4 February - Prime Minister John Howard wins Parliamentary support for a constitutional convention on the republic.
10 February - Prime Minister John Howard convenes meetings between miners, farmers and Aboriginal leaders, to discuss the Wik native title issue. Mr Howard also reveals the details of the Government's Work for the Dole plan.
11 February - Prime Minister John Howard admits he approved a requested pay rise for one of Labor defector Mal Colston's staff shortly before last year's crucial Senate vote on the partial sale of Telstra.
14 February - Arnott's Biscuits begins withdrawing its biscuits from supermarket shelves as authorities issue a health alert over an extortionist's poison threat. A pesticide strong enough to kill a small child had been found in some of the biscuits.
23 February - Federal Independent Senator Mal Colston denies new allegations that he had rorted his parliamentary expenses, saying the claims by a former employee were "malicious".
25 February - The Minister for Administrative Services, David Jull, announces a departmental investigation into Independent Senator Mal Colston's use of chauffeur-driven Commonwealth cars and warns he would have no hesitation referring the matter to police.
26 February - Arnott's Biscuits restocks Queensland supermarket shelves with its biscuits three weeks after it was rocked by an extortion threat. The threat has cost the company at least $10 million.
20 May – The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission releases a 689-page report entitled, Bringing Them Home, which states that Australian governments must apologise and pay compensation for the forced removal of Aboroginal and Toores Strait Islander children from their families. The report concludes that successive government policies of forced removal of children constitutes a crime against humanity which amounted to “genocide”. It recommends a national compensation fund be established by the Commonwealth and states, as well as a national “sorry day” be held each year.
30 May – Prime Minister John Howard releases a ten-point plan in response to the High Court of Australia's historic Wik decision last December which recognised that native title and pastoral leases can co-exist. Key points of the plan include the permanent extinguishment of native title on freehold, exclusive-tenure leases, agricultural leases deemed to confer exclusive title and where rights are inconsistent with those of pastoralists; the removal of the right of native title-holders to negotiate over mining exploration and the imposition of a six-year unset clause to register statutory native title claims.
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr announces that New South Wales Police will employ Korean police and intelligence officers to help crack down on organised crime gangs as investigations continue into Korean loan-shark operations at Sydney Harbour Casino.
12 August - Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett is under fire for spending over $5,000 on a helicopter trip.
18 August – Aboriginal activist Burnum Burnum dies at his Woronora home near Sydney. He is particularly remembered for claiming Britain on behalf of the Aboriginal people on Australia Day 1988, while Australia celebrated its bi-centennial.
4 October - The New South Wales Labor Party Conference delegates reject Premier Bob Carr's planned sell-off of the State's electricity assets. Mr. Carr is the first Labor Premier in fifty years to suffer a defeat at a State Party Conference.
Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge announces nearly $30 million to bailout the Queensland Ambulance Service, but unions say it is not enough.
The first of the Federal Government's Work for the Dole schemes begins in Sydney.
9 December - The Australian Bankers Association doubles the bounty on the head of bank robber Brendan Abbott
19 December - Postcard bandit Brendan Abbott robs the Yirrigan Drive branch of the Commonwealth Bank in Perth, disguised as a businessman in a grey wig and a false moustache and brandishing a .45 Webley, stealing $300,000.
26 December - The final figures for the nationwide guns buyback are released - 640,000 weapons were surrendered across Australia with New South Wales providing the poorest number of returns.
27 February – First day of the Australian Track & Field Championships for the 1996–1997 season, which are held at the Olympic Park in Melbourne, Victoria. The 5,000 metres was conducted at the Nike Classic, Melbourne on 20 February. The men's decathlon event was conducted at the Hobart Grand Prix on 15–16 February 1997.
10 August – Australia retains the Ashes after beating England by 264 runs in the Fifth Test at Trent Bridge Nottingham. The win gives Australia its fifth consecutive series victory, an ascendancy they’ve held since winning the 1989 series in England.