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Political Events Diary

2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010


31 December – Australian Stock Exchange ends 2010 with the ASX 200 Index down for the year 2.58% and the All Ords Index down 0.73%.

21 December – Former Victorian Premier John Brumby resigns from Parliament after state election loss.

20 December – Government releases National Broadband Network business plan.

18 December – The latest Face-to-Face Morgan Poll conducted last weekend, December 11/12, 2010, shows the L-NP (51.5%, up 4% from the Face-to-Face Morgan Poll of December 4/5, 2010) now ahead of the ALP (48.5%, down 4%) on a Two-Party preferred basis.

17 December – Unrest on Christmas Island as detainees protest over conditions.

16 December – Assange granted bail in UK against rape charges.

15 December – Death toll estimated at around 30 following a refugee boat crashing on rocks at Christmas Island.

14 December – WikiLeaks reveal US Ambassador questions whether Australian budget can afford to pay for defence equipment spending.

Australian newspaper chiefs in a letter to Julia Gillard deplore her attacks on WikiLeaks chief Assange.

The Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, has wrapped up a visit to the Middle East by telling Israel it should allow UN inspectors into its nuclear facilities. Mr Rudd insists this is consistent with Australia's previous position.

12 December – Treasurer Wayne Swan unveils program to restrict increases in bank fees.

9 December – WikiLeaks reveal Gillard government Minister Mark Arbib has been briefing the US Embassy on the Labor Party.

7 December – Julian Assange, WikiLeaks head arrested in London after presenting himself to police. He is denied bail on Swedish charges of rape, which he denies.

5 December – WikiLeaks reveal US State Department Minister Kevin Rudd when Prime Minister, suggested to Hilary Clinton force may be needed if China could not be successfully integrated into the international community.

2 December – Gillard holds first community Cabinet of her government in the electorate of Petrie, Qld.

29 November – Outgoing Labor Premier John Brumby concedes defeat in Victorian election.

27 November – Swing against the Victorian Labor government of 6% in state election, but outcome not clear at end of night.

24 November – After refusing for weeks to release the business plan for the National Broadband Network, the government releases a summary with matters of commercial confidentiality removed. It secured a deal with Senator Nick Xenophon which should see the vital legislation splitting Telstra passed as Senator Fielding has also said he will vote for the bill.

14 November – APEC meeting in Yokahama winds up with agreements for establishment of a free trade zone among its members.

12 November – The Opposition insists the government to explain itself after allegations it misled the public over requests from the United States to send more troops to Afghanistan. Fairfax newspapers reported there were repeated requests by the US which were rebuffed.

Fairfax newspapers report the US repeatedly asked Australia for more troops but was rebuffed – an allegation denied by the Federal Government.

G20 group of nations meeting in Seoul decline to endorse United States demands that China allows its currency to appreciate.

11 November – High Court delivers unanimous judgement that asylum seekers arriving by boat should be treated in the same way as people arriving by plan. Future of Christmas is thrown into doubt as detention centre.

7 November – Hillary Clinton arrives in Australia.

2 November – Reserve Bank increases the cash rate by 0.25% and Commonwealth Bank produces rage by pushing up loan rates by a further 0.2%.

26 October – Newspoll confirms Nielsen findings on drop in Labor vote.

25 October – Nielsen poll shows Labor’s primary vote has crashed to 34% and the Coalition lead Labor two-party preferred 51% to 49%.

19 October – Parliament debates war in Afghanistan.

14 October – Following angry meetings of irrigators in towns within the Murray-Darling Basin over proposed reductions in water allocations by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Gillard government sets up a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the proposed cuts. Tony Windsor is the chair.

11 October – Julia Gillard rejects claims by Abbott she had engaged in “Machiavellian bastardry” over his visit to Afghanistan.

8 October – Murray-Darling Basin Authority report on water restrictions in the basin released. Bitter complaints from irrigators on cuts to water rights.

7 October – First meeting of parliamentary committee on climate change. Gillard announces dumping of election promise for a citizen’s assembly to consider the issue.

4 October – Argument erupts between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott over the Opposition Leader not accompanying her to Afghanistan.

3 October – Gillard visits Afghanistan on way to international meeting in Europe.

2 October – NSW Premier Kristina Keneally denies reports she intends a takeover of Peter Garrett’s federal seat of Kingsford Smith.

1 October – Government releases discussion on paper on proposed mining tax.

29 September – First question time of new Parliament and under new rules, limiting answers to four minutes.

27 September – Parliament opened by Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. Harry Jenkins, Speaker in previous Parliament again takes the chair. Government wins tactical battle by nominating Liberal Peter Slipper for deputy Speaker who defeats the Coalition’s nomination, Bruce Scott in a secret ballot.

27 September – Julia Gillard announces membership of climate change committee.

25 September – Liberal MP Alex Somlyay, having at first agreed to take the position of deputy Speaker, backs down after Tony Abbott’s press secretary Tony O’Leary, had falsely issued a statement purporting to come from Somlyay that he was not interested in the job.

Labor had been prepared to back Mr Somlyay as deputy speaker if he agreed not to block supply or support no-confidence motions against the Government.

But Mr Somlyay released a statement yesterday saying he was no longer interested in the job.

24 September – Treasurer Wayne Swan repeats the government’s determination to get the Budget into surplus by 2012-13.

Independent MP Tony Windsor says he is very disappointed Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is walking away from an agreement on giving the speaker pairing rights

22 September – Climate Change Minister Greg Combet reveals there will be a price on carbon.

14 September – Gillard Government sworn in by Governor-General.

Tony Abbott announces his shadow ministry.

11 September – Prime Minister Gillard announces her new Ministry. Kevin Rudd becomes Minister for Foreign Affairs.

7 September – Independent Bob Katter announces he will support the Coalition. Independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott state they will join the Green’s Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie to give Labor the 76 majority needed to form government.

2 September – Andrew Wilkie announces agreement to support a Labor Government and rebuffs Abbott’s offer for $1 billion for Hobart hospital.

1 September – Gillard and bob Brown sign an agreement for the sole green in the lower House to support a Labor Government

Australia’s GDP growth powers ahead with 1.2% in June quarter, far outstripping market expectations.

30 August – Coalition edges ahead of ALP in two-party preferred vote. Hung Parliament remains.

21 August – Election day. Counting closes for the night with neither Labor nor the Coalition winning sufficient seats to form a government – a hung Parliament.

18 August – Gillard and Abbott take questions from community forum in Brisbane.

16 August – Newspoll shows Labor leading two-party preferred 52% to 48%.

Labor launches campaign in Brisbane with Kevin Rudd in attendance.

14 August – Nielsen poll shows Labor has opened up an election winning lead two party preferred over the Coalition of 53% to 47%. Abbott 14% as preferred PM.

12 August – Morgan poll ( taken August 7/8) has ALP with a huge lead two-party preferred of 57.5%, to 42.5%.

11 August – Gillard and Abbott separately answer questions from audience at Rooty Hill in Sydney’s West.

9 August – Newspoll shows Labor leading two-party preferred 52% to 48%.

Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey debate the economy at the Press Club.

8 August – Liberals open campaign in Brisbane. Abbott promises a debt reduction commission.

Veteran Nine Network journalist Laurie Oakes, when asked how damaging Latham would be to Gillard, responded he was “more concerned about how damaging he would be to the Nine Network.”

7 August – Mark Latham accosts Julia Gillard in his new roll as a journalist for the Nine Network. Nine apologises to Gillard for his behaviour, but keeps Latham on Payroll.

Nielsen poll – Coalition 51% (down 1%), Labor 49% (up 1%).

Gillard – Rudd meet face to face for first time since Rudd dumped.

4 August – Rudd declares he will campaign for Julia Gillard. "The bottom line is, I can't just stand idly by at the prospect of Mr Abbott sliding into office by default," he told Phillip Adams.

2 August – Newspoll shows two-party preferred Labor 50% (down 2%), Coalition 50% (up 2%). She leads Abbott as ‘Preferred PM’ 50% to 35%.

Rudd discharged from hospital after his gall bladder operation.

1 August – Julia Gillard says she now intends to “be herself” in the campaign and not be scripted.

31 July – Nielsen poll shows huge election winning swing against Labor with Coalition leading two-party preferred 52% to Labor’s 48%

30 July – Kevin Rudd in hospital to undergo a gall bladder operation.

29 July – Gillard states any minister that leaks material from Cabinet will be sacked.

Gillard says Kevin Rudd has not been asked to campaign for Labor on a national level. Reports suggested that Rudd had been asked to take his campaigning further afield than his electorate of Griffith.

28 July – Laurie Oakes publishes leaks from the Rudd Cabinet that Julia Gillard had been against paid parental leave and increased pensions. Gillard denies this in press conference, as does other Labor ministers.

Underlying inflation rate for the year ended June at 2.7%, seemingly ended any prospect of a rate rise during election campaign.

25 July – Gillard and Abbott debate at National Press Club in only debate of the campaign. Journalists say result line ball. Worm gives debate to Gillard.

23 July – Gillard announces climate change policy, including a price on carbon to operate for 2013. Abbott repeats there will be no carbon price in his policy.

22 July – News Ltd papers report Julia Gillard offered a cabinet position to Kevin Rudd, which he accepted but she later withdrew. Rudd broke a deal that he would resign immediately on June 23 for Gillard to take over as Prime Minister and would be given a cabinet post in return.

Reuters Poll Trend survey of Newspoll, Morgan, Nielsen, Essential and Galaxy gives the Two-party preferred vote at Labor 53.5% (up 1.9% since 2 July), Coalition 46.5% (down 1.9%). As Preferred PM Gillard is 56% (up 3.8%), Abbott is 30.8% (down 2.8%).

21 July – Kevin Rudd opens campaign for his seat of Griffith, saying he is concentrating solely on local issues and that national issues are for others.

17 July – Gillard goes to Government House and Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, agrees to a general election on 21 August.

16 July – BP at last caps oil flow from Gulf of Mexico well 85 days after explosion allowed oil to flow freely into the ocean.

15 July – Treasurer Wayne Swan releases latest Treasury forecasts showing that the budget, despite reduction in the mining tax take, will still return to surplus by 2012-13, a surplus of $3.1 billion, up from $1 billion forecast in the May budget.

Laurie Oakes at Press Club asks whether at their three hour long meeting on the night of 23 June Rudd told Gillard he planned an October election and would stand aside before then if polls continued to be bad. Gillard accepted this, then challenged him for leadership. Gillard refused to reveal her side of conversation.

13 July – Cabinet meets to consider emission trading system.

Gillard announces a tax rebate for school uniforms.

7 July – John Faulkner announces he will relinquish Defence portfolio after the election and will go to Senate backbench. He says he is acting to give Labor’s talented backbench to refresh Ministry.

6 July – Gillard announces new policy on asylum seekers including negotiations with East Timor to act as a regional processing centre.

Tony Abbott says the East Timor initiative will never happen.

2 July – Gillard announces agreement with the major miners on tax increases.

US jobs in January disappointment with unemployment rate improving by only 0.2% to 9.5%. US economic growth at an anaemic 2.7%

30 June – Latest Newspoll shows record low for NSW state Labor, but Christian Keneally well ahead as Preferred Premier over Barry O’Farrell.

