Australia has been populated for about 50,000
years. In the 17th century, European explorers
"discovered" the continent and in the late 18th century
the British began to use it as a penal colony. Soon,
voluntary immigrants from England and Ireland also came
and the country developed rapidly thanks to the wool and
mining industries. At the same time, immigration meant
displacing the indigenous people, the Aborigines. In
1901, a federal state was formed, which became an
autonomous member of the British Commonwealth. Australia
was loyal to Britain in both World War I and World War
II, but since then it has applied to the United States
as a military partner.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Australia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Archaeological finds show that ancestors of today's
Aborigines came to Australia from Southeast Asia. They
developed nomadic hunter cultures and spread across the
continent. In the coastal areas, especially in the east,
from the 11th century BC, there were more settled groups
that fed on agriculture and fishing.
Decades later, European colonizers arrived. The
Spanish Torres for 1606 through the healthy north of the
continent that got his name. The Dutchman Tasman
"discovered" in 1642 the island in the south named after
him. The mainland was explored in the 1770s by British
explorer James Cook. His client, the British Crown,
decided to use the country as a place of refuge for
prisoners since the colonies in America became
independent. Up to 1868, a total of about 160,000
prisoners were brought to Australia. At the same time,
voluntary immigration was going on and in 1820 the free
immigrants were more than the prisoners.
When New South Wales became the penal colony in 1788,
several hundred thousand Aborigines lived in Australia.
Ever into our time, however, the European-hated
inhabitants have cultivated the myth that the continent
was uninhabited - terra nullius - when their ancestors
arrived. Until 1921, the number of Aborigines dropped to
about 60,000 due to massacres, illnesses and alcohol
abuse. The Aborigines who remained were forced into the
country and deprived of their cultural and economic
base. Others were forced to live in social misery on the
outskirts of white society. The residents of Tasmania
were completely eradicated.
In the 1850s, the British colonies gained New South
Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and
Queensland autonomy with their own constitutions.
Western Australia became self-governing in 1890. The
colonies developed independently and partly in
competition with each other. Among other things, there
existed three different track widths on the railways and
protection duties existed for a long time between the
1840–1890 rapid economic development occurred thanks
to the wool and mining industry. The discovery of gold
in New South Wales and Victoria in 1851 gave further
impetus to immigration and development. Chinese came to
the gold fields, Afghans joined and opened up the
continent's interior and Japanese became a leader in the
mother-of-pearl industry. However, European immigrants
still dominated completely. In ten years the population
tripled and by the census of 1891 Australia had four
million inhabitants (the urinals were not counted).
Melbourne developed into a financial center, while
Sydney and Adelaide became industrial centers, as coal
and iron ore could be mined nearby.
Falling wool prices led the colonies into economic
depression in the 1890s. They were forced to demolish
their customs walls and in 1901 they joined forces in a
federal state, the Commonwealth of Australia, which
declared itself independent. The federal state became an
autonomous member of the British Commonwealth. In 1911
Canberra was named the capital. However, the states
maintained extensive self-government.
In the years before the First World War, a modern
party system emerged: the well-ordered were gathered in
the Liberal Party, the workers of the Labor Party. The
Liberals have traditionally retained British heritage,
while the Labor Party has been more nationalistic and
focused on Australian independence. Under the leadership
of the Workers' Party, however, Australia loyally
entered the First World War on the British side. In
Gallipoli, Turkey, the Australians suffered major losses
During the interwar period, the Rural Party
(later the National Party) was formed to safeguard the
interests of farmers. A coalition between the party and
the liberals led the country into World War II.
Following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the
United States became Australia's ally after it became
clear that the British could not provide enough support.
The United States took over Britain's role in
Australia's defense and in 1951 Australia, the United
States and New Zealand formed the Anzus Pact for joint
defense in the Pacific.
All forces leave Afghanistan
The last Australian combat units leave Afghanistan.
Free trade agreement with South Korea
Australia and South Korea sign a free trade agreement
that deals with agricultural products and energy.
Vote on carbon tax
Parliament's lower house votes to abolish the
disputed carbon tax (see July 2012 and September 2013)
Indonesia calls it ambassador
Indonesia calls home its ambassador to Australia for
"consultations" since media published information from
Edward Snowden that Australian intelligence service must
have intercepted President Yudhoyonos, his wife, Vice
President and several Indonesian ministers' phones.
