– [Voiceover] Australia isin many ways an odd place, home to strange wildlife,as well as being situated geographically faraway from what anyone might consider the West,yet being an incredibly Western nation culturally,with much in common with both the United Statesand the United Kingdom.
A country such asthis virtually demands that we bring you the 10Things You Didn't Know About Australia.
Australia has some ofthe most unique wildlife in the world, butthe reasons for this are as interesting as thefact of their presence.
Approximately 99million years ago, what is now known as Australia completely separated from thethen supercontinent Gondwana, where it was to remaingeographically isolated from the rest of theworld since that time.
As a consequence of this,many types of animal life took highly divergentpaths of evolution when compared to faunafound on other continents, due to their isolation.
Most people know of marsupials,which are pouched mammals, but few know of monotremes.
Monotremes areegg-laying mammals that are only found in PapuaNew Guinea and Australia, and Australia uniquelyhas two of them, the pocupine-resembling echidna, and the bizarre-lookingplatypus.
Monotremes are sometimesseen as a cross between reptiles and mammalsbecause of their physiology.
For example, they layeggs, and have a lower body temperature thanboth marsupials andplacental mammals, but also have fur and lactate, which justifiably earns themthe classification as mammals.
Most uniquely of all,the male platypus is one of the onlymammals to produce a venom which can be injectedfrom its hind spurs and is deadly to its prey.
Few other mammals in theworld have this feature, which is why, coupledwith their other strange characteristics,monotremes are one of the great wondersof Australia.
– If you travel byboat without a visa, you will not makeAustralia home.
It is the policy and practiceof the Australian government to intercept anyvessel that is seeking to illegally enter Australia.
The rules apply to everyone, families, children,unaccompanied children, educated and skilled.
There are no exceptions.
– [Voiceover] Australiais a developed country with one of thetoughest immigrationpolicies in the world.
Unlike Europe andthe United States, where people just seem toenter and leave as they please, Australia has astrict vetting process and fiercely guards its waters to prevent unwantedimmigrants from entering.
Since illegals haveto come by sea, they are sometimesreferred to as boat people, which is why mostof the prevention takes place on the high seas.
Because of this, Australiahas come under the fire of criticism by both othercountries and internally.
However, supporters ofstrict immigration policy stress the factthat it's allowed for the maintenanceof a healthy economic and cultural integrationcompared to other countries.
Whichever side of thedebate you might stand on, the Australian governmenthas been firm on this issue with the motto being.
– If you come to Australiaillegally by boat, there is no way you willever make Australia home.
– [Voiceover] AfterAustralian soldiers had returned homefrom World War I, many decided to take upfarming for a living.
Unfortunately, after a time,the Great Depression hit, which made making a livingby farming very difficult, somewhat furthercompounded by the fact that large flocks of emus,which are the second largest flightless birds in theworld after the ostrich, numbering in thetens of thousands, took to foraging inthe newly established farming locations, andthis proved ruinous to the livestock and crops.
This led to the Great Emu War, where large contingentsof military personnel were given machineguns with the idea of mowing downthe emus en masse.
However, this proveddifficult, as the emus continually evaded attemptsat herding them together, and the machineguns lacked range.
And so after two major attempts, efforts were givenup, and the emus continued their destruction.
After declaring war on the emus, at the end of the day,it was the Australians, not the troublesomebirds, who had lost the Great Emu War.
Australia has someof the worst internet of any developedcountry, unfortunately, and took rank 44in internet speed, behind virtually everyother Western country, and far behind places suchas South Korea and Japan.
Part of the reason forthis is that Australia has largely failed toupgrade to the new common fiber connections usedthroughout the developed world.
This seems like aminor inconvenience, but the truth is, it slows down both business and pleasure,with downloads and uploads moving at an agonizingcrawl, while other countries get the same amount donein a fraction of the time Australia requires.
There's been much talkof national upgrades, but when that will happen,well, only time will tell.
So next time you're in Ausand want to download a game from Steam, just leave yourcomputer on for a few days.
It might get done sometimelater in the week.
Not many people think of steakwhen they think of Australia, but Australia has some ofthe best beef in the world.
In 2015, Australiawon the Best Steak in the World Challenge,but that is just the tip of the iceberg because Australia has a huge variety ofmeats to choose from.