Australian S&P/ASX200 index fallsfor seventh day, but for financial year 2009-10 it was the best performance in three years.

29 June – Rudd moves out of The Lodge.

28 June – Gillard announces minimal changes to Ministry. Rudd not included but Gillard says she will be happy to give him a senior ministerial role if she wins election.

24 June – Caucus meets and elects Julia Gillard unopposed as ALP leader. Wayne Swan elected unopposed as deputy leader.

Rudd holds a tearful press conference emphasising the good record of his government.

Gillard holds a press conference with Swan alongside her. She says she will withdraw government ads on the mining tax and urges mining industry to withdraw its TV ads against the mining tax and negotiate. Miners agree to suspend ads. Gillard also undertakes to continue

23 June – Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, John Faulkner and Anthony Albanese visit Rudd’s office for lengthy meetings. Word leaks out from factional union leaders that a challenge to Rudd is to be mounted next day.

Rudd calls a press conference and says he will call a party meeting at Julia Gillard’s request and he will contest a ballot for the leadership of the ALP.

22 June – Labor Caucus meets. No suggestion of a move against Rudd’s leadership.

21 June – Labor recovers some ground in latest Newspoll, two-party preferred ALP 52% (up 1 point) and Coalition 48% (down a point).

22 June – Final meetings of Labor and Coalition partyrooms with no change in leadership.

19 June – Labor loses NSW state seat of Penrith by election with record swing against it.

17 June – Government’s paid parental leave scheme passes Senate.

14 June – Widespread media speculation over a possible challenge to Rudd by Julia Gillard. Backbenchers say she only has to put her hand up to be leader.

12 June – West Australian publishes poll showing the two-party preferred vote in WA as Coalition 62% to Labor's 385.

7 June – Nielsen poll shows that if an election was held now, Labor would lose.

4 June – The NSW state Labor government in turmoil after the resignation of two more ministers. Ian MacDonald quit after allegations he misused taxpayers funds and the former Juvenile Justice Minister Graham West stepped down for family reasons.

3 June – The mining company Xstrata has hit back at claims its reasons for postponing two major Queensland mining projects aren't genuine. The company has rejected suggestions other factors are to blame and says it's solely because of the Federal Government's super profits tax.

The union representing workers at one of the projects put on hold has described Xstrata's decision as 'duplicitous' and 'disgusting'.

1 June – Israel attacks unarmed flotilla of ships attempting to break blockade of Gaza with nine protestors killed by Israeli borders.

Federal Government receives stinging criticism of its super profits tax from Rio Tinto chairman and the chairman of Infrastructure Australia, Sir Rod Eddington.

28 May – Government gives itself right to god around its own rules on government advertising to spend taxpayers' money on ads to argue for Resources Super Profits Tax.

27 May – Tony Abbott announces boat people policy akin to Howard’s Pacific Solution.

26 May – Malcolm Fraser resigns from Liberal Party.

25 May – It is revealed the European debt crisis the pushed the ASX to the lowest level in a month.

20 May – Wall Street falls to lowest level since February and other markets join in fall as fears rise for stability of Euro zone and economic future of China. US jobless worst for three months casting doubts on US recovery.

NSW state government minister, David Campbell caught by SEVEN TV leaving a gay club in Kensington, Sydney.

19 May – Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey bungles announcement of Opposition proposals for savings cuts in Budget, following Tony Abbott’s Budget reply speech in Parliament that Hockey would provide details of cuts.

17 May – Persistent fears of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis sends Australian stock market to a $12 months low, wiping $40 billion of stocks.

Government leaps on admission by Tony Abbott admits on the 7.30 Report that not everything he says is true. Abbott said sometimes says things in the heat of the moment that are not absolutely correct, but the public can fully rely on his carefully scripted and considered remarks

13 May – Tony Abbott in Budget reply speech in Parliament predicts next election will be fought on the super profits tax on miners which he opposes.

11 May – Treasurer Swan brings down 2010-11 Budget.

10 May – Nielsen poll, with two-party preferred vote at 50% each for government and Coalition, confirms Newspoll crash in government standing of a week earlier.

EU and IMF produce more than a $1 trillion bail out to halt the Euro crisis stemming from the Greek financial disaster. Stock markets come roaring back.

6 May – Wall St drops over 3% after recovering most of astonishing 1000 point drop in market attributable to a computer glitch.

Greek Parliament votes to accept aid offer from EU, mainly Germany including conditions demanding heavy cuts to wages and pensions. Rioting in streets while Parliament met.

5 May – Tony Abbott declares Opposition will oppose super tax on miners’ profits.

4 May – Rudd and Labor crash in Newspoll with Coalition leading Labor two Party Preferred by 51% to 49%. Newspoll says the outcome entirely due to Rudd shelving the emission trading scheme.

3 May – Mining industry rages against super tax on profits.

2 May – Henry Tax Review released with Labor ignoring nearly all of his recommendations, but notably not a super profits tax on resource companies. Government to use tax mainly to assist in funding a 12% compulsory superannuation levy which Henry did not recommend as use for revenue from super tax on miners.

28 April – Rudd announces attack on tobacco with a plain packing regime and heavy excise increase adding $2-17 to cost of a packet.

27 April – Sydney Morning Herald breaks story that Rudd is putting the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS -emission trading) on hold until after the election, thereby ruling out a double dissolution election.

23 April – Abbott’s speech to Lowy Institute suggesting Australians take over from the Dutch in Afghanistan.

12 April – The Australian stockmarket burst trough the 5000 points barrier for the first time since the beginning of the world economic crisis.

10 April – Kevin Rudd offers emergency department patients would have to wait no longer than four hours under a $500 million federal government plan if states sign up to hospital proposals.

9 April – Government announces suspension of processing asylum claims, 6 months for Afghans and 3 months for Tamils

Ruling Sinhalese party claims victory in Sri Lanka election.

7 April – Tony Abbott starts in Pollies Peddle 1000 kilometre bike ride over 8 day from Melbourne to Sydney.

6 April – Malcolm Turnbull announces he will not stand for the next Parliament.

4 April – Kevin Rudd appoints Tony Burke to undertake a 12 months study of population

28 March – Abbott competes in iron man race.

25 March – Abbott, having insisted Barnaby Joyce was an excellent Finance Minister, demotes him to regional, water and infrastructure shadow.

23 March – Press Club debate on Health between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

21 March – Against predictions Labor narrowly wins SA election. As predicted Labor loses in Tasmania.

11 March – Rudd begins visits to state Premiers to win acceptance of his hospital funding scheme.

9 March – Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrives in Australia for official visit.

AC Nielsen records a slight fall in Labor’s standing two-party preferred – ALP 53% (down 1% on a month earlier), Coalition 47% (up 1%). As preferred PM Abbot is closing: Rudd 57%) (down 1%), Abbott 35% (up 3%).

3 March – Kevin Rudd announces proposal for the Commonwealth to take over funding of public hospitals.

3 March – Kevin Rudd announces plan for Commonwealth to take over funding of hospitals.

2 March – Newspoll (taken Feb 26 – 28) has two-party preferred as ALP 52% (down 1% in a fortnight and Coalition 48% (up 1%).

Reserve Bank increases cash rate by 0.25% to 4%.

23 February – Government releases report on terrorism threat. Announces new powers for ASIO, including countering people smugglers.

19 February – Government announces end of ceiling insulation scheme and revamp of its Green Loans program.

16 February – The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Workplace Relations Minister, Julia Gillard, says the Opposition is trying to reintroduce the Work Choices. By stealth. Tony Abbott says relax unfair dismissal laws for and restore statutory non-union contracts and individual employment agreements.

11 February – Tony Abbott calls for resignation of Peter Garrett over four deaths in home insulation program.

8 February – AC Nielsen poll two-party preferred has Labor on 54% (down 2% since the end of November and the Coalition on 46% (up 2%).

Malcolm Turnbull in Parliament supports the Government’s emission trading scheme and delivers a stinging attack on Abbott’s alternative plan.

5 February – World markets slump in wake of Wall Street slump. ASX down 2.5% at close.

Good news out of the United States with the January unemployment numbers better than expected. The US jobless rate fell to 9.7 per cent. It's lowest level in five months, despite loss of another 20,000 jobs

4 February – Wool Street slumps 2%.

Obama warns that Senate might not pass his cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions abatement legislation.

2 February – Tony Abbot unveils $3.2 billion climate change abatement plan based on incentives.

Reserve Bank surprises by not increasing interest rates.

1 February – Treasurer Swan releases latest Intergenerational Report – looking forward 40 years. It forecasts a population of 35 million by 2050, with the proportion aged 65 and over expected to almost double. Wayne Swan wants to encourage more older Australians to stay in the workforce or go back to work.

27 January – Government's confirms target of carbon emissions cut of 5 per cent by 2020, promising higher targets only if there is a world agreement. The Opposition says it's an admission that Copenhagen talks failed, while the Greens say the pledge undermines any chance of a deal being done.

25 January – Government adviser Ross Garnaut says Government should press ahead with a market-based solution to climate change. He favors a modified emissions trading scheme with a fixed price for the first years. He's sceptical the Opposition's proposals for direct action could do enough to cut emissions.

24 January – Kevin Rudd says growth in aged population will force up health costs over next 40 years.

20 January – Retired head of the military General Cosgrove, says attacks on Indian students in Australia have become a major problem and most Australians would welcome the rigorous prosecution of the attackers. In an Australia Day speech, the retired general says there are undoubtedly pockets of racism in Australia.

19 January – First Newspoll shows small gains for Tony Abbott and Coalition compared to previous poll (4-6 Dec 09).

14 January – Tony Abbott proposes a referendum to give the Commonwealth power over the waters of the Murray-Darling basin.

13 January – Refugee advocate David Manne demands to know basis of ASIO assessment that five Sri Lankan asylum seekers on Christmas Island are a security risk. They have been found to be genuine refugees but will be denied entry to Australia.

13 January – Deadly earthquake strikes Haiti, killing tens of thousands.

12 January – Tony Abbott says he will introduce a private members bill to overturn Queensland legislation protecting wild rivers in Cape York. He complains it denies aborigines use of their traditional land.

6 January – Japanese security ship rams and breaks in half high tech Ady Gil vessel shadowing Japanese whalers on behalf of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

5 January – Bureau of Meteorology reports that the decade ending 2009 was the second hottest since reliable records began in 2010. Environment Minister Peter Garrett

4 January – Productivity Commission report on executive pay.

2 January – Former Indian student stabbed to death in Melbourne.


25 December – Terrorist attack on US airliner fails. Obama concerned that bomber got past security to board plane even though CIA was interested in him.

24 December – US Senate passes Obama’s health bill.

20 December – Rudd vows to continue with emission trading system.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader, describes Copenhagen as a disaster and a blow to Prime Minister.

19 December – Copenhagen international climate change conference fails to come up with a meaningful agreement to maintain CO2 in atmosphere at 450 parts per mil to restrict temperature rise to 2c or less.

5 December – Liberals maintain their two-party preferred vote in by-elections for Bradfield and Higgins by-elections not contested by a Labor candidate.

3 December – NSW left faction Premier Nathan Rees decisively defeated in Caucus by right faction, which installed Kristina Keneally as Premier.

