state relationships are irrelevant to freedom of religion. freedom of religion is freedom to exercise religious belief without interferance from the state.

116 Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. Xtra 05:43, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

If you read the DOGS case you would notice that the judges said that the Commonwealth could only fund religious schools if done on a non-discriminatory basis. Xtra 05:45, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

And about the lord's prayer - it is not compulsory, and it would be more discriminatory for the parliament to not allow its recitation, as that would inhibit the freedom of religion of the vast majority of parliamentarians. (also the lord's prayer is not religion specific) Xtra 05:48, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

You're confusing freedom of religion with separation of church and state. El T 06:03, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
You were the one who raised issues about separation of church and state. Xtra 06:43, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
"Not religion specific"? Where are you from? How many Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or athiests recite it? Trekphiler 14:44, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

A better fix

A more obvious question about this whole business is why on earth a discussion of rights in the Constitution is being discussed in the "Demographics" section. I'm moving that bit into "Politics" and adding some more material. El T 06:41, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

That material should not confer the incorrect notion that freedom of religion in Australia is somehow limited. If something is a religious practice (as defined by the High Court) the government cannot prevent the free exercise of it. The only exception is where there are competing issues of public policy. E.g. a religion that allows murder. Xtra 06:45, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

That right to trial by jury is an interesting one. I learnt about it in constitutional law. I am not sure if there is an article on it, but one would be interesting as there has continually been a majority and minority view. The majority of the high court have said that an indictable offence is only what the Cth says is indictable, whereas the minority has said that takes the teeth out of the right and it is deeper than that. Xtra 06:54, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry, this is a summary article. Please discuss these issues in daughter articles.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 07:30, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Good point, Cyberjunkie. However, rather than reverting to the previous version, we need to fix problems like the silliness of discussing rights & freedoms and school attendance policy in the demographics section. Keep in mind that the definition of demography is: "The study of the characteristics of human populations, such as size, growth, density, distribution, and vital statistics." In other words, the metadata of a nation's population. The preceding unsigned comment was added by El T (talk • contribs) 09:56, 30 October 2005 (ACST).

(Please don't forget to sign) As this is a feature article, I felt it necessary to revert to the last stable version. Some of what you now find in demographics are remnants of a previous much larger section which included sub-headings for "Education" and so on. That section was whittled down to its present form in the process of becoming a feature. Compare with other country articles and I'm sure you'll find similarities. And I think it's fine to mention in passing the constitutional provision for the separation of church and state when delineating religious adherence. Remember this is only a summary or overview article. We'd welcome more coverage on the separation of church and state in Australia. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 02:19, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

You'll never find a reference work of any quality referring to political rights & structures in a demographic summary. The only possible exception is if it explained something wholly abnormal, so for example in far-gone times you might have noted for England: "Church of England: 100% (NB - membership is compulsory)". El T 10:58, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Australia in fact does have a reference to non-seperation of church and state..even though the constitution may have cleverly removed "Defender of the Faith" from the queen's title, is she still the "Supreme Governor of the Church of England" both in Britain and Australia? The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 06:49 14 Dec 2005 (UTC).

Well, I guess she is Supreme Governor of the Church of England no matter where she is, but the Anglican Church in Australia is not the Church of England, and she isnt' Supreme Governor or anything like that of the Anglican Church of Australia. The constitution isn't what removed "Defender of the Faith", either. JPD (talk) 09:49, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
'Defender of the Faith' was removed from the Australian style and titles by the Royal Style and Titles Act 1973. It was included in the Royal Style and Titles Act 1953. Alan 03:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


do they speak english or what? that article i couldn't find out.


Australia — Official Language: English

According to

this should be in the article or make it more visible if it's not already in there!

focking firefox stupid search bar, I see it now, move along.

If I recall correctly, Australia actually has no official language. English is simply the de facto standard. El T 12:51, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
That was my recollection too, but our Immigration Department says English is the official language: (answer to second question) --Scott Davis Talk 14:04, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Interesting. I'd always assumed English was our official language, but I'm now wondering what makes it so. Like, what regulation or bit of legislation or whatever deems this to be the case? Immigration can't just assert this as a fact unless there is some official document somewhere. Does anybody know? JackofOz 14:15, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
I've heard it was to. I imagine it's just some act of Parliament that says all laws will be written in English or something. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 14:24, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
I wonder if the federal government has ever considered reinstating one of the more common Aboriginal languages in parliament, as well as English. If no action is made to support the use of Australia's Aboriginal languages they are likely to all die out with the passing of the next generation. Daniel563 06:57, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
There's no way in the world the present government would ever consider it. In any case, it's a nice idea, but thoroughly impractical. For a start, most Aboriginal languages only have a few thousand speakers, and fewer still are actually highly fluent in the language, certainly to a point where a legally satisfactory translation could take place. And how would you pick out an Aboriginal language for the purpose given there's hundreds of them (or, at least, there *were* hundreds of them). Furthermore, I doubt the language would resemble much the language actually spoken once the hundreds of loanwords and figures of speech necessary to discuss parliamentary democracy were added. Finally, the plain fact is that very few white Australians would ever bother to learn an Aboriginal language; while it might be nice in theory, when it comes down to a choice of an economically useful language (French, Japanese, Indonesian, Spanish, Mandarin, maybe German) or warm fuzzies, most parents are going to put their foot down and insist on the economically useful language. Not that many Australians can actually speak *any* second language, unless their parents are migrants and they learned that language at home. --Robert Merkel 11:56, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I've made some enquiries with DIMIA about this. So far, all they've told me is the official language is English because it is (which, actually, I already knew). I've asked them more questions about the legal/official basis of this, and specifically when/how it became "official", and await their response with great interest. JackofOz 22:41, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Update. DIMIA have now referred me to the Department of PM&C. I've asked them and am waiting for a response. JackofOz 23:50, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Ah. Bureaucratic buck-passing... --cj | talk 07:39, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
A couple of data points (emphasis mine):
From a 1995 speech by Joseph Lo Bianco (wrote 1987's National Policy on Languages) [1]: "English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language ..."
Also in 2002 he writes [2]: "we have always treated English as the uncontested shared national (but not legislated or official) language of Australia ..."
Disclaimer: I am not Australian, just someone interested in language :-) --Cam 02:38, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Having had dealings with Joe Lo Bianco, I would trust his information. He wrote the National Policy on Languages while engaged as a Ministerial Consultant to the Hawke government. Still no response from PM&C, so I vote we say what Joe said and cite his speech. JackofOz 02:58, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

It's not English, its Ozlish. We need a translation page for the foreign terms for those of us N priviledged enough to live there, such as "bluey" (redhead), "sheila" (female), or "a carton of tinnies" (case of canned beer). Trekphiler 14:48, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

- ("a carton of tinnies" (case of canned beer)???) "Tinnies" isn't Oz slang. It's from tourism advertising campaign (featuring Paul Hogan) aired in the USA. You got the others correct.

I boldly edited the Infobox citing Lo Bianco. --Cam 22:05, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Australia has had so many influxes of immigrants there is a greater variety of languages than any other country in the world. However, I believe Australian English or English (Aus) should become the official language of Australia, although I don't believe even plain English is officially the language of this country. Nick carson 03:20, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

According to the form I got when I applied for my citizenship (DIMIA 1027i), the 3rd point under "Who is eligible" states: "You are able to speak and understand basic English;". I think that pretty much mean that, at the very least, english is considered the official language for immigration purpose. --Marc pasquin 16:00, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm fairly certain that English is our official national language, as the appropriate conventions of British Parliament were inserted into our legal system, before Federation. --Master Spiky 10:00, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

No, English is only a de facto official language in the UK; see Languages in the United Kingdom. It has also inherited this status in New Zealand, in contrast to the de jure official status of Māori and New Zealand Sign Language. -- Avenue 23:26, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

During my studies of linguistics at Monash (a univerity in Melbourne, Australia) we learnt that Australia does not have an official language (that is, although it's obvious that English is the language of choice, nowhere is it written that English (or any other language) is the official language of Australia).

Industrial relations

Nothing on IR? Why's that? - Ta bu shi da yu 07:08, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't see where you could put it in. The US has frankly a bloody awful IR system, and nothing in the article; we don't have one (yet). When we do actually start developing a working poor (only a matter of time, obviously) we can then put that in. Slac speak up! 07:18, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Considering that Unions have been such a major part of our nation, I find that an interesting comment. - Ta bu shi da yu 11:05, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I was thinking of adding a sentence to the end of the first paragraph in the ecomony section about the current batch of workplace reforms. Other than that there isn't really much scope for a history of trade unionism and industrial realtions in this article. Does anyone know what the name the article about the most recent reforms (proposed) currently goes by? --nixie 07:24, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
It is currently called Australian industrial relations legislation, 2005. Xtra 07:29, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't think a mention of the current legislation is necessary, but a sentence about the role of trade unions in our history wouldn't go astray. Ambi 12:09, 7 November 2005 (UTC)


I recently was at a concert with australian contemporary music. One piece was utterly interesting and moving. It tells of the story of settlers and the hardships they had to endure. I forgot the name of the music. Anyone remember? I remember that crickets were played by violins. Anyone have a clue? They should put something like that in the culture part. It's simply a masterpiece, I am german, and I think that if there's anyone who can write more on australian contemporary music, it would be great. -

Score one for the Aussies! - Ta bu shi da yu 11:04, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
By your description, you probably mean a contemporary piece of Australian classical music. Unfortunately, AFAIK none of the Australian contributors to Wikipedia know much about the Australian classical repetoire; frankly, not much of it has reached the popular consciousness in a way that Germany's greatest composers have. Probably the most famous contemporary Australian classical composer is Richard Mills, and, historically, the most famous was Percy Grainger, though he lived and worked mostly outside it, and is probably almost as famous for his personal proclivities than for any of his music. But I'd bet that 90% of Australians couldn't name an Australian composer who worked in the classical tradition, though most could name at least two or three Germans. --Robert Merkel 11:45, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd say that Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and Elena Kats-Chernin would be just as well known as Richard Mills these days. JackofOz 05:58, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Nowadays, you're less likely to find the beer-swelling, pot-bellied, lazy Aussie drongo in every household. In actual fact, most Australians can be compared to chardonnay-sipping, culture loving intellects that are greatly against public displays of patriotism (greatly opposed to the USA).

