1998 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1998 in Australia.

1998 in Australia
MonarchyElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir William Deane
Prime ministerJohn Howard
ElectionsACT, QLD, TAS, Federal


  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s
See also:


State and Territory Leaders

Governors and Administrators



  • January – Floods in Katherine in the Northern Territory kill 3 people.
  • 8 January – Prime Minister John Howard declines an offer to meet with British pop band, The Spice Girls.
  • 28 January – Prime Minister John Howard unveils a new plan for training, education and expansion of the Work for the Dole Scheme aimed at easing youth unemployment.
  • 30 January – Prime Minister John Howard visits the flood ravaged town of Katherine in the Northern Territory as flood waters claim their first victim.



  • 3 March – Federal Speaker of the House of Representatives Bob Halverson resigns.
  • 8 March – New South Wales Premier Bob Carr opens the Olympic Park Station on the new rail link between Sydney and the site for the 2000 Olympics.
  • 12 March –
    • The Senate votes against the Federal Government's plans to sell off the second portion of Telstra with the tied vote of Mal Colston.
    • The Federal Opposition alleges that Mining and Resources Minister Warwick Parer increased his ownership of a mining company during the first year of the Howard Government's office.
  • 16 March – Prime Minister John Howard pledges a $50 million crime database investment if the Liberal Party is re-elected.
  • 17 March –
    • The Federal Government announces sweeping reforms to business rules to attract overseas companies to Australia.


  • 2 April – Prime Minister John Howard pledges $270 million to keep the aged in their own homes and win back their support.
  • 7 April – 3 June – Patrick Corporation sacks 2,000 dock workers to try to improve efficiency on the waterfront. In response, the Maritime Union of Australia stages possibly the largest industrial dispute Australia has ever seen. In the end, the jobs are restored to the workers in exchange for improvements in efficiency.
  • 25 April – Prime Minister John Howard joins former prisoners of war in a ceremony at Hellfire Pass in Thailand, paying tribute to those who died building the Thai-Burma railway.


  • 5 May – A gas leak aboard the replenishment ship HMAS Westralia kills four people.
  • 14 May – Prime Minister John Howard cuts defence ties and suspends all but the most vital humanitarian aid to India after the country carries out two more nuclear tests.
  • 18 May – The value of the Australian dollar slumps to 62 and a quarter US cents, its lowest level in 12 years. Prime Minister John Howard blames the fall in value on "poorly informed people on the other side of the world".
  • 23 May – The Federal Court of Australia blocks construction of the Jabiluka uranium mine, granting to the traditional owners of the land a temporary injunction against work on the mine entrance.
  • 24 May –
    • Prime Minister John Howard opens the new Central Synagogue in Sydney to replace the former synagogue which burnt down in 1994.
    • Christopher Skase's passport is seized by Spanish officials and cancelled. Mr. Skase applies for a renewal of his Spanish residency, which expired on 13 May and the Federal Government asks Spanish authorities to refuse the application, hoping it will force him home.
  • 26 May – The first National Sorry Day is observed, on the first anniversary of the tabling of the report Bringing them Home which was the result of an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families (the Stolen Generation). The day was held annually until 2004. It was renamed National Day of Healing from 2005.
  • 27 May – The Australian Labor Party criticises the Queensland Coalition Government for its decision to put Pauline Hanson's One Nation party ahead of the Labor Party on how to vote papers for the upcoming Queensland State Election.
  • 31 May – Prime Minister John Howard expresses Australia's concern about Pakistan's nuclear tests.



