– Nov 24 – Labor wins the federal election, toppling the Howard Government after nearly twelve years.
– Dec 3 – Kevin Rudd is sworn in as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan are appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer respectively. One of Rudd’s first acts as PM is to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
– White Paper on climate change released. The key recommendation is for the introduction of a emissions trading scheme (ETS).
– Dec 19 – Then Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson declares the Liberal Party has listened to the electorate following their crushing election defeat, saying ‘WorkChoices is dead’.
– Feb 8 – Last of the asylum seekers on Nauru arrive in Australia following the closure of the detention centre, ending the Howard Government’s controversial Pacific Solution.
– Feb 13 – Kevin Rudd uses the first order of business in parliament to read an apology to Indigenous Australians for the policy of forced removal of children in the early and mid 1900s, resulting in the creation of the Stolen Generation.
– March 27 – Ban on new Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) effectively spells the end of the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation.
– April 19 and 20 – Australia 2020 Summit held, where 1000 leading Australians discussed ten areas policy areas. Delegates called for a referendum on becoming a republic, and for a bill of rights.
– May 13 – First federal budget. Key points include introducing a tax on alcopops, raising the threshold for the medicare levy and increasing infrastructure spending.
– May 13 – Also during the Budget, the government announces it will scrap Temporary Protection Visas.
– Oct 12 – The Government guarantees all deposits in banks, building societies and credit unions in a bid to stop financial panic.
– Nov 24 – Senate passes same-sex law reforms which allow gay and lesbian defacto couples many of the same rights as straight couples. Rudd’s opposition to same-sex marriage remains, however.
– Feb 3 – The Government announces the second Household Stimulus Package of one-off bonus for low and middle-income households.
– April 29 – Rudd commits an extra 450 troops to fighting the war in Afghanistan.
– May 12 – Second federal budget. Key points include raising the old-aged pension and announcing a six-month extension of the first home-owners grant.
– July 28 – Australia ends its military presence in Iraq, following the 2003 Invasion of the country to topple dictator Saddam Hussein. A number of non-combatant troops remain in Iraq.
– Oct 20 – Rudd asks Indonesian President to intercept boat carrying suspected asylum seekers. The Opposition slams the government’s stance on asylum seekers, saying they are soft on immigration.
– Nov 16 – The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader apologise to the so-called Forgotten Australians for rampant abuse in state care.
– Nov 18 – Tamils aboard the Oceanic Viking finally agree to disembark in Indonesia, ending a standoff lasting weeks.