2001 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 2001 in Australia.

2001 in Australia
MonarchyElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir William Deane, then Peter Hollingworth
Prime ministerJohn Howard
ElectionsWA, QLD, NT, ACT, Federal


  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s
  • 2020s
See also:


State and Territory Leaders

Governors and Administrators



  • 1 January – A ceremony at Uluru (Ayers Rock) and a parade in Sydney kick off a year of celebrations to mark the centenary of federation.
  • 8 January – Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock explains on Iranian television the hazards of illegal migration to Australia.
  • 17 January – Employment Minister Tony Abbott advocates Work for the Dole for all persons unemployed for more than six months.
  • 30 January – Queensland Premier Peter Beattie demands that Prime Minister John Howard halt the Federal Parliamentary inquiry investigating electoral rorts.



  • 1 March – West Australian Premier Geoff Gallop ends all old growth logging in the state.
  • 2 March – Victorian Premier Steve Bracks pleads for Transurban to drop its $36 million compensation claim against the State.
  • 16 March – HIH Insurance goes into provisional liquidation, but claims it can cover all household and third party policies.
  • 17 March – Labor candidate Leonie Short wins the Ryan by-election in Queensland, defeating Liberal candidate, Bob Tucker.



  • 7 May – Queensland Premier Peter Beattie orders a dingo cull on Fraser Island after 9-year-old Clinton Gage is mauled to death by a dingo on 30 April.
  • 21 May – The Federal Government announces a commission into the HIH insurance disaster with $500 million allocated to victims.
  • 24 May – Former HIH Insurance director, Rodney Adler fights an attempt to freeze his assets.


  • 7 June – Prime Minister John Howard rejects the suggestion by the new Anglican Archbishop of Sydney that he is out of step with God regarding his views on reconciliation.
  • 10 June – Seven detainees of Middle Eastern origin escape from the Woomera Detention Centre, South Australia, on the same day that Australian and international media are allowed to tour the Curtin Immigration Reception and Processing Centre in Western Australia.
  • 21 June – Prime Minister John Howard rejects renewed Opposition demands to sack Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Bishop following the painful death of an elderly woman in aged care.
  • 27 June – The New South Wales Government agrees to support South Australia's bid to build an electricity riverlink interconnector between the two states, giving access to cheaper power from the east.
  • 29 June – Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Dr Peter Hollingworth is sworn in as Governor-General of Australia. He would later resign amidst controversy over his handling of child sex cases during his time as Archbishop.



  • 8 August – Prime Minister John Howard says he will block any attempts of a heroin trial in the Australian Capital Territory. However, the ACT Government pushes ahead with the drug referendum.
  • 14 August – The Australian Catholic University announces that its new General Staff Enterprise Bargaining Agreement includes a provision for one year's paid maternity leave, 12 weeks on full pay and a further 40 weeks on 60% pay.
  • 15 August – Long-time South Australian MP and Party Whip, Murray DeLaine, quits Labor and announces that he is running as an independent at the next state election.
  • 18 August – For the first time since self-government was granted to the Northern Territory in 1978, the Country Liberal Party is voted out of office and replaced by the ALP
  • 24 August – The Tampa affair begins when the MV Tampa tries to help a boatload of refugees, mainly from Afghanistan. The crisis is resolved when New Zealand agrees to take some of the refugees and countries such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea agree to take the rest. This was known as the Pacific Solution.
  • 30 August – Prime Minister John Howard urges Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to accept asylum seekers currently on board the MV Tampa.


  • 10 September – Prime Minister John Howard starts his United States tour in Washington, D.C.
  • 12 September – Ansett Australia, one of the oldest airlines in the world and the second-largest in Australia goes under administration with KordaMentha due to major financial struggles. Despite this administrators assure the public that flights will continue as normal.
  • 14 September- Just two days after going into administration, Ansett Australia ceases operations resulting in a redundancy of 15,000 staff and tens of thousands of stranded passengers. This occurs despite former assurance by the administrators that no such thing would happen.
  • 24 September – Prime Minister John Howard urges Qantas to reach a quick agreement to put some Ansett Airlines planes back in the air as soon as possible following the company's collapse.
  • 26 September – Prime Minister John Howard dedicates the Magna Carta monument near Old Parliament house as part of a Centenary of Federation project.
  • 27 September – The Federal Government passes legislation with amendments to the Commonwealth Migration Act (1958) aimed at implementing the Government's Pacific Solution. By redefining the area of Australian territory that could be landed upon and then legitimately used for claims of asylum (the migration zone), and by removing any intercepted people to third countries for processing, the aim was to deter future asylum seekers from making the dangerous journey by boat, once they knew that their trip would probably not end with a legitimate claim for asylum in Australia.


  • 6 October – SIEV-4 reached Christmas Island with 223 passengers. It was alleged by several in the government that asylum seekers aboard this vessel threw their children overboard in order to attract the attention of Australian authorities. This later became known as the 'Children Overboard Affair'
  • 12 October – SIEV-5 reaches Ashmore Reef with 242 passengers.
  • 14 October –
    • Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock claims that boat people now in Nauru attacked sailors and caused damage to HMAS Manoora.
    • Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley is declared the winner of a televised debate with Prime Minister John Howard in the lead-up to the Federal Election.
  • 16 October – Prime Minister John Howard pledges, if re-elected, to introduce retrospective legislation imposing ten years in jail for anyone found guilty of sending hoax threats of biological or chemical material through the mail. The announcement follows 24 hours of hoax anthrax threats throughout the nation, which had resulted in offices being evacuated, airports cleared, and post offices coming to a sudden halt.
  • 18 October – SIEV-6 reaches Christmas Island with 227 passengers.
  • 19 October –
    • SIEV-X, an Indonesian fishing boat en route to Christmas Island, carrying over 400 asylum seekers, sank in international waters with the loss of 353 people.
    • South Australian Premier John Olsen resigns in tears after an inquiry finds that he has been dishonest to an investigation into how Motorola set up operations in South Australia.
  • 20 October –
  • 22 October –
    • Rob Kerin is voted by 22 MPs as South Australia's 43rd Premier.
    • SIEV-7 reached Ashmore Reef with 233 passengers.
  • October – Australia agrees to provide 1550 troops to the US operation in Afghanistan.
  • 28 October – Prime Minister John Howard makes a speech at his 2001 election campaign policy launch in Sydney, declaring that "we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come" in an effort to build support for the Government's Pacific Solution policy.



Arts and literature


  • 4 October – The Australian film Lantana debuts.





See also


  1. Clarke, Phil; Briggs, Tom; Briggs, Kate (1 August 2011). "Extreme Evil: Taking Crime to the Next Level". Canary Press eBooks via Google Books.
  2. "Coroner to deliver Eastland Air findings". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  3. "More riots at Australian detention camp". CNN. 18 December 2001. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
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