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Independent Nauru Nauru gained independence from Australia and special member status in the British Commonwealth. Australia, New Zealand and Britain handed over their joint control of the local phosphate industry in Moratorium protest A major demonstration in the ongoing campaigns against the war in Vietnam ended in violence. Crowds outside the United States consulate in Melbourne were charged by mounted police. Prime Minister John Gorton had announced in February that no further Australian troops would be sent to Vietnam, but men were already fighting there.

The postman calls once Twice-daily mail deliveries, an urban standard since Federation, ceased around Australia. The previous year the national postcode system had been introduced to facilitate sorting large volumes of mail. Full wages For the first time Aboriginal workers on Northern Territory pastoral stations earned full wages. The award wage entitlement was later extended to all Indigenous employees of the Commonwealth government. Almost equal pay After decades of campaigning, women workers were granted equal pay rates with men doing comparable work. Men on the moon When two United States astronauts stepped onto the moon, millions of viewers around the world watched on television.

The signals were sent from Parkes to Sydney by microwave, and then relayed as television signals to the ABC studios at Gore Hill in Sydney, and then to Houston, Texas for the international telecast. The Indian-Pacific completed The final section of the transcontinental railway was rebuilt to a standard gauge.

Preparations then began for the service enabling passengers to cross the continent without changing trains at State borders. Coming home Prime Minister John Gorton announced that a withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam would commence the following year. Changing to metric A Metric Conversion Board was established to implement a gradual transfer from imperial to metric weights and measures.

Uranium discovered A rich uranium deposit was reported at Nabarlek in the Northern Territory. Prime Minister John Gorton warned two weeks later that any foreign takeover would be prevented if necessary by legislation. Second moratorium The second Vietnam moratorium also involved massive rallies around Australia.

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In November a battalion returning after its tour of duty was not replaced. This was the beginning of the reduction in Australian forces in Vietnam. Being counted Senator Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal parliamentarian. He was nominated by the Queensland Liberal Party for a vacant Senate seat.

Indigenous people were included in the national census for the first time in , following the amendment to the Constitution. By the time the last men had returned home in , more than 46, Australian personnel had served in Vietnam, with wounded and dead. Dinner at the White House At an official dinner with President and Mrs Nixon at the White House, the prime ministerial couple attracted international attention. Though police removed it several times, it was replaced until February A second tent embassy, opened on the same site in January , still stands in front of Old Parliament House.

Gough Whitlam and deputy Lance Barnard were sworn in to comprise the first ministry until a Cabinet was chosen. Department of Aboriginal Affairs One of the early reforms of the new Whitlam government was upgrading the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to ministerial level. This fulfilled an election promise designed to meet the responsibilities allocated by the Referendum.

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This was one of the few Bills of the Australian parliament enacted by the monarch personally, rather than by the Governor-General as vice-regal authority. Governing the continental shelf The Sea and Submerged Lands Act extended Australian territorial seas from three to twelve miles. This gave the Commonwealth sovereignty of the sea and sovereign rights to resources to the extent of the continental shelf.

Australia was a signatory to United Nations Conventions in and recognising national rights to territorial seas beyond the three-mile limit, mainly to enable member nations to protect their fishing grounds. One sought to give the Commonwealth Parliament power to make laws with respect to prices, and the second with respect to incomes. Saturday closing Official post offices ended Saturday opening. On 1 July Saturday mail deliveries ceased.

On the same date two statutory corporations, the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunications Commission were established, replacing the Postmaster-General's Department. Referendum Australian voters rejected four proposals related to simultaneous elections in the House and Senate, allowing electors in territories to vote at referendums, determining the average size of electorates in each state, and giving the Commonwealth Parliament powers to borrow money for any local government body. Territories get Senate seats The Senate was expanded to 64 seats when two Senate seats each were assigned to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

This legislation was challenged in the High Court, and upheld. Cyclone Tracy On Christmas Eve 65 people lost their lives when a cyclone destroyed 90 per cent of homes in Darwin. Residents were without shelter, power, transport or water and sewerage services. Acting Prime Minister Jim Cairns ordered the evacuation of the population. The following April an Australian embassy opened in North Korea.

