Two women arrive prior to the start of the 34th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney on March 5, 2011. Hundreds of thousands turned out in Sydney on March 5 for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, which this year highlighted marriage equality. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)
Australia's ruling Labor Party has voted resoundingly in support of gay marriage, although it may be a while before same-sex couples walk down the aisle.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard chats with US President Barack Obama during a Meeting on Afghanistan on November 20, 2010 in Lisbon, as part of a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Summit of Heads of States and Government held on 19-20 November 2010. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)
Australians will soon pay Julia Gillard more than Americans pay Barack Obama, the so-called the leader of the free world.
Relatives of some of the 30 killed when a boat full of asylum seekers crashed on the rocks at Christmas Island on Dec. 15, 2010, trying to reach Australian soil, grieve during Muslim and Christian services held Feb. 15, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Don Arnold/AFP/Getty Images)
Australia has been offered a solution to the contentious issue of Australia's asylum seeker intake: take 50 percent more... with conditions.
An intoxicated school leaver passes out along the fence line during the Schoolies Week celebrations in Surfers Paradise on November 23, 2008 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Sergio Dionisio/AFP/Getty Images)
"Schoolies week" — an annual rite of passage for Australian school leavers, who spend a week celebrating their liberation from the education system, preferably in a beachside location and invariably in an alcoholic stupor — has claimed another young life.
You think you know a little about the typical Aussie, right? Kangaroo-riding, croc-wrestling, beach-dwelling people with a genetic predisposition to having no worries, mate. Okay, so Australia has an abundance of furry — and sometimes fearsome — wildlife, year-round sunshine, and laid-back people. In fact, it's the happiest place on earth, according to a recent OECD report. But it is also a country that routinely locks up asylum seekers, sells its military services to the U.S. and everything else to the Chinese, and worst of all worships that ridiculously long and complex game, cricket. Through Down Under, we invite you to explore both the delights and the darker side of Australia.