The Kiwis showed plenty of endeavour and trailed only 8-6 when debutant second rower Sika Manu scored their only try after 26 minutes but there was a sense of inevitability about the Kangaroos' eighth successive win over their Trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand were able to offer little in attack, with stand-off Benji Marshall disappointingly quiet on his first Test appearance in Australia.
With half-backs Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston in imposing form, Australia dominated from start to finish, with awesome centre Israel Folau grabbing a brace of tries and Billy Slater, Joel Monaghan and Greg Inglis also touching down.
England are the Kangaroos' next opponents in Melbourne next Sunday and, on this evidence, they will have to find a marked improvement on their 32-22 win over Papua New Guinea if they are to spring a shock.
Coach Ricky Stuart would have been especially delighted with the debut of Monaghan while fellow newcomers Anthony Laffranchi, Glenn Stewart and Josh Perry all played their parts in an impressive all-round display.
The only disappointment for the champions was the loss of winger Brent Tate - the only outside back not to score - with a neck injury on the hour mark.
Thurston, who played despite the death of his uncle just 48 hours earlier, kicked four goals from five attempts before being rested for the final quarter and Cameron Smith landed one conversion from the touchline.
Scotland's World Cup campaign started with a 36-18 defeat as Thomas Bosc and Jerome Guisset guided France to a controversial victory in Canberra.
Catalans Dragons stand-off Bosc produced an influential display by kicking six goals from as many attempts, and creating two French tries.
Captain and fellow Dragons star Guisset also helped himself to a brace of tries, but defeat was tough on the gutsy Scots.
They were aggrieved by two tries disallowed by Australian video referee Phil Cooley, and also felt play should have been stopped in the build-up to John Wilson's first-half try for France, as Duncan MacGillivray was down concussed in back play.
Steve McCormack's team are now considerable outsiders to make the semi-final qualifier with just one Pool Two game remaining, against Fiji on November 5.