Latest Cabinet release


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Material drawn from the archival collection may contain terms that reflect authors’ views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded, but which may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of the National Archives of Australia. While information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in historical context.

Cabinet records created in the year 2002 became available to access on 1 January 2023.

These records offer an insight into John Howard's third term as prime minister.

Some of the big issues Cabinet discussed in 2002 were:

  • unauthorised arrivals
  • Bali terrorist attacks
  • Indonesia, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Bougainville
  • Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
  • Environment and resource policy
  • Rural and regional infrastructure
  • Media ownership laws
  • Timor Sea Treaty
  • Indigenous affairs, Reconciliation, health programs
  • Free trade agreements
  • Welfare reform
  • Offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea
  • Intergenerational report
  • Shipping reform
  • Millennium drought 

Where can I find the 2002 Cabinet records?

The 2002 Cabinet records are in these series:

Find out about the difference between submissions, decisions and files.

Can I read all of the 2002 Cabinet records?

All of the Cabinet records from 2002 are now eligible for access under the Archives Act. Like all Commonwealth records, we need to examine Cabinet records before making them available to the public.

Many Cabinet records from 2002 have already been examined and digitised. Every year journalists and the guest Cabinet historian assist in the selection of records for proactive digitisation and release based on their significance to shaping Australian history. You can view copies of these digitised records in our RecordSearch database. 

If the Cabinet record you want is not available online, you can usually still access it:

  • If the record has a status of 'open' or 'open with exception', you can order a digital copy or view the original record for free in our Canberra research centre.
  • If the record is 'not yet examined' or 'closed', you can apply to have the record examined for access. If we approve its release, the record's status changes to 'open' or 'open with exception' and it becomes available to view.

Background to these records

Associate Professor David Lee has provided an insight into the 2002 Cabinet papers.

Images from 2002