Kerry Smith

For nearly seven years, the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy has guarded the Kuradji man burial site, artefacts and middens at Sandon Point at the bottom of Bulli Pass, in the northern Illawarra. Planning minister Frank Sartor, using recently legislated powers, has given approval to Stockland and the Anglican Retirement Village Trust for a huge development the size of a suburb on the site.
A four-day rooftop protest by three detainees at Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre ended peacefully on August 21. The three detainees — New Zealand men Montana Kelly, 27, and Bruce Ngaromo, 32, and 30-year-old Vietnamese man Van Nguyen — scaled the roof in protest at the cancellation of some visiting and excursion rights after a detainee failed to return from day leave.
On August 17, Ali Humayun, a Pakistani gay man locked up in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, received a report from the federal ombudsman recommending he be released into the general community while he waits for the High Court to hear his appeal against a decision by a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) to reject granting him refugee status.
In an August 2 media release, Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) announced that it rejects “any suggested implication that demonstrating against the injustices of globalisation and war means support for violence”. The MUA statement was made in response to a NSW police training video for the September APEC summit that featured footage of MUA officials participating in legal non-violent protests.
In a July 26 media statement, the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR) in Australia expressed its concern at threats by the Indonesian military (TNI) to use militia groups against “separatists” in West Papua.
Thousands of people rallied on July 13 and 14 around Australia during NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week. Around 400 people gathered in Brisbane on July 14. Speakers from as far away as the Torres Strait Islands spoke out against Howard’s invasion of the Northern Territory, Aboriginal deaths in custody, inequality in health and housing, and the Beattie government’s plans to forcibly amalgamate councils. New Zealand activist Julia Espinoza spoke about Maori solidarity with Aboriginal people.
On July 5, anti-war activist Peter McGregor confronted Attorney-General Philip Ruddock at a University of NSW symposium and served him with a warrant for war crimes. Police arrested McGregor, a retired academic from Newcastle, and charged him with “unlawful entry on inclosed lands”. The warrant charged Ruddock, along with PM John Howard, foreign minister Alexander Downer and defence minister Brendan Nelson with crimes including “Planning, preparing, initiation or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances”.
On June 28, the Unions NSW council meeting adopted a motion expressing “support and solidarity with the Saharawi people in their struggle for freedom and independence. Unions NSW strongly condemns the gross violations of human rights carried out by the Moroccan regime against Saharawis, including students, workers and human rights activists in the occupied areas.”
Striking workers at the Esselte Australia warehouse in Minto have described as “unrelenting” their employer’s tactics in attempting to force them to sign individual contracts (AWAs).
Disability support worker Joanne Ball will appear before a local court on June 22 on charges of obstruction and interferring with a police officer during the February protest against the visit to Sydney by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

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