Australia's captain, Rocky Elsom, said his team had a lot of work to do before the Tri-Nations after this scrappy victory in Brisbane. The Wallabies' scrum-half, Luke Burgess, and fly-half, Quade Cooper, scored first-half tries and Cooper kicked two penalties but the centre Matt Giteau scored the only points of the second half when he kicked two penalties.
Elsom said: "When we played Ireland last year we played a hell of a lot better than that and came away with a draw. We just weren't sharp enough. We have a lot of work to do before the Tri-Nations."
In the first half Australia dominated territory and possession but found themselves penalised repeatedly by the referee, New Zealand's Bryce Lawrence, whenever Ireland got inside their territory. That allowed the tourists' fly-half, Jonathan Sexton, to kick five penalties.
Burgess scored the first Wallaby try after he intercepted a pass from the Ireland No 8, Chris Henry, and ran in from 40 metres. Cooper then side-stepped past three defenders after the half-time hooter had sounded.
Australia hammered away in the second half but they made far too many mistakes, considering their wealth of possession. Their error rate was highlighted by the replacement centre Kurtley Beale's 60th-minute decision to kick ahead when only a prop stood between him and the line and he had Giteau outside with only one other man to beat.
Ireland's coach, Declan Kidney, who has presided over three defeats in three matches on tour, said: "We made too many errors, especially when we were attacking, and that was frustrating. We defended stoutly but that left us short of energy at the end when we were trying to claw something back – in the end the result probably flattered us."
Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland captain, said: "We had a number of players earning their first caps and it was all good experience. They will take a lot out of it. We haven't managed any victories on this tour and that is what you are judged on. We wanted to put a bit of pride back into our defensive game as we let ourselves down against New Zealand. Although we had a couple of lapses against Australia, we were fairly solid.
"The lads will now enjoy four or five weeks of holidays and try to freshen up for next year."
Australia J O'Connor; D Mitchell, R Horne (K Beale, 40), M Giteau, A Ashley-Cooper; Q Cooper, S Burgess; B Daley (J Slipper, 54), S Faingaa, S Ma'afu, D Mumm, N Sharpe, R Elsom (capt), R Brown, D Pocock.
Ireland R Kearney (G Murphy, 53); T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (capt), P Wallace, A Trimble; J Sexton, T O'Leary; C Healy, S Cronin (D Varley, 70), T Buckley (T Court, 40), D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll (D Tuohy, 71), N Ronan, C Henry (S Ruddock, 68), S Jennings.
Referee B Lawrence (New Zealand).