1975 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1975 in Australia.

1975 in Australia
MonarchyElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir John Kerr
Prime ministerGough Whitlam, then Malcolm Fraser
ElectionsSA, Federal


  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
See also:


State and Territory Leaders

Governors and Administrators



  • 5 JanuaryTasman Bridge disaster: The Tasman Bridge in Hobart is struck by the ore carrier MV Lake Illawarra. The bridge partially collapses onto the vessel, which sinks. Seven crew and five motorists are killed.
  • 7 January – An Executive Council Minute authorising the raising of a "temporary loan" of US$4,000 million for 20 years is reversed before it becomes public knowledge. The move to bypass the Loans Council - to become known as the "Loans Affair" – had been initiated a month earlier by several Labor Ministers without consulting Cabinet.
  • 19 January – 2JJ, the predecessor of youth radio Triple J, commences broadcasting in Sydney.
  • 26 January – The Workers' Party is launched at a banquet at the Sydney Opera House. The WP is libertarian in principle, demanding less government intervention, as well as being virulently anti-Socialist. The name is subsequently changed to the Progress Party in 1977.


  • 9 FebruaryLionel Murphy resigns to become a High Court judge (a move for which Garfield Barwick's appointment had set a precedent).
  • 11 February – New South Wales Premier Tom Lewis decides to replace Lionel Murphy in the Senate with a non-Labor nominee. Cabinet unanimously endorses his decision. Albury's 77-year-old mayor, Cleaver Bunton, is selected, thus reducing Labor to 28 in the Senate. The move is seen as breaking constitutional convention and was against the advice of senior Liberals and most Premiers.
  • 27 February – Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's failure to support Speaker Jim Cope in a ruling involving Clyde Cameron (Hindmarsh) led to the Speaker's resignation and his replacement by Gordon Scholes. Cope had been having difficulty with the Opposition's increasing larrikinism.



  • 8 April – After 21 hours of bitter debate in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, a Bill to abolish the death penalty is passed 36:30, with 5 abstentions. To this end, Labor Council leader J. Galbally had brought in 21 private members Bills in some 15 years. The abolition Bill must now pass the Legislative Council where lengthy debate and an even closer vote is expected.
  • 25 April – The Australian Embassy in South Vietnam is closed and staff evacuated prior to the Fall of Saigon.


  • 20 May – The Executive Council revokes approval it had given on 28 January for a US$2,000 million overseas loan. Henceforth, all negotiations are to be conducted through the Treasury.



  • 1 JulyMedibank is introduced, Australia Post and Telecom are formed from the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG).
  • 2 July – Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has Jim Cairns' commission as Environment Minister terminated for misleading Parliament. Mr Cairns had denied having written a secret letter to a loans broker in March, but a signed letter was produced in June.
  • 4 July – Sydney newspaper publisher Juanita Nielsen disappears from her Kings Cross home where she published attacks on inner-city development. Edward Trigg and Shayne Martin-Simmonds are later found guilty of conspiring to murder her.



  • 1 October – Senator Albert Field (now an Independent) is granted a month's leave of absence while his eligibility to take his seat is tested in the High Court of Australia, sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns. There has been doubting as to whether he resigned in the correct way from the Public Service at the time he was appointed.
  • 8 October – Prime Minister Gough Whitlam denied in Parliament that any of his senior ministers were still involved in trying to raise overseas loans in defiance of the 20 May revocation. Press reports based on information from the loan intermediary, Tirath Khemlani, suggest that Rex Connor is still involved.
  • 10 October – The High Court of Australia upholds the validity of the territorial Senators legislation. In any half-Senate election, four senators, plus replacements for Bunton and Field, would take their places in the Senate at once, thus giving Labor the chance to win back control there.
  • 15 October – At a Brisbane Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon, Queensland Governor Sir Colin Hannah associated himself with the criticism of the Federal Government. In the ensuing row, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam persuades Queen Elizabeth II to revoke his dormant commission to act as Governor-General.
  • 16 October – The Balibo Five are killed by Indonesian troops in Portuguese Timor.
  • 1 to 31 October – Averaged over Victoria, this stands as the wettest month since at least 1900 with a statewide average rainfall of 154.53 millimetres or 6.08 inches.[1]



Science and technology

Arts and literature



  • 1 March – "C-Day." Full-time colour broadcasting is launched.
  • April – Graham Kennedy said the crow call "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!" during a live ad on The Graham Kennedy Show. The studio operators complied, and the show immediately pulled the plug and went to a black screen saying the network had "technical difficulties". In Sydney, the show went to a commercial break and Kennedy never came back, with Bert Newton remaining during the airtime. The same happened in Adelaide, with the exception that it was succeeded by Don Lane starting the host his variety show with Newton. Kennedy was immediately fired and banned for life from GTV-9.




  • 27 September – Jack Lang (born 1876), Premier of New South Wales
  • 5 November – Annette Kellerman (born 1887), swimmer and film star

See also


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