The America's Cup

Alan Bond's Australia II won the 1983 America's Cup challenge off Newport, Rhode Island, in 1983. This gave the Royal Perth Yacht Club the right to host the next challenge at Fremantle in 1987. As with other major international sporting events, Cabinet was called on to consider Commonwealth assistance for the 1987 challenge through direct financial support and other concessions. On 15 May 1984 Cabinet agreed to purchase Australia II from Alan Bond, but rejected a suggestion for a Commonwealth lottery to fund the challenge, on the grounds that lotteries were traditionally a source of revenue for the states. Cabinet also noted that Treasurer Keating proposed to reject, on policy grounds, a suggestion that donations to the 1987 challenge be tax deductible. On 30 July 1984 Cabinet decided to commit up to $30 million to the challenge, with expenditure being directed at maximising the benefits to the Australian people, in particular the people of Western Australia. Finance Minister John Dawkins (Member of the House of Representatives for Fremantle), the WA Minister for Administrative Services and the Mayor of Fremantle were designated as a coordinating committee (see A13977, 942). On 3 June 1985 Cabinet agreed in principle that defending syndicates which reached the elimination series would receive grants equal to sales tax and customs duty on items relating to the defence of the Cup. However this concession would not extend to imported food and liquor (see A14039, 2794 and 2955). Australia II became an exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour in Sydney, the establishment of which was approved by Cabinet as a bicentennial project on 30 July 1985 (see A14039, 2974). Australia II was transferred to Fremantle for display in 2000.

Selected documents

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemDecision 3242, 15 May 1984, Without submission, Purchase of Australia II and America’s Cup defence1984–85NAA: A13979, 3242

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