1 December – Abbott elected Lib leader 42 to 41 over Turnbull after the vote was Abbott 34, Turnbull 26, and Hockey 23.

27 November – Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey likely to challenge Turnbull for leadership when another spill motion is put on 1 December. Turnbull says he will win.

25 November – Malcolm Turnbull survives an attempted spill motion in Liberal partyroom by 48 to 35.

24 November – Coalition Party room considers amendments to emission trading legislation.

23 November – SA Premier Mike Rann denies he had sex with a barmaid.

18 November – asylum seekers leave Oceanic Viking and go to Indonesian detention centre.

17 November – Newspoll has two-party preferred vote as ALP 56% (up 4%), Coalition 44% (down 4%), thereby showing the previous poll showing a 14% turnaround against Labor was wrong.

9 November – Opposition Senate Leader Nick Minchin, on Four Corners declares climate is a conspiracy of the international left and declares a majority of the Liberal partyroom don’t believe human beings are causing, or are the main cause of the planet warming.

6 November – Research commissioned by the German Government finds that countries including China, India, Brazil and Mexico are on track to cut their emissions by 25 per cent by 2020. Climate groups say pressure is now on countries like Australia to come to the negotiating table

5 November – The Government ends week in worse shape than it started. Its policies on asylum seekers are blamed for its first serious poll slump in the polls and there is still no solution to the stand-off over the 78 asylum seekers on board the Oceanic Viking.

4 November – The Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel & Science, Greg Combet, defends plans to replace the ‘Collins’-class fleet with 12 new submarines. The Opposition is doubtful the project can be delivered

3 November – Newspoll reports Labor falls by seven points in its popularity and in its primary and two party preferred rankings. The Coalition has increased its standing, but Turnbull.

1 November – Kevin Rudd announces former Treasurer Peter Costello will be appointed to the board of the Future Fund. The decision is attacked by Paul Keating as being disloyal to Rudd’s Labor colleagues.

30 September – Malcolm Turnbull tells Liberal Parliamentary Executive the partyroom must be with him on negotiations with the government on emission trading legislation.

28 September – Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens, in evidence to a parliamentary committee, supported the government’s stimulus package.

26 September - G20 Summit in Pittsburgh winds up. Determines that G20, not G8 will be premier world body outside the UN.

23 September – Chinese President Hu at the United Nations summit on climate change pledges to curb the growth of its carbon dioxide emissions.

22 September – Penny Wong writes to Turnbull and gives him four weeks to bring forward his amendments to the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Latest Newspoll 67% in favor of CPRS legislation with 64% saying the should be modified so that it can be agreed by the Parliament.

11 September – Turnbull says a Coalition government would again consider individual work contracts.

Australian reveals government’s Productivity Places Program to deliver 711,000 training places over five years under attack from unions and employers.

10 September – Senate puts $2 billion hole in Budget by defeating legislation to deny private health insurance tax rebates from higher earners.

Australian Federal Police to conduct war crimes investigation into deaths of the Balibo five. Indonesia immediately expresses concern.

2 September – Official figures on GDP show Australian economy grew by 0.6% in June quarter.

Rudd and Swan say economic stimulus must continue.

30 August – Japanese voters eject formerly entrenched Liberal Democratic Party from power and elect the Democratic Party of Japan.

26 August – High Court declares the Australian Military Court unconstitutional. Defence Minister, John Faulkner says Government will urgently put in place temporarily the pre-2007 system wen the court was established by the Howard Government.

25 August – Brendan Nelson announces he is quitting Parliament immediately, forcing a by-election in Bradfield which Turnbull doesn’t want.

18 August – China signs up for $50 billion LNG from the Gorgon project partners.

17 August – ACNielsen poll very bad for Turnbull with Rud 67% as preferred PM to Turnbull’s 24%.

14 August – Government decides to split CPRS and renewable energy target bills.

13 August – Senate rejects government’s CPRS legislation. Vows to return legislation in November. If again rejected a double dissolution election could be called.

Senate Privileges Committee to investigate UteGate affair.

11 August – Opposition alternative carbon trading scheme widely criticised by green environmental groups and business, including Business Council of Australia.

Liberal backbencher, Wilson Tuckey attacked in Coalition partyroom for publicly criticising Opposition Leader Turnbull for his “arrogance and inexperience.”

10 August – Opposition unveils alternative carbon trading scheme designed by Frontier Economics and commissioned by the Opposition.

7 August – Reserve Bank’s quarterly Statement on Monetary policy forecasts GDP in 2009 would expand by 0.5%, up from prediction three months earlier of a contraction of 1%. Immediate speculation next rates move would be up.

4 August – Treasury official Godwin Grech admits to The Australian he was the author of the fake e-mail in the UteGate affair. Auditor-General’s report clears Rudd and Swan of all of the charges made against them by Turnbull. In his defence Turnbull says it wasn’t his fault, he relied on Grech’s information.

Police raid Melbourne homes to arrest a number of Somalia Australian residents allegedly plotting a terrorist attack on the Holsworthy Army base in Sydney.

30 July – ALP National Conference rejects tax breaks for corporate sector. Supports greater regulation of business.

27 July – Health and Hospital Reform Commission report recommends greater federal involvement in hospitals and health issues.

25 July – Draft report on redistribution of Queensland seats greatly favors ALP.

24 July – Tony Abbott says Liberal MPs shock back Malcolm Turnbull on emission trading scheme tactics.

22 July – Reserve Bank minutes says the global economy is stabilising. Resurgent China and rates cuts, plus fiscal stimulus has protected Australia from the worst impacts.

16 July – China’s annual growth rate jumps to 7.9%, above market predictions.

Local share market rebounded going above 4000 points for the first time in a month.

13 July – Fairfax press reports Chinese President Hu Jintao endorsed investigation into Rio activities that led to criminal detention of Hu.

10 July – Australia seeks to gain consular contact with Stern Hu. No reply from Beijing.

9 July – News breaks of arrest in Shanghai of an Australian, Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues. Hu is the principal negotiator for Rio Tinto in current negotiations with Chinese companies on iron ore prices.

7 July – Fair Pay Commission refuses any increase in minimum wage because of concern about jobs.

Turnbull rehashes debt truck of 1996 aimed at stoking fears of government debt. Government counters with jobs truck.

2 July – Kevin Rudd delivers withering attack on journalistic standards at News Ltd.

29 June – Terrible polls for Malcolm Turnbull by ACNielsen, Newspoll and Galaxy. His popularity rating in negative territory and worse than Simon Crean’s and Brendan Nelson’s when they lost party leadership.

25 June – Senate defers vote on emission trading legislation to 13 August.

Parliament rises for Winter recess to 11 August after week of repeated attacks on Turnbull by PM Rudd, calling on him to resign because of his use of the fake e-mail on Oz-car affair.

22 June – Grech’s home raided by Federal police. They discover a fraudulent e-mail, the contents of which Turnbull has claimed should require Rudd to resign. Opposition admits it was wrong in requiring Rudd to resign and turns its attention to Wayne Swan claiming he was looking after his mate, car dealer John Grant. The Government counters demanding Turnbull resign for relying on a faked email.

19 June – Senate Finance Committee hears evidence from Treasury official Godwin Grech who recollects that he received an email from Rudd’s office about John Grant’s car dealership, but says his memory could be faulty.

15 June – Peter Costello announces he will not be seeking pre-selection for his seat of Higgins.

14 June – Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu declares recognition of need for a state of Palestine. No change in policy of illegal settlements by Isreal on West Bank.

13 June – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overwhelming win Iranian elections. Result immediately challenged. Riots follow

11 June – Revelations that business exemptions granted to the legislation for 20% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is conditional on passage of the government measure for an emission trading scheme.

May unemployment at 7.6% lower than expected.

6 June – Kevin Rudd announces Cabinet reshuffle.

Barak Obama reaches out to Muslim world in Cairo speech.

5 June – John Faulkner appointed Minister for Defence.

4 June – Joel Fitzgibbon, Minister for Defence, resigns.

3 June – GDP growth for March quarter up by 0.4%, staving of threat of technical recession, following GDP decline in December 09 quarter.

21 eminent economists issue manifesto supporting Labor’s borrowing program (Financial Review).

2 June – Newspoll has Labor still in a commanding position two-party preferred on 55% (down 1% in a fortnight) with the Coalition on 45% (up 1%).

31 May – Liberal Party TV ads screened attacking level of borrowing by Rudd Govt.

27 May – Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Greg Combet, says if legislation for Emission Trading Scheme is blocked in the Senate the business community may not get the $12 billion in free carbon permits.

20 May – Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens says economic recovery in Australia is “real” and predicts developments in China and Australia will see recovery get under way towards the end of the year. Treasury Secretary Ken Henry stands by Budget recovery forecasts.

19 May – Newspoll, taken post-Budget has Labor improving 1% to 56% two-party preferred compared to a fortnight earlier, while the Coalition lost 1% to 44%.

18 May – Nielsen poll has Labor’s two-party preferred vote post-Budget falling 5% to

53% as against March.

12 May – Budget brought down.

7 May – April employment statistics surprisingly positive, unemployment down seasonally adjusted 0.3% to 5.4%.

5 May – Pakistan abandons February peace deal with Taliban in Swat Valley after militants attack an army convoy.

4 May – Rudd releases new emission trading scheme to operate in 2011.

2 May – Government releases Defence white paper.

30 April – Opposition releases report by the Centre for International Economics critical of the government’s emission trading scheme.

29 April – Kevin Rudd announces an additional 450 Australian military personnel are to go to Afghanistan.

21 April – The International Monetary Fund predicts Australia’s economy will contract 1.4% this year and unemployment will hit 7.8% next year.

20 April – Rudd admits that Australia will be “dragged into recession.”

16 April – A boat packed with asylum seekers near Ashmore Reef explodes, three dead, two missing and more than 40 injured.

15 April – Julia Gillard announces buyers found for 210 of ABC Learning Centres from a total of 241.

Government announces it will resurrect the failed alcopops tax in Senate. Steve Fielding says he is still opposed to the tax.

11 April – Riots in Thailand prevent heads of government meeting. Rudd’s plane turned back in mid-flight.

7 April – Rudd Government decides to go it alone and build the $43 billion broadband network, a project bigger than the Snowy. Government will establish a private company to build the network over seven to eight years with private sector investment capped at 49%.

Reserve Bank cuts interest rates by 0.25%, but banks refuse to pass it on.

6 April – On a visit to Turkey, President Obama reaches out to the world’s Muslims saying the US is not against them and praising their culture and their part in the success of the United States.

5 April – North Korean rocket launch to put a satellite into orbit fails. The west views this as proof of an on-going project to develop an inter-continental rocket capable with a nuclear warhead.

2 April – G20 meeting dealing with world financial crises ends. The communique gives and immediate lift to world stock markets.

31 March – Reserve Bank says Australia in a recession and warns the global recession will cause world growth contract by close to 2% and cost one in 10 workers jobs.

Reserve Bank stats show annual credit growth in Australia has slowed to 5.4%, its weakest level since 1994 and far below the 15% reached a year ago.

30 March – Terrorists dressed as police officers attack a police training academy in Lahore, Pakistan, killing18 people and wounding dozens more. The Pakistan military finally take control of the academy after a fierce gun fight.

