1994 and 1995 – Keating government

PM Paul Keating and US President Bill Clinton during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, 1994.
(NAA: A8746, KN22/11/94/28)

Paul Keating was sworn in as Australia's 24th Prime Minister on 20 December 1991 after narrowly defeating Bob Hawke in a Labor Caucus ballot for party leadership. He held office until 11 March 1996.

The first Keating Ministry served until the general election on 13 March 1993. Following a win, the second Keating Ministry was sworn in on 24 March 1993 and served until 11 March 1996.

1994–1995 Cabinet records

Submissions

Most Cabinet business is conducted on the basis of formal submissions. As far as possible, submissions are circulated to all ministers before meetings. 
Cabinet submissions once lodged may be withdrawn by their originating department or Minister. This could happen because:

  • they were overtaken by events (such as a forthcoming election)
  • the length of time that had elapsed since lodgment without being listed for consideration indicated that the matter was not a priority, or
  • the Cabinet Office returned them as they did not comply with technical requirements (for example, there had been inadequate consultation).

In such cases all copies, other than a master copy retained by the Cabinet Office, were required to be returned to the originating department. Withdrawn submissions are not always found in the folders of submissions but can usually be found in the relevant Cabinet Office file.

During 1994 and 1995, the Keating Cabinet considered 632 submissions.

This series is registered by the National Archives as A14217.

Memoranda

Cabinet memoranda provided a means – other than a formal Cabinet submission – by which a minister could, with the prior consent of the Prime Minister, place a matter before Cabinet. 

Cabinet was concerned that the submission should remain the main vehicle by which matters were placed before it. Cabinet memoranda, though, would allow for the presentation to Cabinet of supplementary or other factual information not contained in an original submission, or additional information on a matter specifically called for by Cabinet.

Memoranda were in a format specifically prepared for presentation to Cabinet, and included recommendations, making it more straightforward for Cabinet to reach a decision. They were registered and copies retained by the Cabinet Office. Where a memorandum resulted in a decision by Cabinet, a copy of the decision is attached to the memorandum. 

During 1994 and 1995 the Keating Cabinet considered 424 memoranda.

Memoranda considered by the first Keating ministry are held with submissions in series A14217.

Decisions

Cabinet decisions, also known as Cabinet minutes, are the essential documented output of the Cabinet process and record the course of action to be taken on a matter following deliberation by Cabinet. 

Although much Cabinet business was conducted on the basis of submissions or memoranda, the Prime Minister could decide to raise, or allow a colleague to raise, a matter without formal documentation. In such cases, the Cabinet decision is the only formal record of such deliberations. Even after the introduction of the Cabinet memoranda process many decisions continued to be made with no supporting documentation. 

As with submissions and memoranda, Cabinet decisions were allocated a unique number in sequence. Where a decision was made as a result of Cabinet deliberation on a submission or memorandum, a copy of the decision is held with this document. However, it was not uncommon for decisions to be made with no supporting documentation and these are referred to as 'decisions without submission'. 

During 1994 and 1995 the Keating Cabinet made 809 decisions without submission or memorandum. 

The series of decisions of the Keating Cabinet (A14218) contain both the decisions made on a submission or memorandum and those made without a submission or memorandum.

Cabinet Office files

Cabinet Office files contain the originals of the submissions, memoranda and related decisions. They also contain departmental advice and exchanges between officials and ministers not included in the formal Cabinet papers. There is a Cabinet Office file for most submissions and memoranda. 

Files containing papers considered by the Keating Cabinets in 1994 and 1995 are held in series A11117.

Cabinet files of interest from 1994 and 1995 can be identified through the Archives' collection database, RecordSearch, where an application for access can also be submitted online.

Departmental records

The detailed background papers and earlier drafts of the Cabinet papers can be found on the files of the department that sponsored each Cabinet submission. These papers reveal the detailed deliberations of the Public Service on the topic, and often include the opinions and guidance of the responsible minister. Records can be identified through RecordSearch.

Release of the 1994 and 1995 Cabinet records

On Tuesday 5 December 2017, following an event at the National Press Club, Canberra, the Archives provided accredited media representatives with embargoed access to 250 key Cabinet records of the Keating government in 1994 and 1995 in advance of their public release under the Archives Act 1983 on 1 January 2018.

Walkely Award-winning journalist and National Press Club President Chris Uhlmann was the MC of the event.

The Hon Kim Beazley AC, former Deputy Prime Minister in the Keating government spoke at the event providing context and insight into the issues, events and personalities of 1994 and 1995.

An essay written by Archives' Cabinet Historian, Professor Nicholas Brown provided context to matters considered by Cabinet in 1994 and 1995.

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC

Mr Beazley was elected to the Federal Parliament in 1980, serving in a variety of portfolios in both the Hawke and Keating Labor governments including Aviation, Defence, Employment Education and Training, Finance, and Transport and Communications. In 1995 and 1996 Mr Beazley was Deputy Prime Minister and he served as Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1996–2001 and again from 2005–06.