Lol! Seriously...Sadly, I myself lack knowledge of Cont. Aus. Classical Composers, Ross Edwards, eh..I think that's probably the reason most people tend to avoid it..opting for the more well-known and superior European composers. --Master Spiky 10:28, 30 May 2006

Well-known, definitely. But superior? - now that's POV, neither provable nor disprovable. :--) But seriously, what are you saying? Are you saying that most people model their interest in/knowledge of contemporary Australian classical composers after your personal level of knowledge of them? How many people do you claim to know, and how come you're so incredibly influential over all of them? JackofOz 14:11, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Why is this here?

  • Australia (1996 single) (single released by the Manic Street Preachers)

Why is this link here? I am dumbfounded why a link like this would stay but other links are deemed commercial and deleted?

What is the relevance of this? Wouldn't it be better to have actual Legendary Australian musicians in this article who have wrote about the Australia Way of Life?

When I think of Australia, I think of Cold Chisel, Khe Sahn.. Not Manic Street Preachers. The preceding unsigned comment was added by AustralianTraveller (talk • contribs) .

Ive noticed that as well, dont have a problem with it being here, but I think once I searched for Australia and somehow was redirected to the single rather than the country - ah here it is: "Australia" for some reason directs to the song ? Astrokey44 05:30, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Very strange! I've adjusted that redirect so it points to the country. To AustralianTraveller, the link was originally there because the song has the same name as the country, not because it is representative of Australian music. A few days ago, the link was added, and then removed again, as a standard disambiguator heading - like this. I can see how it would be strange to some people to see the first line of an article mentioning a meaning of a word that 99% of people would not be after. The only other way to do it would be for Australia to become a disambiguation page, the article about the country to be at Australia (country) and the song at Australia (single) - but that would obviously be pretty stupid. Perhaps the best option is the first line to point to Australia (disambiguation) and not go into any more specifics about the other meanings? I'll try that now and see how it goes. -- Chuq 05:44, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I just hope to God there's no Dragonball Z character named "Australia"... - Randwicked 10:34, 14 November 2005 (UTC


I removed this from the article;

The word "Australia" in Australian English is pronounced /ə.ˈstɹæɪ.ljə/, /ə.ˈstɹæɪ.liː.ə/ or /ə.ˈstɹæɪ.jə/.

If I knew how, i'd format the phonetics correctly - but i don't! - could someone smarter than I fix it? Thanks! Petesmiles 06:02, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

What is your objection? It uses the {{IPA|...}} template as is standard for IPA transcriptions on this site to help people using certain webbrowsers to read it; and it is written using a fairly standard rendition of the IPA for General Australian English. It's true that in broad transcriptions (i.e. ones which only use different characters for sounds that are distinguished such as this one, having nothing to do with "Broad Australian English") it's common to use ‹r› instead of ‹ɹ›, but that's only a matter of convenience. So I really have no idea what you want fixed up; I would suggest putting it straight back in the same as it came!
(The fullstops are technically redundant, but might assist in getting the exact pronunciation of the /l/ right (it's clear [l] as in "light", not the dark/velarised [ɫ] as in "pool") as well as emphasising that no-one has the same end to "Australia" as is found in the word "lear" (which'd be /lɪə/.) (The stress marks are also clearly redundant on all but the second transcription, and debatably redundant even there.)
It's also possible to write it as /əstreɪljə/, /əstreɪliə/ /əstreɪjə/ which would be the transcriptions shown in the Macquarie Dictionary, but they aren't the standard ones used on Wikipedia for Australian English (which more accurately represents both the phonetics as well as the internal similarities and processes and the expense of dissimilarity with the British Received Pronunciation IPA transcription).
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 06:31, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Fwiw, I don't think the final consonants are schwas. I use at least two different pronunciations, corresponding pretty much to the first and third (the second is more formal, isn't it?), and in both I would use a final "a" as in the end of "butter", rather than the schwa. It might also be worth ordering the transcriptions from most formal to least formal (to wit, moving the second one to the front). Stevage 09:46, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Last things first: To my mind, they are in order of formality. The first pronunciation is very formal and stilted and as I say below difficult for me to say. The second is my normal one, the one I'd probably use most often. The third is a relaxed pronunciation I tend to avoid because it is stigmatised.
As for the schwa-thing: The final consonants are either /j/ or /l/ depending on which you look at, neither of which is a schwa, so you're right :) Of course, you meant vowel… And although phonetically they're not schwas (in isolation), phonemically they are usually considered to be such. There's various reasons for this … word finally /a/ does not contrast with /ə/; to keep it compatible with American and British English; because (given that in Australian English the last vowel of "twenty" is considered a member of the /i:/ phoneme rather than the phonetically more similar /ɪ/) it'd be the only word-final short vowel. Also because it'd involve a phonemic change and you generally want some good evidence for that. Personally I'd think "because native speakers think it's an /a/, not a /ə/" is good evidence, but I don't know all that much about linguistics. So words like "Australia", "butter", "fitter", "Canberra", "thorough" are considered to end in /ə/.
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 11:50, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Stevage about the order of formality. JPD (talk) 16:01, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, seeing as there's disagreement, there's no real solution so they might as well be kept as they are, without attempting to order them by anything. (I moved your post behind my signature because otherwise it just separate my comments from my sig.) —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 10:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that we may as well leave them. Thanks for moving my comment - I didn't mean to ptu it before your sig. JPD (talk) 10:33, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Ooops - a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, I thought that these phonetics were an attempt to display the phonetic font that I'm used to seeing, such as [3] [I corrected the URI —FtC 14.11.05] - as a lay reader, i erroneously thought that these phonetics were a kind of typo. - i do find them hard to understand, but they're obviously technically correct - sorry!, my fault. The only reason I haven't put them back in myself is because I do find them a little incomprehensible, and wonder if anyone else agrees? - Petesmiles 07:13, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Well of course the IPA is used in a great many contexts, is standardised (to an extent) and is the "official" pronunciation spelling of Wikipedia. In this context, it also has the advantage here that it directly encodes the difference between the Australian and non-Australian pronunciations of the stressed vowel (broadly [æɪ] vs [eɪ, e]). There are also various other advantages to the IPA including, no less, that most dictionaries except American ones and ones meant for students use the IPA to encode pronunciation. In any case, if you click the "pronounced" link, you'd be given a brief guide to the meanings of the spellings!—Which I think most people would need for the link you gave anyway (what's "ô" mean? should I assume (based on phonetic similarity) that "about" is \ô-baut\ (or whatever they'd do)? etc). Also, IME every dictionary that doesn't use the IPA uses their own home-grown concoction, so that knowledge isn't even generalisable anyway.
Personally, I'm inclined to leave it out for an entirely different reason. I think that just giving three different pronunciations without an explanation to the social, regional etc. variation that the words are obviously subject to limits how encyclopædic it really is.
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 10:30, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't know what the "ô" is either, but I'd guess it's actually an American pronounciation. As for including the three pronounciations, I don't see a problem with having soemthing at that level of detail in a summary article. If more detail needs to be given, it can be somewhere else. JPD (talk) 11:16, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

isn't it possible to record examples of the various pronunciations and have these available? - Felix, would you have any such resources? - maybe that would be a further improvement? Petesmiles 01:36, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I have suitable low-quality recording equipment, and have now produced a recording for your listening pleasure! You can get it at
. Do note that for me, the sequence [æɪlj] is decidedly unnatural, so this mightn't be exactly how it ought to sound. ([lj] as an onset is forbidden; if [lj] crops up, it's across two syllables. Yet [æɪl] in a single syllable is also forbidden; if it crops up, it's across two syllables. So there's no possible way to pronounce that without making a change, hence naturally the third, but most commonly the second (as the l-less pronunciation is stigmatised). Also note that this is list-reading mode, so the final /ə/ are very open. Phrase-internally, they have a quality much more like the initial [ə], but most Australians wouldn't use that sound phrase-finally or in list-reading mode.
Also, I can't test the file, so it might not work. I can only record direct to MP3s, but Wikimedia stuff only wants Ogg Vorbis files. My converter converts happily, but then my multi-codec jukebox refuses to see the converted file, and I have no drivers for the soundcard in my computer. If it doesn't work, I can give you the MP3 if you email me, and maybe someone else can convert it to an Ogg and re-upload.
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 15:04, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Hang on, Felix. What about ale or I'll mail ya.? Jimp 20Dec05
As far as I can tell 'ale' and 'mail' are both two syllable words. Although the sounds are merged together and basically pronounced as one, there is still clear distinctions between the two syllables. At least when I say them. And even if you do manage to say them together that is not how Australia is pronounced anyway, there's a break before the 'l'. There is a prounciation where this isn't so which is a very ocker pronounciation where the a is pronounced more like '[æ]' without the following '[ɪ]' giving the word pronounced as /ɔː.ˈstɹæl.ja/.

I'm Australian and and I do *not* use any of the pronounciations listed here. Yes these pronounciations are used in some parts of Australia and by some people but not all parts and all people. A couple of very widely used pronounciations are /ɔː.ˈstɹeɪ.li.ə/ or /ɒ.ˈstɹeɪliə/.

Non-NPOV Big Time!

In the 1980s, the Labor Party, led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating, started the process of modernising the Australian economy by floating the Australian dollar in 1983, and deregulating the financial system.[9] Since 1996, the Howard government has continued the process of micro-economic reform, including the partial deregulation of the labour market and the privatisation of state-owned businesses, most notably in the telecommunications industry.[10] Substantial reform of the indirect tax system was achieved in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax, which has slightly reduced the heavy reliance on personal and company income tax that still characterises Australia's tax system.

This paragraph needs to be pulled apart. I've never voted liberal in my life and even I can see the npov in this! It highlights the achievements of the labor party, omits the 'recession that australia had to have' the unemployment levels and interest rates born by Paul Keating's labor government and fails to acknowledge the achievements of the liberal government.

I'm not the right person to do it but this certainly needs to be rewritten! The preceding unsigned comment was added by Factoid Killer (talk • contribs) 23:31, 18 November 2005 (UTC).

