Records 1989

Introduction

This site has Cabinet record information from 1989, including Cabinet decision highlights from that year, a background to the Northern Territory and Australia in 1989, and the Cabinet members.

Read more information about Northern Territory Cabinet and Executive Council and their administrative processes.

Information about the 1989 Northern Territory Cabinet Records booklet PDF (3.6 MB) is available to download or view on this site.


About 1989

Highlight information about some key moments and events that happened locally in the NT, across Australia and internationally in 1989.

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1 January – The first concert of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra takes place in Darwin.

17 February – Agreement is reached between the Northern Territory Government and the Jawoyn people for the lease back of Katherine Gorge National Park an area of land encompassing a series of gorges on the Katherine River and Edith River, 244 km southeast of Darwin. On the 10 September 1989 it is officially handed back to the Jawoyn, and the name changed to Nitmiluk National Park.

31 March – Stage 1 of the Tindal Royal Australian Air Force Base, new home for No.75 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force re-equipped with FA-18 fighters, is officially opened by the Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

28 April – The Northern Territory University, formed on 1 January 1989 by the amalgamation of the Darwin Institute of Technology and the University College of the Northern Territory, is officially opened.

25 May – The Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passes the Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (NT) 1989, replacing the 1979 legislation and introducing new procedures for site registration and protection.

1 July – The Honourable James Muirhead QC is appointed Administrator of the Northern Territory.

13 August – Thirteen people die in a hot air balloon accident near Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

9 September - Marks 150 years since the HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin Harbour, then named by John Clements Wickham & John Lort Stokes for their former shipmate Charles Darwin.

28 September – The Territory Wildlife Park, Berry Springs south of Darwin, is opened.

30 November – The Legislative Assembly meets for the last time in the building on Mitchell Street that was due for demolition to make way for the new Parliament House building.

Minister Steve Hatton opens Berry Springs Wildlife Park, 28 September 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2855, Image 24Land Title and Lease Agreement Katherine Gorge, 10 September 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2853, Image 36Unveiling of plaque and monument at Talc Head, commemorating 150 years since the naming of Port Darwin, 9 September 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2851, Image 34Building construction, corner of Mitchell and Bennett Streets Darwin, 4 January 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2784, Image 19Hong Kong World Expo, Northern Territory delegation Mud Crab Tying demonstration, October 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2876, Image 30Corner of Cavenagh and Knuckey Streets, 19 April 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2811, Image 10Chief Minister Marshall Perron meets Mr Zhang Haorou, Governor of Sichuan Province, Darwin Airport, 22 February 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2796, Image 6aThe Bougainvillea Princess at Darwin’s Bougainvillea Festival Parade, 3 June 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2835, Image 10Cabinet members around the Cabinet Table, 14 March 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2799, Image 2DJ Cormack’s banana farm, Humpty Doo, 15 May 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2824, Image 21Sporting events at Marrara Stadium, 5th Anniversary, 8 April 1989<br />Image courtesy of Library & Archives NT,  Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3823 P1, Box 11, BW2807, Image 27

1 January – Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) came into effect with the commencement of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988.

10 January – Assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester is shot dead in the driveway of his home in Canberra.

9 May – Andrew Peacock deposes John Howard as Federal Opposition Leader and Leader of the Liberal Party by a clear vote of 44 to 27.

15 May – Australia's first private tertiary institution, Bond University, opens on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

3 July – Findings from the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) into Queensland Police corruption are released.

July - Interest rates on home mortgages reach 17%.

22 August - The damaging 2-month airline pilots' strike over a 30% pay rise begins in earnest. A dramatic turn in the dispute over wages and conditions sees all of Australia’s 1,645 domestic airline pilots resign. The dispute disrupts domestic air travel and has a detrimental impact on tourism and related industries.

29 August – The Australian Cricket team regained The Ashes on English soil for the first time in 40 years defeating England 4-0 in the 6 test series.

