A 2002 report from the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Melbourne (along with Vancouver) as the best city in the world to live. Five Australian cities (Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney) appeared in the top ten of this survey that rated cities against factors such as health and safety, infrastructure and culture and environment.

Australia is one of the world's oldest landmasses and has been populated for an estimated 60 000 years. Before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the continent.

Australia's 'modern' history is relatively short, with the first European settlement established by Great Britain on 26 January 1788. Australian emergency, humanitarian and refugee programs aim to mitigate the adverse impacts of conflict, natural and other disasters on vulnerable populations. To ensure effective responses to conflict and disasters, Australia works in cooperation with international and domestic partners to improve preparedness and risk reduction strategies, especially in the Asia Pacific region. The core element of Australia's humanitarian program is regional engagement.

In fact Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes based on plastic (polymer), which provides much greater security against counterfeiting and lasts four times longer than conventional paper notes. A strong and capable defence force is fundamental to Australia's security. Accordingly, the Government is committed to maintaining the defence-funding base. The focus of the Australian Defence Force, while concerned with overall global security, is chiefly centred on the Asia Pacific region.