I don't quite understand your objections. That paragraph seems to be talking about changes made to various regulations and systems, and simply states who did what when, mentioning both Labor and Liveral achievements. The next paragraph talks about recession and indicators such as unemployment, and avoids attributing these to anyone. What is POV about that? JPD 12:21, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
The paragraph is POV, but not for the reasons the anon states, which make no sense whatsoever. The problem with the paragraph is that is entirely supportive of "economic reform" as being a good thing - even effectively praising the controversial GST. While it gives equal praise to Hawke, Keating and Howard, as much as the anon seems to believe otherwise, it neglects to even hint at the other side of the coin. It could be worse, however, and it's a minor blemish in an otherwise beautiful article. Ambi 16:46, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
I suppose if either "modernise" or "reform" are taken to be have a positive meaning, or "reliance" is implicity negative, then you are right. I don't tend to read things that way, so I don't see it as positive or negative, but I suppose the last part could be changed to something like "which has slightly lessened the importance of personal and company income taxes to Australia's tax system" to make it more obviously neutral. JPD 18:40, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Don't re-wriet - the para is about the deregulation of the Aust economy, and does a good job in the few words it has available. But do change 'modernisation' to 'deregulation' - modernisation is a pretty meaningless word.PiCo 11:49, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree, but deregulating is already used in the same sentence and (I think) in different context. - Squilibob 14:13, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

States and Territories

Re-insterted the reference to 2 major territories, which seemed important to me. A small question - apart from Jervis Bay territory, which other regions fall into this category? - pretty sure Lord Howe (for example) is just part of NSW, but wondering about other tiny islands etc. - will research myself and update here, unless someone beats me to it...... Petesmiles 01:34, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I would include Coral Sea Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Heard and McDonald Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands. I think Norfolk Island depends on who you ask whether it's "part of" Australia, or "administered by" Australia. After doing this from memory, I discovered they're already listed in the States and Territories section. --Scott Davis Talk 08:07, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
People get Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island confused. Lord Howe is an integral part of NSW, and is every bit as much a part of Australia proper as Tasmania is. Norfolk Island is an External Territory of the Commonwealth. It is self-governing to an extent. It has a Legislative Assembly that is empowered to make laws about certain matters that the Commonwealth has decided are Norfolk's prerogative (such as the health system). Other matters (such as taxation and currency) are administered by the Commonwealth through the operation of Commonwealth acts that extend to Norfolk Island. As to whether Norfolk Island is "part of Australia", it depends what you mean by "Australia". In some contexts, the term "Australia" means just the 6 states and the 2 internal territories. In other contexts, it means those places plus the external territories. JackofOz 12:25, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


Aboriginal welfare is not genocide. Attempts to portray it as such are politically motivated. In international law the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide" defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" - so the question of INTENT is critical. At part (e) the Convention says that "Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group" would be genocide where the INTENT to destroy a racial or ethnic group was operative. The transfer of children that took place in Australia was for purposes of benign child welfare - only about 10% of children where removed, many were voluntarily given up to care agencies, most were of mixed race, and in many cases, there were clear dangers to the health and welfare of the child. As mentioned above, one of the first "Stolen Generation" compensation cases to go to court found that the "stolen child" was in fact rescued after being stuffed down a hole and left to die. So genocide is rescuing children from death or neglect and giving them food, shelter, education, medicine and care? The intent was care, help and protection. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 13:13, 22 November 2005.

The above user also posted a comment at Talk:Australia/Archive 6 where this last raised, which I have reverted. I'm too tired to tackle this, so I'll leave it to others to respond.--cj | talk 05:25, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
I should note that the user is also on his/her second revert, having been reverted once by me and JPD respectively.--cj | talk 05:29, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

cj - sorry, I posted in wrong spot - the talk archive - I deleted that misplaced post and put it here --- also, I am now signed in. I had lost my wik user name and password but now and back in business --- better than a bare IP number (even if it is static as in my case)!

To address the issue: cj, the point is "intent to destroy" just as it says plainly in international law. I do not believe you will find any evidence of "intent to destroy" with respect to Australian practices of child removal. Hardly any full blood Aboriginal children were removed. It was mixed race children and even then they were only removed in the context of a threat to their welfare or survival.

It is wrong to revise history in this way and smear the names of many compassionate people of good will who tried their best to help children they perceived to be in danger. How can we, 50 or 100 years later, judge the delicate situations they faced? If the same circumstances existed today, the same child welfare interventions would be carried out. --Marcusvox 05:56, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

I reverted this [4] also. Agnte 07:20, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
Given Marcusvox (whom I'm glad has an account) has removed the referenced sentence from the article, retaining the actual reference is not necessary. However, once it is established that the sentence should in fact stay, it should be returned. But anyways...
Marcusvox, could you please provide valid sources for your claims. In particular:
  • "The transfer of children that took place in Australia was for purposes of benign child welfare - only about 10% of children where removed, many were voluntarily given up to care agencies, most were of mixed race, and in many cases, there were clear dangers to the health and welfare of the child";
  • and, "As mentioned above, one of the first "Stolen Generation" compensation cases to go to court found that the "stolen child" was in fact rescued after being stuffed down a hole and left to die.".
These are rather matter-of-fact claims you are making so you should back them up. How exactly does the "mixed-race" of a child justify their removal from their families? --cj | talk 07:33, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
I've restored the sentence, with a qualification. However, this now sounds a little weaselly, and it would be much better to find some names of people who have written on either side of this issue (or at least to reference someone from the other side too), but I don't have them to hand at the moment. --bainer (talk) 08:28, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

cj - The facts I allude to (and others of this nature) may be found in Wik's own sources and others. But I don't think it is up to me to "prove" that the genocide reference is inappropriate. If you want this highly politicised assertion to stand, you must demonstrate that it meets the requirements specified in international law and the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide", which is the authority cited. That authority specifically says that genocide involves the "intent to destroy" - you need to show that that Australia as a nation and state was inspired by an intent to destroy the Aboriginal race. I do not think you will find any evidence of such malice, except perhaps for isolated incidents and acts of individuals. The fact that Aboriginal society declined as a result of disease and the ascendancy of European culture does not amount to genocide ... not in law and not in fact. --Marcusvox 09:14, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

It seems you're intent on deleting a sourced, qualified, statement that has consensus? (i notice you've just removed it again) Agnte 09:36, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

"... the word genocide has fallen victim to 'a sort of verbal inflation, in much the same way as happened with the word fascist'. ... the term has progressively lost its initial meaning and is becoming 'dangerously commonplace' ... Michael Ignatieff, director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, agrees. 'Those who should use the word genocide never let it slip their mouths. Those who unfortunately do use it, banalise it into a validation of every kind of victimhood'" ... Exactly. --Marcusvox 09:50, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

In your previous edit you called the statement ill-informed.... What exactly is ill informed? "some historians and Indigenous Australians have argued could be considered to constitute genocide by today's understanding."(ref). It's a qualified statement with a reference. You could also mention that this is currently a disputed and politicised issue in australia, but you just seem to want to remove anything with the word 'genocide' in it, right? Agnte 10:06, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
The meaning used is the meaning in the Convention. It is broader than most people think it is. Wikipedia should not comment on whether this meaning is too broad or not. It has been widely claimed that the government(s) acted to ensure the ultimate demise of Aboriginal culture. You may not believe this is true, but it has been argued, so please do not remove the sentence saying so. JPD 10:10, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
Regardless of whether it is accurate to use the term in this context or not, the fact remains that many people have used it, and it has become a significant issue in indigenous politics. NPOV demands that WP mention how widely spread these views are, and who holds them. Marcus, what was the source of those quotes above? You should add a sentence summarising those views and then reference it. --bainer (talk) 21:27, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
JPD - it has been "widely claimed" you say? I would dispute that. It has been "narrowly claimed", yes, by those with rather extreme credentials and political axes to grind. Here is a question: should Wik articles include every possible point of view, even extreme points of view? Should the article on the planet Earth, for example, include a section on Flat Earth theory, which is still espoused by various nuts? Should the article on the WTC terror attacks include the extreme theory (and widely claimed in many Arab nations) that it was a Jewish planned and financed plot? I think Wik articles need to distinguish between established facts and mere assertions. But let the sentence stand as it is. I have added a little extra to the para. --Marcusvox 01:42, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
We have a policy which prohibits presenting minority views as equal to those mainstream. In this case, however, I'll think you'll find your position is in the minority nowadays.--cj | talk 03:27, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
That is my point precisely cj: the suggestion that genocide was practised upon the Aboriginal population of Australia is an absurd and extreme point of view endorsed by only a minority of reasonable people. In fact, even by the so-called "modern understanding" of genocide, it does not apply since it requires in its legal definition that intent to destroy must inspire the act. This has not been shown and cannot be shown, because it never existed. And do not repeatedly and mindlessly revert me, cj, or I will ask an admin to block you. -- 10:44, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
I have not been "mindlessly" reverting you. You inserted PoV, and I removed it accordingly. Please do not make further changes without first achieving consensus on the talk page. --cj | talk 10:52, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

