The fact that the NSW Labor governments World Youth Day laws which would have made annoying Catholic pilgrims during WYD activities a crime punishable by fines of up to $5500 was a failed attempt to silence criticisms of the Catholic Church was brought home when WYD organiser Bishop Anthony Fisher effectively dismissed criticism of the churchs handling of cases of child sexual abuse by clergy.
A spirited rally of 1500 people protesting against the popes reactionary policies took place on July 19 against the backdrop of an important civil liberties victory in the courts.
Each year, National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week, July 6-13, celebrates Indigenous history and culture, with events taking place in regional and urban places. Organisers say a record number of people took place this year.
Five months into its term the Rudd government delivered on one of its pre-election promises and ended the Temporary Protection Visa program. The TPV program was hatched by the ultra-racist Pauline Hanson and introduced by the Howard government in 1999. It placed successful asylum seekers on three year temporary visas, having to endure the horror of being reviewed and possibly deported after three years.
After more than three years of detention, on May 16 Ali Beg Humayun was told by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship he had been granted permanent residency.
At least 100 Indigenous people were arrested in Alice Springs during “military-style” police raids on the evening of April 3, according to an April 4 media release issued jointly by Vince Forrester, an elder of the Mutitjulu community at the base of Uluru, Greg Eatock from the Sydney-based Aboriginal Rights Coalition and Marlene Hodder from the Alice-based Intervention Rollback Working Group.
The March 25 Sydney Morning Herald reported that the site of a planned supermarket development in the northern NSW town of Moree is an Indigenous burial site.
The Melbourne Age reported on February 27 that child abuse charges against an Indigenous woman from the NT had finally been dropped after two years. The womans son has still not been returned to her by Family and Childrens Services Northern Territory (FACS), however.
The February 1 West Australian newspapers website reported that police refused to reveal the results of a post-mortem examination on the body of an Aboriginal elder who died in police custody while being taken to Kalgoorlie in the back of a van.
An Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) spy told a NSW Supreme Court judge on December 4 that Australian counter-terrorist authorities had no evidence that Mamdouh Habib had engaged in terrorist-related activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan before he was abducted by US authorities in October 2001.