  • 11 July – The Telstra sale bill is defeated in the Senate. Prime Minister John Howard states the full sale of Telstra is still on the agenda for the next election.
  • 15 July – Prime Minister John Howard stands firm against a Coalition backbench revolt on the full sale of Telstra. Mr. Howard informs Parliament that the Government is committed to the Telstra sale.
  • 21 July – Federal Treasurer Peter Costello admits he has been approached to challenge John Howard for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Talk of the challenge overshadows a Cabinet meeting in regional Victoria.
  • 21 July – 5 September – The 1998 Sydney water crisis involved the suspected contamination by the microscopic pathogens cryptosporidium and giardia of the water supply system of Greater Metropolitan Sydney.[1]
  • 22 July – The Federal Government bows to the mounting pressure from backbenchers and rural voters by placing a 49% cap on the sale of Telstra.
  • 26 July – Premier Bob Carr promises to help the victims of flooding in Narrabri, Wee Waa and Gunnedah. The damage bill is expected to top $100 million.


  • 13 August – The Coalition Tax Reform Package is launched and includes a 10 percent GST with the proceeds to be distributed to the states. Income tax will be lowered and the wholesale sales tax abolished, along with certain taxes on financial transactions.
  • 16 August – Silk-Miller police murders: Two Victoria Police officers, Gary Michael Silk, 34, and Rodney James Miller, 35, are murdered in Moorabbin, Victoria.
  • 17 August – Illawarra floods
  • 29 August – The Liberal Party government of Tony Rundle is voted out in Tasmania & replaced with an ALP government of Jim Bacon.


  • 17 September - Prime Minister John Howard terminates a radio interview in Sydney after being asked whether a GST will affect the price of heroin.[2]
  • 23 September – Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley launches Labor's election policy at the Brisbane Convention Centre, promising funding to a new jobs plan. Prime Minister John Howard dismisses Mr. Beazley's job target as unrealistic.
  • 25 September – A gas explosion at Esso's Longford plant killed 2, injured 8 & left most of Victoria without gas for two weeks. Hundreds of businesses were affected.



  • 6 November – Queensland's Electric Tilt Trains enter service
  • 12 November – State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers meet in Canberra with Prime Minister John Howard to discuss the sharing of funds from a goods and services tax.
  • 15 November – Prime Minister John Howard arrives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the APEC Conference.
  • 20 November – The High Court of Australia decides to allow uranium mining to proceed at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory.
  • 29 November – Prime Minister John Howard joins in celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Holden motor car.


  • 1 December – The Federal Government rejects an attempt by UNESCO to suspend construction of the Jabiluka uranium mine pending a further environmental impact report.
  • 2 December – The Linton bushfire kills five volunteer firefighters in Linton, Victoria.
  • December – A man posts 28 mail bombs in a Canberra post office after losing a legal battle with the Australian Taxation Office which had been going since 1994. One of the bombs explodes, injuring two workers.
  • 4 December – Colin Dunstan, aged 43, is arrested for the tax office mail bomb campaign.
  • 14 December – New South Wales Premier Bob Carr opens extra lanes on the road the runs from Penrith to Strathfield.
  • 19 December – A fire breaks out at the Country Comfort hotel in Albury, New South Wales, spreading up to the top floor.
  • 20 December – Christopher Skase is rushed to a Majorca hospital just days after a Spanish court lifts an order preventing his deportation.




Australian Rules Football


Rugby League



  • 8 to 17 January – The VIII FINA World Championships are held in Perth. Ian Thorpe wins his first gold medal at a major meet in the 400m freestyle. Human growth hormone was found in a Chinese swimmer's bag at Sydney Airport, resulting in her deportation.

Motor Sport

Commonwealth Games


Horse Racing


  • February – Zali Steggall wins bronze in the women's slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. It is Australia's first ever individual Winter Olympic medal.
  • 13 March – First day of the Australian Track & Field Championships for the 1997–1998 season, which are held at the Olympic Park in Melbourne, Victoria. The 10,000 metres was conducted at the Zatopek Classic, Melbourne on 18 December 1998. The men's decathlon event was staged at the Hobart Grand Prix on 21 – 22 February.
  • 12 July – Greg Lyons wins the men's national marathon title, clocking 2:17:00 in Brisbane, while Lisa Dick claims her second women's title in 2:36:54.
  • December – Six sailors die in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.



See also


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