1994 in Australia

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1994 in Australia
Monarchy Elizabeth II
Governor-General Bill Hayden
Prime minister Paul Keating
Population 17,854,738
Elections NT
Flag of Australia.svg
See also:


Premiers and Chief Ministers[edit]

Governors and Administrators[edit]



  • 1 January
    • The Duchess of York's sister, Jane Makim, marries for a second time in a cliff-top ceremony in Sydney. The ceremony, conducted by a female celebrant, took place at the exclusive Jonah's Restaurant.[1]
    • Queensland Minerals and Energy Minister, Tom McGrady, announces that an inquiry will be held into an accident at a central Queensland open cut coal mine in which two men were killed and another two seriously injured.[2]
  • 2 January to 15 JanuaryMajor bushfires devastate coastal New South Wales—four people are killed and over 300 homes are lost.
  • 22 January - Industry, Technology and Regional Development Minister Alan Griffiths resigns over the "sandwich shop" affair, causing a Cabinet reshuffle.
  • 26 January – Student David Kang fires two blank shots from a starting pistol at Prince Charles in Sydney, Australia.[3]


  • 1 February – Australian businessman Christopher Skase is arrested in Spain.
  • 3 February - Prime Minister Paul Keating threatens to change the rules on election of Senators, as what he regarded as "the unrepresentative swill" continues to thwart and embarrass his Government.
  • 4 February - Labor MP John Dawkins resigns.
  • 8 February - Prime Minister Paul Keating introduces changes to Question Time, with a roster of ministers and at least 14 questions to be asked each sitting day. Response was mixed.
  • 11 February - Neal Blewitt resigns to become High Commissioner in London.
  • 14 February - During a Four Corners programme on the ABC, Liberals speak of a possible leadership change.
  • 16 February – It is announced that former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Former Treasurer John Kerin are to be summonsed before a Senate Inquiry into foreign media ownership of the Fairfax Group.
  • 27 February – Sport and Environment Minister Ros Kelly resigns over the "sports rorts affair", which involved her department's law methods and alleged political bias in administering some $30 million in grants to sporting bodies.[4]



  • 4 May - Prime Minister Paul Keating's landmark White Paper on employment, Working Nation, is released, proposing measures to boost economic growth and assist the disadvantaged long-term unemployed.
  • 10 May - Federal Treasurer Ralph Willis delivers his Budget speech early to facilitate necessary consultation and discussions with minor parties in the Senate. The promised $6.5 billion social justice package includes a $1.46 billion land fund to finance native title claims.
  • 20 May - Under increasing pressure, Federal Opposition Leader John Hewson calls a sudden leadership spill. having sacked Peter Reith from the shadow ministry for endorsing Fightback!, the policy which he as leader had declared "dead and buried" at a Liberal policy retreat only 4 weeks earlier.
  • 23 MayJohn Hewson is replaced as Leader of the Opposition by Alexander Downer 43:36. Wooldridge gives way to Peter Costello as deputy.[6]



  • 5 July - Federal Opposition Leader Alexander Downer asserts that changes to the Constitution are "not worth the bother or effort".
  • 11 July - During a tour of the Northern Territory, Alexander Downer displays lack of knowledge on the Territory's Land Rights Act and its implications for Coalition policies on native title.
  • 15 July – Former Western Australian Premier Brian Burke is sentenced to eight months' jail.[7]
  • 19 July – In Spain, Christopher Skase begins his fight against extradition in a Majorca court.
  • 25 JulyTelephone numbers in Australia begin transitioning to eight digits. Mona Vale in Sydney is the first suburb to change to the new numbers.
  • 31 July - Federal Opposition Leader Alexander Downer states that the Mabo legislation would be repealed "if necessary".
  • August – Wollemia nobilis, a "fossil tree", is discovered by bushwalker David Noble only 150 km from Sydney.[8]


  • 7 AugustVictoria Police officers raid Tasty, a predominantly gay nightclub in Melbourne. Club patrons are detained and strip-searched for several hours, resulting in a landmark class action legal case.[9]
  • 26 August - Federal Opposition Leader Alexander Downer dismisses John Hewson from the shadow cabinet because of his continuing calls for moderation on homosexual issues.
  • 28 August – Australia finishes the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada with a record 87 gold medals.


  • 5 September
    • New South Wales state MP John Newman is shot outside his home, in Australia's first political assassination since 1977.[10]
    • Federal Opposition Leader Alexander Downer releases a policy blueprint for the Liberal Party entitled The Things That Matter. On 8 September, his puns on the title delivered during a speech at the New South Wales party's annual dinner further erode his public standing.
  • 15 September - Andrew Peacock resigns from the blue-ribbon seat of Kooyong.
  • 23 September - The shadow cabinet agrees not to oppose Labor's Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Bill to override Tasmania's anti-gay laws, sparking revolt in conservative ranks. During the Bill's passage, the Coalition breaks ranks.
  • 25 September - 28 September - The Australian Labor Party's biennial conference in Hobart reveals the dominance of Paul Keating and the party's parliamentary wing. A decision over the 3 mines uranium policy is shelved, but the pre-selection of women in 35% of winnable seats by the year 2002 is endorsed.


  • 2 October - A Seaview Air Aero Commander crashes into the sea on flight to Lord Howe Island with the loss of all 9 people on board.
  • 9 October - Four people are killed when their Cessna 337A crashes soon after take-off from Walgett, New South Wales.
  • 19 October - Liberal Tasmanian MP Chris Miles resigns due to the party's decision not to oppose Labor's Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Bill.
  • 28 October - 30 October - Against strong opposition, the Liberal Federal Conference carries reforms to enhance the power of the federal Executive to intervene in state divisions to ensure fiscal probity and to select quality candidates.
  • The Hyundai Excel (X3) is launched in Australia.



  • 2 December – The Australian government agrees to pay reparations to aborigines who were displaced during the nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • 9 December - Liberal Queensland MP Ron Boswell resigns due to the party's decision not to oppose Labor's Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Bill.
  • 17 December – A Spanish court overturns Christopher Skase's extradition from Spain.[11]
  • 22 December - Prime Minister Paul Keating confirms Resource Minister Beddall's decision to renew woodchip licences and increase woodchip volumes, a decision which went against Environment Minister Faulkner's advice and enraged the environment movement.

Arts and literature[edit]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fergie and Girls See Jane Re-Wed". The Sunday Mail. 2 January 1994. 
  2. ^ "Mining Deaths Probe". The Sunday Mail. 2 January 1994. 
  3. ^ Benns, Matthew: Man who shot at Prince Charles becomes barrister, The Age, 6 February 2005.
  4. ^ Ward, Ian (December 1994). "Australian Political Chronicle: January–June 1994". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 40 (3): 381. ISSN 0004-9522. 
  5. ^ "Documents for Skase Lodged" The Courier-Mail, 4 March 1994, p.2
  6. ^ Carney, Shaun: The Latham weapon: ambition, The Age, 27 March 2004.
  7. ^ "Burke Starts Two-Year Jail Term", The Courier Mail 16 July 1994, p.1
  8. ^ The Wollemi Pine – a very rare discovery, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW.
  9. ^ "Victoria police apologise to LGBTI community for Tasty Nightclub raid". The Guardian. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Death Of John Paul Newman, Member For Cabramatta, Parliament of New South Wales, 13 September 1994.
  11. ^ "Skase to Go Free", Courier-Mail 17 December 1994, p.1