In 1983, twenty years ago, the trade situation was much different than that of today. The major export was still coal, but wool and beef featured much more prominently than they do today. Alumina and aluminium were notable exports, but had only been so for a few years. These observations reflect the trend of increasing mining exports and decreasing agricultural exports familiar to Australia in the last fifty years. This is a result of increased demand for mining commodities, and a drop in wool and beef prices. In 1983, the United Kingdom was still a major destination for Australian exports.

Twenty years later, however, and Japan is the major buyer of Australian goods. This is due to the development of Japan and other Asian countries over the last few decades, and the lessening of Australia's link with its parent country, England. Japan is also a major importer into Australia currently, along with the US. Two decades ago, the UK was again the major trading partner of Australia, but again, the fading connection between England and Australia has led to the decline of Australian imports from England.

The importing into Australia of manufactured goods has been a prominent one, and also was so in 1983. However, the continuous developing of new technologies has seen a rise in the amount of electronic goods imported. In 1983, the United Kingdom was still a major destination for Australian exports. Twenty years later, however, and Japan is the major buyer of Australian goods. This is due to the development of Japan and other Asian countries over the last few decades, and the lessening of Australia's link with its parent country, England.