24 September – New South Wales Rugby League team Canberra Raiders upset Balmain Tigers, 19-14 in extra time at the Sydney Football Stadium (now Allianz Stadium) to win one of the most dramatic & exciting grand finals ever & take the NSWRL premiership outside Sydney for the first time.

10 November – Gaby Kennard becomes the first Australian woman to fly non-stop around the world.

2 December – The 1989 Queensland state election is held. After 32 years in power, 19 of those years under leader Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the National Party government is voted out of office amid widespread allegations of corruption, and is replaced by the Australian Labor Party, led by Wayne Goss.

22 December - Two tourist coaches collide on the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey, New South Wales, 35 are killed and 39 injured. This follows the 20 October Grafton bus crash where 21 people are killed and 22 are injured when a tourist bus collides with a semi-trailer on the Pacific Highway. Both the Grafton and Kempsey bus crashes led to calls to make the Pacific Highway dual carriageway.

28 December – A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Newcastle, New South Wales, killing 13 people.

20 January – George HW Bush is sworn in as the 41st President of the United States.

2 February - The last Soviet Union armoured column leaves Kabul, ending nine years of military occupation of Afghanistan since 1979.

1 March - After 74 years, Iceland ends its prohibition on beer; celebrated since as bjórdagur or beer day.

7 March – Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom over Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel 'The Satanic Verses'.

13 March – Tim Berners-Lee, English engineer and computer scientist, produces the proposal document that will become the blueprint for the World Wide Web.

24 March - The Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (38,000 m3) of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound, after running aground.

1 April – Margaret Thatcher's new local government tax, the Poll Tax, is introduced in Scotland. It would be introduced in England & Wales the following year.

15 April - The death of Hu Yaobang in China sparks the beginning of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

June - Revolutionary change begins in Poland, filtering to countries across Central and Eastern Europe that resulted in the end of communist rule and eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991). Symbolising this change was the destruction of the Berlin Wall, which had separated East and West Germany. Media across the world showed images of East Germans as they  and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. The Brandenburg Gate in the Berlin Wall was opened on 22 December 1989.

3 -5 June – Students protesting for democracy in China clash with Chinese military in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. An unknown Chinese protestor, 'Tank Man', stands in front of a column of military tanks on Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, temporarily halting them, an incident which achieves iconic status internationally through images taken by Western photographers.

6 June - The Ayatollah Khomeini's first funeral is aborted by officials after a large crowd storms the funeral procession, nearly destroying Khomeini's wooden casket in order to get a last glimpse of his body. At one point, Khomeini's body almost falls to the ground, as the crowd attempt to grab pieces of the death shroud.

21 June – British police arrest 250 people for celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

5 July - State President of South Africa PW Botha meets the imprisoned 70-year-old Nelson Mandela face-to-face for the first time.

20 July– Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest. She is released in 2010.

23 August - Two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania join hands to demand freedom and independence from Soviet occupation, forming an uninterrupted 600 km human chain called the Baltic Way.

25 August – Voyager 2 makes its closest approach to Neptune and its moon Triton.

23 September - A cease-fire in the Lebanese Civil War stops the violence that had killed 900 people since March.

5 October – The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

6 November - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is founded.

12 November - Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960. This marks the first time that all Ibero-American nations, except Cuba, have elected constitutional governments simultaneously.

3 December - In a meeting off the coast of Malta, US President George HW Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the Cold War between their nations may be coming to an end.

According to the NT News of 6 January 1989, the population of Australia was approximately 16.3 million people. Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that in 1989 the population of the Northern Territory was around 160,000.

In 1989 a three bedroom home in Sabine Road, Millner on a 1,240 m2 block with spa and outdoor entertainment area in a shady tropical garden was for private sale at $85,000. A two bedroom townhouse in Larrakeyah was selling for $72,000, and a three bedroom ground level home on five acres in Humpty Doo was selling for $105,000.

