1986 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1986 in Australia.

1986 in Australia
MonarchyElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir Ninian Stephen
Prime ministerBob Hawke
ElectionsWA, TAS, QLD


  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
See also:


State and Territory Leaders

Governors and Administrators




  • 2 February – Nurse Anita Cobby is abducted, robbed, raped and murdered by John Travers, Michael Murdoch, and Leslie, Gary and Michael Murphy at Prospect in Sydney (all five men are sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, June 1987).
  • 7 February - Following Lindy Chamberlain's identification of a baby's jacket found near Ayers Rock as being similar to the one worn by her baby Azaria, her case takes a new turn.
  • 8 February –
    • Elections in Western Australia and Tasmania see the re-election of the ALP in WA, and the Liberal Party in Tasmania.
    • Post-mortem results support the claim of the sister of Sally Anne Huckstep that she was murdered.
    • Dire Straits makes history in Tasmania by drawing the state's biggest audience ever for an open-air concert.
  • 9 February – Lindy Chamberlain is released from prison in Darwin on licence after serving 39 months of a life sentence.
  • 11 February –
  • 12 February - Ernie Bridge is elected to the West Australian Cabinet, thereby becoming the first Aborigine to become a Cabinet minister.


  • 3 March – The Australia Act 1986 comes into effect at 1600 AEST, granting Australia legal independence from the United Kingdom by removing the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to legislate with effect in Australia and its states and territories.
  • 18 March - Prime Minister Bob Hawke commits the Federal Government not to raise home interest lending rates above 13.5%, despite continued pressure from the banks.
  • 27 March – The Russell Street bombing takes place at the headquarters of Victoria Police in Melbourne. A police constable, Angela Taylor, is killed.


  • 2 April - Prime Minister Bob Hawke breaks an election promise by lifting the ceiling on home interest rates, following the banks' promise of an extra $6 million for home loans.
  • 11 April - The Arbitration Commission finds that the Builders' Labourers Federation was guilty of serious industrial misconduct and the union is deregistered.
  • 14 April - A second trial of Mr. Justice Lionel Murphy begins in Sydney, and lasts for two weeks, with the jury eventually acquitting him.


  • 14 May - Responding to the release of dismal current account deficit figures, Federal Treasurer Paul Keating makes his infamous off-the-cuff warning about Australia becoming a "banana republic".



  • 2 August – The painting The Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso is stolen from the National Gallery of Victoria. The painting is found undamaged in a locker at Spencer Street station on 19 August.[1]
  • 6 August – A low pressure system moving from South Australia and redeveloping off the New South Wales coast dumps a record 327.6 millimetres (12.90 in) of rain in a day on Sydney. Resulting floods kill six people.
  • 9 August – Sydney schoolgirl Samantha Knight disappears in Bondi, Sydney.
  • 19 August - The Federal Budget is handed down and outlines the Federal Government's aims to slash the deficit by increasing charges and making cuts to the Public Service. New Right thinking prompts the Opposition to foreshadow even more drastic changes.
  • 21 August - Labor Caucus votes 74:42 to resume sales of uranium to France.





Arts and literature



  • Re Loubie a case involving the Queensland Bail Act and s.117 of the constitution.





See also


  1. "Weeping Woman Mystery". eMelbourne. University of Melbourne. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
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