1989 Cabinet Records released today

The release of the 1989 NT Government Cabinet Records has revealed a fascinating insight into Territory life 30 years ago. The documents provide a unique look at our past and highlight the decisions the government of the day made to deal with matters of importance to Territorians at that time.

The year 1989 saw the NT Government approve the drafting of an Equality of Status of Married Persons Bill. Prior to this Bill, the law said a woman lost most of her property rights and her independent legal capacity once she married.

Territorians were concerned about the environment, with the NT Government recognising the need for a national approach to ‘reducing the impact of the greenhouse effect’ and approving an agreement with CSIRO to provide scientific advice on the regional impact of the greenhouse effect.

The NT Legislative Assembly passed the Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (NT) 1989 and met for the last time in the building on Mitchell Street, which was to be demolished to make way for the new Parliament House building.

1989 was the year the NT Government reached an agreement with the Jawoyn people for the lease of what we now know as Nitmiluk National Park.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke officially opened Stage 1 of RAAF Base Tindal and The Northern Territory University was formed. 1989 also saw the NT Government approve the staging of the inaugural Arafura Sports Festival in Darwin in 1991, which would go on to become the iconic Arafura Games from 1998.

The Territory’s population was around 160,000 people and we were watching Dead Poets Society, Rain Man and Young Einstein, and listening to Madonna’s Like a Prayer, Ian Moss’ Tucker’s Daughter and I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers.

The Territory Wildlife Park opened to the public, and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra performed its first concert.

On 1 January each year, Cabinet records are made public 30 years after they are created, in line with the Northern Territory Information Act 2002.

View the 1989 Cabinet Records online.

Last updated: 02 January 2020

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