At the grocery store, Darwin residents were paying $3.10 per kilo for BBQ lamb chops, and $6.40 per kilo for whole rump steak. Baked beans were 59 cents per tin on special, a packet of family assorted biscuits was $1.59, and a box of Weeties $1.99. Granny Smith apples were $1.99 per kilo, and a celery bunch $1.99. A carton of full strength beer was $21.00 and light beer $19.99. A roll of Kodacolor Gold 100 camera film cost $3.89.

Dick Smith Electronics was selling an Acer 500+ computer system for $995, providing 512K memory, single floppy disk drive, special colour emulation hardware/software which enables colour programs to be run on the mono monitor, selectable 4.778MHz clock speed and a real time clock.

Television viewing on Channel 8 commenced at 12:30pm daily with Fat Cat and Friends. The ABC television program offered In the Wild with Harry Butler, Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypothetical and the Australian mini-series Return to Eden staring Rebecca Gilling, James Reyne and Wendy Hughes.

At the movies Territorians were watching Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams, Mississippi Burning starring Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe, Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman, Dangerous Liaisons starring Michelle Pfeiffer, and Australian film Young Einstein starring Yahoo Serious.

Topping the Australian Recording Industry Association charts for 1989 was Like a Prayer by Madonna, The Look by Roxette, and I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers. Australian artists making the charts included Tucker’s Daughter by  Ian Moss, Especially for You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, and If I Could by 1927.


Members of the 1989 Cabinet

There were three Ministries in the Northern Territory Government during 1989.

Details of the different Ministries and positions are listed below.

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MinisterPosition
Hon MB Perron MLA Chief Minister
Treasurer
Hon BF Coulter MLA Minister for Mines and Energy
Minister for Industries and Development
Hon DW Manzie MLA Attorney-General
Minister for Lands and Housing
Minister for Conservation
Hon DF Dale MLA * Minister for Health and Community Services
Hon T Harris MLA Minister for Education
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Constitutional Development
Hon FA Finch MLA Minister for Transport and Works
Hon TR McCarthy MLA Minister for Labour and Administrative Services and Local Government
Hon EH Poole MLA Minister for Tourism
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Central Australian Affairs
Hon MA Reed MLA Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries

* Resigned from Ministry on 27 July 1989.

First Perron Ministry (14 July 1988 to 30 July 1989)Rear: EH [Eric] Poole, TR [Terry] McCarthy, T [Tom] Harris, FA [Fred] Finch, MA [Mike] ReedFront: DF [Don] Dale, BF [Barry] Coulter, MB [Marshall] Perron, DW [Daryl] ManzieImage courtesy of Northern Territory Archives Service, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3813 P1, Item 11

First Perron Ministry (14 July 1988 to 30 July 1989)
Rear: EH [Eric] Poole, TR [Terry] McCarthy, T [Tom] Harris, FA [Fred] Finch, MA [Mike] Reed
Front: DF [Don] Dale, BF [Barry] Coulter, MB [Marshall] Perron, DW [Daryl] Manzie

Image courtesy of Libraries and Archives NT, Department of the Chief Minister, NTRS 3813 P1, Item 11

MinisterPosition
Hon MB Perron MLA Chief Minister
Treasurer
Minister for Health and Community Services
Hon BF Coulter MLA Minister for Mines and Energy
Minister for Industries and Development
Hon DW Manzie MLA Attorney-General
Minister for Lands and Housing
Minister for Conservation
Hon T Harris MLA Minister for Education
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Constitutional Development
Hon FA Finch MLA Minister for Transport and Works
Hon TR McCarthy MLA Minister for Labour and Administrative Services and Local Government
Hon EH Poole MLA Minister for Tourism
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Central Australian Affairs
Hon MA Reed MLA Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries

