1996

38TH FEDERAL ELECTION

At the federal election on 2 March 1996, the Liberal-National Party coalition under Howard was swept into power with a sweeping majority in the House of Representatives.

38th Federal Election

GUN BUY-BACK SCHEME

A gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur, Tasmania. Twelve days later, Prime Minister John Howard announced a scheme for uniform gun laws throughout Australia.

Gun buy-back scheme

TELSTRA ON SALE

The Bill enabling the share market sale of one half of Telstra passed both Houses of Parliament.

WIK NATIVE TITLE

The full High Court determined that pastoral leases did not extinguish native title. The Prime Minister proposed a ‘10-point plan’ in April 1997 in an attempt to allay pastoralists’ concerns about the implications of the judgment.

1997

RESTRUCTURING INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Most of the provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 came into effect.

ONE NATION

Pauline Hanson launched a new political party in Ipswich, Queensland.

RECONCILIATION

The Prime Minister tabled the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s report on the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, Bringing Them Home.

WATERFRONT DISPUTE

Tensions with unions came to a head in 1997 when balaclava-clad security men and guard dogs stormed the nation's wharves to quell Australia's biggest ever industrial dispute.

Waterfront dispute
Waterfront dispute

1998

39TH FEDERAL ELECTION

Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard retained government.

1999

EAST TIMOR INTERVENTION

Howard and then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan agreed Australia should lead a multinational force in East Timor, later dubbed INTERFET.

East-Timor crisis
International Force East Timor badge

NEW PROTECTION

Enactment of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act repeals the 1975 legislation.

REFERENDUM

Australians reject a proposal to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic and the proposed insertion of an additional preamble to the Constitution.

2000

INTRODUCTION OF THE GST

The introduction of a goods and services tax as part of the government's tax reform program aimed at redressing the effects of declining revenue from income tax.

Introduction to the GST

SYDNEY OLYMPIC GAMES

The Governor-General opened the second Olympic Games held in Australia. Sydney’s successful bid for the ‘Green Games’ involved transforming the polluted wasteland of Homebush Bay into a world standard Olympic Park.

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2001

CENTENARY OF FEDERATION

The celebration of Australia’s 100th birthday began in Sydney’s Centennial Park, the site of the inauguration ceremonies on 1 January 1901.

Centenary of federation

THE NATIONAL CENSUS

The national census measures Australia's population 100 years after Federation.

THE TAMPA CONTROVERSY

A Norwegian ship rescued 433 refugees fleeing repressive regimes in Afghanistan and the Middle East from their sinking boat in the Indian Ocean.

Tampa Crisis

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

Terrorists flew hijacked United States airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in lower Manhattan, and into the Pentagon, the US Defence Department headquarters in Washington.

War on terror

ANSETT CLOSURE

On 14 September 2001, the day of Ansett's closure announcement, thousands of employees met at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne to protest.

Ansett closure

40TH FEDERAL ELECTION

Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard retained government.

2002

ZIMBABWE

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Coolum (Queensland) decided to suspend Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth as a response to Zimbabwe’s democratic shortcomings.

INDEPENDENT EAST TIMOR

The proclamation of East Timor’s autonomy followed the vote to end Indonesian rule in 1999.

BALI BOMBING

Three bombs were detonated in Bali killing 202 people, including 88 Australians, representing the single largest loss of Australian life due to an act of terror.

Bali bombing

2003

COMMITMENT OF AUSTRALIAN FORCES TO IRAQ

In March 2003, Australia joined the US-led ‘Multinational force in Iraq’ in sending 2000 troops and naval units to support in the invasion of Iraq.

Commitment of Australian forces to Iraq

2004

AUSTRALIA-UNITED STATES FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Legislation implementing the AUSFTA was passed by the parliament, concluding a lengthy process of negotiation that had taken place in 2003 and early 2004.

41ST FEDERAL ELECTION

Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard retained government.

TSUNAMI

On Boxing Day a tsunami brought major devastation and loss of life to eleven countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Thailand.

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2005

SENATE MAJORITY

The Senators elected at the 41st federal election took their seats, giving the Liberal-National coalition a majority in both chambers.

TELSTRA SALE

The Senate passed the Telstra (Transition to Full Private Ownership) Bill 2005.

INDONESIAN TERROR

More than 20 people are killed and over 120 injured when three suicide bombers set off a blast in Bali, the most serious incident since the 2002 bombing.

ANTI-TERRORISM ACT

In the wake of a series of terrorist attacks overseas, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 was passed by the Australian Parliament with the intention of hampering activities of any potential terrorists in the country.

2006

WORKCHOICES

The final element in the restructuring of industrial relations initiated by the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1997 was introduced—the WorkChoices policy.

WorkChoices

2007

APEC IN AUSTRALIA

Mr Howard chairs the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leader’s forum in Sydney.

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42ND FEDERAL ELECTION

Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard lost government.