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In a 1999 referendum, 55% of voters and a majority in every state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament.
Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, is located in Western Australia.
Traditional ownership of land ("native title"), was not recognised until 1992 when the High Court of Australia held in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) that the legal doctrine that Australia had been terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") did not apply to Australia at the time of British settlement.
At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime.
The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturists and hunter-gatherers.
The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology's 2011 Australian Climate Statement, Australia had lower than average temperatures in 2011 as a consequence of a La Niña weather pattern; however, "the country's 10-year average continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures, with 2002–2011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10-year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52 °C (0.94 °F) above the long-term average".
The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.
is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.
It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area.
With the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the "First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales.
A camp was set up and the flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day, Australia Day, although the British Crown Colony of New South Wales was not formally promulgated until 7 February 1788.
Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted.