1991 in Australia
|1991 in Australia|
|Prime minister||Bob Hawke, then Paul Keating|
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Governor-General – Bill Hayden
- Prime Minister – Bob Hawke (until 20 December), then Paul Keating
- Chief Justice – Sir Anthony Mason
State and Territory Leaders
- Premier of New South Wales – Nick Greiner
- Premier of Queensland – Wayne Goss
- Premier of South Australia – John Bannon
- Premier of Tasmania – Michael Field
- Premier of Victoria – Joan Kirner
- Premier of Western Australia – Carmen Lawrence
- Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory – Trevor Kaine (until 6 June), then Rosemary Follett
- Chief Minister of the Northern Territory – Marshall Perron
- President of the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island – David Buffett
Governors and Administrators
- Governor of New South Wales – Peter Sinclair
- Governor of Queensland – Sir Walter Campbell
- Governor of South Australia – Sir Donald Dunstan (until 5 February), then Dame Roma Mitchell
- Governor of Tasmania – Sir Phillip Bennett
- Governor of Victoria – Davis McCaughey
- Governor of Western Australia – Sir Francis Burt
- Administrator of Norfolk Island – Herbert MacDonald
- Administrator of the Northern Territory – James Muirhead
- 1 January - The Australian Securities Commission commences operations, replacing the National Companies and Securities Commission. The new Commission's function includes investigation and enforcement of corporate and securities law.
- 2 January – Warship HMAS Westralia (O 195) leaves for they Persian Gulf.
- 3 January – The musical The Buddy Holly Story premieres in Sydney.
- 4 January – In Melbourne, 35,000 march to demand the resignation of the government.
- 7 January –
- 10 January –
- 12 January – Six people drown in floods in Queensland.
- 13 January – A Victorian factory which supplies United States Armed Forces is destroyed by fire.
- 14 January –
- 16 January –
- Widespread flooding isolates Normanton.
- A Sydney mother is charged with the murder of her baby daughter.
- 17 January –
- The Gulf War begins, with Prime Minister Bob Hawke giving battle orders to the Navy stationed in the Gulf after a telephone call from President Bush.
- A siege takes place in Brisbane after an off-duty policeman is taken hostage.
- The unemployment rate falls to 8.1%
- Victorian Premier Joan Kirner axes two government departments.
- 18 January – Prime Minister Bob Hawke calls on Israel not to retaliate against Iraq.
- 19 January –
- Peace marches across Australia demand the withdrawal of Australian forces from the Gulf.
- A shark attacks a midnight swimmer in a Gold Coast canal.
- 21 January –
- 22 January - At a special sitting of Parliament, a resolution supporting Australia's commitment to the Gulf War is passed, though 7 Labor MHRs and 3 Senators join the Democrats in opposition.
- 23 January –
- 24 January –
- An Islamic mosque in Sydney's west is fire bombed.
- Ford announces plans to retrench 1,600 works at its Geelong and Broadmeadows factories.
- 25 January – Australia sends Navy divers to join the Gulf task force.
- 26 January –
- Professor Fred Hollows is named Australian of the Year.
- The most senior Iraqi diplomat in Australia is asked to leave.
- 2 February - Public Service criticism of the Public Service Management Commission erupts in mass demonstrations in Queensland.
- 8 February - In a move to distance himself from the beleaguered Gray, Ray Groom resigns as Tasmanian Deputy Leader, citing fundamental disagreements with his leader. Peter Hodgman replaces him.
- 10 February - The South Australian Government announces its first $1 billion bail-out of the State Bank of South Australia.
- 12 February - South Australian Premier John Bannon is forced to agree to the setting up of a Royal Commission into the State Bank of South Australia under Mr. Justice Sam Jacobs.
- 20 February - Democrat Ian Gilfillan reveals in South Australian Parliament Westpac's leaked "Swiss Loans" letters on the bank's controversial foreign currency loans.
- 21 March - Richard Jones declares Democrats' support for New South Wales Premier Nick Greiner's reform of the Legislative Council, ensuring passage of the legislation.
- 23 March - In a surprise result, Brisbane's Liberal Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson loses the Brisbane City Council election, 1991 to political novice Jim Soorley, an ex-priest from the Gold Coast.
- 2 April - New South Wales Premier Nick Greiner makes an address to the National Press Club of Australia in which he criticises Federal Treasurer Paul Keating, accusing him of dragging the chain on microeconomic reform and claiming that Keating's apparent disinterest in fixing Federal-State financial relations may thwart attempts to lower inflation.
