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The 1967 referendum on Aboriginal rights — in which more than 90% voted in favour of including Aboriginal people in the census and giving the federal government the power to override racist state laws and legislate for Aboriginal people — has “enormous importance for Aboriginal people and our struggle”, Queensland Indigenous leader Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly.
Some 250 people heard from Terry Hicks, father of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, at a May 19 public meeting organised by the Stop the War Coalition. The meeting was also addressed by academic Tim Anderson, Omar Merhi (brother of one of the Muslim men being held in Barwon Prison accused of being terrorists) and STWC’s Anna Samson. Responding to a suggestion at a media conference before the meeting that one of Australia’s ‘most notorious criminals’ would soon be coming home from Guantanamo, Terry Hicks commented that one of Australia’s most notorious criminals would soon be ‘dis-elected’.

On May 17, a candlelight vigil was held in in Taylor Square to mark International Day Against Homophobia. The vigil was organised by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Network of Amnesty International and Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) and called for the immediate release of Ali Humayun, a gay refugee from Pakistan who has been held in the Villawood immigration detention centre for more than two years.

The Victorian Labor Party has gone on a propaganda offensive against the Greens, accusing them of selling out on nuclear issues and taking away Victorians’ right to protest against nuclear reactors. Large posters have been put up and pamphlets will be sent to households in the four lower-house seats where the Greens pose the most direct challenge to the ALP.
Australia’s highest-paid boss, Macquarie Bank chief executive officer Allan Moss, has pocketed a 57% pay rise, now taking home more than double an average worker’s yearly wage for one day at the office. In a day, he earns more than most workers get in a year.
May 27 marks the 40th anniversary of the overwhelming victory of the 1967 referendum, in which almost 91% of the Australian people voted to give the federal government the constitutional power to override the brutal, degrading racist laws of the states under which Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were tormented. The federal government now had the power to make specific laws in respect to the Indigenous people. The Australian people had sent a clear signal that it was time for Canberra to make laws, introduce programs and provide the necessary resources to end the racial oppression of Indigenous Australians.
On May 7, the Melbourne Magistrates Court denied bail to two men arrested under “anti-terror” laws for raising funds for tsunami relief in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka.
On May 12, federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd chartered a private plane to fly to Western Australia to meet with BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside bosses. The meeting followed two weeks of the mining bosses arguing that Labor’s promise to abolish AWAs (individual contracts), confirmed at its April national conference, would harm the resources boom and lower productivity in the mining sector.
In the early hours of March 13, the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) regional office in Palu, Central Sulawesi, was attacked by around 30 men. Three Papernas members were hospitalised.
At its May 15 meeting, Geelong Trades Hall Council passed a motion declaring that “GTHC is opposed to any laws that fetter and/or criminalise union activity and workers’ rights under International Labour Organisation conventions to organise and take action to advance or defend our economic and social conditions. To this end we call on the Victorian Trades Hall Council to organise a mass delegates’ meeting to discuss how we can best help the ACTU [Australian Council of Trade Unions] defend its own industrial relations policy and thus the rights of all workers.”
A young woman working in a juice bar is fired and rehired at a casual rate significantly less than her former wage. She is forced to sign an AWA (Australian Workplace Agreement — individual contract) to get her job back. A young man, aged 13, is fired after retaliating against his manager who assaulted him in a South Australian fast food business.
A group of construction workers in Somerton have proved that it is possible to get off an individual contract (Australian Workplace Agreement — AWA) and onto award rates and an enterprise agreement.