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

Australia in the 2000s

Afghanistan and Iraq Wars

In 2001, as a result of the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA, the Liberal-National Party coalition government declared Australia would join the US-led coalition forces in an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. In October, Australia provided 1,550 troops to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, a conflict that ousted the Taliban government.

In 2003, in Operation Falcone, Australia provided one of the four main combat force contingents for the invasion of Iraq. Three navy ships, 500 special forces soldiers and various patrol aircraft, transport aircraft and F/A-18 Hornet fighters were deployed.

In 2005, combat troops were redeployed in Operation Catalyst, and supported Iraqi security forces in Iraq's southern provinces. They were finally withdrawn between June 2008 and July 2009 under the Rudd Labor government.

A snapshot of 2008

  • January
    • The United Nations General Assembly chose 2008 to be the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth.

  • February
    • An official apology by the new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to the Stolen Generations was made the first order of business of the new federal parliament.

  • June
    • Australia ended its combat operations in Iraq, withdrawing approximately 550 troops from the region.

  • July
    • World Youth Day (WYD), the largest youth event in the world, attracted 223,000 pilgrims to the event held in Sydney.

  • September
    • The Global Financial Crisis began having a serious effect on the Australian economy.
    • Quentin Bryce was sworn in as the first female governor-general of Australia.


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