The criteria for inclusion in Wikipedia are simple: it must be verifiable, it must not be original research, and we must include other views on the same topic so that a neutral point of view is reached. And no Marcus, we don't have to represent every crackpot viewpoint, but if one can name "prominent adherents", then the viewpoint can be included. [5] There are prominent adherents on both sides of this issue, and so both sides ought to be presented in the article. Whether it is truthful to say that genocide happened is irrelavent. Whether we as editors believe what people say is also irrelavent. --bainer (talk) 13:16, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Wik editors should strive in the first instance for the truth. The assertion that Aboriginal welfare practices were equal to genocide is not only a ridiculous lie, it is also demonstrably wrong in the law cited. You guys don't seem to get that. You all seem to be very eager to be preciously PC and like most PC fruitcakes you can't or won't face the simple truth. Study the cited "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide" and you will see what I am talking about. You will see that the INTENT to destroy a race must be established. The fact that the Aboriginal population went into decline was due to a lot of factors, but had nothing to do with any State-sanctioned policy of malice. But if you want to say that some people perceive it as genocide, that is fine, but in the interests of fairness and honesty, that statement must be balanced by an extra sentence indicating that such a viewpoint is disputed and controversial within Australia. For example, the current Government of Australia (love 'em or hate 'em) represents the majority of 20 million Australians and they reject the genocide theory. It would be my guess that fewer than 10% of Australians would consider this theory correct. That makes it pretty extreme and crackpotish! -- 02:28, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
I would encourage you to read the Wikipedia:Neutral point of view policy if you haven't already. At the start, you'll see that it says "Articles should be written without bias, representing all majority and significant minority views fairly." Now you assert that only about 10% of Australians would support the theory. Some would say that it is more than that amount. But regardless, 10% is still a significant minority opinion, and we are obliged to say that the opinion exists, and say who holds it. We are not obliged to agree with it, or say that it is true, merely report it. My personal views on the matter, or those of other editors, are quite irrelavent. --bainer (talk) 07:57, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I think that the article is worded appropriately even though I am doubtful of the veracity of a charge of genocide. The article is NPOV in that it correctly states that some historians and indigenous Australians have claimed that it was and these claims are disputed. Capitalistroadster 03:32, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Thank you bainer, thank you Capitalistroadster - your comments are helpful. -- 08:25, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Capitalistroadster on both points--I'm not personally convinced it was genocide and I think both view points are represented appropriately. The line "Such interpretations of Australian history, which some construe as politically motivated, are disputed and controversial" should remain in there. Sarah Ewart 10:09, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Would it be helpful to say that it'd be genocide by "today's legal understanding" rather than "today's understanding", as the legal definition is broader than the common language definition? Andjam 12:16, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Andjam, it does not even qualify as genocide by "today's legal understanding" --- please see UN Convention on Genocide at this link --- note that Article 2 says "genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" --- acts must be committed with "intent to destroy" --- I do not believe that this intent can be shown to have existed in Australia. The main cause for the decline in Aboriginal populations was disease, causing a 90% death rate - this was an unintended consequence of white settlement, and a phenomenon not understand by Western science until more than a century later. --marcusvox 23:42, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
"Intent to destroy", in terms of a legal interpretation, doesn't necessarily imply any element of malice. Intent to achieve consequences equivalent to destruction would arguably fit within that definition.
But regardless, I was thinking before that it might just be easier to leave the complicated argument about child-removal policies to the child articles, and here in the parent article just mention those events which are much more widely regarded as acts of genocide, such as the Myall Creek massacre or the Forrest River massacre (I'm researching this at the moment), or any of the other massacres on the frontier. Calling those acts of genocide has a much higher level of academic support. --bainer (talk) 00:06, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
bainer - "Intent to destroy" does not imply any element of malice? Sorry bainer, but what kind of doubletalk is this? The words are very plain in the UN Convention. It takes a lot of creativity to twist them out of shape. Re alleged massacres on the alleged "frontier", see this link : There are many other sources like this. The genocide story is a contrived nonsense, created and perpetuated for political reasons. "Keith Windschuttle found the basis for the genocide argument to be speculation, guesswork, outright distortion and blatant ideology, an ideology which reached its crescendo in the Bringing Them Home report in 1997. Once this report's claim of genocide was subjected to the forensic rigours of the courts, it fell apart, a fact many still cannot accept." How very true. --marcusvox 01:24, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Speaking of the "forensic rigours of the courts", the perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre were tried and convicted of the murder of an Aboriginal boy in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The case was heard by the then Chief Justice of New South Wales, James Dowling, and the sentences (death by hanging) were ratified by the Executive Council of New South Wales. That seems fairly conclusive to me. And though the charge there was murder, it would seem relatively simple, given the factual scenario, to describe those murders as acts of genocide. --bainer (talk) 01:44, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Acts of genocide!!!??? bainer, the Myall Creek massacre does not even come close to what might be fairly considered an act of genocide. In 1838, twenty-eight Aboriginal people were murdered by a dozen white vigilantes in revenge for allegedly killing several hut keepers and two shepherds. Seven of the white vigilantes were convicted of murder, sentenced to death and hung. The murder of the Aborigines was no doubt a vile crime and the vigilantes got what they deserved. Quite possibly the vigilantes, as individuals, were also racists and motivated by racism. But whatever, this does not amount to genocide. Question bainer: do the acts of Martin Bryant the world's worst mass murderer, constitute genocide? Of course not! The mere act of mass murder - in Bryant's case there were more victims than at Myall Creek - does not in itself equal genocide. Nor does Myall Creek, an appalling but isolated incident, with no organized backing and no official sanction (in fact, just the contrary) equal genocide. --marcusvox 02:27, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Acts of genocide don't have to be state sanctioned. In the case of Myall Creek, the vigilantes, as you put it, were supposedly acting in retaliation for cattle rustling, as were the conclusions of the court. According to the evidence of the white shepherd at the station, most of the victims were old men, women and children. Could they have honestly suspected them of being cattle rustlers? Even if they did, why did they not take them into custody, or at least question them? Why did they rape the women? These questions were not answered in the court. But on the balance of probabilities the only conclusion that can be drawn from the court's findings of fact is that the twelve men set out to kill those Aboriginal people, and they were specifically targeted because they were Aboriginal. If they were simply mass-murderers, like Bryant, then they would surely have killed the shepherd and the other white employees at the station.
And if you would like a more systematic campaign, consider the massacres of the Kurnai nation in Gippsland in the 1840s. --bainer (talk) 03:27, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Let's stick with Myall Creek for the moment. I have no doubt that some (or all) of the Myall Creek vigilantes were racists. Quite possibly they acted merely to kill blacks, and used the rustling story to conceal their real purpose or for an ex post facto justification. Even so, does this amount to genocide? If it does, then we would be forced to conclude that any racially-motivated murder is an act of genocide. Therefore it follows that the hundreds of whites killed by Aborigines since settlement are also acts of genocide. In Tasmania alone it has been reported that from 1803 to 1847 there were 118 Aborigines' killed by whites and 187 whites killed by Aborigines! Thus, you see, we come to utter nonsense and the meaning of the word "genocide" becomes anything the user contrives it to mean. By the way, did you see this article by Paul Sheehan? --[[User:marcusvox|marcusvox] 04:25, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Yes I have read that article, but I've also read the History Wars. Blindly accepting the claims of Windschuttle et al is as bad as blindly accepting the claims of Reynolds et al. Windschuttle's methods, after all, were not as rigorous as he claimed. He arrived at the figure of 118 Aboriginal deaths in Tasmania by taking a list of incidents where Aboriginal people were killed, as recorded by Brian Plomley, and then gave an estimated number of Aboriginal casualties for each incident, for most of them estimating just one casualty, and allowing no more than ten casualties for any individual incident. This was all the more spurious because Plomley did not count deaths, only incidents, and moreover Plomley specifically chose not to attempt to count deaths, because he was only reporting incidents which the white settlers themselves had recorded. --bainer (talk) 22:49, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
The article as it currently stands seems to suggest that the removal of children contributed to "the decline of the indigineous population". Does that sound right? Andjam 12:16, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Several issues: In the past we had a link from today's understanding to Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. I think that was helpful. The wording of the convention does not at all imply any malice towards individuals, only an intent to destroy a group. The sentence saying that some people consider the claims a fabrication is fair enough, but it does seem to be spending too much time on the issue in the context of the article. Most claims about genocide are controversial - does it need to be spelt out that this one is? The "decline of the indigenous population" statement is interesting, as it is true if "indigenous population" is meant to mean a community, but not so true in the modern sense that anyone with any indigenous ancestry is indigenous, and encouraged to identify as such. JPD 11:49, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

JPD: Why introduce the genocide allegation at all? It is a provocative assertion which opens the door to a lot of dispute and heavy POV. Why not conclude the sentence at "... colonial government policies"?, full stop. Just a suggestion. --marcusvox 05:21, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
Although I personnally disagree strongly with any characterisation of the treatment of Aboriginals being genocide, it should be mentioned as per the NPOV policy. --RaiderAspect 10:35, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

05:47, 20 March 2006 (UTC)~I've made some changes. Personally I can't see why the forced removal of children is even being discussed as one of the main causes of indigenous population decline. IMO it is disingenuous bordering on the dishonest. Very few children who were removed died as a result of the move. Only a few thousand children were ever forcibly removed, something like 90% of those after the Aboriginal population had started to rebound. It was simply never a significant contributor to population decline and can not be justifiably included in a list of the main causes of population decline. I haven't actually deleted the entry, but I have edited it so that it no longer appears that any serious anthropolgist or historian considers this a major cause of population decline.

Personally I think that the reference should be deleted altogther, not because it is controverserial but because it is so trivial to the subject being discussed. It simply was never a major cause of population decline. By all means start another "historical controversies" section or something, but it really doesn't warrnt listing as a major cause of population decline. If someone can find a refernce to a respected anthropologist or historian who lists the removal of chilren as one of the main causes of population decline then all well and good. Until then we shouldn't make such a claim.

Other changes:

1) Forced resettlement rather than migration.

2) Cultural breakdown was important. Unfamiliar diet, discarding social traditions and taboos that allowed for survival

3) Resettlement not directly linked to death (usually), rather it was the result of unfamiliar and hence unhygienic living conditions combining with infectious diseases like cholera.


would you like to publish this article? -- Zondor 22:08, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes. Guys, let's look into this...--Robert Merkel 04:24, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
No, not in the way thats suggested there, which pretty much means blocking the article from editing Astrokey44 05:43, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
No, it doesn't stop the article from being edited further in the main Wikipedia, but creates a frozen, stable, and well-checked version in a separate namespace that will remain the same for some time (I would think a period of months in most cases). And endless editing doesn't always actually improve articles, particularly when the article has already reached a high standard. --Robert Merkel 05:56, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Development aid

The 2005–06 budget provides A$2.5bn for development assistance;[7] as a percentage of GDP, this contribution is less than that of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Haven't most countries fallen short of the goals? Andjam 13:24, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes. What were you getting at? --cj | talk 13:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Should their failures be mentioned on their main article pages? Andjam 14:25, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't see why not.--nixie 22:25, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

I think that it should be noted that this is far from unusual. --RaiderAspect 10:40, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

It's really only mentioned in passing as it is. I don't think we need expand upon it.--cj | talk 11:26, 29 November 2005 (UTC)


Is there a special reason why this article has its own infobox, which just uses {{Infobox Country}} in turn, anyway? We're currently standardizing all country articles to use the latter, but I want to clarify first whether there's a special reason for the anomaly. Cheers! Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 09:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

