Thousands of never-before-seen cabinet papers detailing 226 decisions made by the Australian government in 1998 and 1999 were released on January 1 by the National Archives. The papers reveal the Howard government considered a limited form of Recognition.
The bundles of documents reveal the Goods and Services tax,the republic referendum and the push for East Timor's independence dominated the Howard government’s second term in office.
The late 90s Cabinet signed off on John Howard personally drafting the proposed preamble to the constitution, which was eventually defeated in the 1999 republic referendum.
Drafts controversially included the term “mateship” and referred to Indigenous Australians as the nation’s first “occupants” rather than “owners”.