27 March – Treasurer Wayne Swan blocks a full takeover by China’s Minmetals of OZ Minerals on the grounds that one o its potential mines, Prominent Hill, was close to the Woomera weapons testing facility.

26 March – Fairfax newspapers report that elements in the Defence Department are spying on the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon over his relationship with Chinese business women Helen Liu (Liu Haiyan). Secretary of Defence Nick Warner and Defence Chief Angus Houston said they know nothing of allegations, including claims the Defence Signals Directory hacked into Fitzgibbon’s office computer.

Fitzgibbon admits Liu paid for two visits to China when he was in Opposition and he failed to register these on the Parliamentary register of gifts. Fitzgibbon makes a public apology after being ordered to do so by Acting PM Julia Gillard.

25 March – Rudd Government announces it will guarantee state debt (estimated at $150 billion), to help the states raise funds for infrastructure projects. State borrowing costs on the market immediately fell.

23 March – Kevin Rudd departs for the US and London’s G20 talks.

Obama announces a public-private partnership to unclog credit markets from toxic assets. On Wall St the Dow jumps 7%. ASX also much higher

23 March – IR Minister Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan to opposed ACTU application to the Fair Pay Commission for a $21 per week increase in minimum wage safety net.

22 March – Bikie gang fight in Sydney airport terminal sees one bikie bludgeoned to death. Passengers and public terrified. No security appeared until 20 minutes after the brawl.

21 March – Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh becomes the first woman to be election as Premier in Australia. The easy win was not predicted by polls.

20 March – Senate passes Government’s industrial relations legislation to wipe out the Howard Government’s Work Choices after a deal between Julia Gillard and Senator Steve Fielding on unfair dismissal exemptions.

19 March – International Monetary Fund warns the global recession could be even worse than it latest forecast of a 0.5% - 1% contraction unless strong measures were taken to save the world’s banks.

Opposition and independent Senators defy Government and amend legislation designed to dump WorkChoices. Amendments give exemption from unfair dismissals to firms employing up to 20 workers, rather than the lower figure of the Government of less than 15 workers.

Tenth Australian solider killed in Afghanistan.

15 March – Malcolm Turnbull addresses Liberal Federal Council attacking the Government’s IR legislation and emission trading scheme. Peter Costello did not attend.

Sunday Telegraph reports a ring around of Liberal MPs revealed 29 he would support a challenge by Costello for Liberal leadership, 21 would support Turnbull, 11 refused to reveal their intentions and 22 did not return phone calls.

Ninth Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

10 March – Latest Newspoll says 45% believe Peter Costello is best to lead the Liberals with Malcolm Turnbull on 38%.

Peter Costello and Malcolm Turnbull clash in party room over the Coalition’s attitude to the government’s legislation to ditch Work Choices.

6 March – Murray-Darling River agreement collapses with the South Australian Premier Mike Rann announcing the state will challenge the agreement on constitutional grounds. Complains about Victoria’s water trading restrictions.

In the United States auditor’s for General Motors raises questions about the viability of the company.

US jobless hit a 25-year high

4 March – National accounts for December quarter show GDP fell 0.5% and without the farm sector by 0.8%.

3 March – Reserve Bank leaves rates unchanged. Sri Lanka cricket team attacked in Pakistan.

29 February – President Obama asks Congress to pass record $Aust 5.57 trillion Budget for fiscal year 2010.

25 February – President Obama asks Congress to draft legislation for a cap and trade carbon emission reduction scheme.

Clothing maker Pacific Brands, sacks 1850 workers and says clothing manufacture no longer viable in Australia. Some of Australia’s best know brands will be produced in China.

23 February – Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announces a snap state election for 21 March.

16 February – Julie Bishop voluntarily gives up her position as shadow Treasurer and becomes shadow Foreign Minister, while remaining as Liberal deputy Leader. Joe Hockey becomes Shadow Treasurer. Persistent reports that Turnbull first offered Costello shadow Treasurer.

13 February – After concessions to independent Senator SA Senator, Nick Xenophon government’s $42 billion stimulus package passes Senate.

11 February – Melbourne-Westpac survey says consumer confidence continues to fall.

10 February – Australian business confidence falls to a record low according to an NAB survey.

7 February – Huge bushfires rage in Vic.

6 February – US jobless rise from 7.2% in Jan to 7.6% in Feb.

3 February – Kevin Rudd announces a $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan (NBJP) to support jobs and invest in future long term economic growth.

2 February – Kevin Rudd announces $115 billion of tax revenue will be lost to the Budget over the next fours years.

28 January – International Monetary Fund predicts the economy for the rest of 2009 will grow at the slowest rate since WW2, just 0.5%, and an actual decline when population increase is taken into account.

Inflation fell 0.3% in the December quarter, giving an annual inflation rate of 3.7%, down from the annualised rate of 5% in the previous quarter.

27 January – Treasurer Wayne Swan travels to PNG with Kevin Rudd for the Pacific Island Forum so both can talk about the Australian economy.

20 January – President Barak Obama inaugurated with in front of a record crowd of 2 million.

Rudd says the Government will take whatever action is necessary to fill a feared credit gap of $75 billion for Australian business caused by the drying up of overseas credit.

18 January – Israel PM Ehud Olmert announces unilateral cease-fire in Gaza. Israel forces will remain if Hamas keeps fighting.

15 January – December unemployment in Australia up only 0.1% to 4.5%, yet the biggest fall in six months. Falls in full time employment offset by rises in part time.

Big falls in global share markets. ASX down 5.2% since beginning of year.

Premier Nathan Rees and John Della Bosca deny reports of plot to get rid of Rees.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says tax cuts could be brought forward from May Budget.

Pappas McKinsey audit recommends $3 bill cut in defence budget and a big cut in civilian staff.

12 January – Public ‘Service Commissioner Lynelle Briggs warns work stress in departments will cause resignations from Public Serve.

10 January – Israel and Hamas ignore UN Security order for Gaza cease-fire. US abstains from vote.

8 January – Non-partisan US Congressional Budget Office forecasts US deficit will reach $US1.2 trillion in financial year ended 30 Sept.

5 January – Death announced of eighth Australian soldier, killed in a Taliban rocket attack in Afghanistan.

Israel launches ground attack in Gaza.

2 January – Unemployment outlook slumps with Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index falling to 33.7% in December, the seventh consecutive monthly fall.

1 January – Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, the centre of US occupation for almost six years, returned to Iraqi Government control.


31 December – The Australian all ords ASX index falls by a record 43% in 2008. Stock markets around the world, including Wall St, plunge to record or near record lows. Defying Middle East volatility, crude oil falls 60% in the year and US house prices plunge 18% from already low levels.

28 December – Israel starts air attacks against Gaza claiming it is essential to stop Hamas sending rockets into southern Israel.

22 December – Clarke report on arrest and deportation of Mohamed Haneef released finding arrest unjustified, mystified by Kevin Andrew’s cancellation of visa, but blaming no one.

GMH announces it will build an all-new small vehicle in Australia, partly funded by the Rudd Government’s Green car program.

21 December – PM Rudd unveils a $1.2 billion four-year program to combat homelessness.

20 December – Bush provides $Aust 25 billion to Detroit’s big carmakers. Obama supports plan.

Ross Garnaut criticises Rudd Government’s emission trading scheme. States by being too generous with free permits it will put a strain on future budgets.

17 December – US Federal Reserve slashes interest rates down to between zero and 0.25%, the lowest in its 95-year history. Dow rallies on Wall St by 4.2%, but minor gain only on ASX.

15 December – Rudd releases emission target of 5% for 2010 able to go to 15% by 2020 depending on world agreement. Generous compensation package included for business and taxpayers, carers, pensioners.

5 December – Treasurer Swan reveals agreement by big four banks to set up a temporary vehicle to provide credit to car dealers.

3 December – Official figures reveal GDP grew by only 0.1% in the September quarter, putting economy on edge of recession.

Government insists any merger between Qantas and British Airways will only take place if the terms of the Qantas Sale Act are observed and would have to comply with other legislation such as the Trade Practices Act and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeover Act.

2 December – Reserve Bank cuts interest rates by a full one per cent, reducing the cash rate to 4.25 per cent, the swiftest reduction in nearly two decades. The bank stated a factor was the “significant moderation” in domestic demand.

1 December – Barak Obama appoints Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State.

Penny Wong explains reasons for not announcing 2020 emission target at Poznan conference.

Malcolm Turnbull dumps Nationals Senator Fiona Nash as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for water resources after she voted against Coalition which supported a government bill giving tax concessions for carbon sinks, such as forestry plantations.

30 November – Penny Wong announces a back flip with decision not to carry through with previous policy of announcing the emission target for 2020 at the Poznan UN climate change conference in Poland.

26 November – Rudd announces the Government is prepared to go into a ‘temporary’ Budget deficit to preserve employment.

Terrorists attack major hotels and other targets in Mumbai.

24 November – APEC leaders meeting in Peru, vowed to step up “extraordinary” efforts to boost the international economy, but no specific measures announced.

President-elect Obama outlines plan to create 2.5 million jobs in the US.

20 November – Australian ASX closes down exactly half the level of a year ago.

Australian Federal Police say they will no longer be applying for control orders on David Hicks.

Ford announces it has reversed its decision to close its engine plant at Geelong. Federal Government providing $13 million of the $21 million needed to retool the plant.

18 November – GM Holden announces it will cut production by a lot half in the first three months of 2009.

17 November – The Australian share market trades at a new four-year low, after a drop on Wall Street on Friday, and the G20 summit.

Japan slips into recession after GDP contracted by 0.1 per cent in the three months to September, after falling 0.9 per cent in the quarter before that.

16 November – G-20 group of nations meeting in Washington agree to bolster their economies and overhaul international regulatory regime, but avoided specific commitments on the degree of stimuli. They will meet again in March when Obama will be President.

15 November – The economy of the 15 nations sharing the euro has slumped into recession for the first time ever, EU data has revealed, with GDP falling 0.2 per cent in the second and third quarters.

12 November – Treasury Secretary Ken Henry addresses National Press Club. Says mid-year economic forecast of 2.0% growth for 2008-09 was not subject to any pressure from government. As head of the tax review he bemoans tax complexity.

10 November – China announces $855 billion economic stimulus package with huge spending on roads, rail and ports.

Rudd announces 13 year - $6.2 billion investment plan for car industry.

6 November – Overnight Russia announces it is stationing its own missiles to counter the threat from US missiles close to its border in Poland. Seen as diplomatic move timed for Obama presidential win.

5 November – US Presidential elections produce a landslide and historic win for Barak Obama. Democrats grip in both congressional chambers tightened. World welcomes Obama victory.

Mid-year economic review by Treasury released showing slowing economy will slash federal revenue by $40 billion over the next four years.

4 November – Reserve cuts interest rates by 0.75%, to 5.25%, surprising markets expecting 0.5% cut. In the last three months rates have been cut 2.0% to the lowest level in five years.

30 October – Overnight US Reserve cuts interest rates by 0.50% to 1%. Markets react with 3% Wall St gain.

Treasury releases its long term modelling on climate change.

A small retreat on Wall St from the previous day’s gains.

29 October – Wall Street rebounds overnight by 10.88%, the second biggest one day rise in its history.

General Motors in the US in desperate trouble and tipped to fall unless US Government props it up.

