1983 in Australia

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1983 in Australia
Monarchy Elizabeth II
Governor-General Ninian Stephen
Prime minister Malcolm Fraser, then Bob Hawke
Flag of Australia.svg
See also:



  • 4 January – Louise Bell, aged 10-years, disappeared from her bedroom in Hackham West, South Australia. Her body has not been located. On 11 November 2016, 68-year-old Dieter Pfennig was found guilty of murdering her. He was already serving a life sentence for murdering a boy in 1989 and the abduction and rape of another boy.[1][2]
  • 3 February – Australian P.M Malcolm Fraser is granted a double dissolution of both houses of parliament for a double dissolution election for 5 March. On the same day Bob Hawke replaces Bill Hayden as federal ALP leader.
  • 16 February – The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 71 people in one of Australia's worst ever fires.
  • 5 March – Australian federal election, 1983. The ALP, with Bob Hawke as leader wins with one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in Australian political history.
  • 11 March – Hawke Ministry sworn in, Andrew Peacock becomes Federal Opposition leader.
  • 11 April – National Economic Summit held in Canberra.
  • 22 April – Soviet embassy official Valery Ivanov is expelled from Australia for allegedly trying to recruit spies in the Australian government.
  • 1 May – The Sydney Entertainment Centre is opened.
  • 16 May – NSW Premier Neville Wran steps aside in response to allegations raised by ABC program Four Corners that he attempted to influence the NSW Magistry
  • 1 July – High Court blocks construction of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania in the Tasmanian Dams Case
  • 28 July – New South Wales premier Neville Wran exonerated by Street Royal Commission over claims raised by ABC program Four Corners which claimed that he attempted to influence the NSW majestry
  • 26 September – Australia II wins the America's Cup ending the New York Yacht Club's 132-year domination of the race
  • 30 November – ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service) officer bungle a training exercise in the Melbourne Sheraton hotel.[3]
  • 9 December – The Australian Dollar is floated, by Federal Treasurer Paul Keating. Under the old flexible peg system, the Reserve Bank bought and sold all Australian dollars and cleared the market at the end of the day.

Arts and literature[edit]



  • 30 April – Four Corners program aired exposing allegations that NSW Premier Neville Wran had tried to influence the magistry over the dropping of fraud charges against Kevin Humphreys, charged with misappropriation of funds from the Balmain Leagues Club. Humphreys is forced to resign his position as President of the NSWRL, while Wran has to face the Street Royal Commission over the allegations & was later exonerated.
  • 26 September – After Australia's America's Cup win, Prime Minister Bob Hawke goes on the Today show and declared a public holiday for that day, stating that "any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum."
  • 27 November – The last ever episode of The Don Lane Show goes to air on GTV-9.


  • 26 February – Value of a rugby league try is increased to four points for the start of the 1983 season. A number of other rule changes are also made, including a "hand over" after six tackles instead of a scrum.
  • 20 March – Robert de Castella is Australia's best finisher at the eleventh IAAF World Cross Country Championships, staged in Gateshead, England. He finishes in sixth place (37:00.0) in the race over 11,994 metres.
  • 11 May – VFL Board accepts the findings of the McKinsey Report in principle, suggesting major changes to league administration including the establishment of an independent commission.
  • 12 June – John Stanley wins the men's national marathon title, clocking 2:17:04 in Sydney, while Megan Sloane claims the women's title in 2:37:50.
  • 18 June – Fitzroy produce an amazing performance against North Melbourne in a top-of-the-table clash at the Junction Oval, winning by 150 points and kicking the third-highest VFL score to that point. The previous biggest loss by a minor premier was 69 points. Matt Rendell, effectively playing as a seventh forward, kicked eight goals after having not kicked one for seventeen games.
  • 9 July – Australia's run of 16 consecutive Rugby League test victories is ended when New Zealand upset Australia 19–12 at Lang Park, Brisbane.
  • 22 July – Fitzroy with 12.6 (78) and St Kilda with 7.1 (43) set a record aggregate score for a quarter in VFL football, beating the previous record of 18.2 (110) in 1975 by Essendon and Carlton.
  • 5 August – First game played under lights since 1952. Geelong defeat Sydney at the SCG
  • 24 September – Hawthorn (20.20.140) defeat Essendon (8.9.57) to win the 87th VFL premiership
  • 25 September – Parramatta Eels defeat Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18–6 to win the 76th NSWRL premiership
  • 26 September – Newtown Jets & Western Suburbs Magpies axed from the 1984 NSWRL premiership. It is announced that Newtown will return as Newtown-Campbelltown in 1985. The move never eventuates.
  • 1 November – Kiwi wins the Melbourne Cup.
  • 5 December – NSWRL reinstate Western Suburbs after Equity Court ruling. Wests end up moving to Campbelltown around the same time.
  • Ross Glendinning (North Melbourne) wins the Brownlow Medal



  • 28 January – Frank Forde, fifteenth Prime Minister of Australia (born 1890)
  • 29 August – Decima Norman, track and field athlete (born 1909)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prosser, Candice (11 November 2016). "Louise Bell trial: Dieter Pfennig found guilty of murder". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Sutton, Candace (15 July 2016). "The haunting crime scene of the Louise Bell murder mystery". News.Com.Au. News Limited. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Chapter 8: Caught in the act : the ASIS raid, Australian Institute of Criminology (1989).