1989 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1989 in Australia.

1989 in Australia
MonarchyElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir Ninian Stephen, then Bill Hayden
Prime ministerBob Hawke
ElectionsWA, ACT, TAS, SA, QLD


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


State and Territory Leaders

Governors and Administrators





  • 1 March – The Industrial Relations Commission replaces the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission.
  • 4 March – First ACT (Australian Capital Territory) elections held
  • 6 March – Former National Safety Council boss John Friedrich is arrested in Western Australia over allegations that he defrauded investors of $237 million.
  • 20 MarchPrime Minister Bob Hawke weeps on national television, as he admits marital infidelity.
  • 21 March - Federal Cabinet decides to develop a third runway at Sydney's congested airport, leading to outraged protests from residents' groups and the sudden resignation from the Federal Ministry of Gary Punch whose marginal electorate of Barton bordered the airport.
  • 22 March - The Victorian Division of the National Safety Council collapses with debts of $235 million.


  • 7 April - CEO of the Victorian Division of the National Safety Council John Friedrichs is captured after 17 days on the run.
  • 15 April - John Anderson wins the 1989 Gwydir by-election, unopposed by either Labor or Liberal, after the retirement of National Party Deputy Leader Ralph Hunt.
  • 27 April - A dawn raid by the Tactical Response Group (TRG) kills innocent Aboriginal Redfern resident David Gundy and arouses community anger. An inquiry into the TRG adds to already existing distrust of the police.





  • 9 August - The Victorian Government releases its Budget, proposing further savage cuts to the public sector due to the decreasing amount of Commonwealth funding available.
  • 13 August – Thirteen people die in a hot air balloon accident near Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
  • 22 August - The damaging 2-month airline pilots' strike over a 30% pay rise begins in earnest. Prime Minister Bob Hawke makes a crusade of resisting the claim.
  • 23 August – All of Australia's 1,645 domestic airline pilots resign over an airline's move to sack and sue them over a dispute, following a strike.



  • 11 October - Media magnate Rupert Murdoch criticises Andrew Peacock as having a poor standing as Opposition Leader.
  • 17 October - New South Wales Premier Nick Greiner announces a Royal Commission under Mr. Justice Lee to investigate the case of Police Chief Superintendent Harry Blackburn who had been arrested and charged with sexual offences allegedly committed over a 20-year period. After several months, it was found that he had no case to answer.
  • 20 OctoberGrafton bus crash – 21 people are killed and 22 are injured when a tourist bus collides with a semi-trailer on the Pacific Highway near Grafton.
  • 25 October - In response to the Fitzgerald Inquiry recommendations, the Queensland Government establishes two new bodies - the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) to be headed by former NCA Commissioner Sir Max Bingham and the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC) under Tom Sherman.



Unknown dates

Arts and literature



  • January – Young Talent Time is cancelled before the new series goes to air.
  • 31 March – Phase 1 of Aggregation of television services occurs in Southern NSW, with WIN Television becoming a regional Nine Network affiliate, Prime Television becoming the Seven Network affiliate & Capital Television (now Southern Cross Ten) becoming the Network Ten affiliate.
  • 12 April – Fast Forward premieres in Australia (1989–1992).
  • June – Neighbours introduces a new look theme song. The theme is sung by Barry Crocker when it lasted until the end of 1994.
  • July – Bob Shanks takes over as managing director of Network Ten due to ailing ratings & totally revamps the network, giving it the name 10 TV Australia as well as introducing a new lineup with increased game show content. Most of the new shows are axed by the end of the year.
  • August – Acropolis Now premieres in Australia (1989–1992).
  • September – Network Ten is sold to Steve Cosser, head of Broadcom Australia, for $22 million.
  • 31 December – Phase 2 of Aggregation of Television services occurs in Orange & Wagga Wagga, with aggregation occurring in Wollongong & Canberra in March
  • The Big Gig premieres in Australia (1989–1992).




See also

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