Beef, lamb, chicken arethe conventional ones, but kangaroo, emu,crocodile, and others are readily available as well.
The great variety, coupledby the great accessibility, makes Australia one ofthe number one stops for meat lovers in theworld, where it is both cheap and accessible.
Australia might be aWesternized country, but in many ways, that iswhere the similarities end, because unlike theWest, Australia is home to some of the most dangerousand venomous animals in existence.
The inland taipanis considered to be the most venomoussnake in the world, and if left unattended, biteswill cause a swift death.
Coupled by the death adder,which has the fastest strike of any venomoussnake in the world.
Add to that list, brownsnakes and tiger snakes, and you get a virtual cornucopia of venomous serpentine delight.
But the fun doesn't stop there, because Australia is also hometo deadly spiders as well, such as the funnel-webspider and redback widow, the latter resembling ablack widow in many ways.
But maybe thesecritters aren't enough.
Well, the saltwater crocodilemight not be venomous, but it is the largestcrocodile in the world, and is highly aggressive,found throughout parts of Queensland and theNorthern Territory.
And if you wanteven more danger, the coasts of Australia are home to some of thelargest populations of great whitesharks in the world, along with the deadliestjellyfish around, the box jellyfish,whose stinging tentacles have caused many to drownbecause of the agonizing pain the venom delivers.
Australia can be afun place to visit, but potentially adangerous one as well.
Some Australians might hearthe term, stolen generation and recognize it, butmost outside will not, and it is one of thosedirty little secrets of Australia's past thatpeople tent to ignore.
The stolen generationsrefers to people of mixed Aboriginaland European descend that were forcibly removedfrom their Aboriginal families in the belief that theywould be better raised as mixed people withinmainstream Australian culture and society.
This policy ranfrom 1905 to 1969, and since itsabolition, has stirred great controversywithin Australia.
Activists for Aboriginal rights cite not onlygovernment complicity, but direct governmentapproval in the abductions and removals that tookplace under this policy.
Although seemingly motivatedby good intentions, such as the best interestsof the children involved, the questions raisedby the politics of the stolen generationwill likely haunt the citizens of Australiafor years to come, whatever their descent,and will cast a long shadow on this otherwise positiveand upbeat nation.
Australia is one of theeconomic powerhouses of the world, withits huge reserves of natural resources,particularly minerals such as gold, lead,iron, zinc, manganese, and many more.
But having such naturalwealth, among other things, can often be a pitfall.
Australia is one of China'sbiggest trading partners, and that traderelationship overall has been a netpositive for Australia considering the generaltrajectory of economic growth and progress in China,but it also creates a dangerous dependency.
Such trade partnershipsare great during booms, but terrible during busts,and it is very likely that something will soon go awry in the Chinese economy,which will have massive consequencesfor Australia.
An invasive species is aspecies that is transplanted from its home geographicallocation to a new one, where it is not native.
This can have, andoften does have, devastating ecologicalconsequences for the native animals,who often cannot adapt to the presence ofthe new species.
Australia might havebeen the pioneer of invasive specieswhen it introduced the dreaded cane toad.
Native to Centraland South America, as well as theCaribbean, the cane toad has become Australia'spublic enemy number one when it comes toinvasive species.
Having been introduced in 1935 by the Bureau of SugarExperiment Stations in order to attempt tocontrol the growing problem of cane beetles destroyingsugarcane crops, the plan backfiredmassively and is one of the great examplesof human bungling.
The cane toads quicklyspread far beyond what had beenintended, and are today considered to be oneof the greatest threats present to Australia'sfragile ecosystem.
They have bred like wildfireand are now so common that a frequentteenage, quote unquote, sporting event, if youwant to call it that, is cane toad clubbing,where you swat cane toads like golf balls.
Unfortunately, thereprobably is no solution to the cane toad menace,and it's something that Australians willjust have to live with.
Australia has some ofthe best quality of life in the world, with bothSydney and Melbourne being ranked among the top20 cities for the year 2016, a ranking which has beenconsistent for years, and it's easy to see why.
The quality of life comesfrom the warm to moderate temperatures, a strongeconomy, an abundance of resources, andas some might argue, a strict immigration policy.
Whatever the ultimatereasons might be, Australia seems to beone of the best places to live in the world.
That is, if you don'tmind crappy internet.
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And I'll see you all next time.