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is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area.To the south of these and inland, lie more areas of grassland: the Ord Victoria Plain and the Western Australian Mulga shrublands.At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia.Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF).
Traditional ownership of land ("native title") was not recognised in law 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.
The passing of the Australia Act 1986 ended all possibility for any vestigial role of the British government in the government in Australia and removed the already seldom-used option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.
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.
The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas.
The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent (in 1606), are attributed to the Dutch.
For about 50,000 years After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788.