The Republic of Australia, commonly referred to as Australia, is a country covering the entire continent of Australia, as well as some outlying islands. The nation was forcibly declared in 1919, when the Treaty of Dublin declared the dissolution of the British Empire. Despite defeat in WWII, Australia has grown into a regional power, both economically and politically.
Australia was first settled by Aborigines 60 000 years ago. European settlement began in 1788, when the British established a colony at Sydney Cove, with other colonies being established through the 19th century. In 1901 the six self governing colonies of New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia.
During the First World War, Australia sent thousands of troops to Europe and the Middle East to assist Britain. The tales of bravery and mate-ship from Gallipoli captured the public's imagination and sparked a national identity.
However, that identity was short-lived. With the defeat of the Allies in 1918, the British were forced to sign the Treaty of Dublin. This treaty stipulated that Australia was to be "...completely independent from Britain, the British Empire, and the British Crown." This was a massive, unexpected blow for pro-empire, pro-monarchy Australia.
The day after the signing of the Treaty, the Governor General, Sir Munro-Ferguson, was cabled with the news that Australia was no longer a Dominion of the Empire. He informed the Prime Minister, William Morris Hughes, and called an emergency cabinet meeting. The cabinet decided that the election for the new head of state should be held later that year, and that Munro-Ferguson would remain interim head until then.
When the news of Australia's forced expulsion from the empire broke the following day, there was a public outcry. The pro-empire population felt distressed and abandoned by the mother country. Public opinion of republicanism in general caused the new constitutional committee to give the elected head of state the title of Governor-General as opposed to President. When Governor-General elections rolled around, Sir Munro-Ferguson was elected to the position in a landslide victory.
The 1920 nationwide competition for a new flag and coat of arms received very few entries from the still anti-republican populace. Even then, almost all the entries had a union jack in it, giving the selection committee a very easy job choosing the current flag.
The pro-imperial sentiment continued throughout the interwar years. It was the Second world war, however, that would finally turn the public into pro-republicans.
Australia joined the war in 1939 principally because of a fear of a Japanese or German invasion. It contributed troops to most of the major Pacific campaigns, but a major focus was put on the New Guinea campaign.
In April 1944, Japanese forces invaded Australia. Darwin was taken immediately, annihilating the Allied naval squadron there. Australian forces immediately implemented the Brisbane Line Protocol, retreating all military personnel to Brisbane, leaving Northern Australia defenceless. The Japanese, however, did not know of this, and cautiously moved their way down the coast. Brisbane was taken after a week-long battle in June, with troops retreating to Sydney and Canberra.
Sydney was taken by a combined land and amphibious assault in late July, leaving the door open for the Japanese to march on Canberra, the nation's capital. A last-ditch effort to defend the capital managed to hold out for a time, but Canberra was taken by the end of August.
Australia surrendered to the Japanese on the 31st of August, 1944, just five months after the invasion. According to the terms of the treaty, Australia was to remain independent, but Norfolk Island, and a large war indemnity were to be given to Japan.
For the 1950s, Australia focused on rebuilding the nation and the economy. The election of the first "President" (as opposed to a Governor General), Robert Menzies, ushered in decades of prosperity fueled by a rich resource sector.
Australia is a semi-presidential republic, meaning it has a President and a Prime Minister. Australia has a bicameral parliament.
The President is directly elected from candidates chosen by their party. All Australians over 18 years of age must vote. The president serves for a five year term, and cannot be reelected.
The Parliament of Australia consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Military and Foreign Affairs
The Republic of Australia has a strong relationship with Britain, due to the historical connection between the two nations. Despite their enmity in the Second World War, Japan and Australia are major economic and diplomatic partners. Australia also has strong trading connections with the German colonies in the North, and with Mexico.
Australia currently operates a relatively small yet well-trained military. The army is small, however well-equipped and well managed. The air force is substantial, however it is technologically in superior compared to the other forces in the region. The Australian Navy consists of mainly frigates and coastal patrol boats, whose main aim is the protection of the Republic's territorial waters and fishing rights.