Each year on Western Australia Day, the State Records Office releases to the public State Cabinet records that have been kept secret for 30 years. In 2019, Cabinet records from 1988 will be released. To assist in accessing these records, the State Records Office has made an online guide available.
On February 25, 1988, Brian Burke retired as Western Australia’s Premier and from politics, as did his deputy Mal Bryce on the same day. Peter Dowding succeeded Mr Burke as Premier and the then Governor, Professor Gordon Reid, swore in 17 Ministers to a new State Cabinet, including a then record number of four women.
Some of the fascinating Cabinet documents to be released include:
- Logistical considerations for 1988 Australian Bicentennial celebrations;
- A report, prompted by a riot, recommending major improvements in living conditions and facilities in Fremantle Prison;
- Improvements to residential care facilities for aged and disabled people;
- Proposals for an exclusive bus lane on the Kwinana Freeway;
- Redevelopment of the Old Swan Brewery located on Mounts Bay Road;
- An interim inquiry into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody;
- Implementation of Australia’s first Seniors Card;
- Discussions on the appropriateness of drunkenness still being an offence;
- A Western Australian women’s employment strategy and a women’s sport foundation were explored; and
- Incitement to racial hatred was considered by Cabinet for the first time.
The guide to the 1988 State Cabinet records can be viewed on the State Records Office’s website.
Source: WA Government