14 February – A report is released which condemns the police rescue effort during the Newcastle earthquake.
15 February – The Reserve Bank of Australia cuts official interest rates by half a percent – a move which Federal Opposition MP John Hewson described as "blatantly playing politics".
16 February – Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces a March 24 election date.
28 February - Bob Carr moves to suspend Standing Orders in New South Wales Legislative Assembly in order to move a motion to condemn National Party Leader and Deputy Premier Wal Murray for allegedly interfering with proper tendering procedures in respect of the Walsh Bay redevelopment.
The South Australian Government releases its final report on the Murder of George Duncan finding that there was insufficient evidence to charge any person with the murder which took place on 10 May 1972.
8 June - Two major Queensland firms involved in the building industry collapse, costing hundreds of jobs and leaving projects worth millions of dollars in jeopardy.
10 June - The Federal Health Minister announces that Medicare is to be overhauled for the first time in its six-year history to produce a better targeted, more efficient system with a stronger emphasis on community care and preventative programs.
15 June -
The Federal Government admits it can't stop Indonesia giving aid to thousands of Cambodians heading to Australia, renewing fears of an influx of boat people.
Hundreds of Aborigines and their supporters march to New South Wales Parliament House to demonstrate against a plan to replace the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
16 June - Queensland Premier Wayne Goss announces that virgin forests on Fraser Island will be protected under a historic agreement between conservationists and the timber industry.
19 June -
Solomon Lew's luxury cruiser "Voyage Solo" erupts into flames at North Wharf.
Tasmanian Labor Party Senator Terry Aulich is cleared of an assault charge.
20 June -
The Victorian Government is humiliated following the downgrading of the State's credit rating by Moody Investor Services.
The first legal brothel opens in Melbourne's Central Business District.
24 June – The Victorian Government orders the closure of the Farrow Corporation building societies Pyramid, Geelong and Countrywide.
28 June - The Premiers' Conference takes place and Prime Minister Bob Hawke outlines his vision of a new co-operative federalism for Australia for the 21st century.
5 October – After one hundred and fifty years, ten months and two days, The Heraldbroadsheet newspaper in Melbourne is published for the last time as a separate newspaper. Founded in 1840 as The Port Phillip Herald, it is merged with its morning tabloid sister paper The Sun News-Pictorial and the first issue of the new Herald Sun, described by owner Rupert Murdoch as "the world's first 24-hour newspaper", with morning and afternoon editions, is published on 8 October.On the same day, the 49-year-old afternoon tabloid The Daily Mirror in Sydney is published for the last time as a separate newspaper. The first edition of The Daily Telegraph-Mirror also appears on 8 October.
29 October - Prime Minister Bob Hawke makes an announcement promising the States more access to Government revenue.
30 October - A special Premiers' Conference is held in Brisbane. State Premiers agree with the Commonwealth to streamline transport rules under an historic agreement providing for national registration and licensing.
1 November – The Australian domestic aviation market is deregulated.
12 November - Prime Minister Bob Hawke announces that the risk of war in the Persian Gulf had increased as two more Australian guided missile vessels left for the Gulf.
16 November - Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Queensland Premier Wayne Goss announce that the Federal and State Governments will provide $11 million to manage the 621,566 hectares of rainforest between Townsville and Cooktown.
21 November – The Queensland state caucus amends the amend the Criminal Code and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1978–1989 to decriminalise consensual sexual activity between adult males in private.
29 November – Federal Treasurer Paul Keating announces that Australia is experiencing an economic recession.
22 January – John McEnroe is thrown out of the Australian Open Tennis Championships.
27 January – Steffi Gras wins the Australian Open Tennis Championship.
Hayley Lewis wins her fourth gold medal at the Auckland Commonwealth Games.
28 January – Lisa Curry wins a gold medal at the Auckland Commonwealth Games.
30 March – First day of the Australian Track & Field Championships for the 1989–1990 season, which are held at the Olympic Park in Melbourne, Victoria. The men's 10,000 metres event was conducted at Canberra on 24 February 1990.
23 July – Players' draft adopted at board meeting of NSWRL.
8 September – Collingwood draws its elimination final with the West Coast Eagles. The AFL finals schedule is thrown into chaos and the Grand Final is rescheduled to be played a week later than usual. Extra time is subsequently introduced for future finals matches.
6 October – Collingwood (13.11.89) defeats Essendon (5.11.41) to win the 94th VFL/AFL premiership. It is the first premiership won under the AFL banner and Collingwood's first premiership since 1958, thereby symbolising the end of the "Colliwobbles".