Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country and continent in the southern hemisphere made up of the Australian mainland, Tasmania, and other smaller islands, comprising a total of six states and several other territories. Its population is about 22.8 million. It is the smallest of all the continents in the world but one of the largest countries in terms of land area. It is also one of the most sparsely populated places, with a mere 2.6 inhabitants per square kilometre. It has no official language, but the de facto national language is (Australian) English. Its capital is Canberra and its largest city is Sydney.
Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 40,000 years before European settlers arrived in the late 18th century. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by the British in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 1788. The population grew in subsequent decades as the continent was further explored and five more self-governing Crown Colonies were established. The six colonies federated in 1901 to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia is now governed by a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as the head of state (the Queen is represented by a Governor-General in Australia) and the Prime Minister as the head of government.
A highly developed country, Australia has the 12th largest economy in the world and high standards of living, healthcare, education, economic freedom, and human rights. It is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, United Nations and other international organisations.
"Aussie" is a friendly (however sometimes used offensively) slang for "Australian". Australia is also often colloquially referred to as "the land Down Under" or "Oz".
Spanking in Australia
Most Australians are descended from 19th and 20th century European settlers, the majority from Great Britain and Ireland. Due to this Anglo-Celtic heritage, the spanking of children is not uncommon in Australia. Unlike most European countries, non-abusive spanking is still legal for Australian parents and generally socially accepted.
Judicial corporal punishment was common in the 19th century, using a variety of implements, including the birch, cat, cane and strap. It was outlawed on a federal level as early as 1914, but individual states kept it on their statute books until the 1970s. The flogging of male adults was still being carried out in Victoria and in South Australia in the 1950s. The last birching in Western Australia was in 1962. A popular punishment for teenage boy offenders in South Australia in the 1950s was for the magistrate's court to order their fathers to cane them under police supervision, and similar provisions were also in force in Western Australia.
School corporal punishment was legal in Australia until the 1980s, although its actual use had already become rare by then. Today it has been largely but not completely abolished. According to a 1996 report by Charles Brister titled Corporal punishment in Australian schools, the situation is as follows in the Australian federal states:
- Victoria: In 1983, corporal punishment was banned in state schools. Private schools are not affected by this ban, and are free to decide whether to use corporal punishment or not.
- New South Wales: In 1986, the Teachers Federation implemented a ban preventing all members from using corporal punishment. With the new Liberal National Party government in 1988, school corporal punishment was reintroduced, and in 1995, the new Labour Party government brought in the Education Reform Act to abolish corporal punishment in all state schools. Today, there is also a ban in private schools in NSW.
- Western Australia: School corporal punishment was banned in 1987. However WA still protects teachers who use reasonable corporal punishment by Criminal Code section 257.
- South Australia: School corporal punishment was banned in 1991.
- Australian Capital Territory: School corporal punishment was abolished in all ACT state schools by 1988.
- Tasmania: School corporal punishment is still legal (as of 1996). It must be administered by a school principal or authorised senior teacher. The cane or strap is to be used on the student's hand. The punishment must not take place in front of the class and must be recorded in a punishment book.
- Queensland: Started to phase out school corporal punishment in the 1990s. The current situation is unknown.
- Northern Territory: Corporal punishment is still legal in state and private schools (as of 1996).
What the Dickens! (7 min.) is sepia-tone spoof of silent movies with F/F and M/F outdoor spankings. Made by Australian burlesque performer Magnificent Liberte Belle (Lani Gerrish) and Velvet Corner Productions for the Canberra Fringe Festival.
Australian spanking sites, businesses and magazines
Internet censorship in Australia
The Australian Federal Labor Government currently has a plan to force all Australian ISPs to implement server-based filtering systems to block access to 'child pornography', 'X-rated material', 'violence', 'prohibited' material, 'inappropriate' material and 'unwanted' material on a secret blacklist compiled by a government agency (more information).