In December 1993 Mr Beazley was appointed as Minister for Finance and continued in that role for the term of the Keating government. Mr Beazley retired from politics in October 2007.

Mr Beazley was Ambassador to the United States of America from February 2010 to January 2016. Upon returning to Australia he was appointed as President of the Australian Institute for International Affairs, Co-Chairman of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue and Distinguished Fellow at both the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Perth USAsia Centre.

In 2009, Mr Beazley was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Parliament of Australia.

Cabinet members and committees

Newly sworn-in members of the second Keating Cabinet outisde Government House, Canberra, 25 March 1994. (NAA: A13966, 940265)

Cabinet ministers

Members of the Keating Cabinets in 1994 and 1995 are listed below. A number of these Cabinet ministers have transferred collections of personal records to the National Archives. Further details about the records collections held by the Archives can be found by selecting the links in the following lists.

NameRole
Keating, The Hon Paul John

Prime Minister

Howe, The Hon Rev Brian LeslieDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Community Services, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Human Services, Minister for Housing and Regional Development.
Evans, Senator the Hon Gareth John, QCMinister for Foreign Affairs.
Willis, The Hon RalphTreasurer
Beazley, The Hon Kim ChristianDeputy Prime Minister (from 20 June 1995), Minister for Finance.
Richardson, Senator the Hon Graham FrederickMinister for Health (to 25 March 1994), Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories (to 25 March 1994).
Ray, Senator the Hon Robert FrancisMinister for Defence
Kelly, the Hon Roslyn (Ros) JoanMinister for Environment, Sport and Territories (to 1 March 1994), Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women (to 1 March 1994).
Cook, Senator the Hon Peter Francis SalmonMinister for Trade (to 30 January 1994), Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development (from 30 January 1994 to 25 March 1994), Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (from 25 March 1994). Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Science (from 25 March 1994).
Bolkus, Senator the Hon NickMinister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
Crean, the Hon Simon FindlayMinister for Employment, Education and Training
Griffiths, the Hon Alan Gordon

Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development (to 23 January 1994).

Collins, Senator the Hon Robert Lindsay AOMinister for Primary Industries and Energy.
McMullan, Senator the Hon Robert FrancisMinister for the Arts and Administrative Services (to 30 January 1994), Minister for Trade (from 30 January 1994), Minister for Administrative Services (from 30 January 1994 to 25 March 1994).
Brereton, the Hon Laurence JohnMinister for Transport.
Lavarch, the Hon Michael HughFederal Attorney-General 1993-1996
Lee, the Hon Michael JohnMinister for Tourism, Minister for Communications (to 30 January 1994), Minister for Communications and the Arts (from 30 January 1994).
Faulkner, Senator the Hon John PhilipMinister for the Environment, Sport and Territories (from 25 March 1994), Minister for Sport and Territories (from 1 March 1994 to 25 March 1994), Minister for Veteran's Affairs (to 25 March 1994), Minister for Defence Science and Personnel (to 25 March 1994).
Lawrence, the Hon Dr Carmen MaryMinister for Human Services and Health (from 25 March 1994). Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women (from25 March 1994).
Baldwin, The Hon Peter JeremyMinister for Social Security.

Cabinet committees

The following Cabinet committees were active in 1994 and 1995. The abbreviation for a particular committee may follow a decision number, which occurs in the list of submissions, memoranda and decisions, indicating the committee of Cabinet that made the decision.

Cabinet committeeAbbreviation
Ad Hoc CommitteeAd Hoc
Expenditure Review CommitteeER
General Policy CommitteeGPC
Native Title CommitteeNTC
Parliamentary Business CommitteePB
Republic CommitteeRC
Revenue CommitteeREV
Structural Adjustment and Trade CommitteeSATC
Social Policy CommitteeSP
White Paper Ad Hoc committeeWP AD

It was usual for decisions made by an Ad Hoc Committee to bear the suffix 'Ad Hoc'.

Cabinet record selection

A list of key Cabinet records selected by media representatives, the Archives' Cabinet historian and the Archives is available in Related links. The documents have been selected from the submissions and memoranda of the Keating Cabinet (series A14217) and are grouped alphabetically under subject headings.

The complete list of submissions and  memoranda (A14217), decisions (A14218), as well as the related Cabinet Office files for the Keating Cabinet (series A11117), can be identified using RecordSearch. Where a record is not already available for public access an application for access can be submitted online.

Cabinet records withheld from public access

Under the Archives Act 1983, Commonwealth records are available for public access when they reach the open access period unless they contain information that falls into certain exemption categories defined in section 33 of the Act. Before the Archives releases records for public access they are examined, sometimes in consultation with other government agencies, to ensure they do not contain information requiring exemption.