It is not its own infobox: it is Infobox Country transcluded from Infobox Australia; a metatemplate. This is done to avoid a large slab of code at the beggining of the article which may confuse contributors, attracts highly visible vandalism, and significantly increases the article size. It, along with similar templates, was nominated for deletion back in October (see here) and was kept.--cj | talk 10:17, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Currently, however, only Australia, the Cayman Islands and Spain have it this way, and consensus at WikiProject Countries is to use {{Infobox Country}}. Would you be diametrally opposed to that? It seems to work for most other countries... Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 10:24, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
That's not correct, many of the templates listed in the TFD discussion use the same method. We are not duplicating templates here, we just use one template to call another. It saves having huge wads of template code at the top of each article. Read the comments in the deletion debate for more on this. --bainer (talk) 10:41, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Trust me on this, I've just compiled a list, going through all 240-something country articles one by one - the only countries to use an infobox which in turn call on the standard infobox are the three I mentioned. Besides, I thought that templates that call upon templates were frowned upon? My only goal is standardization - if consensus is reached, we can employ this out-templating method in all articles, but the last time it was discussed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Countries, consensus was to use {{Infobox Country}} directly... Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 13:45, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
The WikiProject has no authority over individual articles, unless it can set up policy, which it hasn't nor will. As for Infobox Country, it should be standardised, but this article is not of concern in that regard. As for metatemplates, some of the developers are non-plussed about their use, but there seems (as is apparent in the abovelinked deletion debate) to be community support.--cj | talk 13:54, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
They don't appear to be using the template still on the main country article, but there is {{Canada infobox}}, {{Argentina infobox}}, {{Angola infobox}}, {{Austria infobox}}, {{United Kingdom infobox}}, {{India infobox}}, {{Singapore infobox}}, {{Mexico infobox}} and so on. It seems that since WikiProject Countries couldn't get them deleted, they decided to change the use on a one by one basis. Well that may be fine, but we like our infobox, so we'll be keeping it. --bainer (talk) 21:34, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
The fact is, as bainer mentions, this article still does use Infobox Country. Editors of this article found that for fuctional reasons, it was better to shift it to another template.--cj | talk 11:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

UPDATE: I've taken a different direction which should serve the interests of those users who oppose {{Infobox Country}} due to its inherent lots-of-code nature and of those users who're trying to standardize country articles — SEWilco (who created the flag template) is currently looking into implementing something similar for the country infoboxes, i.e. you'll only see something like {{infobox country|Australia}} at the top of the article, and the infobox can be editted separately while still being standardized and not over-using meta-templatization. State your thoughts at Template talk:Infobox Country, please. Thanks! Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 23:06, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

No convicts?

If you read the 'history' section too on quickly, you'd miss out discovering that Australia ever had a convict shipped to it. I think there needs to be a fuller account of the reasons for the British foudning of a colony, and the nature of early colonial (pre-gold rush) society. PiCo 11:55, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I disagree; I think it's covered as needed. Convict transportation is an important but minor and isolation component of Australian history, and one that needn't be further explored in this summary article.--cj | talk 12:57, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

that would be like leaving out the declaration of independence in the page on the USA or the mayflower. Australia only came about because of Britain setting up a penal colony in New South Wales.--Evski 04:18, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Manual of Style on English

Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English suggests:

Each article should have uniform spelling and not a haphazard mix of different spellings, which can be jarring to the reader. For example, do not use center in one place and centre in another in the same article (except in quotations or for comparison purposes).


Articles that focus on a topic specific to a particular English-speaking country should generally conform to the spelling of that country.

[For example] Article on Uluru (Ayers Rock): Australian English usage and spelling

Andjam 11:27, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

first section of article. inhabitants

i changed "has been" to "is believed to have been inhabited for over 40,000 years" as almost every year new scientific reports suggest Australia has been inhabitated by humans for 40, 50, 60, 20, thousand years. the number just keeps changing. also by all christian accounts, the world has only existed for 5000 years, so 40,000 years of habitation would somewhat contradict this. no im not a religious fanatic but lets keep the article neutral and full of facts. the preceding unsigned comment is by Evski (talk • contribs) 14:11, 13 December 2005 Z+11

  • The fact is that there is evidence for habitation for at least 40000 years. Creationism doesn't come in to it, we are interested in facts.--nixie 04:14, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps some sort of wider range should be given ('aboriginal habitation has at times been given between 30k [6] and 50k [7] with it generally seen as.. etc ---- Astrokey44|talk 04:41, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The oldest human remains yet found in Australia are those of Mungo Man, the latest consensus on his age is about 40,000 years. There are other estimates, but this one is the most recent, was compiled by scientists at several universities, and was published in Nature, here. Someone might like to cite it. --bainer (talk) 06:17, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
That also says the age was estimated at 62k in 1999, and the first link you gave says the age for Mungo III has been put at between 30k and 68k ---- Astrokey44|talk 08:33, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The 2003 study seems to be the best consensus so far, it included scientists from half a dozen different universities. Actually, reading it again, it seems that they also found stone tools at Lake Mungo which dated back 50,000 years, and there have been tools found in WA and the NT also, but the oldest human remains are only 40,000 years old. So it's probably fair to say that human habitation is at least 50,000 years. --bainer (talk) 22:12, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Not "all Christian accounts" are creationist, and not all creationist accounts are young-earth creationist. A great many Christians are quite happy to accept evolution over many thousands of years, which entails an existence of rather more than five thousand years. Certainly that's what I was taught at my Catholic primary school. As you say, we are interested in facts here. Your comment is flamebait and I'm very tempted to remove it (that part of it) because of that. (I won't mind—but I'm still tempted to.)
PS: Please sign your comments by adding four tildes to the end. These are converted into a dated and timed signature.
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 10:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Same here. While I'm an atheist, I went to a Catholic private school (yep, there's a connection in there ;)), and there was no creationist mumbo-jumbo at all. Flag of Europe and Austria.svg ナイトスタリオン 10:32, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

british links

"Although Australian voters rejected a move to become a republic in 1999 by a 55% majority,[5] Australia's links to its British past are increasingly tenuous. "

hmmm, "increasingly tenuous"..... how so? anyone have ideas on this.

i live in australia, and keep up to date with domestic and foreign affairs and havent noticed any tenuous links with britain. theres so many british immigrants, most australians dine on traditionally british meals, theres plenty of political and diplomatic cooperation between the two countries....

--Evski 04:16, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Please see this archived discussion.--cj | talk 04:50, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The legal and political links have been steadily whittled away since the middle of the last century. I'm thinking Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942, Australia Act 1986. The High Court found that the UK is "foreign power" in Sue v Hill ([8]). Cultural links are a different matter, it may be worth finding some sources about them, and making a distinction in the article. --bainer (talk) 06:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Well there is a shift in influence to the US from the UK, but I don't think I'd yet be describing our links to the motherland as "tenuous" - maybe just a poor choice of word. Stevage 15:52, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

There was a dynamic shift from the UK to the US, but Australia's own identity is swiftly being established. I can saftly say that the majority of australians want to shead the inaccurate image of us all being bush-bashers that speak like drongo's and drink beer all day with koala's and kangaroo's in our back yard...and this image isnt being help along with the god-awful 'Steve Irwin'... Overall, i guess the way australian culture is now, there isnt really a great need to bear the union jack on our flag...

This particular area is of particular interest to me and it seems we have a informal choice of either following the "drongo" culture or following a heavily foreign influence. As a proud 5-generation Australian I feel for neither the amateurish drongo culture or the excessive foreign influences. Any possible changes in our flag, government type etc. should have in mind especially those who have been here several generations, the closest thing to "ethnic Australians". Multicultralism is merely an addition to the Australian culture. Australia is a nation like any other with its own identity, culture, beliefs, customs even if they are hard to realise, or we dont want to realise it (god help us if thats the case). Human nature alone gives us that, but our geographic isolation would also contribute.
The drongoising has to stop and so to do the excessive foreign influences and declaring a republic as quickly as possible, scrapping the "all of us are immigrants" lie (how many residents were born here and have both parents born here? More than 0 I imagine. Does anyone with foreign-born distant ancestors become a immigrant?) is a good start. We are not part of any foreign race, (NOT british and NOT american!!) and this sovereign country deserves respect and honour (not just pitty respect/honour) as much as any other.

Lebanese Australian

If you know of any famous Lebanese Australians, they are being listed on the Lebanese Australian page. FYI MPS 22:44, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

This doesn't seem like too good a idea, if we have a page for Lebanese Australians we may as well have one for every minority group, and well then it gets messy.

History - removed India as origin

I removed the reference to indigienous first peoples arriving "by land bridges and short sea passages" from India - there were never land bridges between Australia and India, and the sea passages are far from short. This relates to geography, not ethnology - if someone wants to put back the reference to Aboriginal Australians having the latter kind of connection with India, they're welcome, but it should be drafted in a way that makes the difference clear.

Also noticed this: "The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, inhabited the Torres Strait Islands and parts of far-north Queensland..." So far as I'm aware the TI people never inhabited any of the mainland. But maybe someone with detailed knowledge can check this. PiCo 23:15, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

To my knowledge, during the Ice Age, waters between the lands that are today Australia and Indonesia receded as massive ammounts of water was frozen and the polar caps grew. As a result, this meant that a small section of land was uncovered by the receding waters that connected Australia, the Torres Straight Islands and Papua New Guinea (and possibly some Indonesian Islands too but I'm not 100%sure). People migrated across these "land bridges" and into parts of northern Australia. I do not know how long humans have inhabited the Torres Straight Islands, and I do not know whether humans inhabited modern day Australia prior to the Ice Age. Nick carson 03:39, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Given that the last Ice Age took place 10,000-20,000 years ago, they must have. Slac speak up! 03:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Torres Strait Islanders occupied the islands, the adjacent coastlines on the Australian and New Guinea mainlands and much of Cape York at the time of European settlement. They were slowly expanding their range southward. This was the traditional method of invasion, beginning with the people who made it all the way to what is now Tasmania and became separated from later waves.

During Ice Ages, Bass Strait became passable, as did much of the narrow passages separating islands all the way to the mainland, with the exception of one deep ocean trench which required a not-insignificant sea crossing.