28 October – Overnight the Japanese share market falls to its lowest level in 26 years.

News poll shows little change in Labor’s lead over Coalition following the emergency measures announced a fortnight ago. Rudd’s Satisfaction rating jumps 10%, while Turnbull edges up a mere 1%.

Government offers to make cash management trusts and mortgage funds banks if they can meet the requirements of the regulator APRA, thus being covered by guarantees as banks are.

27 October – Rudd rejects guarantees for fund mortgage fund investments on the grounds that these are market risk investments, unlike deposits in banks.

Reserve Bank intervenes and buys Aust dollars to prop up the local currency. It’s only the second intervention since 2001. The $A edged up slightly but was around 35% lower than the 98c it reached in July.

20 October – Pressure mounts on government from investors in mortgage funds such as Axa, Challenger and Perpetual, for the government to guarantee these investments, frozen from customer access by fund managers.

14 October – Kevin Rudd announces a $10.4 billion spending program with money for pensioners, housing seekers, families and training programs.

The western world’s major central banks take the unprecedented move of offering unlimited cash injections to institutions to ease the lending crisis.

World share markets make big gains.

12 October – Kevin Rudd announces the government will guarantee all deposits in banks, building societies and credit unions.

8 October – Markets around the world crash.

In an unprecedented move, western central banks coordinate rates cut. Markets don’t initially respond.

Kevin Rudd reveals he phoned Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo (7 October) and received a personal assurance China’s economy would remain strong enough to prop up the Australian economy.

Obama and McCain have second debate.

7 October – Reserve raises interest rates a full one per cent. Banks keep 0.2%. Australian markets surge.

6 October – Stock markets around the world slump heavily despite passage of US bailout legislation.

4 October – US Vice-Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

3 October - US Congress passes $700 billion Wall St bail out measure.

30 September – Confident that Congress will soon pass bail out bill, US stock market recovers by 5% after previous day’s 7% crash. Other world markets, including Australia, also make partial recovery.

Professor Ross Garnaut delivers his final report on global emissions, Garnaut gives Government the option of choosing to cut emissions by 10% by 2020 levels to hold carbon levels to 550 parts per million. This he believes, is an achievable target to take to the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. If achievable, he would also accept a low carbon level of 450 parts per million, meaning cutting emissions by 25% by 2020 and 90% by 2050.

29 September – US House of Representatives shocks world economy by refusing, narrowly, to pass Wall St bail out bill. US stock market crashes 7%, the biggest crash ever in one day.

26 September – Bush holds White House summit on Wall St bail out plan.

22 September – Markets around the world slump again as doubts grow about the rescue package.

Kevin Rudd departs for United Nations and a gathering of world heads of government. He is also lobbying for a position for Australia on the Security Council.

19 September – With news of a $US700 billion rescue package for Wall St, markets around the world leap.

17 September – US Government seizes control of global insurance giant, American International Group with a $US85 billion bail out.

16 September – Malcolm Turnbull defeats Brendan Nelson 45 to 41 in Liberal party room leadership vote.

15 September – WA National Party decided to support the Liberals in forming government.

Lehman Bros, America’s fourth biggest investment bank goes into liquidation. Wall St slumps.

11 September – Sydney Morning Herald and The Age carry extensive interview with Peter Costello who declares he is not challenging Nelson and will stay in Parliament while it suits him.

9 September – Addressing Returned Services League, Rudd announces a proposal to expand the RAN to meet the military build-up underway in Asia.

6 September – WA Labor Government loses majority in knife-edge election outcome. Parliament hung and bargaining needed with Nationals and independent for minority government to be formed.

Rob Oakeshott, former NSW state National MP easily wins Lyne by-election as independent. Loss of seat formerly held by Mark Vaile reduces Nats in House to only nine.

Tight struggle in by-election for SA federal seat of Mayo. Liberal majority of Alexander Downer slashed and Greens refuse to concede at closing of counting the seat has gone to Liberal Jamie Briggs

5 September – NSW Premier Morris Iemma resigns after his Right faction objects to the sacking of Treasurer, Michael Costa. His replacement unanimously elected by Caucus, Nathan Rees, only entered parliament at the 2007 election. Carmel Tebbutt elected deputy Premier. Both, uniquely, are from the Left faction.

Ross Garnaut presents his second report on global warming with the benefit of Treasury modelling and recommends a conservative target of 10% reduction in emissions by 2020.

John McCain addresses the Republican convention.

4 September – NSW Deputy Premier, John Watkins, announces his retirement.

3 September – Surprise nomination for Vice-President, Sarah Palin gives impressive speech to Republican convention.

2 September – Reserve Banks cuts interest rates by 0.25%, to 7%, the first cut in seven years. The Reserve has lifted rates on 12 occasions since 2002.

28 August – Barack Obama confirmed by Democratic Convention as the party’s presidential candidate.

27 August – Kevin Rudd announces details of education revolution which would withhold funds from states for non-compliance on a scheme for parents to know the performance of schools and failed teachers would be sacked.

26 August – Parliament meets for first sitting after Winter break.

21 August – More than half the former Liberals have refused to join the newly merged LNP, according to The Australian.

18 August – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf resigns rather than face impeachment charges by hostile Parliament.

15 August – Bracks’ review of car industry released. Recommends extra assistance for industry and cut in tariff from 10% to 5%.

11 August – As part of the Henry tax review a discussion paper on pensions released.

Cease fire between Russians and Georgians after Russia refused a cease fire offer for several days.

9 August – Setback to ALP in Northern Territory elections, with 9% wing to Country Liberal Party.

8 August – Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony.

7 August – Georgian military attack the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. Russian military forces hit back savagely, forcing Georgians to hurry out of South Ossetian.

6 August – Discussion paper on Ken Henry’s tax review published.

Petrol under $US140 a barrel.

Wall St makes strong recovery.

5 August – ACCC report on grocery prices published. Government says it can’t guarantee that grocery prices will be reduced as a result.

29 July – Brendan Nelson forced into humiliating backdown when shadow Cabinet refuses to endorse a new climate change policy of no action until other big emitters such as China and India sign up to an international agreement.

24 July – Inflation spikes at highest point for 13 years reaching 4.5% in June quarter with a 1.5% jump in the quarter.

20 July – Liberal pre-selection contest for the Mayo by-election won by Jamie Briggs, a former Howard staffer who played a key role in the architecture of Work Choices.

19 July – Mark Vaile, former Nationals Leader, announces he will retire from politics, causing a by-election in his NSW seat of Lyne.

18 July – Woodside claims the emission trading scheme will threaten development of $60 billion of liquefied natural gas investment.

16 July – Penny Wong unveils Carbon Pollution reduction Scheme.

11 July – Nelson questions whether emission cap and trade system is needed.

9 July – Rudd in Japan for Group of 8. Touts world trade agreement and Garnaut report.

8 July – Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop ‘clarifies’ Nelson’s comments on emission trading start-up. She says the policy for the Opposition remains unchanged from the Shergold finding that the scheme should start in 2012 and accepted by Howard Government. Split seen in Opposition on climate change.

7 July – Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, says there should be no start on an emission trading scheme until there is a world agreement on cutting emissions.

3 July – COAG meets and agrees to a new water deal for Murray-Darling Basin. Immediately attacked by Wentworth Group of Scientists as a failure to deal with urgent crisis in the Murray.

2 July – Victorian Premier Brumby refuses to cooperate on urgent rescue plan for Murray and will not allow extra water from Victoria into Murray. Professor Mike Young of Wentworth group pleads the clock is ticking and the present ten year plan for the Murray-Darling Basin must be abandoned. Water Minister, Penny Wong says it will not change.

1 July – Despite John Della Bosca being ordered by Premier Iemma to give a statement to police in Iguanas restaurant issue and Belinda Neal was also reminded by Rudd of her promise to the Parliament to cooperate with the police, neither have made a statement.

29 June – Taverner Poll in Sydney’s Sun-Herald shows crash in Iemma Labor’s standing in NSW. Two-party preferred the Opposition is on 56% with Labor on 44%, meaning an election landslide win for Coalition. Political observers expect a challenge to Iemma in Labor Caucus is inevitable.

In Gladstone for Cabinet meeting Kevin Rudd says outcome of Gippsland by-election will not deter him from starting emission trading scheme in 2010, the election year.

27 June – Gippsland by-election victory to Nationals with a two-party preferred swing against Labor of 7.25%. A big defeat for Brumby Labor Government in by-election for heartland ALP Victorian seat of Kororoit with swing against it of 16.5%.

26 June – Parliament rises for Winter recess with Government and Opposition differences on petrol pricing under an emission trading scheme unresolved.

23 June – Melissa Batten, former secretary to Labor backbencher Belinda Neal, paid to appear on A Current Affair, admits her statutory declaration on the Iguanas restaurant affair was a lie and she was pressured to change it by Neal.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics forecasts an unprecedented boom in commodity exports next financial, up 40% to a record $212 billion.

18 June – News breaks on ABC that a scientific report on the Murray-Darling Basin warns parts of the river system are ‘beyond the point of recovery’ unless they get water by October.

17 June – House agrees to send case of Belinda Neal, MP for Robertson over alleged claims she made about the Liberal MP for Indi Sophie Mirabella’s pregnancy and her child being a ‘demon’ if she had evil thoughts.

16 June – Finance Minister Tanner and Resources Minister Ferguson criticise Asian countries for subsidising fuel prices.

14 June – Mass breakout of Taliban fighters from Afghanistan jail when gate blown off jail. Suspicion that it was aided by those responsible for the jail.

12 June – Rudd in Japan admits he cannot take the dispute with Japan over whaling any further and he and Japanese PM Fukuda had ‘agreed to disagree’.

Damning Callinan report on incompetence of Australian quarantine and bio-security services allowed outbreak of horse flu which devastated Australian horse industry.

11 June – Rudd in Japan, rebukes Labor MP Belinda Neal, wife of John Della Bosca over restaurant fracas. Warns her pre-selection should not be taken for granted.

10 June – Toyota and Rudd jointly announce a Hybrid Camra to be built in Melbourne with $35 million help from Australian Government.

9 June – In Hiroshima Rudd announces a new international commission aimed at nuclear disarmament and nuclear weapons proliferation with Gareth Evans at its head.

8 June – Rudd departs for Japan. Call on Group of 8 finance Ministers to apply the blowtorch to OPEC to step up oil production.

4 June – Barak Obama finishes the primary race with decisively more delegates to the Democrat’s Convention to be assured to the nomination for the presidential race.

Kevin Rudd unveils a plan for a European Union type structure east of Suez including India, China, all of Asia, with Australia and the United States involved.

3 June – Latest Newspoll shows Rudd as better PM has slipped only 4% to 66%, while Nelson has gained 5% to a depressing 17%. Two-party preferred there is no change – Labor 57% to Coalition 43%.

2 June – Kevin Rudd in a ministerial statement to Parliament announces battle group will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the month. Howard commented he had no regrets about his decision to go to war.

29 May – ACCC chair Graeme Samuel produces a press release saying the economic modelling shows FuelWatch will “make a statistical reduction” in petrol prices. Opposition immediately challenges modelling and calls for its release.

