Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Commonwealth of Australia covers over 7.68 million square kilometers and has a resident population of about 19 million people. Colonized by the British after 1788, early migrants included British and Irish convicts sentenced to transportation. Since World War II, migrants also have come from southern and eastern Europe and, more recently, from the Middle East and southern and eastern Asia. Colonization resulted in a massive decline in the Indigenous population—by 1996, Indigenous Australians (Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders) formed only 2.1 percent of the population (380,000 people). Australia is now a federal parliamentary democracy comprised of six states—New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia—and two territories—the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Each has its own criminal laws, police services, courts, prisons, juvenile institutions, and other correctional services. In addition, the Commonwealth government creates its own criminal laws that may apply to all jurisdictions. ...