|Commonwealth of New Austland|
|Official languages||English, Chinese, Indigenous languages|
|• Regional languages||Indigenous languages|
|Legislature||Parliament of New Austland|
|• Upper house||Chamber of Assembly|
|• Lower house||House of Representatives|
|• Estimate (2022)||4,838,990|
|Drives on the||left|
New Austland, officially the Commonwealth of New Austland, is a country located in central Antarephia. Its population of 4 million lives primarily on its eastern coast, bordering the Asperic Ocean. Myola is the largest city and national capital, with Werranga, Clarkestown and Hornsbury as other principal centres.
The indigenous people of New Austland are thought to have inhabited the area for approximately 20,000. They were part of the human migration along the coastline of Antarephia as temperatures declined and more land become inhabitable. Many tribes lived on the coast and made their living utilising resources from the ocean. Some roamed throughout inland areas. Each tribe had its own language and culture with few common features.
In 1516, the French merchant Pierre d'Orsay made landfall on the north-east coast of New Austland. While he was unfortunate to land in a huge mosquito-infested swamp, he did take news of his discovery of a "new land" back to his hometown. This inspired further sea and land explorations from many countries. These continued to discover swampy or otherwise unsuitable terrain by following the paths set by previous expeditions. As a result, most interest in settling the area was lost.
A renewed push for establishing a colony was made by the English explorer, Commander William Shaftsbury, following Britain's push for expanded sources of natural resources in the mid-16th century. His arrival in 1545 as part of an officially-sanctioned expedition established Myola about one kilometre south of its present city centre. Unlike many other European settlements of countries, Shaftsbury was determined to conduct good relations with the indigenous population. Despite some resistance among members of his party to this policy, he was able to set foundations for a positive relationship which persists to this day.
Further settlement of other coastal areas began in subsequent decades. Inland towns were slower to grow on account of difficulties accessing trade and communication routes and ongoing issues with drop bear attacks. By 1700, New Austland was a thriving colony with approximately 10,000 European inhabitants.
Expansion and development
During the early 1800s, the vast amount of industry that had since grown around many cities and towns throughout Pontus began to reap rewards and are today known as the 'Booom Times'. The average national income rose threefold, although living conditions did not begin to improve by any large margin until the late 1800s. This period is also marked by political turmoil, including a series of failed communist, anarchist and psychoanalytic feminist revolutions.
As money from increased trade began pouring into coastal towns, the new abundance of goods allowed new factories and warehouses to be established. These were not prevalent in coastal communities but rather were concentrated in the growing inland centres of Allandale and Clarkestown. Building was fast, with hundreds of new industrial developments being constructed every year between the 1820s and and 1840s.
While the incomes of many upper-class citizens rapidly increased, it came at the expense of the lower classes who were paid minimal wages and worked in appalling conditions. Working days of up to 12 hours were not uncommon. Despite this oppression, this did not correlate with an increase in membership of revolutionary groups as occurred in other industrialising countries. This has been attributed to either the famed tolerance and patience of New Austland's citizens, or simply apathy. Historians still debate over the reasons for this apparent anomaly.
By 1880 New Austland had grown significantly. Agitation began to me made - particularly among the middle class - for the colony to become fully independent. After many years of public debate and agitation, New Austland successfully negotiated its independence on 1 July 1895. Part of the agreement included some ties to the 'mother country', but these were mainly symbolic and did not impact on day-to-day governance. Legislative, executive and judicial branches were carefully planned and set up as the fledgling country's founders wanted to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to show stability to the outside world.
The first act of the new parliament was to pass the Immigration and Citizenship Act 1895 which removed all racial and ethnic barriers to migration and movement. This was done to symbolise the new country's openness and commitment to equality and justice for all. Sir Frederick Hawthorne, the first Prime Minister, led the effort to develop and pass the Act. He viewed it with pride as his life's greatest achievement, saying later that he "could not have wished for a grander way to service one's country".
The turning point for modern New Austland came in 1972 when National Progress Party leader, Gordon White, was elected in a landslide victory. He would lead the country for another 17 years during which many of the progressive reforms to shape New Austland were enacted. These included the abolition of private schools, moratorium on new freeway construction and nationalisation of private hospitals.
After he left office, despite some attempts to roll back reforms and resistance amongst right-wing groups, the changes he made remained largely intact and progress continued. New Austland became one of the first countries to achieve net zero emissions in 2010 following concerted efforts from public, private and non-profit sectors. It also has high rates of walking, cycling and public transport use with ongoing commitments to high-quality urban planning and sustainable development.
Government and politics
New Austland is a federal parliamentary democracy. It is broken up into four tiers of government:
The current structure has been in place since the constitutional reforms of 1985. Each level of government has distinct roles and responsibilities, with all being governed by elected representatives except for regions. The Federal Government has three branches, in keeping with the Westminster system:
- Legislative - the two houses of Parliament (the House of Representatives and Chamber of Assembly)
- Executive - the Cabinet, being the highest policy-making body in government
- Judiciary - the court and legal system, of which the Supreme Court is the highest court and final court of appeal
As stipulated in its constitution, New Austland is divided into five provinces:
Each province has its own government but no elected legislature or separate judiciary. These operate as arms of the national government with civil servants formulating policy through coordination with the other three tiers. An apolitial commissioner oversees the administration of each province. They are appointed by the national government with the approval of both Houses of Parliament in consultation with metropolitan and local governments.
The Constitution of New Austland states that a metropolitan government must be formed and elections held within two years of the New Austland National Office of Statistics (NANOS) recording the population of a city as having exceeded 20,000 people. This change provides a new layer of government as an 'umbrella' of existing local governments. A City Assembly functions as its legislative arm, made up of both directly-elected members, a directly-elected governor and mayors of each local government within its boundaries. Executive powers also rest largely with the Assembly, although the governor of each city does retains some executive authority.