28 May – Laurie Oakes on NINE Network gets leak four Government Departments advised against FuelWatch petrol price monitor scheme.

NSW Liberal Party in disarray in advance of Council meeting as the President, Geoff Selig, Vice-President Rhondda Vanzella and Treasurer, Robert Webster announcing their intention to resign. Selig’s proposals to overcome branch stacking has been rejected by the Right faction and expected to be defeated at the Council meeting.

27 May – Leak of letter from Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, to Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen warning the planned FuelWatch price monitoring system will fail working families, crush small businesses and tarnish the Government’s economic reform credentials. Ferguson immediately told ABC radio it was part of a Cabinet discussion and he had accepted the majority view that FuelWatch will help motorists.

A Senate Estimate hearing is told by ASIO director-general Paul O’Sullivan the US sent Australian terror suspect Mamdouh Habib for interrogation in Egypt against the repeated pleas by the Howard Government not to do so. The fear was Habib would be tortured, which he was.

13 May – First Budget of Rudd Government brought down.

11 May – Treasurer Wayne Swan announces sweeping inquiry into tax system but GST excluded from terms of reference. Treasury head, Ken Henry, to chair inquiry which draws criticism by Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull.

7 May – Barak Obama wins easily by 14 points in North Carolina primary while in Indiana Hilary Clinton won by a mere 2 points. Big majority of delegates said the primary race was all over and Obama was the easy winner. Clinton says she will fight on.

3 May – NSW Premier Morris Iemma booed and hissed at NSW ALP State Conference. Delegates overwhelmingly rejected his plan to privatise state electricity

generation and retailing industries. Iemma says he will defy conference and proceed.

29 April – Water Minister Penny Wong announces extra $3 billion for $10 billion Murray-Darling Basin scheme.

28 April – Australian solider, Lance Corporal Jason Marks killed in Afghanistan in engagement with Taliban. Rudd comments Australia in Afghanistan for long haul but “it’s not a blank cheque”.

15 April – Rudd announces national FuelWatch scheme designed to remove daily changes to petrol prices.

13 April – Rudd, home in Australia, announces nation to get its first female Governor- General, with the announcement that Quentin Bryce, the Governor of Queensland, will take up the post following the resignation of Major General Michael Jeffery. Ms Bryce is a former Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, inaugural Director of the Queensland Women's Information Service and founding chair and Chief Executive Officer of the National Childcare Accreditation Council.

12 April – Rudd has talks with Chinese President, Hu Jintao in China at Asian leaders meeting. Chinese Government not changing policy on Tibet.

11 April – Kevin Rudd in discussion with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

at an Asian leaders meeting in southern China. He urges Musharraf to do more to counter Taliban in Pakistan’s cross-border refuges.

10 April – Kevin Rudd in Beijing meets Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who rejects his criticism of human rights in Tibet. Jiabao agrees to keep talking on free trade deal and climate change measures.

9 April – Kevin Rudd, in Peking addressed students of Peking University in Mandarin and repeated his criticisms, made 5 April in the US of China’s human rights. His comments drew widespread rebukes from Chinese officials.

Rudd warns that any attempt by China to buy a stake in BHP Billiton would raise the issue of Australia’s national interest.

7 April – Rudd in London meets Gordon Brown at 10 Downing St and The Queen.

4 April – Kevin Rudd visits Bucharest for NATO talks. Says Australia is in Afghanistan for the long haul, but it is not an open cheque and dependent on a changed strategy and greater troop numbers by some NATO countries.

3 April – Broadband Minister, Stephen Conroy announces dumping of $1 billion funding of the Opel network (Optus-Elders joint venture) broadband. Seen as making way for Government’s $4.7 billion national broadband plan.

2 April – Draft code of behaviour covering lobbying released.

31 March – Rudd visits New York for talks with Ban Ki-moon and later announces Australia will be seeking a seat on US Security Council.

30 March – Rudd meets Bush at White House. At joint press conference, Bush says he has no problem with Rudd withdrawing troops from Iraq and said he was happy to dub Rudd “the man of steel” as he had similarly described Howard. Both agree the US-Aust alliance remains strong after change of government in Australia.

At press conference, Rudd, in answering questions from Japanese Journalist, admits he had not phoned the Japanese PM since Rudd won the election in November.

27 March – Rudd departs on overseas visit to the United States, Britain/Europe and China.

26 March – COAG meets in Adelaide and agreement is reached on Murray-Darling Basin water plan with an extra $1 billion going to Victoria. Limited progress in federal-state agreement on running and funding hospitals.

Rudd makes major foreign relations speech.

25 March – Story breaks that Port hacking branch of the Liberal Party in the electorate of Cook held by Liberal MP Scott Morrison was refused Morrison membership of the branch. Widespread calls within the Liberal Party to reform the NSW division now dominated by the extreme right faction.

20 March – Professor Ross Garnaut produces final advice to Government on emission trading, recommending that permits for emitting greenhouse gases be auctioned, that the resulting revenue stream be used to help those most in need and no compensation for power generators. Report welcomed by Climate Institute.

17 March – Climate change Minister Penny Wong announces timetable leading to 2010 emissions trading.

Federal Reserve cuts interest rate by 0.75% in US. Market expectations were for a full 1.0% reduction.

14 March – US credit crisis worsens with Federal Reserve and JP Morgan provided emergency 28 day line of credit to Bear Stearns, the fifth largest Wall St investment bank.

12 March – Westpac-Melbourne Institute reports consumer confidence has plummeted by 21% in the past three months.

11 March – Government backs down on carers and seniors one off bonus payments and promises to continue them in next Budget.

Caucus carries Rudd on voices resolution that its rules be changed so that the Leader selects a Labor Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet.

10 March – Rudd reassures carers and seniors they will not be worse off in the May Budget. This follows leaks Government to dump one of payments in Howard Government’s Budget in May 2007.

Rudd announces $53 million campaign against binge drinking by teenagers. This will fund tough ad campaign aimed at binge drinking and tougher restrictions on alcohol advertising.

6 March – Rudd on two-day visit to Papua New Guinea. Meets with PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare to restore relations damaged during the Howard Government years. Rudd emphasises that the future of the Kokoda Track is entirely a matter for PNG.

4 March – Reserve Bank again raises interest rates by 0.25%. Banks are expected to put rates up even higher.

News poll shows Brendan Nelson’s rating at all time low for an Opposition Leader – 7%.

24 February – In a Herald Sun interview, Howard’s former IR Minister, Kevin Andrews said no one in the Cabinet saw the warning lights at the time the Work Choices policy was being drawn up.

22 February – Wild scenes in the House of Representatives as Opposition MPs object to a Friday sitting with no question time. Life size cardboard cutouts of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd displayed in deliberate defiance of Speaker Jenkins' ruling.

Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon announces next Defence White Paper will be authored by Deputy Secretary of the Defence Department, Mike Pezzullo, a former staffer to Kim Beazley.

21 February – Professor Ross Garnaut’s preliminary report on climate change released, calling for much more urgent and tougher actions than anticipated.

18 February – Four Corners program featuring Liberal ministers discussing Howard’s role in election defeat.

17 February – Wayne Swan announces increased scrutiny of applications for investment in Australia of government-controlled sovereign wealth funds. This followed the recent move by the 100% Chinese Government owned Chinalco to take a $15.4 billion state in Rio Tinto.

13 February – House of Representatives passes historic ‘sorry’ motion for the suffering of the stolen generations.

12 February – 42nd Parliament meets for the first time since the Rudd Government’s election win. Members of the House of Representatives sworn. Governor-General opens Parliament.

11 February – Assassination attempt on East Timor President, Jose Ramos Horta. He is flown to Darwin hospital in serious condition. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao escaped unhurt after a similar attempt on his life.

Grave warning by Reserve Bank in its quarterly statement of continued inflation risk.

5 February – Reserve Bank increases interest rates, the seventh since the 2004 election. PM Kevin Rudd and Treasurer, Wayne Swan blames the increase on the Howard Government.

Mitsubishi announces closure of its Adelaide car production plant after 27 years of operation.

At press conference with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith repeats the Australian Government’s decades old bipartisan policy of recognising only one China, the China with its Government in Beijing. Smith joins President Bush and UK PM Gordon Brown in condemning proposal for a referendum in Taiwan to seek separate membership of the United Nations.

31 January – US Federal Reserve cuts rates by 0.5%, twice as much as market anticipated. A modest market recovery resulted, but not nearly enough to wipe out the $160 billion slump in January alone.

23 January – Underlying inflation in December quarter surges to 3.4%, well above Reserve Bank's target of 2% - 3%. US Federal Reserve unexpectedly cuts interest rates 0.75%. Partial recovery on Australian stock market.

22 January – Australian stock market crashes 7%. Loses $96 billion.

20 January – Cabinet in Perth for first meeting of the year. Rudd holds community meeting with members of the public.

21 January – Rudd holds press conference after Cabinet meeting and outlines government’s plans to attack inflation, boost infrastructure with new advisory body, Infrastructure Australia.

14 January – Wayne Swan meets state and territory Treasurers and Health Ministers to discuss distribution of $150 m., first tranche of $600 m. federal package to reduce hospital waiting lists.

8 January – Treasurer Wayne Swan describes as “excessive” ANZ bank’s decision to increase its variable interest rate to borrowers by 0.2%, twice as high as the increase by NAB.

Cricket Australia buckles to Indian demands and sacks Jamaican Steve Buck following demands for his removal by Indian officials. Singh to appeal his sentence and will be able to play in all tests until appeal heard. Tour proceeds, but Indian cricket authorities emphasise they will be continuously monitoring the tour.

7 January – News breaks International Cricket Board suspended Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for three test matches. He was accused of calling Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds ‘monkey’ during second test in Sydney. Outrage in India. Indian cricket officials threaten to call off tour.


28 December – Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan. Fears country will be torn apart. Members of her party implicate the Pakistan government in the assassination. Widespread protests in the streets.

23 December – Rudd visits Afghanistan and tells Australian troops Australia is in Afghanistan for the long haul.

22 December – Rudd visits Iraq and tells troops of Australian attle group there will be no further rotation of troops. Is questioned by troops on why Australian troops in Afghanistan are receiving higher pay. No reply made public.

21 December – announcement that Peter Hendy, CEO of the Australian chamber of commerce and Industry (ACCI) is to become chief-of-staff to Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson.

Federal Court rules against actions of former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews in cancelling Dr. Mohamed Haneef’s Australian visa.

Japanese government announces it will not proceed with plans to kill humpback whales.

12 December – Federal Council of the Liberal Party meet. Despite speculation to the contrary, no move to try to force president, Chris McDiven, to retire before her term is up in 2008.

Rudd addresses Bali conference and gets ovation for signing Kyoto. Has a direct dig at US for not signing.

11 December – The Howards move out of Kirribilli.

9 December – Howard addresses annual conference of NSW Liberals in Sydney and assures them they can win the next state election. No apology for the loss of the election from the former PM who then departed to play golf before Brendan Nelson addressed the conference.

3 December – Rudd Ministry sworn in by Governor-General. First Cabinet meeting.

Nationals elect Warren Truss (Qld) and Leader, Senator Nigel Scullion (NT) as deputy Leader to Truss Leader and Leader in the Senate. Senator Ron Boswell (Qld) elected deputy Leader in the Senate.

