[UPDATE May 19, 2013: I have an updated Australian tourist visa application guide.
I am not a visa officer, nor am I migration agent. I am in no way affiliated with the Australian Embassy Manila nor with the Australian government. This post comes from my experience with preparing and submitting visa applications for family members and for myself. Also note that this entry pertains to my experience in applying for an Australian tourist visa in October 2006. The Australian immigration update their forms every 3 months. I will try to answer your questions the best way that I can, but bear in mind that a lot has changed since 2006. If you ask a question I've already answered in the post, I will ignore you.
One of the questions people ask me when I tell them I've been to Australia is if it's easy to get a tourist visa. Almost everybody in Manila have heard of stories of how hard it is to obtain a US tourist visa: compiling documents like birth certificate, bank statements, even land titles , paying a high application fee, waiting in line for hours for an interview. Is it as hard to get a tourist visa for Australia as it is for the US?
Actually, it's not whether it's harder on not, but it really boils down to how complete your documents are. I believe all embassies would be very meticulous about all the applications they receive, and it is really important to send them all the required documents.
Be it the Australian embassy, the US embassy or the Chinese embassy, they all want to know the same thing: that you are who you say you are, that you have the means to fund your trip in their country, and that you will be returning to your home country.
Proof of identity
This of course, is your passport and your birth certificate.
Proof of sufficient funds
Bank statements, credit card documents stating your credit limit, payslip
Proof that you're not going to be an illegal immigrant
Certificate of employment if you're already working or certificate of enrollment if you're still studying
If you're thinking of visiting Australia anytime soon, head on to the Australian Immigration website to learn more about the Australian tourist visa, as well as download the necessary forms. Here are some helpful links to get you started:
Tourist Visa (Subclass 676)
Tourist Visa Charges
Visa application checklist (PDF file)
Application form 48R (PDF file)
[UPDATE April 5, 2013] Please note that as of March 23, 2013, the visa subclass for Australian tourist visa is subclass 600 and the application form is now form 1419.
Coming up next: How I went about applying for my Australian tourist visa