- 4 April - Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces that a Telecom proposal to increase the price of local phone calls by 2 cents to 24 cents and increase business charges may be accepted provided they were below the Consumer Price Index.
- 7 April - Prime Minister Bob Hawke rebukes Employment, Education and Training Minister John Dawkins during a Cabinet meeting over a speech he made the day before, in which he called for a review of the floating exchange rate, in direct opposition to the Government's policy on the issue. Dawkins also suggested that the Government's pursuit of low inflation may have to be sacrificed in the interests of stabilising the exchange rate. The Prime Minister warns the other ministers that they will face the same fate if they speak on issues outside their normal portfolio responsibilities.
- 11 April - Prime Minister Bob Hawke volunteers to give evidence to the WA Inc Royal Commission and announces that the former West Australian Premier Brian Burke will return from Ireland next week to testify to the Commission. Mr. Hawke also reverses his earlier categorical denial, given repeatedly in Parliament during the week, that there had been discussion of a gold tax at a lunch with Mr Burke, the failed merchant banker Laurie Connell, Alan Bond and others on June 15, 1987. In evidence before the Royal Commission, Laurie Connell said he received an assurance from the Prime Minister that the Government would not introduce a new gold tax, and that he subsequently donated $250,000 to the Labor Party.
- 15 April - The Australian Industrial Relations Commission hands down a national wage decision which will give Australia's 7 million workers a 2.5% pay rise. Federal Treasurer Paul Keating joins with the ACTU in condemning the decision which rejects the Accord agreement on wages for the first time since the Hawke Government came to power in 1983. The Commission also rejects Accord proposals for a more flexible wage system.
- 17 April – The bulk carrier MV Mineral Diamond disappears of the coast of Western Australia. The vessel is believed to have been sunk during adverse conditions caused by Cyclone Fifi.
- 25 April - Prime Minister Bob Hawke secures a compromise agreement with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to end the stalemate on waterfront reform and fix a timetable for pay rises to stevedores linked to the Accord Mark VI. Mr Hawke proposes a two-year contract for waterside workers that would allow a $12-a-week rise from May 16 and further average rises of 4 per cent in exchange for new job classifications.
- 26 April - The jury in the Sir Leslie Thiess trial finds that the construction and mining magnate had bribed Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen to win government contracts, as well as cheating his companies' shareholders.
- 30 April -
- Federal Treasurer Paul Keating intensifies speculation about a change of leadership of the Labor Party by saying publicly that the Labor Party could not demand to have both him and Prime Minister Bob Hawke in the Government at the time of the next election.
- New South Wales Attorney-General John Dowd resigns after failing to get an assurance from Premier Nick Greiner that he would retain that position after the election.
- 9 May – The report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody is released. No criminal charges were recommended, nor was compensation for victims' families, but changes were recommended to the way that Aboriginal people were dealt with in police custody.
- 11 May - Kevin Andrews wins the 1991 Menzies by-election for the federal seat of Menzies following the retirement of Liberal Deputy Leader Neil Brown.
- 23 May - Protesters storm Parliament House, Brisbane, angry at the Labor Caucus' approval for legislation giving Aborigines limited land rights but restricting their claims to less than 3% of Queensland.
- 25 May – The state election in New South Wales produces a hung parliament. The ruling Liberal/National coalition government of Nick Greiner manages to form a minority government with the support of four Independent MPs.
- 30 May – A television report reveals that Prime Minister Bob Hawke made a secret deal in 1988, known as the "Kirribilli agreement", to hand over the Australian Labor Party (ALP) leadership at a suitable time after the 1990 federal election to Paul Keating.
- 3 June –
- After the secret deal emerged, Paul Keating makes his first challenge against Bob Hawke for the Australian Labor Party leadership. Hawke wins 66–44, and Keating resigns as Treasurer the same day. Brian Howe becomes Deputy Prime Minister and John Kerin becomes Treasurer. Simon Crean is promoted to the position of Primary Industry Minister.
- The Federal Government's monthly deficit blows out to more than 1.2 billion dollars.
- Warner Bros. Movie World holds a grand opening, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn were those in attendance.
- 24 June - 27 June - The Australian Labor Party Centenary Conference is held in Hobart.
- 4 July - Leading Sydney heart surgeon Dr. Victor Chang is shot and killed near his home in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. His murder is the result of a bungled kidnapping and extortion attempt.
- 30 July - A special Premiers' Conference produces an in-principle agreement to devolve to the states greater taxing power and service responsibilities.