29 November – Rudd announces Labor Govt’s ministry. Brendan Nelson defeats Malcolm Turnbull for Liberal Leadership by 45 votes to 42. Julie Bishop elected deputy Leader.

26 November – Mark Vaile announces he is standing down as Leader of the Nationals.

25 November – Costello announces he won’t be contesting the Leadership of the Liberals or deputy leadership.

24 November – Polling day. Newspoll says Labor two-party preferred shrunk 52-48.

Last Newspoll. Morgan close to result. Galaxy wrong and ACNielsen way out. An exit poll commissioned by Sky News accurately forecasts the winner and two-party preferred voting about half an hour before counting started.

Outcome was 53.41% Labor, 46.59% Coalition, resulting in a near landslide. Howard loses Bennelong and Turnbull wins handsomely in Wentworth.

23 November – Galaxy poll says Labor lead reduced two-party preferred 52-48.

20 November – Newspoll gives Labor two-party preferred lead of 54-46 on survey taken 17-

19 November – Peter Debnam, former NSW Liberal leader, attacks Howard’s failures on claimte change, dismisses clean coal and nuclear as options.

SEVEN network reveals Government refuses FOI application for details of 2005 submissions by PM&C on further Work Force changes.

18 November – United Nation’s International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) delivers final instalment of its global warming report, warning the world to adapt to ‘abrupt and irreversible’ climate change. The report calls for action and will be a key document for the UN Bali climate change meeting in December.

17 November – Auditor-General releases damning report on Coalition’s pork barrelling in advance of the 2004 election.

15 November – Auditor-General releases damning report on rorting of the $300 million Regional Partnerships Program by Howard Government Ministers. Mark Vaile retorts the attack was political and Parliament should consider stopping reports such as this being released in election campaign. He later recants and say he was sorry to have attacked the auditor.

Kevin Rudd’s campaign launch in Brisbane. Rudd’s additional promises only one quarter of Howard’s effort and Rudd paints himself as a responsible fiscal conservative.

ASIO watchdog, Inspector General of Intelligence an Security, Ian Carnell, to inquire into spy body after a NSW Supreme Court ruling that two of its agent had illegally and falsely kidnapped and imprisoned Izhar ul-Haque, who had terrorims charges against him thrown out. This followed the storm of criticism about the Federal Police actions in the Dr. Mohamed Haneef case.

13 November – Howard’s campaign launch in Brisbane and despite his claim in advance he would be ‘frugal’ he promises an additional $9 billion over four years.

7 November – Reserve Bank increases interest rates by 0.25%, the sixth rise since the 2004 election. It was also th first ever interest rate rise during an election campaign.

5 November – Galaxy poll taken at weekend has Labor two-party preferred on 54% (up 1%) on poll immediately after Howard launched his election campaign with a massive tax cut announcement.

2 November – Story breaks that Peter Garrett had what he called a jocular conversation at Melbourne airport with Sydney shock-jock Steve Price. The radio personality introduced himself to Garrett and then alleged Garrett said Labor would “change everything” once it govt into office. Howard seizes on this as admission Labor while copying government policies, would change them in office.

31 October – Tony Abbott attacks dying asbestos victim Bernie Banton, saying he is pulling a stunt in presenting a petition on subsidies for essential drugs. Abbott apologises and then arrives over half an hour late for a health debate with Shadow Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, at the National Press Club.

28 October – Laurie Oakes on the Sunday show quotes to Howard his claim on radio prior to the last election that he would keep interest rates at record lows.

27 October – Financial Review breaks story that Malcolm Turnbull tried and failed to persuade Cabinet to sign the Kyoto protocol.

23 October – Newspoll tells entirely different story to ACNielsen and Galaxy of previous week and has Labor increasing its two-party preferred lead.
Peter Costello debates Wayne Swan at press club. Most in Press Gallery call it a draw.
Howard throws $4 billion to pensioners, self-funded retirees and carers. Spokespersons say not enough.

21 October – Debate between Howard and Rudd. Pundits give debate to Rudd and NINE’s ‘worm’ gives it to Rudd 65% to 29%.

19 October –Galaxy has the two-party preferred as 53% Labor (down 3% on 21/23 September), 47% Coalition (up 3%). The ALP has lost only 1% of its vital primary, now on 45%. The Liberal primary is still low at 39% (up 3%). ACNielsen has Labor’s primary up 1% to 48% (since 4-6 October). TPP its ALP 54% (down 2%), 46% Coalition (up 2%). Labor still wins easily.
Rudd unveils his own tax plan similar to Howard’s but delays cuts for those on $180,000 to pay for family school costs including cost of a computer.

15 October – Newspoll (taken October 12-14) unchanged two-party preferred Labor 56% - Coalition 44%.
Howard and Costello jointly announce $34 billion in tax cuts starting next July and going through to 2010-11.

14 October – Howard announces election for November 24. Costello not present.

12 October – Howard unveils his campaign theme Australia: Stronger, Prosperous and Secure. Costello not present.

10 October – Rudd gives Foreign Affairs spokesman Robert McClelland a dressing down for saying Labor policy was against death sentence for Bali bombers. Too close to fifth anniversary of bombing.
Howard reveals he will use funding to states to force history to be a compulsory subject.

9 October – Australian soldier, Trooper David Pearce, killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

4 October – Malcolm Turnbull announces the Tasmanian pulp to proceed on conditions. Labor supports his decision.

1 October –Newspoll (taken 28-30 September) has the Labor lead two-party preferred higher at 56% Labor (up 1% in two weeks) and Coalition 44% (down 1%). The on-line calculator of the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green gives the Labor swing from the last election at 8.7%. This would give Labor 96 seats in the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

28 September – Morgan poll shows ALP primary vote at highest level since Rudd became Leader – 54% (up 4.5%) to the Coalition’s 36% (down 4%).

24 September – Howard unveils clean energy target of 15% of energy from clean sources (including nuclear and coal) by 2020.

20 September – Dirt flies at question time, which could be last day of sitting of the Parliament before an election. Heated debate over Labor raising question of whether Government leaked details of Rudd's medical record (including a heart valve operation) to the media.

18 September - Newspoll says Labor has a huge two-party preferred lead in NSW of 16%; in Vic an even bigger 20%; in SA 10% (where Rudd could win 5 seats); and Qld 4%. In WA, the Coalition leads by 2%. WA is the only state where Howard is the preferred PM, with a lead of 3% over Rudd.

12 September – Newspaper revelations in morning that Howard asked Downer to inquire of Cabinet ministers whether he should stand down. Downer tells ministers Howard is not sure whether he can win Bennelong or the election. All ministers present, except Abbott, agree Howard should go. Downer advises Howard of this, but Howard decides to stay on.

Liberal Party room meeting does not move against Howard’s leadership, despite much concern about the election outcome and ministers discussing Howard’s future.

Howard tells Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report he will retire “well into” his term for Costello to take over. Howard’s move is seen as making his job far harder in Bennelong.

6 September - Speaking Mardarin, Kevin Rudd welcomes Chinese President Hu Jintao.

4 September – Bush arrives for APEC in Sydney. A devastating Newspoll produced a two-party preferred lead by Labor of 14%, up 5% on a fortnight earlier.

28 August – Rudd announces a two year transition from Work Choices to Labor’s policy which will completely eliminate Australian Workplace Agreements on 1 January 2010.

21 August – Latest Newspoll shows Labor still with 10% two-party preferred lead.

20 August – Howard, in speech to Millennium Forum, unveils his policy of ‘aspirational nationalism’ in which the Federal Government would intervene if states are not doing their job. He said he was not interested in ‘states rights’.

19 August – Glenn Milne, in News Ltd papers, reports that Kevin Rudd went to a New York strip club four years ago. Rudd admits doing this and says it was a mistake. Polls in Sunday Telegraph shows only one quarter of respondents were against Rudd as a result.

14 August – Michael Brissenden, on 7.30 Report, reveals Peter Costello’s dinner with three journalists in 2005 when he talked about challenging Howard.

13 August – ACNielsen poll shows improvement for Coalition vote, but Labor still leads two-party preferred 55% (down 2% on a month earlier), to the coalition’s 45% (up 2%).

9 August – Kevin Harkins, Electrical Trades Union, withdraws as Labor candidate for Franklin after bitter campaign against him by retiring Labor MP for the seat, Harry Quick.

8 August – Reserve Bank increases interest rates by 0.25%, the fifth rise since the 2004 election.

7 August – Latest Newspoll shows Labor increasing lead.

6 August – News Ltd tabloids run story on damning report from Crosby-Textor, finding the PM is perceived as old and dishonest.

5 August – Liberal State Executive voted narrowly (11-9) to reverse pre-selection of Michael Towke for the seat of Cook.

3 August – Howard announces federal takeover of Mersey hospital in Devonport.

28 July – Haneef flies out of Australia to return to his family in Bangalore. Having said Haneef had to remove himself from Australia and still refusing to reverse his decision revoking Haneef’s visa, Andrews says the doctor’s sudden departure added to the suspicions about him.

30 July – John Brumby elected unopposed as Premier by Labor Caucus following the resignation of Steven Bracks.

27 July – Case against Haneef of assisting terror attacks in Glasgow collapses. Charges withdrawn. Immigration Minister Andrews says he should remove himself from the country.

26 July – Big slump on Wall St over the troubled US housing market.

25 July – Howard announces he will proceed with Murray-Darling basic plan despite Victoria refusing to sign up. Bracks says it was all ironed out when he met Malcolm Turnbull on 7 July implying Howard took a solo decision to create a crisis.

Inflation, according to the CPI, in the June quarter hits 1.2%

19 July – Fairfax press reveal savage criticism of Howard made by Costello in interview for new biography of Howard – 'John Winston Howard'.

17 July – Howard unveils plans for carbon trading, but no targets set till after the election. Howard appears on YouTube.

16 July – Indian doctor, Mohamed Haneef, granted bail but Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews revokes his visa and declares whatever the outcome of the court case, Haneef will be deported. Labor says it supports Andrews decision.

13 July – Howard defends himself from claims of extravagance in use of the VIP RAAF 737s which have an interior lined with expensive silk fabric. He denied suggestion he and his staff travelled in luxury and comfort and the accommodation was not as good as business class on a commercial jet.

12 July – Sydney Daily Telegraph (Howard’s favourite paper) runs page one story headed “Sydney walks away from the PM”.

11 July - The National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development (including representatives of BHP Billiton, Anglo Coal, Leighton Contractors and Macquarie Bank) declares the need for the government to set a greenhouse gas reduction target of cutting by 20% by 2020 and halving by 2050.

Rudd promises a Labor government will direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to inquire into supermarket grocery prices and monitor and publish prices. Costello dismisses this saying the Australian Bureau of Statistics monitors and publishes grocery prices (ignoring the fact that they are not supermarket prices. Downer sneers that Rudd wants to set the price of carrots. Farm groups urge Rudd to ensure farm products are monitored in Woolies and Coles.

Visiting Tasmania and interviewed on radio, Howard cannot remember the name of the Liberal candidate for Franklin, Vanessa Goodwin. Media immediately point out similar slips contributed to Kim Beazley’s downfall. Asked at a press conference can he remember her name Peter Costello immediately says he can, “its Vanessa GOOD …WIN (with heavy emphasis).”

