Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke declares Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad “barbaric” after two Australians are sent to the gallows in Kuala Lumpur for drug trafficking.
Australia enjoys the notoriety of having a second household name in the United States after Mel Gibson. While many will call him Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan becomes a second major Australian actor to make their way in Hollywood.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke meets with representatives of ASEAN members in Bangkok and Jakarta to discuss closer relations between his nation and its northern neighbours. During a speech in Jakarta, he urges caution in relation to the recent changes in Kampuchea, but expresses hope at the signs of willingness to engage by the Vietnamese-backed government. He also suggests that a River Kwai amusement park, recently proposed by Thailand to take advantage of tourism, would be in bad taste and refused to invest.
ASIS, the Australian external security agency, receives information from an agent based in Japan that the United States is preparing to support a coup d’etat in Fiji, led by members of the military. After swift investigation, Prime Minister Bob Hawke orders the guided missile frigates Canberra and Adelaide, and the cargo ferry Jervis Bay into the Pacific.
Fijian Prime Minister Dr Timoci Bavadra formally invites the Australian Army to undertake a goodwill tour of his country only hours before a contingent arrives in Suva harbour. He also announces that, as part of a military organisation, Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, will be leaving with the Australian forces to take up a teaching position at the Australian Joint Services Staff College.
Australian Foreign Minister Bill Hayden flies to Washington for consultations with US Secretary of State James Baker and to advise that the Australian government is giving new priority to the 1944 Canberra Pact. He also suggests a renegotiation of the ANZUS Treaty to recognise Australia’s obligations under the Treaty of Rarotonga, acceptance of equality for all members of the agreement and a guarantee of each other’s sovereignty. The US Administration is divided over the alliance’s future.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke of Australia announces that he is terminating diplomatic relations with Libya, claiming there is “compelling and incontrovertible evidence” that Libya is using its Canberra embassy to “facilitate destabilisation in the South Pacific”. He states that two Libyan agents have been spotted in Vanuatu, but the Prime Minister of that nation, Walter Lini, states that Libya is merely helping him out with economic aid. It is agreed that the matter will be discussed further at next week’s South Pacific Forum.
The Fijian Great Council of Chiefs, Governor General Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau and Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra are fully briefed by Australian agents on the recent coup plot and the ongoing presence of Australian troops. It is recommended that Fiji sign a military agreement with Australia and New Zealand to allow ongoing presence of ANZAC troops in Suva until the loyalties of the Fijian Army can be established.
Australia, New Zealand and Fiji sign the Apia Declaration during the South Pacfiic Forum, prompting questions and queries from other members. Prime Ministers Paias Wingti of Papua New Guinea and Ezekiel Alebua of the Solomon Islands express support, while Vanuatu’s Walter Lini expresses “grave concern”. The Apia Declaration allows Australia and New Zealand to establish an ongoing rotation of troops through Suva for the purposes of training. Lini suggests that Australia is establishing an alliance in the Forum to “permanently silence critical voices”, such as his own. Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange both prudently critique Lini’s sanity.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke is returned for a third term, having defeated the divided opposition convincingly and increasing his majority by thirteen seats. The new House of Representatives is: Labor, 95 seats; Liberal, 36 seats; and National, 17 seats. Other than Opposition Leader John Howard, who will soon face a challenge to his leadership, other notable victims include upcoming Victorian MP Peter Reith and Queensland National Party maverick, Bob Katter. Peace candidates lose some support from 1984, but retain three Senators, while the Democrats hold the balance of power.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke admits that his governing ALP is eager to “rejuvenate the relationship with our friends in Washington”. He suggests the establishment of annual bilateral ministerial meeting to complement the US-Australia strategic relationship. He admits, however, Australia will be pursuing a “greater independence in foreign policy”.
Australian military police announce an investigation into the execution-style murder of a Duntroon military officer cadet in Melbourne. The cadet, Julian Knight, had recently been involved in a nightclub brawl and is alleged by the media to have been obsessed with Nazism.
Buoyant from his recent election victory, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces that he will introduce legislation to recognise the concept of native title in common law based on ongoing occupation of land by traditional indigenous peoples. It will also decide that native title can be extinguished by clear and plain legislative or executive action, so that private freehold could not be seized. Opposition Leader John Howard virulently attacks the move, leading to further division between moderates and conservatives within his own Liberal Party.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke advises his Parliament of advice delivered today to the US Ambassador. The leases on Nurrungar and North West Cape, two US military bases, will be allowed to expire in June next year. The lease on Pine Gap military facility outside Alice Springs will be referred to a Senate inquiry and, in the interim, the lease for that facility will be renewed on a six-month rotation until a decision can be reached on its future.
