Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

Australia in the 1990s

Business failures

In December 1990, businessman Alan Bond was arrested in Perth on criminal charges relating to his financial rescue of Rothwells merchant bank in 1987. In May 1992, he was sentenced to more than two years in prison.

In June 1991, entrepreneur Christopher Skase was declared bankrupt with personal debts of $170 million and faced charges related to the collapse of his company Qintex. To avoid prosecution he escaped to Spain, pursued by the Australian government. Skase spent 11 months in a jail hospital, eventually dying in Spain from poor health. Australia never succeeded in recovering any of the lost funds.

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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