Year Symbol Event A world-wide competition to find a new Australian flag announced by the government when the six colonies united as the Commonwealth of Australia. The Commonwealth Blue Ensign (later to become the Australian National Flag) was developed from the winning entries. The same flag design, on a red background, was called the Commonwealth Red Ensign, and used on Australia 's merchant ships. 1901 1901 The design for the first Great Seal of Australia was chosen by the Government in another competition. 1908 Australia 's first national coat of arms granted by King Edward VII. This showed the kangaroo and the emu supporting the shield, and standing on a grassy mound. 1908 A seventh point added to Commonwealth Star on the Commonwealth Blue Ensign. 1912 Australia 's second grant of arms made by King George V. This changed the original national coat of arms to include the symbols of the states on the badge - and the Commonwealth (Federation) Star is shown with seven points. Six of the seven points symbolise the Australian states, the seventh its territories. 1912 Prime Minister Andrew Fisher suggests golden wattle surround the new Commonwealth Coat of Arms. 1953 The Australian National Flag officially declared through the Flags Act 1953 . 1973 The current version of the Great Seal (which shows the national coat of arms) granted to Australia in a Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II. 1975 Blue and gold chosen for the ribbon colours for the Order of Australia. 1977 In a referendum to find the national anthem some three million Australians voted for "Advance Australia Fair". "Waltzing Matilda" was second with 1.9 million votes, followed by "God Save the Queen" (1.3 million votes) and "Song of Australia" (0.7 million votes). 1984 The Governor-General proclaimed green and gold as Australia 's national colours. 1984 "Advance Australia Fair" officially proclaimed as Australia 's national anthem. 1988 The Golden Wattle proclaimed as Australia 's floral emblem. 1992 National Wattle Day proclaimed. 1993 Opal proclaimed Australia 's national gemstone. 1996 Australian National Flag Day (3 September each year) proclaimed. 2001 Centenary Flag proclaimed http://www.changingworlds.co.uk/Content/Destinations/Australia/FactFile.aspx Geography Australia is the world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country. It is located between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Climate: generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north. Terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast. People Population: 20,090,437 (July 2005 est.) concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts. Government 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies) Country name: Commonwealth of Australia Government type: democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign Capital: Administrative divisions: 6 states and 2 territories Independence 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies) Executive branch: The chief of state is the Queen of Australia (Elizabeth II). The head of government is the Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd). The Prime Minister nominates a cabinet from among members of Parliament. Currency Australian dollar (AUD) Legislative branch There is a Federal Parliament consisting of the Senate (76 seats - 12 from each of the six states and two from each of the two mainland territories) and the House of Representatives (150 seats members elected by popular vote) Labour force by occupation agriculture 3.6%, industry 26.4%, services 70% (2004 est.) Judicial branch High Court(the chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general). Agriculture wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep, poultry Industries mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel.
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