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Australia in the 1990s

1990s recession

In June 1990, Victoria's largest building society, the Pyramid Building Society, collapsed. In July, property trusts in Victoria and NSW froze funds as a widespread crisis of confidence took hold.

In 1990, the largest loss ever recorded in Australia's corporate history ($1.345 billion) was recorded by the State Bank of Victoria after a series of bad loans had been made in the late 1980s. In February 1991, the South Australian government was forced to bail out the South Australian State Bank, which faced losses of $3 billion.

In December 1991, Compass Airlines, Australia's first low-cost airline, which had been operating for little more than a year, collapsed as a business and thousands of passengers were left stranded.

In November 1992, unemployment reached 11.4 per cent of the workforce; the highest rate since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A snapshot of 1998

  • February
    • A Constitutional Convention was held in Old Government House, Canberra, and gave in principle support to Australia becoming a republic.

  • April
    • Patrick Stevedores sacked its workforce on the Australian waterfront, thus beginning the Waterfront Dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia.

  • May
    • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May to commemorate the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

  • June
    • In Queensland's state election, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party won 23 per cent of the vote and 11 seats.

  • July
    • The Senate passed the Native Title Act Amendment Bill 1998 (Cth) after a debate lasting 105 hours.


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