2001 in Australia

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2001 in Australia
Monarchy Elizabeth II
Governor-General William Deane, then Peter Hollingworth
Prime minister John Howard
Population 19,413,240
Elections Federal, WA, Qld, NT, ACT
See also:



  • 1 January – A ceremony at Uluru (Ayers Rock) and a parade in Sydney kick off a year of celebrations to mark the centenary of federation.
  • 10 February – In Western Australia, the Liberal Party/National Party coalition government of Richard Court is voted out and replaced by the Australian Labor Party (ALP), led by Geoff Gallop
  • 27 February – The Labor government of Peter Beattie is comfortably re-elected for a second term in Queensland, despite a scandal that broke out weeks before the election that involved breaches of the Electoral Act by several MPs, including the Deputy Premier.
  • 29 June – Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Dr Peter Hollingworth is sworn in as Governor-General of Australia. He would later resign amidst controversy over his handling of child sex cases during his time as Archbishop.
  • 20 July – Australian citizen Vivian Solon is unlawfully deported to the Philippines by the Department of Immigration.
  • 18 August – For the first time since self-government was granted to the Northern Territory in 1978, the Country Liberal Party is voted out of office and replaced by the ALP
  • 24 August – The Tampa affair begins when the MV Tampa tries to help a boatload of refugees, mainly from Afghanistan. The crisis is resolved when New Zealand aggress to take some of the refugees and countries such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea agree to take the rest. This was known as the Pacific Solution.
  • 12 September – Ansett Australia, one of the oldest airlines in the world and the second-largest in Australia goes under administration with KordaMentha due to major financial struggles. Despite this administrators assure the public that flights will continue as normal.
  • 14 September- Just two days after going into administration, Ansett Australia ceases operations resulting in a redundancy of 15,000 staff and tens of thousands of stranded passengers. This occurs despite former assurance by the administrators that no such thing would happen.
  • 6 October – SIEV-4 reached Christmas Island with 223 passengers. It was alleged by several in the government that asylum seekers aboard this vessel threw their children overboard in order to attract the attention of Australian authorities. This later became known as the 'Children Overboard Affair'
  • 12 October – SIEV-5 reached Ashmore Reef with 242 passengers.
  • 18 October – SIEV-6 reached Christmas Island with 227 passengers.
  • 19 October – SIEV-X, an Indonesian fishing boat en route to Christmas Island, carrying over 400 asylum seekers, sank in international waters with the loss of 353 people.
  • 20 October – The Legislative Assembly election in the Australian Capital Territory results in the Labor Party coming to power for the first time since 1995.
  • 22 October – SIEV-7 reached Ashmore Reef with 233 passengers.
  • October – Australia agrees to provide 1550 troops to the US operation in Afghanistan.
  • 10 November – In the wake of the 11 September attacks and the Tampa crisis, the Liberal/National coalition government of John Howard is re-elected for a third term in office. Kim Beazley resigns as opposition leader and is replaced by Simon Crean.
  • 25 December–6 January – Bushfires rage across New South Wales. No-one is killed.
  • 26 December — the south coast tornado occurs during the 2001 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Arts and literature[edit]


  • 4 October – The Australian film Lantana debuts.