National Archives display uncovers Cabinet secrets

Media release: Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The National Archives of Australia announces Out of the Cabinet, a new changing display to highlight the amendments to the open period in Cabinet records.

On 1 January each year, under the Archives Act 1983, the Archives releases Cabinet records as they come into the open period. A recent change to the Act has resulted in the open period being gradually reduced, so that by 2020 records will be 20 years old when they are released, rather than the original 30.

Through a series of essays, accompanied by a display of the original Cabinet documents, Out of the Cabinet is an in-depth and at times humorous look at particular policy decisions.

"Cabinet records reflect the decisions made at the highest levels of government. Few documents cover such a broad sweep of Australian history and touch the lives of so many Australians," said Anne Lyons, Assistant Director-General Access and Communication.

"Australia has one of the most liberal and accountable archival access regimes in the world. Out of the Cabinet can be explored online or by visiting the changing selection of documents from 1980 and 1981 in the National Office in Canberra," she said.

Through April and May 2011, Out of the Cabinet examines the 1981 decision by the Fraser government to join the United States' boycott of the Olympic Games to punish Russia for the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The Cabinet documents on display reveal the financial compensation the boycott-supporting athletes Raelene Boyle and Tracey Wickham received for their shattered dreams, and the concerns of the Cabinet that this compensation could be seen as a bribe.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017