Australia in the 1980s


In December 1983, the Australian dollar was allowed to float rather than remain tied to an artificially maintained value. Banks were deregulated in August 1984, and foreign banks were invited to compete with local banks.

In September 1986, Australia's credit rating in the USA was reduced from AAA to AA1. In the same year, Australia's gross foreign debt passed $100 billion. A number of events led to economic instability and shook the optimism of Australians.

In October 1987, share prices on Australian stock exchanges made a record fall and in 1989, several large corporations collapsed, in particular, Equiticorp, Qintex, Hooker Corporation and Spedley Securities.

A snapshot of 1988

  • January
    • The first Aboriginal television station, Imparja, began transmission in Alice Springs.
    • Australia's Bicentennial celebrations began and the First Fleet re-enactment vessels arrived at Botany Bay.
    • The new Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

  • June
    • Kay Cottee became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world.
    • The $2 coin went into circulation replacing the old $2 note.


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