Another Vietnamese refugee boat arrives at night, from a camp off the Malaysian coast.
The Festival of Sydney begins.
A jail warder, Victor Sullivan is struck on the head by a prisoner at Parramatta Jail.
2 January – Senator Neville Bonner attacks the Queensland Government over delays in its housing reconstruction programme for Mornington Island, which was ravaged by Cyclone Ted more than a year ago.
3 January –
Bela Csidei, a prominent Sydney businessman, is alleged in the Darwin Magistrates' Court to have been involved in growing marihuana in the Northern Territory.
Acting Health Minister Mr McLeay reiterates the Federal Government's election promise to keep the Medibank levy and ceiling at the same level for the next six months.
Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen announces that he will ask churches throughout Queensland to hold a day of prayer for rain, suggesting a date of January 15.
4 January –
The Australian dollar is devalued from 89.4 to 89.2 due to a drop in the US dollar to bring the effect devaluation since November 1976 to 15.3%.
Acting Prime Minister Doug Anthony announces that the Federal Government knew that Arab nations operated a blacklist for more than 20 years and that some Australian companies were on it, but that the Government had never been told officially that certain companies were being boycotted.
5 January –
Corrective Services Commissioner, W. McGeechan, talks 120 maximum security prisoners back into their cells after a 5-hour protest sit-in at Parramatta jail.
Aboriginal Senator Neville Bonner makes a complaint to the Queensland State Licensing Commission about the Mount Isa hotel which refused him service on Boxing Day.
Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Minister Mr MacKellar reverses a department decision thereby allowing a Uruguayan woman to join her widowed brother, Ruben Molina, in Sydney.
18 January – New South Wales Premier Neville Wran meets with prison union officials about their demand that Bathurst Jail be reopened to relieve over crowding and staff shortages in other prisons.
13 February – Terrorism arrives in Australia for the very first time with the Sydney Hilton bombing killing 3 people and injuring 11 others.
14 March – Stephen Matthews, aged 20, swept from the Natural Bridge off Albany, by a King Wave. Rescued by whale ship, the Cheynes II. First recorded survival of someone swept into the sea at The Gap and Natural Bridge.
30 March – Commonwealth Police (Federal Police) begin arresting 180 Greek-Australians said to be involved in a conspiracy to defraud the Department Of Social Security.
21 November – Last day of commercial whaling in Australia. No sperm whales caught that day by the chaser ships (Cheynes II, III and IV) operated by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company at Albany, Western Australia. The last whale caught by an Australian whaling company was the day before, 20 November.