- 2 August – The Palm Grove Hostel fire kills 12 people in Dungog, New South Wales.
- 5 August – Former Queensland Police Commissioner Terry Lewis is sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption.
- 17 August – Strathfield massacre: Wade Frankum kills seven people, mostly women, in a killing spree in Strathfield Plaza in Sydney.
- 19 August - Australian Democrats Leader Janet Powell is dumped by a vote of 6 of the 8 Senators, following a petition from members.
- 20 August - John Kerin delivers his first Federal Budget.
- 23 August - New South Wales Democrats Senator Paul McLean resigns from the Senate, later replaced by Karin Sowada.
- 15 September - Federal Opposition Leader John Hewson re-affirms a consumption tax (Goods and Services Tax), as integral to the Coalition's electoral strategy, despite Tim Fischer's public doubts about its saleability.
- 24 September - The trial of former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen begins in Brisbane.
- 2 October - A 60 Minutes interview with John Hewson's former wife and three children helps to damage his political standing.
- 19 October – The perjury trial of former Premier of Queensland Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen ends in a hung jury 10:2. Prosecutors decide against a retrial on the basis of Joh's advancing age and divided public opinion.
- 22 October - Paul Keating addresses the National Press Club of Australia, continuing his attacks on Prime Minister Bob Hawke's "new federalism".
- 23 October – The first general strike in Australia in 65 years takes place in New South Wales.
- October to December – The world's largest blue-green algal bloom takes place on the Darling River, and after the deaths of over a thousand livestock, leads the New South Wales Government to declare a state of emergency.
- 11 November - Joan Sheldon successfully challenges Denver Beanland to become leader of the Queensland Liberal Party.
- 20 November - After weeks of successive leaks, the full text of the Coalition's Fightback! (policy) is released, the day before its official launch. Initial reaction from business and financial interests is positive, and Labor is caught unprepared.
- 6 December - John Kerin, unable to sell the Budget or counter Fightback! is sacked as Federal Treasurer and replaced by Ralph Willis.
- 9 December - Queensland Opposition Leader Russell Cooper announces that he is under investigation for the funding of a trip to Hamilton Island with his wife and that he has refunded the cost of the trip. He stands down as National Party Leader and is replaced by Rob Borbidge.
- 15 December - Russell Cooper and Joan Sheldon announce that the Queensland Nationals and Liberals will co-operate in order to reduce the conflict over the new seats before the next election.
- 16 December - After a week of intense pressure, Prime Minister Bob Hawke is informed by a Button-led delegation that he no longer has the confidence of the Labor Party.
- 19 December – Paul Keating makes his second Labor leadership challenge. This time, he wins 56-51 and becomes Australia's 24th Prime Minister the next day.
- 20 December – Barely a year after starting up, Compass Airlines Mk I is shut down. The shutdown is somewhat controversial, coming shortly before the peak Christmas travelling period and coming about partially as a result of debts owed to a government authority.
- 25 December - Prime Minister Paul Keating announces his Federal Cabinet, with John Dawkins as Treasurer.
Arts and literature
- January - Network Ten relaunches with a new logo, which was used until 31 October 2018, after its sale by CBS.
- 10 February - American animated comedy series The Simpsons debuts on Network Ten.
- 31 December - The Northern New South Wales television market is aggregated, with Prime Television taking a Seven Network affiliation, NBN taking a Nine Network affiliation & NRTV (now Southern Cross Ten) taking a Network Ten affiliation.
- 2 January – Australian Nicole Provis loses in the Danone Women's Open Tennis Championship.
- 3 January – Jana Novotina is out of the Danone Women's Open Tennis Championship.
- 4 January – The last remaining player Rachel McQuillan is out of the Danone Women's Open.
- 5 January – The Danone Women's Open is delayed due to rain.
- Greg Matthews puts Australia on top in the Third Ashes Test.
- 6 January – Czech player Helena Sukova wins the Danone Women's Hard Court Championship.
- 7 January – Hayley Lewis makes it into the finals of the World Swimming Championships.
- 26 January – Monica Seles becomes the youngest winner of the Australian Open Tennis Championship.
- 27 January – Boris Becker beats Ivan Lendl in the Australian Open Tennis Championship and takes the world's top ranking.
- 22 February – First day of the Australian Track & Field Championships for the 1990-1991 season, which are held at the Sydney Athletic Field in Sydney, New South Wales. The combined events were conducted in Perth on 22 and 23 March, while the relays were conducted at Hobart on 6 January 1991.
