1999 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1999 in Australia.

1999 in Australia
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir William Deane
Prime ministerJohn Howard
ElectionsNSW, VIC, Referendum

Flag of Australia.svg

See also:


State and Territory LeadersEdit

Governors and AdministratorsEdit



  • 1 February - An unprecedented rush for Telstra shares helps vault Australian share prices to a record high, as investors focus on the continued strong performance of the local economy. The all ordinaries index surges 29.9 points.[1]
  • 3 February - An industry review into Queensland's diving industry is released and prompts the Queensland Government to announce its plans to impose jail time or hefty fines on operators falling short of safety requirements.[2]


  • 19 March - John Brumby resigns as leader of the Victorian Labor Party.
  • 21 March - Channel Nine's 60 Minutes programme airs a controversial report which claims that former Prime Minister Paul Keating lied to Parliament about when he divested himself of his joint share in a Darling Downs piggery, as well as accusing him of fleecing his business partner Al Constantinidis of the majority of the profits.
  • 22 March -
    • Victorian Shadow Treasurer Steve Bracks becomes leader of the Victorian Labor Party.
    • Tropical Cyclone Vance hits the West Australian coast with winds of 230 km/h. The small coastal town of Exmouth is badly damaged.[3]
    • Dick Smith, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority resigns, followed by board member Janine Shepherd the following day.
  • 23 March - Prime Minister John Howard is criticised by the Opposition and Democrats for his proposal that the concept of "mateship" be introduced into a preamble to the Australian Constitution. He also creates controversy by proposing that Indigenous Australians should be referred to in the preamble as having "inhabited" the land rather than being "custodians" of it.
  • 24 March - Media mogul Kerry Packer publicly endorses views that the Federal Government should deregulate the media and abolish cross-media ownership rules which stop Packer from taking over the Fairfax newspaper group, as well as calling for foreign ownership restrictions to be lifted.
  • 27 March – The ALP government of Bob Carr is re-elected in the 1999 New South Wales state election.


  • 9 April - The Premiers' Conference results in the signing of a new agreement on Commonwealth-State financial relations which offers the states a guaranteed share of tax revenue in the event that the Senate votes for a GST, thereby negating the need for annual negotiations over how tax revenue should be shared.
  • 14 April – A massive hailstorm hits Sydney, with most of the damage being centred on the Eastern Suburbs. It is the second most costliest natural disaster in Australian history, causing $1.7 billion in insured damages.


  • 11 May – The biotechnology industry receives a record $800 million in the federal budget.
  • 21 May – Eight decaying bodies are found in barrels in a disused bank vault north of Adelaide, marking the beginning of the Snowtown murders case, which were Australia's worst ever serial killings. More bodies were found underneath a house in Adelaide on 26 May.


  • 21 June - Senator Mal Colston joins fellow Independent Brian Harradine in supporting the Federal Government's $17 billion sale of the second portion of Telstra (constituting another 16 per cent), allowing the proposed sale to pass through the Senate and become finalised. After the sale, the Government now owns only 50.1 per cent of Telstra.[4][5]
  • 28 June – The GST bill is passed through the Senate, with the help of most of the Australian Democrats, in exchange for exemptions on fresh food.
  • 30 June – Tim Fischer retires as federal leader of the National Party and is replaced by John Anderson the next day.


  • 2 July - Liberal for Forests, a breakaway single-issue political party, is established in response to the turmoil in the West Australian Liberal Party on the issue of stopping logging in old-growth forests.
  • 5 July - The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions decides to drop the 28 fraud charges against former Senator Mal Colston after receiving two medical specialists' reports which both state that Mr Colston is too ill to face trial, either now or in the future. The decision draws criticism from the Federal Opposition for its timing, due to the fact that Mr Colston was well enough to vote in favour of the Telstra sale the week before.
  • 6 July -
    • Prime Minister John Howard meets Japan's Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in Tokyo for trade talks and publicly expresses his disappointment over Indonesia's 4 July attack upon an international aid convoy which he says has placed Indonesia in the international spotlight.
    • The trial of Federal MP and former West Australian Premier Carmen Lawrence begins in the Perth District Court where she pleads not guilty to three charges of giving false testimony to the Marks Royal Commission.
  • 13 July - ABC-TV's Media Watch programme reveals that radio announcer John Laws had accepted a sponsorship worth $1.2 million from the Banker's Association in return for favourable comments, thereby igniting the cash for comment scandal.
  • 22 July - A landmark ruling by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission forces Telstra to make its telephone network available to competitors such as Optus.
  • 23 July - A Perth District Court jury finds former West Australian Premier Carmen Lawrence not guilty of each of the three charges of giving false testimony to the Marks Royal Commission in 1995.
  • 27 July –
    • A canyoning disaster at Saxetenbach Gorge near Interlaken in Switzerland. 21 tourists, 14 of them Australian, are killed.
    • The Sisters of Charity and St Vincent's Hospital reach agreement with the New South Wales Government to run an 18-month clinical trial of a medically supervised heroin injecting room to be established in Kings Cross, New South Wales.


  • 18 August - The Supreme Court of Queensland rules that One Nation (Australia) was improperly registered at the 1998 Queensland State Election because it did not have the 500 members needed to register as a political party and the Court also finds that the registration was obtained by fraud and deception.
  • 26 August – The Prime Minister creates controversy when he avoids the use of the word 'sorry' when a motion was tabled in Parliament expressing 'deep & sincere regret that indigenous Australians suffered injustices under the practises of past generations'.
  • 30 August – East Timor votes for independence from Indonesia. In the violence that follows, Australia is a major contributor of peacekeeping forces.




  • Wine Ark, wine storage provider is established.

Arts & LiteratureEdit




Unknown DatesEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Telstra rush lifts shares to new peak". The Australian. 2 February 1999.
  2. ^ "Sea dive industry in safety shake-up". The Australian. 4 February 1999.
  3. ^ "Vance Blasts West Coast". The Courier-Mail, p.1. 23 March 1999.
  4. ^ "Telstra sale clears the Senate / Colston backs $16bn sell-off". The Australian. 22 June 1999.
  5. ^ "COLSTON VOTE RINGS UP $16 BILLION TELSTRA SALE". The Courier-Mail. 22 June 1999.
  6. ^ "Aussie care workers out of prison". The Courier-Mail. 2 September 1999.
  7. ^ "Pratt and Wallace freed". The Australian. 2 September 1999.
  8. ^ "Swimming | Athlete Profile: Laura TAYLOR - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games". results.gc2018.com. Retrieved 27 October 2020.