Australia is a notable nation indeed (it was used a dumping ground for criminals by the British Empire), however it is seconded by New Zealand in almost every aspect. Except, evidently, a desire to live there.
Sometimes referred to as the "Land Downunder" due an unfortunate historical accident with world maps, it is also known as the "Great Southern Land".
Australia was originally settled at least 40,000 years ago. Then, in 1788, some British people turned up and declared the country empty of inhabitants, which was useful because they could then claim it as their own and ship an inconvenient segment of their population overseas. Unfortunately, this segment thrived and thereafter proved inconvenient for everyone else as well.
Contrary to the beliefs of some, Australia is no longer populated primarily by the descendents of convicts from Britain. Probably the major legacy of British colonialism has been to give Australians a sense of identity that is more closely tied to England than to the United States, although it must be said that large numbers of Australians aren't overly fond of British people, either, except when they beat them at cricket (see also whinging pom).
In spite of the declared affinity of many Australians to England rather than the United States, Australian politics of late has largely followed a US model. The previous Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, was good buddies with George W. Bush, and so pretty much followed the United States, wherever it may led. This has led to Australian troops being deployed to Iraq, the increasing influence of religious fundamentalism in political life, Australia's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty on global warming, and Australia's support of the continued imprisonment of one of its citizens at Guantanamo Bay. However, under the new Mandarin speaking PM, Australia has started making small steps away from US policy, claiming that Australia is with you "in heart". The use of the term redeployment instead of "withdrawal" was seen by many as ass kissing to America.
On the other hand, Australia's economy has been quite strong over the last few years, and that's far more important that any issues lefty, pinko, communists may bring up.Pauline Hansen wants to further improve the economy by eliminating asian labour(WITH A U), which many believe would only result in bludgers like Spud Emperor being employed.
Australias speak a dialect of English that includes a particular set of distinct terms and phrases sometimes called strine. Australian spelling, grammar and written expression (where used) in general tends to follow a British model more than an American one.
Australia is the largest natural island in the world, as well as being a continent in its own right. It's geographical isolation has led to the evolution of many unique and irritating species of animals and plants, including some that have been adopted as iconic or comic symbols of the nation, such as the kangaroo, the koala and the emu.
Australia is also home to seven of the world's ten most poisonous snakes and the world's most poisonous spider and the world's only significantly frigging poisonous mammal, for the love of God, which makes one wonder why anyone still chooses to live there in an age of international air travel.
...seriously, people: New Zealand is right next door. Think about it.