MinisterPosition
Hon MB Perron MLA Chief Minister
Treasurer
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services
Hon BF Coulter MLA Minister for Mines and Energy
Hon DW Manzie MLA Minister for Industries and Development
Attorney-General
Minister for Lands and Housing
Hon T Harris MLA Minister for Education, the Arts and Cultural Affairs
Hon SP Hatton MLA Minister for Health and Community Services
Minister for Conservation
Hon FA Finch MLA Minister for Transport and Works
Minister for Racing and Gaming
Hon TR McCarthy MLA Minister for Labour, Administrative Services and Local Government
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Aboriginal Affairs
Hon MA Reed MLA Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries
Minister for Correctional Services
Hon RWS Vale MLA Minister for Tourism
Minister for Youth, Sport, Recreation and Ethnic Affairs
Minister Assisting the Chief Minister on Central Australian Affairs

1989 Cabinet decisions

Under the Northern Territory Information Act 2002, public sector organisations are required to transfer their records to the Libraries and Archives NT not later than 30 years after the record was created.

Most archived records enter an “open access period”, whereby they are available for public perusal 30 years after the record was created. This includes the Cabinet records.

The original copies of all Northern Territory Cabinet submissions and decisions are filed by meeting date, and bound into books. These books are then transferred to the Libraries and Archives NT for safekeeping and preservation.

Indexes of Cabinet records

A full listing of Cabinet decisions and Executive Council records from 1989 are available:

Index of Cabinet submissions and decisions PDF (1.3 MB)
Index of Cabinet submissions and decisions DOCX (167.0 KB)

Index of Executive Council records PDF (1.6 MB)
Index of Executive Council records DOCX (81.3 KB)

Not all Cabinet decisions are available to view. Listings of exempt records are available:

Cabinet documents exempted from 30 year release PDF (195.8 KB)
Cabinet documents exempted from 30 year release DOCX (111.2 KB)

Viewing Cabinet information

Information available for viewing can be accessed by appointment at the NT Archives Centre.

Contact Libraries and Archives NT for more information and to make an appointment.

Highlight Cabinet Records for 1989

Please see below a list of highlights for 1989 Cabinet records.

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The Northern Territory Government supported the relocation of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment from New South Wales to the Northern Territory; a proposal outlined in the Commonwealth Government’s Policy Information Paper “The Defence of Australia 1987”. The relocation would require construction of working, training and living-in facilities for the Regiment’s personnel and their families.

The NT Government supports the build-up of defence facilities in the Northern Territory due to the strategic importance of Northern Defence, the benefits to the local economy stemming from the operation of the facility, and the resultant increase to the local population by service personnel and their families. The NT Government Submission outlined the strategic, economic and employment benefits of relocating the Regiment to Darwin and offered comments on the environmental impact, infrastructure and community services, and participation by local businesses.

Cabinet endorsed the NT Government Submission to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works Inquiry into the proposed construction of facilities for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in the Darwin region. The function of the Committee is to inform and satisfy the Commonwealth Parliament regarding proposed major works.

Read the Cabinet decision:

Father Frank Flynn came to the Northern Territory as an Army Chaplain ophthalmologist in 1942. He took great pride in being a member of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart Order and worked primarily as a priest, and as a doctor second. Father Flynn was the first to identify the eye disease trachoma in Aboriginal peoples and instituted the first scientific surveys into the prevalence and severity of this hyper endemic disease amongst Aboriginal peoples. His ophthalmological studies into the problems of dry eye led to the development of spectacles that release stored fluid into the eye to counteract this condition. Father Flynn’s scientific achievements have been recognised both nationally and internationally, and are listed in the Cabinet Submission.

In recognition of his scientific achievements, Government approved an ongoing two-year fellowship of the Menzies School of Health Research, to be known as the Father Frank Flynn Fellowship. The person selected would conduct research of international significance on diseases pertinent to the Northern Territory.

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The Northern Territory Government approved the staging of the inaugural Arafura Sports Festival in Darwin in May 1991.