Given that mankind evolved in Africa and the first Australians essentially walked here (in a trek which must have taken thousands of years) it is hard to see how they could have avoided passing through what is now India. --Surgeonsmate 09:56, 23 February 2006 (UTC)


I recenly switched the article to footnote3 since footnote4 is no longer recommended for use. A 203. anon keeps restoring the old referencing system for no apparent reason, I'd appreciate it if people could watch out for these edits.--nixie 17:20, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

That change of the referencing was a mistake, was not done deliberately, sorry for my error. 07:49, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
The numbering system was thrown out becuase the ref in the infobox is read as "1" in my browser but points to an external link. So ref 2 points to endnote 1, 3 to 2, etc all the way to 20. I also find it a bit odd stylistically when the number 13 (the 2001 census) appears in the text out of order (eg between 18 and 19). The reference for the langauge stuff seems to have been removed (it should be another 2001 census reference, except for the Auslan estimate, for which the reference is here (it's a better guess than the census). ntennis 23:33, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Link in infobox now removed :) numbering is back to normal. —ntennis 22:22, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

This is a very good and very accurate article. ED jan o6

Coastline Length

The article states the coastline length to be 25,760km; Geoscience Australia ( states the mainland coastline to be 35,877km, island coastlines to add to 23,859km and the total coastline to be 59,736km. This seems a fairly basic fact for a previously featured article to get wrong, so I thought I'd check here before changing it. On what basis was the 25,760km figure chosen? --Blinken 19:49, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Without defending the earlier figure (I dunno where it came from, possibly the CIA world factbook) coastline length is a matter of definition, see Lewis Fry Richardson#Research on the length of coastlines and borders. Additionally, one possibility is that the coastline mentioned is the sum of that of the mainland and Tasmania. --Robert Merkel 23:03, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Coastline length depends on how you measure it. If you go on the distance between major capes, then it is at a minimum. If you go from headland to headland it becomes more of a zig-zag and hence longer. If you go up every little indentation, every creek mouth, every river estuary, it becomes longer still. If you begin to include the length of small protrusions such as boulders, it gets longer yet. Where do you stop? Every grain of sand? There is a minimum length, but the upper limit is effectively infinite. --Surgeonsmate 11:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree - in which case I imagine it would make sense to choose some official figure published by the Australian Government as being the 'official' coastline length, as they are more likely to have determined a figure using some standard process. Geoscience Australia seems to look like the people to ask on this, though if there is a more relevant government department then we should contact them. In any case we should probably make it clear in the article what islands (Tasmania, smaller islands etc) we are including in the coastline length, if any. --Blinken 03:43, 22 February 2006 (UTC)


I've been doing a bit of work on the White Australia Policy and have been trying to see if anyone has done something on the transportation of convict labour to Australia. Perhaps I'm just tired and can't find it. But if anyone does have some info on this it would be good to know rather than start something fresh. Harrypotter 22:44, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Please to not compare modern day australia to the ancient 'white australia policy' which has almost definatly completly turned around. a major image os australia is their multicultural society

I just created a spoken article

Okay, now I know it's not perfect, but personally I think it's pretty darn good ;-). If you'll ignore the occasional edited-in corrections, and don't mind hearing a 15-year-old rant on about Australia, then everything should be good. The opening five minutes isn't very good, but I think it gets better after you get used to my voice and I start using a bit of expression.

One more thing. You will probably notice music towards the last ten minutes. This is because my mum decided to crank up the damn stereo right in the middle of my damn recording. Let me stress that this is by no means a professional job. ;_;

When I made this, I put a big emphasis on making my words loud and clear, and made as few mistakes as I could. Whenever I made a particularly obvious mistake, I went back and re-did the paragraph. This took me from about 2pm-10pm to do, so please be nice :-(.

Oh, and you might notice a bit of a wierd accent at the opening. I have no idea how this happened. It dies away after only a few minutes, so please bear with it :-). Babij 11:41, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Neighbouring countries

The article says our neighbours are Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. What determines which countries are considered neighbours and which not? Is it distance alone? A lot of Western Australians would consider Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma (Myanmar) just as much neighbours as New Zealand. Is it about being able to get there in a straight line without going through any other countries? If so, then places like India, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, many east African countries, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, USA (Hawaii) and many western South American nations would all qualify. In the Australian experience, neighbours are often 200 km away or more, not just 'over the back fence'. Why don't we extend this principle to our overseas neighbours? JackofOz 20:29, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

The ones listed in the article seem to be the closest to Australia, it's a bit of a stretch to call Madagascar a neighbouring country. In the interest of keeping the list managable and relevant I think the list should probably stay as is.--nixie 00:34, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. If you expand the list too much it becomes meaningless. --Martyman-(talk) 00:56, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I was obviously being a little bit rhetorical about the African examples and some others, in order to illustrate the point I was trying to make. However, it's still shorter from Darwin or Broome to Singapore and Thailand than it is to New Zealand. JackofOz 01:05, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Neither share a obvious border with Australian though, as Indonesia is in the way.--nixie 01:06, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
This list seems to be based on distance to Australia, that is, of all the countries, these have the shortest minimum distance between any point on their mainland and any point on the Australian mainland. --bainer (talk) 01:16, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
OK, that's fine. Sorry for labouring this, but I just want to get it clear in my head exactly what we're talking about. The unspoken definition of "neighbouring country" seems to be something like: A country that has an obvious border with, and is less than X kilometres from, (country). What is the value of X in Australia's case? Would it be different in other cases? Am I correct in assuming we can even apply this principle to other countries? Do the "neighbouring countries" mentioned in WP articles on other countries conform to this paradigm? Does anyone care? Or should this sort of thing just be left to what is intuitively obvious rather than trying to be too prescriptive about it?. JackofOz 01:29, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
I get the feeling that "neighbouring countires" is kind of an undefined concept. I think that it should obviously include coutries with land or maritime borders. I'm assuming the the information on neighbouring contries that appears in most country articles was originally derived from the CIA world fact book, which may or may not use some criteria to choose neighbouring countries.--nixie 01:47, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Aus circles.PNG

I made a really crappy map with the Generic Mapping Tools and drew some really crappy circles on it around Australia. That would show that our nearest neighbours in any direction are NZ, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, PNG, Indonesia East Timor, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Antarctica. A slightly smaller circle would leave out Malaysia, the Philippines, Fiji and NZ. I'll upload the map if anyone wants it. --bainer (talk) 02:27, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Ah ha, the plot thickens. How about uploading it to the talk page so we can all have a squizz at it before deciding what, if anything, we do with it. JackofOz 02:46, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Here we go. Someone might like to do this again with better software. There's also probably some Micronesian countries that are too small to see on this map, so I've missed them in that list. --bainer (talk) 03:19, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't have the right software, but ideally, the distances should be considered from the edge of Australia to the edge of the other country, not centre to centre as the circles do. The polygon(s) should be buffered and compare those.
Indonesia, East Timor and PNG have maritime boundaries with Australia (our Exclusive Economic Zone does not extend a full 200 NM, and our Territorial sea is reduced too, for PNG at least). Possibly some of the others also have maritime boundaries with either Australia or our territories (particularly Coral Sea Islands Territory). For New Zealand, consider whether the EEZs touch between Macquarie Island in Tasmania and Campbell Island in New Zealand, for example.
If we include Antarctic claims, then we also have land borders with New Zealand (Ross Dependency), France (Adélie Land) and Norway (Dronning Maud Land)! --Scott Davis Talk 12:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I haven't forgotten about this. I've been looking at the map for a few days and still can't decide what I think its implications are. Sometimes the simplest concepts require the longest amount of pondering. JackofOz 03:20, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

The Australian maritime zones map at (at Geoscience Australia Maritime Boundaries) seems to give a reasonable indication. It doesn't show the neighbour's EEZs, but it shows where ours is flattened by bumping into someone else's. The PNG boundary is particularly interesting. The original list in the article appears to correspond to adjoining EEZs, not counting Australian external territories. --Scott Davis Talk 06:59, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
It does seem to be a nebulous concept, doesn’t it? It’s not just about distance, because NZ is neighbour, but China, Phillipines and Brunei aren’t. It’s not just about having no intervening land, because NZ is a neighbour, but Madagascar, India, Hawaii and Antarctica aren’t. If NZ were not a traditionally friendly nation, there could even be an argument for excluding it on the grounds of distance, so "social neighbourliness" seems to be a bit of a factor too. After all that, I can’t see anything wrong with the list we have now. But it was good to have a think about things we normally take for granted. Cheers JackofOz 11:47, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
It seems it is about distance. I just did a Google search for a boundary treaty with NZ, and was surprised it was only concluded in 2004, to define the boundaries where we have overlapping rights to the ocean. See the minister's press release. Australia and New Zealand touch in two places. What's more, our longest unresolved boundary only came into force last month![9] --Scott Davis Talk 14:23, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Fascinating discussion. It's likely if there was another country as large or larger than NZ halfway between NZ and Aust, we would call this country a neighbour but NZ would be struck off of the list. That we include a country so far away as NZ as a neighbour has, I think, something to do the fact 1) that, east of Australia in the south Pacific, NZ is the only nation bigger than Tassie (before Sth America); and 2) that NZ wins bonus points for having a similar Anglo-Sax base population as Australia. — Донама 02:45, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
New Zealand would only be struck off the list if this other country fully occupied both maritime boundaries between the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone and the New Zealand one. Perhaps the DFAT press release linked above should be cited in the article? The other way to strike off New Zealand would be to give them both Norfolk Island and Macquarie Island, according to the map in the press release.--Scott Davis Talk 05:19, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Thought it should be mentioned that New Caledonia is a French dependency, not a country, since it starts by saying "neighbouring countries include..." -- Astrokey44|talk 12:55, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

so australians what is up

hey what is up i ma going to go to australia in a few days ii wanted to ask if any one of you know any spots

well you'll definatly want to go to queensland and tour the reef. Cairns is a good place to get some snorkling and scuba-diving done. Sydney is good if you want some basic history, australia has changing dramatically over the last 200 years, its quite remarkable. South Australa is a good place to go, the fruit yards and philip island is nice. ballartt, bendigo and eucuka are interesting towns regarding their involvment in the gold rush. appart from that, there isnt much else...

--There's wikitravel for this -- 22:00, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Population concentrated in Darwin???