On 30 October , North Korea withdrew its embassy from Canberra and on 6 November expelled the staff of the Australian embassy in Pyongyang. Under the new regime, North and South Vietnam were unified. Saigon, the southern capital became Ho Chi Minh City.

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Law rules The Racial Discrimination Act enacted, outlawing discrimination on the grounds of race. The new Court came into operation on 6 January Independence Day Papua New Guinea became independent, ending remaining Australian responsibilities in the self-governing country. Treaty of Friendship The Australia-Japan Treaty of Friendship was signed, confirming the important trade relations between the two nations. The jurisdiction of the Court included the areas previously covered by the Industrial Court and the Bankruptcy Court.

It also heard appeals from State and Territory courts in specific federal matters. Referendum Of the four proposals put to voters at this referendum, only three were carried. These related to Senate casual vacancies, giving residents of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the right to vote in constitutional elections, and retirement of federal judges.

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The rejected fourth proposal related to the introduction of simultaneous elections. Gleneagles agreement At a meeting in Scotland, Commonwealth countries affirmed opposition to racial discrimination in sport and insisted that South Africa must lift apartheid to compete in the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Edmonton in Canada that year. Ombudsman The first Commonwealth Ombudsman took office.

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The Ombudsman has responsibility to investigate complaints about administrative decisions and make recommendations for remedy. Uranium The Fraser government approves the mining and export of uranium. It was established to provide multilingual broadcasting and television services.

Regular transmissions began on 24 October Land rights in the Northern Territory The proclamation of the Northern Territory Land Rights Act in enabled traditional owners to claim unalienated land. The Act provided for a Commission to hear claims and with power to grant a limited title. This was the first Australian law enabling claims to traditional ownership to be judged.

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Northern Territory self-government The Northern Territory achieved limited self-government, with a fully elected Legislative Assembly. This followed 67 years of federal administration, after 50 years of government by South Australia. In October the first stage of the Great Barrier Reef marine park proclaimed. Its role was to advise the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs on the settlement of refugees. Large numbers of Indo-Chinese refugees had become a challenge for receiving countries like Australia. Australian Institute of Sport The Minister for Home Affairs announced the establishment of a national institute of sport. It began as a public company with 95 per cent funding from the government. The federal government had taken control of these waters in Saving the whale Enactment of a Whale Protection Act, following strong lobbying for the end of whaling in Australian waters. The desktop computer The first personal computers went on sale. Human rights Human Rights Commission Act enacted, providing for a body to promote and protect human rights in line with all United Nations instruments ratified by Australia.

Razor Gang report The final report of a committee set up to review government function recommended the abolition of a number of agencies and reduction of others. Falklands War Australia lifted a ban on imports from Argentina after Britain defeated Argentina in the 3-month war in the Falklands Islands. Double dissolution Malcolm Fraser announced a double dissolution of parliament. Economic summit In an early example of his consensus approach, Prime Minister Bob Hawke called a meeting of leaders of business, government and trades unions.

The meeting discussed economic strategy, the approach to unemployment and inflation, and a prices and incomes accord. It was the first challenger to remove the year old trophy from the United States. Floating the dollar The Hawke government deregulated the Australian dollar. Instead of the Reserve Bank determining its value, the international money market set the exchange rate.

Medicare The Medicare health scheme began operating. It replaced the Medibank scheme with one financed by a 1 per cent levy on incomes. Indigenous promotion Charles Perkins became the first Indigenous person to head a Commonwealth department. He was appointed Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. This followed a decade of ongoing debate, a national opinion poll in , and a plebiscite in The Commission reported on 5 December The arrangement required a lease-back to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and joint management by members of the local Mutijulu community and the service.

Referendum Voters rejected two proposals at this referendum, one related to the terms of senators and the other to interchange of powers between the Commonwealth and states. Espionage uncovered The records of the Royal Commission on Espionage were made public under the new Archives Act Australia Acts Australian law became independent of British parliaments and courts.

Seven laws enacted by the States, British government and the final one by the Commonwealth government, severed a constitutional tie to Britain.