10 July – The New York Times report’s White House advisers are debating whether President Bush should begin drawing down troops from Iraq as opposition to the war among Congressional Republicans mounts. The White House denies the story and John Howard declares “My very strong view is that the (US) Administration will remain on course with what it has previously said.”

5 July – Fair Pay Commission announces $10 a week pay rise for lowest paid workers.

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson on AM links oil to war in Iraq. Howard later denies oil had anything to do with invasion of Iraq.

Howard releases Defence update report and commits Australia to a continuing expeditionary force able to support the United States.

Rudd launches again calls for withdrawal from Iraq and launches new policy on the arch of instability to our north with an emphasis on economic rather than military tools.

3 July – Police, acting on information from British police, intercept a doctor (not an Australian citizen) who was about to board a flight from Brisbane airport for Asia. Galaxy poll shows 58% believe Howard is addressing problems in Aboriginal communities because of the coming federal election.

21 June – Howard announces plan to take over aboriginal affairs from NT Government, crack down on grog and make Government payments conditional on children being looked after. Rudd immediately says he supports the policy.

18 June – Howard announces policy on broadband.

Newspoll and ACNielsen polls show Government making little headway against Rudd.

13 June – Howard attacks Rudd over ACTU leaked manual telling volunteers how to attack Work Choices.

7 June – Jobless down to 4.2%, lowest rate in 32 years. Australian dollar hits an 18 year high of US84.67c.

6 June - National accounts for March quarter shows economic growth rise of 1.6% yet inflation still low.

1-3 June – Liberal Federal Council meets in Sydney. Howard steps up attack on Rudd on lines – ‘who do you trust’. Rudd’s target of 60% cut by 2050 a disaster, he says. PM won’t say what cap he will apply to emissions until next year.

1 June – Howard releases carbon trading task force report.

27 May – At a Rudd-Rein press conference Rein says she will sell her Australian business.

25 May – Rein flies back from London to confer with Rudd.

24 May – Therese Rein, Rudd’s wife, accused of depriving over 50 workers in her companies of rights for only 45c an hour recompense. Rudd explains it was previous management of the company involved which did this and she made restitution to workers. Rein then in London.

23 May – Howard unveils plan for continuation of a single desk wheat exporting system. Howard tells party room that if current polls are right the government will be annihilated at the election and he had “no rabbits to pull out of the hat.”

15 May – Latest Newspoll shows Coalition lost ground in first poll after Budget.

10 May – Rudd, in reply to the Budget, offers $2.4 billion for technical trades training at all high schools.

8 May – Costello introduces big spending Budget with tax cuts.

4 May – Howard announces backflip on AWA’s inserting new safety net to ensure compensation for workers giving up a range of standard benefits.

30 April – BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto publicly express hostility to abolition fog AWA’s as promised by Rudd and ALP platform.

28 April – Howard declares his government will embrace the nuclear industry.

28 April – ALP National Conference in Sydney votes unanimously for industrial relations platform sponsored by Kevin Rudd.

27 April – ALP National Conference opens in Sydney

23 April - Howard delivers 'Australia Rising' address on the future of Australia in Brisbane.

19 April – Howard says a report to COAG warns of grave consequences for agriculture if there is no good rain by the middle of May.

18 April – Rudd unveils his industrial relations package for the election.

10 April – Newspoll survey (January-March) reveals Labor leading in vital marginals seats two-party preferred with 58%, to Coalition’s 42%.

10 April – Howard announces 300 troops in a special operations task group will go to Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, joining about 400 Australian soldiers engaged in reconstruction, training and engineering projects. The task group will include commandoes and it will pursue the Taliban. Howard warns they will be in danger.

5 April – Treasurer Peter Costello, rejecting Treasury’s criticism of the government, echoes Turnbull’s view Treasury doesn’t know anything about water.

4 April The Financial Review reveals private speech by Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, to staff in which he criticises government for inferior policies on water and climate change because it failed to heed Treasury advice. Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says Treasury “doesn’t know anything about water.

30 March – David Hicks pleads guilty before a US military commission to a charge of providing material support for terrorism.

26 March – David Hicks sentenced to five years and nine months jail. His five years in Guantanamo Bay is to count as part of the term. He will spend the remainder of his sentence in Australia. Under his plea bargaining deal he cannot tell his story for 12 months. In Australia doubts are raised as to whether this can be enforced.

24 March – Iemma Labor Government comfortably returned in NSW state election.

21 March – Labor unveils joint government-private plan for a broadband build using $2 billion of Future Fund money.

20 March – Another bad Newspoll for Howard. Two-party preferred Labor 61%, Coalition 39%. Santoro announces he is resigning from the Senate forthwith.

16 March - Aged Minister, Santo Santoro, resigns his portfolio following revelations he engaged in a further 72 share deals without registering them on the Senate record of interests.

13 March – Howard signs a security agreement with Japan. Denies it's aimed at China.

12 March – Latest ACNielsen poll shows Labor racing away in the polls, and with 83% saying the attacks on Rudd over his meeting with Brian Burke made no difference to their views of the Opposition Leader.

9 March – Labor frontbencher, Kelvin Thomson, resigns as shadow minister for providing convicted drug trafficker Tony Mokbel with a reference to support his application for a liquor licence.

7 March – Financial Review breaks story days after lobbyist Brian Burke and Julian Grill doctored a state parliamentary report to favour their client, Precious Metals Aus, Liberal WA Senator Ross Lightfoot. He had previously under privilege made scathing attacks on Swiss mining group Xstrata’s treatment of PMA after he bought 1 million PMA options.

7 March – Garuda jet crashes in Indonesia killing a number of Australians.

6 March – Newspoll (taken 2-4 April) shows Coalition’s primary vote slid from 41% to 37% since the previous poll a fortnight earlier. The ALP primary is at 47% (up 1%), the highest since March 2001.

6 March – Cabinet approves Qantas bid by Airline Partners Australia with a deed of enforceable undertakings.

6 March – News breaks police have raided the offices of three Federal Liberals in Brisbane seats – Andrew Laming, Ross Vasta and Gary Hardgrave.

3 March – Human Services Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, resigns from Cabinet after admitting he had met with Burke in 2006. In an obvious deal Howard said a return to the Ministry for Campbell would not be excluded.

1 March – Government launches question time attack on Rudd on contacts with Brian Burke. At press conference Rudd admits he saw Burke three times in 2005 and says with hindsight it was a mistake.

25 February – Rudd announces TV personality Maxine McKew will be the ALP candidate in John Howard’s seat of Bennelong, where his margin is down to 4%.

23 February – At a Canberra meeting NSW, Qld, SA and the ACT agree to Howard’s water plan after PM makes concessions. Victoria still holds out.

22 February – Tony Blair unveils exit strategy for pullout of UK troops in Iraq.

20 February – Newspoll (taken 6-18 February) shows Rudd with a 10% lead over Howard as Preferred Prime Minister. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces banning of incandescent lights bulbs by 2010.

13 February – Howard accuses Rudd of “not having the guts” to say what would happen if the US pulled out of Iraq. Rudd challenges PM to national TV debate on Iraq. Howard declines.

12 February – Latest ACNielsen poll (taken 8-10 February) show Kevin Rudd at an all time high popularity level for an Opposition Leader at 65%. He also heads Howard as preferred Prime Minister.

11 February – Howard launches an attack on leading Democrats candidate for presidency of the United States, Senator Barack Obama who has pledged, if elected, to withdraw US forces from Iraq by March 2008.

8 February – At a meeting with Howard in Parliament House Premiers Rann, Beattie and Bracks refuse to sign up to handing over their constitutional powers on Murray-Darling water to the Commonwealth. Iemma agrees ‘in principle’ with Howard.

25 January – Howard announces a national water policy with a proposed takeover of the Murray-Darling basin by the Commonwealth.

24 January – December quarter CPI reveals inflation down 0.1%, the first fall for eight years and removes the immediate danger of an interest rate rise.

23 January – Howard announces reshuffle. Vanstone sacked, Turnbull and Hockey go into Cabinet.

22 January – Hilary Clinton announces she is running for the Democratic Party’s candidate for President.

17 JanuaryFinancial Review reveals Telstra has obtained sensitive internal documents from the ACCC by a freedom of information request. The documents, says Telstra general counsel Will Irving, will increase the likelihood of Telstra mounting a High Court case challenging the powers of the ACCC.

16 January – Australian Industrial Relations Commission rules that a large employer with 100 employees or more could sack a worker for “genuine operational reasons” without rising an unfair dismissal claim. The case involved Village Roadshow sacking a long standing employee after it closed a theatre at which he was working. Unfair dismissal claims only apply to firms with 100 or more employees.

11 January – President Bush announces an additional 21,500 troops will be sent to Iraq, mainly to counter the insurgency in Baghdad.


30 December – Saddam Hussein hung. His guards taunt him while noose is around his neck. Likened to a Klu Klux Clan lynching rather than the execution of a prisoner by a sovereign state. The affair is widely viewed as a public relations disaster for the Iraqi Government and the Americans who established it.

3 December – Kevin Rudd defeats Beazley 49 to 39 votes.

27 November – Cole commission report on AWB tabled by Howard.

14 November – High Court rules in favor of Government’s use of corporations power for Work Choices.

9 September – News breaks of nuclear test by North Korea.

14 August – Howard announces to press conference he will not proceed with bill on refugees resisted by party rebels and doomed to defeat in the Senate.

31 July – Howard announces he will take the Government to the next election. Costello sits tight.

10 July – Costello confirms McLachlan’s record is accurate. Howard denies there was a deal.

9 July – Glen Milne breaks story of Ian McLachlan’s note of conversation between Howard and Costello on 1994 deal. The note makes it clear Howard told Costello, when seeking his support as Opposition Leader, he would resign after one and a half terms of Parliament.

21 June – Liberal rebels in Government Party room refuse to back down on their resistance to new anti-Papuan immigration laws seen as a sop to Jakarta.

6 June – Cabinet decides to launch an inquiry into nuclear issues.

2 June – Howard announces dumping of plan to privatise Snowy Hydro.

27 May – Nationals Queensland Leader Lawrence Springborg announces his proposal for a merger with Liberals is off following its rejection by federal National colleagues.

24 May – Howard announces to Parliament Australian troops will go to Dili because of unrest.

23 May – Howard expounds on need for debate on nuclear powers.

18 May – Rupert Murdoch, visiting Australia is cranky with Government’s proposed media law changes. Murdoch advises Howard to quit while he is ahead.

26 April – Announcement of sale of Medibank and new smart card for those on benefits.

13 April – John Howard gives evidence to Cole royal commission on Australian Wheat Board kickbacks to Saddam Hussein regime. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mark Vaile, Minister for Trade gave evidence the previous day. All three say they knew nothing of kickbacks.

6 March – Simon Crean easily wins pre-selection for Hotham after criticising Kim Beazley for not backing his candidature.

23 January – Story breaks that Julian McGauran, a backbench National Party Senator from Victoria and brother of Howard Minister, Peter McGauran, is defecting to the Liberal Party. The National Party believes Peter Costello is implicated in winning him over to the Liberals.

Howard announces reshuffle of Ministry in which the Nationals lose a portfolio.

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