The current introductory paragraph states: "The current population of around 20.4 million is concentrated mainly in the large coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.". I don't think any of the population is concentrated in Darwin - as most larger country towns even have a higher population. There is very little of the population concentrated in the NT - I think Darwin should be omitted. Davez621 14:32, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree, and I've removed it. It would be more appropriate to list Newcastle and the Gold Coast with the big 5 than Darwin, but I think that listing cities over 1 million is sufficient. - Randwicked Alex B 14:51, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Another taboo, the Spanish in Australia

Paragraph censored:

In 1606 Luis Váez de Torres discovered Australia. He sighted the hills of Cape York, but was Pedro Fernandez de Quirós, who had deserted the expedition, who in 1610 claimed he had discovered the Great Southern Continent in a narrative he published about the voyage and in which he announced that the region should be called Australia del Espiritu Santo in honor to the king of Spain Philip III a member of the House of Austria (Habsburg) as well as to convey the meaning (austrio means south in Spanish) that this land was a southern continent. --tequendamia 14:35, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Provide a source and find an appropriate location. Quite simple. Xtra 14:31, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

  • It is not a question of censorship, it is a problem of both relvance and verifiability. In a summary style article like this there is no need for idle speculation.--nixie 23:43, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
C'mon, the entire history section of this article is unsourced and speculative.--tequendamia 23:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Thats simply not true. If you want to make your addition do so at History of Australia before 1901 where this kind of detail is relevant.--nixie 00:16, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Spoken article icon

Does anyone know why the spoken article icon at the very top right of the article, links down to external links and not references, which is where the actual information, and links to the spoken articles are? If anyone can fix it, that'd be great, I just don't know how it's controlled...Brendanfox 05:57, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

The icon always links to the "external links" section because that is where the template is supposed to go. I've moved it there now. --bainer (talk) 06:41, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Jack Duggan (the wild colonial boy)

I would like to see some of the early history, particularly the way Irish Catholics were treated, during the convict period. The history of Jack Duggan would be an excellent way to illustrate this.--

Queen and PM photos

I have removed the two photos. On the width window I usually use, they overpower the article next to each other. They both appear on the Government of Australia article, and are unneccessary here. I think consensus is to leave them off. Please comment here before re-adding them. --Scott Davis Talk 10:09, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Australian army and navy uniforms should be added to this. Pictures of Australian army and navy uniforms should be added to the pages of the army and navy of Australia.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10:42, 6 March 2006.
To ScottDavis, I want to reflect the Australia article to the Canada, United States and Mexico articles. --Joseph Solis 9:01, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
None of those are featured articles. This article has reached a standard they are yet to attain. And during the process of getting Australia to that stage, it was agreed that it was sensible to not depict political leaders.--cj | talk 09:20, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with cj, at the time of FAC it was agreed that the pictures are not necessary for describing Australia. No featured country articles have images of individuals to represent the idea of national politics.--nixie

Australis or Meridionalis

Australis is a latinization of Spanish the word for South "Austrio". The Latin word for South is Meridionalis. So, it ows its name to the Spanish language and its condition of being a Souther continent, not to Latin because otherwise it would be called Meridionalia.--tequendamia 21:42, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I think you might be confusing Latin and Italian. JPD (talk) 11:04, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
You're sort of half-right. "Meridies" is the Latin noun for the south, but the adjective form for south is "australis". The complete phrase is "Terra Australis", which translates as "south land". "Australis" is also the word for "southern", so an alternative translation is "southern land". Without checking, I would presume that the Spanish derives from the Latin. --bainer (talk) 11:31, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:Infobox Australia

Template:Infobox Australia has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you.

Modification of "flora"

I've made a couple of minor alterations to the flora and fauna section.

I've specified that it is only the woody vegetation that tends to be evergreen. Australian herbaceous vegetation tends to be primarily annual/ephemeral in common with arid zone flora elsehwre in the world.

I've also modified a comment which implied that all acacias and eucalypts are adpated to fire and drought. There are species in both groups that are adapted to neither, notably the rainforest and vine scrub acacia species.

I've also modified an ambiguous comment that might suggest that more species have become extinct following European arrival than vanished in the preceeding 40, 000 years. If we are going to allude to the so-called 'overkill' hypothesis at all then we should take care not to imply that the total extinction level was lower under Aborignal managemnet than European.

Is Australia really a liberal democracy?

From the third paragraph of this article:

Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth Realm.

From the liberal democracy article:

Liberal democracy is a form of representative democracy where the ability of elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law and moderated by a constitution which emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals and minorities (also called constitutional democracy and constitutional liberalism), and which places constraints on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised.

I'm not too sure about whether that description fits Australia. Australia currently has no equivalent to a bill of rights, and while there is a little bit of talk about possibly creating one, rights and freedoms of Australians are currently being sacrificed in various pieces of new legislation. We don't actually have anything that protects free speech, although we do have sedition laws. I'm not really sure what Australia should be called (just a democracy, perhaps?) but I think it's an accepted fact that the Australian constitution doesn't really place much emphasis on the protection of rights and freedoms.

Thoughts? Suggestions? - James Foster 20:28, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

In answer to your question "is Australia realy a liberal democracy?" - Yes and more so than many other countries. Xtra 23:12, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
From the CIA's website: democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign. Perhaps liberal should be dropped unless there is a strong concensus with good reasoning to keep it. MJCdetroit 00:05, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I can't see what reasoning could be applied to remove it. Here is a summary of liberal democracy attributes:
  1. Stable democratic system - check.
  2. Rule of law - check.
  3. Constitution which sets limits on the exercise of government power (if you read the above definition carefully, that's the most important point) - check.
The lack of a specific human rights act is an exception worth noting (NB. Individual states and territories do have human rights acts), but not to the extent of disqualifing Australia from the "liberal democracy" category (where else would it go)? Slac speak up! 02:16, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Those seem to be attributes of a democracy, so while they are necessary for a liberal democracy, they are likely not sufficient for a liberal democracy. A stable democratic system can't exist without a rule of law, so the second attribute you listed is just an extension of the first. I'd also argue that a constitution which sets limits on the exercise of government power is also an extension of the first, as this is also necessary for democracy - if the government has limitless power, democracy doesn't exist.
The important difference that separates a democracy from a liberal democracy seems to lie in exactly what the limits of government power are. The reason for my suggestion that Australia may not be a liberal democracy stems from the fact that there are no laws that provide citizens' with a right to free speech, and there are in fact sedition laws that actively prevent free speech in some circumstances. Recent changes to the law have been widely criticised, in many cases by people (Malcolm Fraser and Marcus Einfeld come to mind) who have played an important role in Australia's history, as being damaging to civil liberties in Australia.
I realised this wouldn't be a popular change, which is why I introduced it to the talk section rather than the main article, but I would like to hear a compelling argument as to why Australia should be described as a "liberal democracy", because it certainly doesn't seem to fit the description provided in the liberal democracy article. - James Foster 16:47, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Thrashing out these definitional issues, I don't believe it's valid to define "liberal democracy" as "democracy with a constitutionally protected right to free speech". This to me would seems unduly restrictive of Westminister-style democracies and democracies with unwritten constitutions. While I do understand where you're coming from in disputing my definitional points above, I would suggest that forms of democracy, especially historically, are more diverse than the current sample of democratic states suggest.
As I noted before, it's entirely valid to mention the effect sedition laws have on civil liberties in Australia (although as an aside I find it exasperating that nobody ever seems to mention in the same breath the extremity of the government's IR legislation, which would be perfect material to mark Australia as a pariah state among western democracies if it were so desired). But I digress. The "paradigm" liberal democracy states, if you like, exhibit strong similarities across a broad range of areas to Australia. What about this proposed new category for Australia, a non-liberal democracy? What states exist in this category and what institutional, political and cultural similarities do they bear to Australia? Slac speak up! 21:05, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

If Australia is not a liberal democracy, then I am the King of Mars. Xtra 06:59, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Australia is one of the great liberal democracies. We do not need to split hairs over definitions to recognise this. If you look at constitutions alone, perhaps the greatest of all liberal democracies was the old Soviet Union! --Surgeonsmate 10:21, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Per Slac and Xtra, Australia is most definately a liberal democracy. And it would seem our liberal democracy has a rather limited definition of the system.--cj | talk 17:02, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough, but then what should the definition of a "liberal democracy" be? What is a definition that is broad enough for Australia to fit, but limited enough that is still clearly a definition of "liberal democracy"? - James Foster 08:47, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
According to liberal democracy, we are one. The last paragraph (next to a map showing Australia as "free") is
There is general agreement that the states of the European Union, Japan, the United States, Canada, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are liberal democracies.
I realise that article has changed quite a lot since this discussion started, but even at that time, the second and third paragraphs allowed for freedoms and rights to be created by statutory and case law rather than the Constitution. --Scott Davis Talk 00:02, 27 March 2006 (UTC)


What is Australia's famous food?

Australia is (in)famous for its vegemite. To my dying day, it will be the taste that stays with me when thinking about my country of residence.
Aussies also have quite a liking for lamb chops. --Marc pasquin 19:14, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Meat Pies, and barbequed meats are also popular

Participation rates for Football, Rugby codes and Aussie Rules

Below are figures of participation at affiliated clubs (note: not schools, or social comps or sampling programs):

  • Football 425,261
  • Cricket 273,434 (ACB census/annual report)
  • AFL 268,761 (AFL annual report)
  • R League 130,983
  • R Union 97,184 (ARU annual report)

Schools data is as follows:

  • Football 120,479
  • Cricket 122,239 (ACB census/annual report)
  • AFL 56,239 (AFL annual report)
  • R League 34,028
  • R Union 67,884 (ARU annual report)

Rob van den Honert
Manager - Research, Analysis & Strategic Projects
Football Federation Australia
T +61 2 8354 5504
F +61 2 8354 5590
M 0422 200 905

I can't find the news article from last year that uses the Sweeney Sports data that includes social Football which highlights this even further. Will this do for now? --Executive.koala 06:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

