A snap candlelight vigil was held on April 20 against PM John Howard's proposal to ban refugees and migrants with HIV/AIDS from entering Australia. The protest, attended by around 100 people, was organised by National Union of Students queer officer Peter Johnson and endorsed by the Queer Students Network, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) Sydney and the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC).
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle told the protest the proposal "clearly sends a message of discrimination" and that "Asylum seekers are continually ruled out before they are even deemed asylum seekers".
CAAH's Rachel Evans told Green Left Weekly that "Currently Australia is spending $50 million on Christmas Island to turn it into another Guantanamo Bay. We could be using this money to adequately fund solutions to the HIV/AIDS crisis."
Richard Jones from Amnesty International told Green Left Weekly that 25 million people in Africa currently don't have access to adequate medical treatment and that Howard's proposal would be excluding many from accessing adequate health care. "Internationally people are now faced with whether they leave behind their family to escape more torture or stay with their family and go through more torture. It's not people we should be targeting. It's the disease we should be targeting."