Law on same-sex marriage is approved
Parliament in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
metropolitan area approves a law that makes same-sex
New South Wales state of emergency
New South Wales proclaims state of emergency because
of the severe fires raging in the state. Firefighters
are struggling to get the fires, which are the worst in
years, under control. Hundreds of people have left their
homes that have been destroyed by the fire.
Abbott in windy weather
Prime Minister Abbott is criticized in the media for
having used taxpayers' money during his time as
opposition leader to pay trips to sports competitions in
which he participated. Abbott defends himself by
combining the contests with meetings with voter groups.
Bill Shorten is elected Labor leader
On October 13, Labor will elect Bill Shorten as the
new party leader. For the first time, all party members
are allowed to take part in the vote on who will become
a new leader. Shorten has previously been Minister of
Tony Abbott takes over as prime minister
Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott takes office as new
prime minister for a bourgeois coalition government on
September 18. Only one woman is part of his new
government. He immediately begins to take steps to stop
the many boat refugees and to recall the carbon tax
imposed by the Labor government in July 2012.
Elections lead to a shift in power
Early results from the parliamentary elections on
September 7 indicate that there will be a change of
power. The coalition between the National Party and the
Liberal Party has won well over half of the seats in the
House of Representatives, while Labor has made one of
its worst choices in a long time. Following the
election, Kevin Rudd announces his resignation as Labor
Opposition criticizes Labor
In its election campaign, the bourgeois opposition
highlights Labour's repeated problems with agreeing on
who should lead the party. In addition, it promises to
withdraw the unpopular carbon tax as well as the taxes
in the mining industry.
Elections are announced
Prime Minister Rudd asks Australia's Governor-General
to dissolve Parliament and announce elections until
September 7. The election campaign starts shortly
thereafter. The economy, but also the climate and asylum
policy, are expected to be major election issues.
Assange creates party
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange launches a new
party, WikiLeaks Party (WLP), and says he plans to run
for office in the Senate election this fall despite
being hidden at Ecuador's Embassy in London to avoid
being extradited to Sweden where he is accused of sexual
offenses. According to Assange, WLP's ambition is to
place Australia's foremost investigative journalists in
the Senate where they will monitor the government's work
and contribute to reviewing the decision-making
Asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea
Later that month, Rudd and Papua New Guinea's Prime
Minister Peter O'Neill agreed that paperless boat
refugees traveling to Australian territory should not be
able to stay there and gain refugee status. Instead,
they should be shipped directly to Papua New Guinea and
apply for asylum there. The agreement is criticized by
human rights advocates as well as by Papuan officials
with refugee issues at their table. A similar agreement
is concluded a week later with the island nation Nauru.
Plans for regional meeting
At a meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, Prime Minister Rudd
and Indonesian President Yudhoyono agree that a regional
meeting will be held to try to curb the growing flow of
boat refugees from, for example, South Asia and
Afghanistan via Indonesia to the Australian Christmas
Island. Yudhoyono emphasizes the importance of countries
of origin, transit and recipients having to attend the
Increased voter support for Labor
Opinion polls show that Labour's change of leadership
has led the party's voter support to increase by 4
percent. It is now fairly even between the Liberals and
Labor in the polls, which also shows that significantly
more voters would prefer Rudd as prime minister over the
Rudd's new government is presented
Prime Minister Rudd presents his new government. The
ministers who stood next to Gillard leave their posts
and are replaced by politicians loyal to Rudd. No
changes are made to several of the heaviest ministerial
posts (defense, foreign and domestic). The new
government has a record number of female ministers.
Rudd wins over Gillard
Prime Minister Gillard decides that a vote on the
party leader post should be held within Labor. She makes
the decision since it turned out that Rudd's supporters
sent around a call among the party members in an attempt
to establish a party leader election and thus rid
Gillard. She loses the vote to Rudd with the numbers 45
to 57. At the same time, Gillard also leaves the post of
prime minister and Rudd is installed as head of
government the following day, June 27.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd does not want to
stand and challenge Gillard in a vote on who will lead
Labor after Gillard is questioned as Labor leader. Rudd
believes that he does not have enough support within the
party. Gillard continues as party leader and conducts a
government reform where several ministers who have given
his support to Rudd are forced to leave their posts.
Formal apology for adoption team
The government makes a formal apology to the people
affected by forced adoptions in accordance with the
adoption law that prevailed in the country from the
1950s until 1970.
Gillard announces parliamentary elections
Prime Minister Gillard calls for parliamentary
elections in September.
Severe floods hit Queensland and New South Wales.
Thousands of people must be evacuated. Four people are