To avoid confusion, please don't refer to soccer as football here, that is just causing problems. also why are you mucking around with the email address rob dot vandenhonert at footballaustralia dot com dot au? Also please provide links or further details. I am only not removing the stupid things you have done above because it is bad form to edit other's comments. Xtra 06:14, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
(Xtra, it's wise to not write an email address out in full on Wikipedia lest it is used by spamming agents [we are one the most frequented websites in the world]) EK, no this won't do. From where have you sourced this data? It needs to be citable. Surely the ABS has something on sport participation?--cj | talk 07:43, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I probably went off a bit too hard ar EK there. However, I will put back up the {{fact}} tag if a solid citation is not found that can be easily referenced. Xtra 07:49, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't know about participation, but here's a series put out by the ABS about attendance. It was last done in 2002, and in 1999 and 1995 before then. Aussie rules is top (17.1% of people 18 and over attending at least once in 12 months), followed by horse racing (12.9%) and motor sports (10.2%). 5.5% attended soccer at least once. --bainer (talk) 22:05, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I put NO SPAM PLEASE to stop the email address from being spammed. I thought it was obvious. I notice that the people who keep removing the the football paragraph, don't leave any mention of the sport at all. We still play the game and we still qualified for the World Cup. Also, it's common knowledge that football is a far more popular participation sport than the rugby codes and Aussie Rules. What a joke that football is not even mentioned once. Great article guys. Great article. Well done! --Executive.koala 23:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Football? Do you mean Australian Rules, Rugby Rules or Association Rules? I have not problem with mentioning all forms of football that are played in Australia. Xtra 23:31, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
If you're genuinely confused, you’re not fit to edit articles on Wikipedia. There’s only one sport called football. Your small minded parochialism is embarrassing. Thank God SBS’ distinguished coverage of The World Game gives us some respite from this kind of sports coverage in Australia. --Executive.koala 00:08, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Really? I think that classifies as a Personal Attack and is factually wrong. Xtra 00:23, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the problem is here. If EK wanted to talk about Aussie Rules, Rugby or Rugby League he would have used those names. He was talking abouit football and used the sports name.Tancred 08:19, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Ek, Tancred and Xtra: do not try to continue the football argument here. I'll delete this entire section if that's how this continues. Ek, soccer didn't require its own paragraph, and that the Socceroos will compete in the World Cup is irrelevant to this article. In fact, the sports paragraph as a whole detracted from this article's summary style. Thus, I've trimmed it (with mention given to soccer).--cj | talk 08:50, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

it says that more miners were irish?? I just wonder how that could be because theres only 47 known mines in ireland [irish mining herritge] [theres thouasands and thousands of mines in england]

thats proof england is a nation of miners,

Selective deletion

I am about to delete from the article history those revisions whose content and/or edit summaries libel Xtra, per Wikipedia's libel policy. Selective deletion requires full deletion followed by selective restoration. Therefore this article will be deleted for a very brief period of time. Snottygobble 04:16, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Complete. Snottygobble 04:22, 10 April 2006 (UTC)


Australia is the biggest football nation in the world per population. This needs to be stated. Also soccer is soccer in Australia and football is football(AFL and NRL). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Randomn DOGS RUN FREE (talkcontribs) 18:20, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

If you read this page, you would see this has been discussed ad nauseum and a compromise has been reached (association football is "football (soccer)", australian football is "Australian rules football", I don't really deal with articles involving rugby football but I would guess "rugby", "rugby union" or "rugby league" are used. -- Chuq 09:14, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

In very simple words, Rugby League is watched, Rugby Union is played. When we say "Lets play Rugby" we mean Union. League is just Union simplified.-----

The AFL is a regional competition. Please leave arguments against this and not indiscriminate bile. I cannot see how it can be described is national when it has only a couple of franchises and a negligible presence in in half the nation where Rugby League is far and away the most popular. Mr nice guy 12:21, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

I reverted Mr nice guy's last edit as that was a revert by over 24 hours and wrapped up several unrelated edits. I have also been discussing this issue on his and my talk pages, and believe we have achieved some understanding that Rugby (League) is more popular in some places, but Aussie rules is more popular overall [10] (PDF, page 35) and [11]. I think we have acceptable words now in in Sport in Australia. I came to try to modify the words here and think they're now OK. It says in the international paragraph that Australia has strong Rugby League and Rugby Union teams. The national paragraph adds sports we like, but aren't good at :-) — Australian rules football, football (soccer), and motor racing --Scott Davis Talk 14:41, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Popularity of Aussie rules revisited

This issue has drawn a lot of attention over the past 9 months or so. In The Australian newspaper, Patrick Smith, a regular columnist, writes:

Vigorous administration will chase its vision at rapid pace
Patrick Smith
April 27, 2006
THE AFL is doing very nicely, thank you. It is not just the 91,234 crowd that turned up for Tuesday's Anzac Day match that is the undeniable indicator. The AFL commission has recently viewed a 67-page document that says the competition is in health so rude it is borderline boorish.
Look every which way, for it doesn't matter. The AFL is the dominant national sport. Here's a snap shot:
    • The league draws the largest weekly TV audience;
    • It generates more than double the income of any competing code;
    • It is the most affordable sport;
    • It has the highest total audience;
    • It has the richest broadcast deal;
    • It has the biggest following;
    • It leads sport in total TV audience;
    • It dominates participation (a player must be registered and played minimum six games) and talent nationally;
    • It leads sporting industry in brand recognition;
    • Print coverage nationally doubles exposure of other sports;

Armed with these facts, it is clear that this article does not really reflect where aussie rules sits in the sporting landscape. I am not going to change anything, I will just continue copying this quote in the talk pages until the message slips under that thick tape wrapped around those cauliflower ears. ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 07:23, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

  • As was discussed on the noticeboard this in an internal AFL report. Being the richest and watched is not more important than being the most played, the way the article is written now is balanced in that respect. If you hadn't noticed the only sport that is illustrated in the article is AFL, you could modify the caption.--nixie 07:34, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
"Being the richest and watched is not more important than being the most played..." - it's a question of degree, when the indicators of the AFL are absolutely trouncing those of the other codes put together, well.... Also, according to Patrick Smith above (and I really do not have a feel for this stat at all), the AFL may have struck the trifecta, including participation. If that is true, where does that leave us - still absolutely balanced? mmmm.... ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 07:56, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Adult particiaption (which could be argued as a type of popularity) in organised aerobics, golf, tennis, netball, soccer, swimming, yoga, cricket and lawn bowls - are all higher than participation in aussie rules. [12]--nixie 08:06, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, I didn't know that. So why aren't we waxing lyrical about Australians' love affair with aerobics, golf, yoga and lawn bowls? ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 08:13, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Because its all relative, that's why the neutral statment that is currently in the text of the article works just fine.--nixie 08:28, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I really don't understand the problem here, Pippu. As Peta says, the version of the article before Sliat started playing with it did not say or imply anything about whether any of the mentioned sports were more or less popular than others. If we do start trying to say which are the more popular, then we have to go into details about what sort of popularity we are talking about. This is meant to be a summary article, and is not meant to go into that amount of detail. If there is any place for a discussion of the comparative popularity of different sports, it would be at Sport in Australia. JPD (talk) 09:20, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
What JPD and Peta says is reasonable, but I have a nagging doubt. We are talking about Australian culture. We are talking about the importance of sport to Australians. We mention a half a dozen sports that do well internationally, and then subsidiary to that point, we mention some "other" popular sports, with aussie rules mentioned in the same breath as soccer. Now you may not be meaning to do so, but it is definitely implying that both are equally important to Australian culture, and that the "international" sports are even more important to Australian culture - when the truth is, it is hard to imagine any sport that is more important to Australian culture than aussie rules. I refer to an article that backs up what many of us already know, that AFL memberships, crowds, TV earnings and merchandising are absolutely streaks ahead of every other sport in Australia (that is before we even consider its long history and its influence in other cultural persuits). If I'm not told it's not true, I am told it is of no importance. I'm told that participation for aerobics and yoga is greater. Fine - let's weave that into the discussion on Australian culture. I can't understand how a discussion on the importance of sport to Australian culture can merely mention aussie rules as an obiter dictum. It in no way reflects the position of aussie rules within Australia's cultural milieu. That is my basic argument. ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 12:12, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I have to disagree that the current wording implies that the international sports are more important. I think that implication is only felt if the reader comes to the article already thinking in terms of an argument about importance. Having said that, I agree with the point that the article does not reflect the importance of Aussie rules as an individual sport to Australian culture. The question is whether it needs to, and I tend to think it doesn't. At the moment no one sport is emphasised, but if one was, then the relative importance of others would need to be spelt out, and so on. We can't do that in a summary article. I think the suggestion of mentioning the game's popularity in the image caption it probably a good way to mention it without disrupting the paragraph. If anything needs to be done to the paragraph itself, I think it would be making more clear the importance of the spectator sport culture in general. JPD (talk) 13:37, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
It is true that I come from a perspective and background receptive to the viewpoint that aussie rules is extremely important in cultural terms to Australians. Equally, a large minority of the Australian population is not receptive to such a viewpoint (in fact, is down right hostile to such a viewpoint). And this is where we currently find ourselves in a number of talk pages around Wikipedia. We need an independent foreign scholar who has lived in all the capital cities of Australia to adjudicate! ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 03:02, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
You are right that this argument is going on on Wikipedia, but I don't think that's the issue here. I don't think you could say anyone in this discussion is hostile to that viewpoint! I think any Australian who is thinking objectively would agree with the statement that Aussie rules is extremely important to the culture of a large group of Australians and fairly unimportant to the culture of a different, slightly smaller, group. The only question is how much of this needs to spelt out in an already long paragraph in a summary article? All I'll say now is that at the moment, the paragraph doesn't read like a "discussion on the importance of sport to Australian culture" - it simply states that it is important, referring to participation stats, then lists popular sports and important international events, with a small reference to the economic and tv-viewing effect of sport at the end. JPD (talk) 14:53, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
I now support the caption idea. YOu're both right that it is far too difficult to go into details, even if I still think the cultural importance of Australian football is not really being portrayed at all (even with the change in caption). ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 22:26, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
I know many struggle to understand the prime position aussie rules has in Australian history and her culture, perhaps this quote from today's Age, by John Harms, will assist in a small way: As I clicked through the turnstile at the MCG...I was reminded that the battles on Corio Oval during the 1880s, when Geelong won half a dozen premierships, weren't just footy matches, they were about Geelong people righting injustice (that Melbourne had connived to become the capital city of Victoria over Geelong). Similar tales can be told about most senior clubs in Australia, they all have a similar tale to tell, and invariably they take us back to pre-Federation days - even in Sydney, which has a few clubs dating back to the 1890s. More often than not, the tales, the folklore, the mystique, of certain clubs take us back to the 1860s and 1870s (1859 in the case of Melbourne). Now, apart from the Melbourne Cup and cricket, both extremely important in terms of Austrlian culture, what other sport in has left as large a footprint on Australian history, folklore and culture as Austrlian football? Certainly not aerobics and yoga! It is this sense that I fear has been lost completely from the section that supposedly covers the importance of sport in Australian culture. (I know I sort of promised to leave this bugbear alone, but, well, I couldn't help myself...) ρ¡ρρµ δ→θ∑ - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 02:55, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

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