- 22 March – The Adelaide Crows play their first game in the AFL. In front of a sellout crowd at Football Park (now AAMI Stadium), they defeat Hawthorn 24.11.155 to 9.15.69
- May – South Melbourne, managed by legendary Hungarian Ferenc Puskás, defeat Melbourne Croatia on penalties after a thoroughly entertaining 1-1 draw in the National Soccer League Grand Final at Olympic Park.
- 2 June – Carlton go within thirty seconds of becoming the first goalless team in the VFL/AFL since 1961 and only the second since 1921. Mark Arceri kicks a goal from a free kick with 33 seconds remaining.
- 3 June – England soccer team scores a one-nil victory over Australia.
- 21 July – Sean Quilty wins his first men's national marathon title, clocking 2:14:59 in Brisbane, while Karen Gobby claims the women's title in 2:36:42.
- 22 September – Penrith defeat Canberra 19-12 to win the 84th NSWRL premiership. It is the first premiership for Penrith, who had been trying since 1967 to win one.
- 28 September – Hawthorn (20.19.139) defeat the West Coast Eagles (13.8.86) to win the 95th VFL/AFL premiership. It is the most recent grand final that was not played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it was played at Waverley Park instead as the MCG was being renovated.
- 2 January – Steele Sidebottom, footballer
- 7 January – Michael Walters, Australian rules footballer
- 1 February – Blake Austin, rugby league player
- 13 February – Junior Roqica, Australian-Fijian rugby league player
- 5 March – Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, actress
- 14 March – Rhiannon Fish, actress
- 15 March – Kurt Baptiste, rugby league player
- 20 March - Ethan Lowe, rugby league player
- 26 March - Jack Watts, Australian rules footballer
- 2 April – Luke Jones, rugby player
- 14 April – James Frecheville, actor
- 17 April – Tessa James, actress
- 17 May – Jake Michael Buxton, Mercedes Benz dealer
- 23 May – Sam Masters, speedway rider
- 25 May – Joe Robinson, musician
- 1 June – Sally Peers, tennis player
- 7 June
- 23 June – Damien Cook, rugby league player
- 26 June – Dustin Martin, footballer
- 23 July – Lauren Mitchell, gymnast
- 30 July – Taylor Glockner, actor
- 12 August – Jesinta Campbell Franklin, model
- 17 August – Michael Hepburn, cyclist
- 19 September – Demelza Reveley, model
- 10 October - Martin O'Toole
- 17 October –
- 20 October – Mitchell Marsh, cricketer
- 8 November – Jason Waterhouse, sailor
- 18 November – Ahmed Kelly, Paralympic swimmer
- 28 November – Stephanie Wood, netball player
- 10 December – Thomas Oar, soccer player
- 27 December – Sam Reid, Australian rules footballer
- 14 January – Gordon Bryant (born 1914), ALP politician
- 24 March – Sir John Kerr (born 1914), Governor-General of Australia (1974–1977)
- 23 May – Manning Clark (born 1915), historian
- 14 June – Vladimir Petrov (born 1907), defected Soviet spy
- 29 June – Russ Hinze (born 1919), Queensland politician
- 29 June - Sheree Beasley (born 1985), schoolgirl
- 4 July – Victor Chang (born 1936), heart surgeon
- 7 October – Darren Millane (born 1965), Australian rules footballer
- 28 December – Cassandra Harris (born 1941), actress
- TAS TV News 10 January 1991
- TAS TV News 13 January 1991
- NBN 3 News 14 January 1991
- NBN 3 News 16 January 1991
- NBN 3 News 17 January 1991
- ATN 7 Sydney News 21 January 1991
- "Greiner Attacks Keating on Reform". Sydney Morning Herald p.4. 3 April 1991.
- "Telecom Charges May Rise Soon". Sydney Morning Herald p2. 5 April 1991.
- "Dawkins Risking the Sack, Says PM". Sydney Morning Herald p1. 8 April 1991.
- "Hawke: I'll Give Evidence". Sydney Morning Herald p.1. 12 April 1991.
- "Unions, Govt Blast Wage Rise Decision". Sydney Morning Herald p1. 16 April 1991.
- Investigation into foundering of MV Mineral Diamond, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 1991.
- "PM Breaks Pay Deadlock". Sydney Morning Herald, p.1. 26 April 1991.
- "Keating Fuels Speculation". Sydney Morning Herald, p.3. 1 May 1991.
- Groves, Don (21 May 2014). "Aussie actress goes Old School". If.com.au. Retrieved 22 May 2014.