Australia marks its Bicentennial, with a First Fleet re-enactment voyage into Sydney Harbour. As a present to itself, Australia has built a new Parliament House and is hosting the World Exhibition. There remains unhappiness over the failure of the Hawke Government to make a move on reconciliation with the Aboriginal peoples and strong debates about the future of the commitment to Fiji.
Charles, Prince of Wales, is in Australia with his wife, Princess Diana, to celebrate the Bicentennial when he gives a speech on indigenous issues. “A country that is free enough to examine its own conscience is the only land to be envied,” he states. Prime Minister Bob Hawke agrees, stating that Australia should “remember what we owe to those people who were here before us”. He announces plans to establish ATSIC, a commission of elected indigenous leaders to manage their own spending and programs, and states that Kumantjayi Perkins of the Arrente people will head the body.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke holds a summit on Thursday Island with leaders of the Torres Strait Islanders on the establishment of the indigenous commission, to be called ATSIC. The organisation is expected to come into effect early next year.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke visits Port Moresby to oversee a ceremony during which his counterpart in Papua New Guinea, Paias Wingti, signs the Apia Declaration, becoming the fourth country to join the Oceanic defence cooperation agreement. It allows Australia and New Zealand to act if the defence or security of Papua New Guinea is threatened.
Protests rock Port Vila, capital of the Pacific island state of Vanuatu, after land leases previously operated by an independent authority are seized by the government, inciting traditional owners who barely tolerated the past system. Prime Minister Walter Lini, having spent much of the last few years criticising the Australian government as imperialistic, calls on Canberra for support. Approximately ten percent of the population are in the streets. Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke suggests that his hands are tied unless Vanuatu is prepared to sign up to the Apia Declaration.
Vanuatu consents to the Apia Declaration, allowing Australia and New Zealand to send in hundreds of riot control police. There will be one death, eight injuries and about 150 arrests before order is restored to the streets. The action undermines support for Prime Minister Walter Lini, the country’s founding head of government and proponent of “Melanesian socialism”.
Japanese investors in Australia find themselves subjected to protests over local concerns about the degree of foreign ownership. Japanese companies have invested $6.5 billion on Australian land holdings in the past two years. Prime Minister Bob Hawke responds by placing limits on foreign investment in the residential property market, but states the country will continue to “warmly welcome” two hundred thousand Japanese tourists each year.
Australian conglomerate Elders IXL, makers of Fosters Lager, takes over Scottish & Newcastle Breweries in a $2.7 billion hostile bid. There is concern that CEO John Spalvin may be overleveraging the company in taking on exceptional levels of debt and he is forced to rule out an approach by Robert Holmes a Court to jointly take over Australia’s largest company, BHP.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke appoints the Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander Commission (ATSIC), charging the chairman, Charles Perkins, with the task of addressing the points raised in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody and finalising land rights legislation. He pledges to have legislation on the issue before the House of Representatives this year, and to move to establish a formal body dedicated to racial reconciliation.
Australia’s First Peoples get their own partially-elected, partially-appointed body to oversee government spending for service delivery. Called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council, it has a bicameral structure, with a lower house elected by all indigenous people and an upper house appointed by indigenous organisations and peak bodies. They choose a CEO, Charles Perkins, and a Chairperson, Lowitja O’Donoghue.
Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke breaks into tears on national television and admits that he has been unfaithful to his wife of 33 years, Hazel. He asks for national forgiveness and pledges that, regardless, he will lead the country into the 1990 election. Opposition Leader Andrew Peacock suggests that the Prime Minister may be attempting to make up for all the coverage his wife received over her recent facelift and divert attention from the budget deficit.
New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange provides notification of his intent to terminate the country’s alliance with the United States of America. In suspension now for five years, Lange states that, “the basis of ANZUS is a commitment to consult. Wellington and Washington have stopped consulting.” With Australia already pressing for change to the status quo, the formal withdrawal by New Zealand today marks the end of the 37-year-old security pact.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, announces that, after review of a Senate inquiry, he will allow a fifteen-year lease on the Pine Gap facility, causing protests amongst peace Senators and the Democrats, who hold the balance of power. Hawke states that Australia “remains a close friend of the United States”, but senators suggest that Hawke has sacrificed his principles to ensure Australian access to the new McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E/F.
Australia’s long-serving Queensland government, in power for 32 years, is ousted amid widespread allegations of corruption by the ruling National Party. The election result comes after a long scandal surrounding former Premier and aspirant to national leadership, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.