The concept of the Arafura Sports Festival had been under consideration for some time as a means of stimulating the development of sport in the Northern Territory, while at the same time providing an avenue for developing tourism and promoting the Territory, particularly in South East Asia.

The proposed timing took into account the need for a two-year lead-time, tourist seasons, climatic conditions, other-multi-sport events in Australia and South East Asia, and religious festivals.

Territory sporting groups would be exposed to a high standard of competition and the experience of competing under Games conditions.

Read the Cabinet decision:

Government considered an NT Government Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the contribution that Australian industry, science and technology can make to reduce the impact of the Greenhouse Effect. The Inquiry sought advice on practical responses to reduce and eventually reverse the greenhouse effect.

The Submission notes that the major causes of greenhouse gas emissions are from burning fossil fuels, loss of vegetation and the emission of effluents from industrial and agricultural processes. It notes that Scientists had predicted a warming of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees centigrade by the year 2030 and sea levels were expected to rise between 0.2 and 1.2 metres. Greater extremes in climate were predicted through drought, flood and cyclones.

The Government recognised the need for a national coordinated approach to the issue, and provided information pertinent to the Northern Territory situation with informed comment regarding alternative energy sources, transportation issues, priority activities and NT Government policy.

Read the Cabinet decision:

Government approved the agreement between CSIRO and the Conservation Commission of the NT for provision of state-of-the-art scientific advice on the Regional Impact of the Greenhouse Effect and associated funding. The Submission states that by the year 2030, dramatic climate change will impact agriculture, manufacturing, construction, public works and services, and on coastal communities.

In conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO has developed a program to develop climate models so that higher predictive resolution can be obtained for the Australian region.  To complement this study, a Regional Impact Program was being implemented to utilise climate model predictions, historical data, paleological data, and current trends with a view to addressing concerns of regional climate changes and impacts on States and Territories.

Research data would provide the foundation to assess the likely environmental, economic and social consequences of weather changes to enable the Territory to adopt preventative and adaptive responses to the effects of Greenhouse induced climate change.

All States and Territories had commenced negotiations or were finalising negotiations with CSIRO for the Regional Impact Programs. Details of the Victorian study which had been operational for 12 months are included in the Submission.

The Submission notes the Government is considering and implementing strategies relating to emission controls, energy conservation and energy alternatives.

Read the Cabinet decision:

To approve the drafting of an equality of status of married persons bill. Following a Report on De Facto Relationships by the NT Law Reform Committee, a number of anomalies were identified in the way the Territory law treats married women.

The rule at common law was that upon marriage, a woman lost most of her rights to deal with property and to have an independent legal capacity. The complex legislative provisions dealing with the capacity of a married women were an historical anomaly and inconsistent with modern conditions. The Bill proposed to repeal obsolete legislation, and to consolidate relevant provisions into a piece of legislation declaring that married women have legal status equal to that of married men.  An example of the draft bill is attached to this Submission.

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The Government had a commitment to maintaining and developing research programs to assist further development of agricultural industries.

The CSIRO had been undertaking tropical pasture and crop research in Katherine since 1946, in which time it had developed a high-quality research facility.  CSIRO approached the Government to determine its interest in purchasing the facility due to a reduction in funds, and an assessment that its work in crops research had reached a stage where ongoing research is a matter for the Territory.

With Katherine emerging as a key centre for research operations at the time, the acquisition of this high standard facility was seen as an opportunity to centralise the activities of the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries into one location. The Submission includes a comparison of projects addressed by CSIRO and those expected of the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries.

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The Submission includes statistics over four years of business before the Courts in Katherine and advice that the current Courthouse, completed in 1959, was too small to cope with current demands.

Government agreed to the construction of a new Courts Complex in Katherine following consideration of projected population growth, statistical data on court business in Katherine over the past four years, the cost of renovating the existing buildings, and suitability of other sites in Katherine for Court hearings.

Read the Cabinet decision: