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Archives for 1983

Paul Keating Delivers His First Budget As Treasurer In The Hawke Government

The Hawke Labor government was elected on March 5, 1983. Its first Budget was delivered five months later on August 23 by the new Treasurer, Paul Keating.

KeatingAlthough Keating was only 39 years old, he was serving his 14th year in Parliament. It was his seventh term as a federal member. This was the first of 9 Budgets he delivered before becoming prime minister in 1991.

Parliament was not telecast in 1983. Keating’s Budget speech was delivered in Old Parliament House and was only heard by people who tuned to the ABC’s second and third radio networks, known today as Local Radio.

The speech was more detailed than the generalised and political summary that takes place now. It took Keating 73 minutes to deliver his speech, compared to the allotted 30 minutes today.

The Opposition Leader at this time was Andrew Peacock, who had been in Parliament since 1966. Peacock succeeded Malcolm Fraser as leader of the Liberal Party after the election defeat in March. The Speaker of the House was Dr. Harry Jenkins, the Labor member for Scullin. His son, also called Harry, succeeded him in Scullin in 1986 and also became Speaker between 2008 and 2011.

  • Listen to Keating’s Budget Speech (73m)
  • Listen to an extract of Keating’s Budget lockup briefing to journalists (3m)

Hansard transcript of Treasurer Paul Keating’s first Budget speech to the House of Representatives on August 23, 1983.

Mr KEATING (Treasurer)(8.00) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

In doing so, I present the Budget for 1983-84. [Read more…]

Senator Ron Boswell (Nats-Qld) – Maiden Speech

Ron Boswell was first elected to the Senate as a Nationals member in March 1983.

Boswell went on to win re-election in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2001 and 2007. He retired on June 30, 2014, after serving for 31 years and 118 days. He is currently the sixth longest-serving member since the Senate was established in 1901.

Boswell served as Leader of the National Party of Australia (1990-2003) and Leader of The Nationals (2003-2007) in the Senate. He was Deputy Leader (2007-2008). [Read more…]

David Butler: 1983 Election Retrospect

This is an article by the British election expert David Butler on the outcome of the 1983 Federal Election.

The article was first published in Current Affairs Bulletin and reproduced in Victorian HSC Politics curriculum documents.


Celebrating The Hawke And Cain Labor Governments

The Victorian ALP held a function in April 1983 to celebrate the advent of federal and state Labor governments.

The Cain Labor government was elected on April 3, 1982. It was the first Labor government in Victoria since 1955 and had just celebrated its first anniversary.

The Hawke government was elected on March 5, 1983. It was the first federal Labor government since the dismissal of the Whitlam government on November 11, 1975.

For the first time since 1947, there was a Labor government in Canberra and a Labor government in Victoria.

To celebrate the occasion, and in recognition of Bob Hawke’s status as a Victorian member of Parliament, the ALP held a Gala Dinner Dance at the St. Kilda Town Hall on April 29, 1983. [Read more…]

Governor-General’s Speech Opening Parliament: 1983

The Hawke Labor Government was elected in March 1983, the first victory for the ALP since the Whitlam dismissal and electoral defeat in 1975.

The Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, opened the 33rd Parliament on April 21, 1983.

Govenor-General Sir Ninian Stephen’s Address to Open the 33rd Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Parliament of Australia here assembled:

At the elections for both Houses of Parliament on 5 March 1983, the people of Australia declared firmly for a change of government and for a change of national direction.

You have been called together to consider a wide-ranging program of legislation designed to give effect to the mandate of the people.

The new Government has assumed office at a time of Australia’s gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression fifty years ago. [Read more…]

Sir Billy Snedden Retires From Parliament; Asserts Tradition Of Former Speakers Departing

Sir Billy Snedden resigned from the House of Representatives on its first day of sitting, following the 1983 election that brought the Hawke government to power.

SneddenSnedden had been Speaker of the House since 1976, following the appointment and subsequent election of the Fraser government.

He did not contest the election for a new Speaker when the House met for the first time on April 21, 1983. He told the House that he supported the tradition of former Speakers leaving the Parliament when they left the Speakership.

Snedden was first elected to Parliament in 1955 as the member for Bruce. He was Attorney-General under Prime Ministers Sir Robert Menzies and Harold Holt, between 1964-66. He was Minister for Immigration between 1966-69, Minister for Labour and National Service 1969-71, and Treasurer 1971-72. He became leader of the Liberal Party after its defeat in 1972 and led the Coalition to another defeat in 1974. In November of that year, his leadership was unsuccessfully challenged by Malcolm Fraser. He was defeated by Fraser in a second challenge in March 1975. [Read more…]

National Economic Summit: Channel 9 Sunday Report By Andrew Olle

The National Economic Summit was held in Canberra between April 11-14, 1983.


It was the first major initiative of the Hawke Labor government, commencing exactly one month after the new government was sworn in. [Read more…]

John Howard Comments On The 1983 Election Defeat And His Leadership Ambitions

The day after the Coalition’s defeat in the 1983 federal election, the outgoing Treasurer, John Howard, commented on his leadership ambitions in the Liberal Party.

Howard was 43 years old. He had entered parliament in 1974 and served as a minister throughout the seven years of the Fraser government, notably as Treasurer between 1977-83. His rivalry with Andrew Peacock was well-established in 1983, although the full scale of the competition was not yet evident. [Read more…]

1983 Federal Election: Triumphant Hawke Arrives At National Tally Room And Claims Victory

Bob Hawke arrived at the National Tally Room in Canberra on election night – March 5, 1983 – to applause and adulation.

These two videos show how Hawke’s arrival was shown by ABC television and Channel 10: [Read more…]

Malcolm Fraser Concedes Defeat In 1983 Federal Election

After nearly 7 years and 4 months as Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser conceded defeat late on the night of March 5, 1983.

He was at that stage Australia’s second longest serving prime minister. He would lose that position to the man who defeated him, Bob Hawke. In turn, Hawke was eventually overtaken by John Howard.

Fraser accepted responsibility for the timing of the double dissolution election and the defeat of the government. He immediately resigned as leader of the Liberal Party. He subsequently resigned from his Victorian electorate of Wannon and never sat in the House of Representatives again. [Read more…]