1983 in Australia

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1983 in Australia
Monarchy Elizabeth II
Governor-General Ninian Stephen
Prime minister Malcolm Fraser, then Bob Hawke
Flag of Australia.svg
See also:




  • 4 January – Louise Bell, aged 10-years, disappeared from her bedroom in Hackham West, South Australia. Her body has not been located. On 11 November 2016, 68-year-old Dieter Pfennig was found guilty of murdering her. He was already serving a life sentence for murdering a boy in 1989 and the abduction and rape of another boy.[1][2]
  • 14 January - Federal Opposition Leader Bill Hayden reshuffles the shadow frontbench, while a conspiracy to depose him still looms large.



  • 5 MarchAustralian federal election, 1983. The ALP, with Bob Hawke as leader wins with one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in Australian political history.
  • 8 March - The Australian dollar is devalued by 10 per cent.
  • 11 March – The Hawke Government's new ministry is sworn in, Andrew Peacock becomes Federal Opposition Leader after he wins the Liberal Party leadership. John Howard becomes Deputy Liberal Leader.



  • 1 May – The Sydney Entertainment Centre is opened.
  • 3 May - All of Queensland is declared a disaster area after a fortnight of almost continuous rain breaks a drought and floods nine river systems.
  • 10 May - Canberra lobbyist and former Federal Secretary of the Australian Labor Party David Combe is declared persona non grata by the Federal Government because of his association with Valery Ivanov.
  • 16 May – NSW Premier Neville Wran steps aside in response to allegations raised by ABC program Four Corners that he attempted to influence the NSW Magistry
  • 19 May - The Federal Government's announcement of sweeping changes to the superannuation structure evoke widespread opposition.


  • 14 June - The Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Bendigo rescues British solo navigator, Peter Bird, as his boat was wrecked just 33 kilometres from Wreck Bay at the northern extremity of Queensland. Bird had crossed 9,000 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean in 294 days in a 10.6 metre rowing boat.



  • 2 August - Paul Sharp becomes the first European to cross the Simpson Desert alone and on foot.
  • 4 August - Queensland Welfare Minister Terry White is dismissed from his portfolio for voting with the opposition during a debate on the establishment of a public accounts committee, despite this being a part of both Liberal and Labor policies.
  • 18 August - A road train is deliberately driven into a motel at Ayers Rock, killing five people and injuring a further 20. The driver, Douglas Edwin Crabbe is subsequently convicted of murder.




  • 9 December – Federal Treasurer Paul Keating announces that the Australian dollar would be allowed to float on the international money market. Under the old flexible peg system, the Reserve Bank bought and sold all Australian dollars and cleared the market at the end of the day.

Arts and literature[edit]



  • 30 April – Four Corners program aired exposing allegations that NSW Premier Neville Wran had tried to influence the magistry over the dropping of fraud charges against Kevin Humphreys, charged with misappropriation of funds from the Balmain Leagues Club. Humphreys is forced to resign his position as President of the NSWRL, while Wran has to face the Street Royal Commission over the allegations & was later exonerated.
  • 26 September – After Australia's America's Cup win, Prime Minister Bob Hawke goes on the Today show and declared a public holiday for that day, stating that "any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum."
  • 27 November – The last ever episode of The Don Lane Show goes to air on GTV-9.




  • 28 January – Frank Forde, fifteenth Prime Minister of Australia (born 1890)
  • 29 August – Decima Norman, track and field athlete (born 1909)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prosser, Candice (11 November 2016). "Louise Bell trial: Dieter Pfennig found guilty of murder". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Sutton, Candace (15 July 2016). "The haunting crime scene of the Louise Bell murder mystery". News.Com.Au. News Limited. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Chapter 8: Caught in the act : the ASIS raid, Australian Institute of Criminology (1989).