The 250 Cabinet records selected by the Archives' Cabinet historian and the media have been examined by the Archives. Most – 226 records – have been wholly released for public access.

Some information in a further 24 Cabinet records has been withheld from public access. These items are noted as 'OWE' – open with exception.

The reasons for exemption of information from public access under the various categories of section 33 of the Archives Act 1983, is also noted in the table below. Information has been exempted because its disclosure:

  • would damage Australia's security, defence or international relations – s33(1)(a)
  • would be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of legal professional privilege and its disclosure would be contrary to the public interest – 33(2)(a)(b)

Aboriginal Affairs

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Racial hatred legislation – Decisions 3018 and 34221994A14217, 1710OWE 33(2)(a)(b)
Racial hatred legislation – Decisions 34221994A14217, 1876OWE 33(2)(a)(b)
Native title offshore – potential existence – Decision 42921995A14217, 2286OWE 33(2)(a)(b)

Broadcasting and Media

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Report on consultations with the media on D-notices – Decision 4607/SEC1995A14217, 2434OWE 33(1)(a)

Defence

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Defence exports: new directions – new implications – Decisions 2655/GP and 26621994A14217, 1524OWE 33(1)(a)

Foreign affairs

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
1994-1995 Budget: Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio synopsis – Decision 2621/WP1994A14217, 1431OWE 33(1)(a)
Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio synopsis – No Decision1995A14217, 1952OWE 33(1)(a)
Timor Gap Treaty – report on International Court of Justice (ICJ) case – Decision 41311995A14217, 2243OWE 33(1)(a)

Immigration

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Measures to address repeat applications for refugee status in Australia – Decisions3517/SP and 35711994A14217, 1884OWE 33(2)(a)(b)

Law Enforcement and legal issues

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Progress report on the establishment of closer relations between the Australian Intelligence Community and Law-enforcement Agencies – Decision 4170/SEC1995A14217, 2268OWE 33(1)(a)

Security and intelligence

Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number and control symbolReason for exemption from public access under the Archives Act
Guidelines for exchange of information between the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) and law-enforcement agencies – Decision 2833/SEC1994A14217, 1645OWE 33(1)(a)
Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security (SCIS) report on the Finance Report on the Australian Intelligence and Security Agencies (AISA) Budgets and Forward Estimates for the period 1994-1995 to 1997-1998 – Decision 2835/SEC1994A14217, 1646OWE 33(1)(a)
[Title exempt] – Decision 3502/SEC1994A14217, 1763OWE 33(1)(a)
The Foreign Intelligence Planning Document 1994 – Decision 3503/SEC1994A14217, 1902OWE 33(1)(a)
The Security Intelligence Planning Document 1994 – Decision 3504/SEC1994A14217, 1903OWE 33(1)(a)
Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security (SCIS) report to Ministers on the activities of the Intelligence and Security Agencies 1993-1994 Decision 3456/SEC1994A14217, 1904OWE 33(1)(a)
Protection of visiting dignitaries – Decisions 3663, 3691/ER and 4002.1995A14217, 2005OWE 33(1)(a)
Government response to the Commission of Inquiry into Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) – Decision 4165/SEC1995A14217, 2167OWE 33(1)(a)
Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security (SCIS) report to Ministers on the Finance Report on the Australian Intelligence and Security Agencies budgets and forward estimates for the period 1995-1996 to 1998-1999 Decision 4169/SEC1995A14217, 2169OWE 33(1)(a)
Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security (SCIS) report to Ministers on the National Foreign Intelligence Assessment Priorities 1995 – Decision 4168/SEC1995A14217, 2170OWE 33(1)(a)
Tabling of the Government response to the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) – Ministerial statement – Decision 4166/SEC1995A14217, 2267OWE 33(1)(a)
Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security (SCIS) Report to Ministers on the activities of the Intelligence Security Agencies in 1994-1995 – Decision 4605/SEC1995A14217, 2433OWE 33(1)(a)
Australian Government Electronic Security – Decision 4608/SEC1995A14217, 2436OWE 33(1)(a)
Australia's security environment 1995 – Decision 4609/SEC1995A14217, 2437OWE 33(1)(a)

Further information

Personal records

The Archives also holds collections of personal records deposited by people who have been closely associated with the Australian Government in an official capacity, such as governors-general, prime ministers and ministers. These records may include official Commonwealth records as well as private or personal records. Commonwealth records in these collections are subject to the access provisions of the Archives Act 1983. From 1 January 2018 records created in 1994 and 1995 will enter the open access period. Access to non-Commonwealth records in personal records collections is determined by the depositor.

The Archives holds personal records collections deposited by Paul Keating, as well as other members of Cabinet. Further details about the personal records collections of Keating government ministers can be found by selecting the links in the lists of Cabinet ministers 1994 and 1995.

The Archives' Australia's Prime Ministers website also provides information about the careers of Australia's prime ministers and is illustrated with unique records and photographs from the Archives' collection.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018