Local governments are in place across the country. These may take one of four types:
- Rural council
- Village council
- Town council
- Suburb council
Each type is structurally and constitutionally similar; the principal difference is in name to account for the specific location of each council. Elected representatives are termed 'councillors' and are elected by ratepayers within their area. Rural and village councils are unsubdivided whereas town and suburb councils may be separated into wards for the purposes of councillor representation. Local governments of any type may represent a maximum of 5,000 constituents.
The New Austland Defence Force (NADF) consists of three branches: Navy, Air Force and Army. The Navy's main base is in the city of Myola. The NADF was historically quite divided between various branches and interservice rivalry was rife. Reorganisations of command structures in 1979, 1989 and 2005 have sought to reduce or eliminate these issues. Today, the consolidation into three main service branches has largely resolved many of the previous problems, although some still remain.
The New Austland Army consists of approximately 7,000 regular personnel and 3,000 reservists. It adopts the British organisational structure with regiments forming core combat groups. It has several bases and headquarters across the country.
The New Austland Air Force (NAAF) is the newest of the three branches. Prior to 1979 air operations were split between the Army and the Navy. This caused many interoperability and other issues which resulted in the NAAF's formation. Today it operates 120 aircraft supported by 3,000 personnel.
The New Austland Navy (NAN) was forced at the same time as the Army when New Austland became independent in 1895. It operates 30 vessels supported by 11,000 regular personnel.
The country enjoys a mostly temperature climate. Its weather is heavily influenced by oceanic currents, causing cold winters and hot summers. Some inland areas are elevated and have lower average temperatures than most coastal regions.
New Austland is a highly urbanised country. Over 70 percent of the population live in cities or large towns (as designated by NANOS).
(WIKITABLE) Settlements by size and province:
1. Myola - 1,438,380 2. Werranga - 608,920 3. Clarkestown - 498,040 4. Hornsbury - 221,010 5. Yulanti - 208,490 6. Shorecliffe - 189,020 7. Port Rosebud - 114,590 8. Allandale - 80,400 9. Pelham - 20,390 10. Mortvale - 17,390
The economy of New Austland is an advanced and mixed economy. It has a high income per person with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $39,480 per capita. The national currency is the New Austland Dollar ($) which is floated on international markets.
Its main economic activity has historically been linked to raw materials, primarily iron ore mining and agricultural products. In recent years, it has seen an accelerated transition to a skills-based economy based on science and technology.
The total population of New Austland was estimated by the national statistics organisation, NANOS, at 4,838,990 in January 2022. Approximately 55% are of white/European heritage, 20% indigenous, 12% Asian, with the remaining 13% made up of tens of other ethnic groups.
New Austland is a secular nation and has no official religion. The majority of the population (58 percent) identified as 'agnostic' or 'no religion' in the 2018 Census, an increase of 3.2 percent from the 2014 Census. Other major groups include Christian (18 percent), indigenous beliefs (14 percent) and Buddhism (4 percent).
This high level of non-belief has been attributed to the high levels of education throughout the recent history of New Austland and the low levels of church activity in the early days of European settlement on account of Shaftsbury's policies of cooperation with indigenous people. Traditional religions still make up a significant minority of overall beliefs.
There are three official languages of New Austland: English, Chinese (Mandarin) and 'indigenous languages'. The last category was a change effected as a result of a 1988 referendum, which sought to include all local indigenous languages as official for the nation. It was chosen so as not to preference one over another, given the tens of various language groups scattered across the country.
Transport infrastructure and service throughout New Austland is generally very good. Since the Transport Revolution Act of 1982, there has been significant financial and material implementation from all levels of government. The focus of this work is to reduce private car use and significantly increase the use of bicycles, public transport and other modes. With a lot of urban expansion having occurred in New Austland's cities throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, car dependence in suburban areas was formerly very high.
As a result of the investment in transport from the 1988 Act, urban and regional movement has shifted dramatically to more sustainable transport modes.
Like many Western countries, much of New Austland's development was built around the reliance on cars. This history left a legacy of freeways, highways and other road infrastructure. Following the changes made as a result of the 1988 Act, much of this infrastructure was removed or repurposed. Nevertheless, some significant road infrastructure still remains.
Road construction and maintenance in cities is the responsibility of the each city government. Areas outside of areas with city governments are administered by provincial administration under the direction of the national government.
People riding bicycles and walking has been a primary focus of most governments in New Austland over the past 30 years. As a result, cycling levels (as a proportion of all trips made nationally) have increased from 1.7 percent in 1982 to 16.8 percent in 2018. This has seen continued investment in bicycle infrastructure, such as bicycle lanes and integration with the public transport system, across major urban centres. Many regional towns and cities are now following suit.
The public broadcaster, the National Media Broadcasting Commission (NMBC), is the most-visited and trusted media source in the country. Several other national media companies also occupy significant portions of the print, radio, TV and social media spheres.
New Austland has a strong tradition of press freedom tempered by general public displeasure and resistance to outlandish or sensational stories. There is also regulation on ensuring truthful reporting, such as requiring factual corrections to receive the same prominence as the original story. As a result, there is general trust in journalists and media outlets.
Sport and recreation
Prior to the 1989 administrative reforms, each province operated its own branches of emergency services. Today, all are centralised at a national level with former provincial organisations functioning as divisions within each (with the exception of fire and rescue, which is divided on city vs. country lines and partially administered by provinces).
The National Police are the law enforcement organisation for New Austland.
The National Ambulance Service (NAS) provide paramedical services for New Austland.
- City: Urban Fire & Rescue (UFR) - national government jurisdiction
- Country: Rural Fire Authority (RFA) - national government jurisdiction (administered through regional governments)