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Australia

Yearbook 1997

Australia. The Australian Minister of Justice reported at the beginning of the year that the gun team adopted after the shooting deaths in Port Arthur in 1996 when 35 people were killed resulted in the submission of 250,000 weapons. As compensation, a total of 120 million. Australian dollars paid out.

The law that accepted voluntary euthanasia, the first of its kind in the world, adopted by one of the Australian states, was declared invalid by both chambers of the country in March.

1997 AustraliaAccording to Countryaah, Pauline Hanson, an independent MP, decided to form his own party, Pauline Hanson's One Nation. Later in the year, the party, which included wants to ban all immigration to the country, a support in opinion polls of 10%. In May, the government announced that immigration to Australia would be reduced by 8% to 68,000 people per year. As a reason, Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock indicated the country's high unemployment.

A report from the country's Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission called on the government to apologize for the policy that in 1910-70 made it possible to forcibly adopt more than 100,000 Aboriginal children into white families. The country's prime minister responded by apologizing in connection with a special reconciliation convention, but he was not prepared to provide any compensation to those affected.

A constitutional assembly of 152 members to submit a proposal for a possible new constitution was elected at the end of the year. Should the Assembly propose that Australia become a republic, the issue will be decided in a referendum in 2000. Australia has been an autonomous part of the British Commonwealth since 1901.

1997 Australia

 

In 1992, unemployment reached 11.1%. The government passed legislation to increase employment and reduced immigration to the country by 27%. This created tensions with New Zealand. In the 1993 election, the Labor Party got 50.5% of the vote. One of Keating's election promises was to give the issue of Indigenous people a higher priority. A court had granted the indigenous people the right to make claims for the return of their lands. Nevertheless, the government proposed a legislative package to protect the mineral extraction and sheep breeding, precisely in the areas where the indigenous people wanted to be given back land. The package reaffirmed the deeds issued during the period 1975-93 and at the same time set up a tribunal to decide compensation issues around the lands concerned.

At the same time, the government started developing relations with the countries of the region. Especially through projects such as the "Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge" funded and built by Australia across the Mekong River separating the two countries. With somewhat greater difficulty, the approach to Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and North Korea continued.

In 1995, the issue of independence was put on the agenda when Keating announced that Sir William Deane, who was a judge in the Supreme Court, replaced Bill Hayden as Governor General. By 2001, Keating's plans were to replace this post with the presidential post - for the first time in the country's history. In the economic sphere, the government continued its policy of privatizing airlines Qantas and the Australian National Line.

That same year, France's nuclear test blasts on the Mururoa Atoll led to popular protests across Australia. The Keating and Chirac governments clashed vigorously and severed diplomatic relations. The Australian delegation, who traveled to Europe with the Pacific Secretary of State at the forefront, did not heed his views with the British government who refused to confront France. Britain's position reinforced the demand for independence in Australia.

In the March 1996 election, John Howard won from the Liberal Party over his Labor Party predecessor. Howard handed over the prime minister's post after promising a "moral boost" among the country's leaders.

In 1996, the Supreme Court upheld the indigenous people’s right to claim the right of use for land used for grazing or mining. In August 1997, deliberations on the opening of a new uranium mine in the northern part of the country led to fierce protests among indigenous people. The leaders of the protests - among them several women - maintained that mining would pollute their areas and that money would destroy their culture. At the end of the year, several groups demanded recognition of their right to large coastal and marine areas.

Amnesty International criticized the rise in deaths among Aboriginal people in prison or police custody. In October it was revealed that Victoria police spied, infiltrated and broke up files belonging to ethnic groups, Aborigines, journalists as well as Greenpeace or organizations fighting AIDS. A senior intelligence official defended the activities on the grounds that "they were a fundamental means of defending public policy."

In April 1998, the freight forwarding company Patrick Stevedores fired all 1400 workers with the full approval of the government. As a result, the Port Workers Union, the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia), launched a strike that became one of the biggest social conflicts in the country's history. In May, a court ordered the fired workers reappointed, which was a serious blow to the Liberal government.

Australia intervened in various ways in the crises of the two neighboring countries, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The country was at the forefront of the UN peacekeeping force that landed in East Timor in September 1999 to stop the genocide and assaults by Indonesia on the East Timorese population after the country voted for independence.

In November 1999, a referendum was held in which Australians had to decide whether Queen Elizabeth II should remain the head of the country or whether the country should be transformed into a republic. 54% voted for continued monarchy. The opposition blamed the defeat on Prime Minister Howard, who had drafted the proposal in such a way that the future head of state should be appointed by the incumbent prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader and then approved in parliament. The failure to elect a president by direct election led many to vote against the proposal.

In September 2000, the United Nations, in a report, criticized Australia for its treatment of the indigenous people (Aboriginal people), and in particular for the amendment of the land laws that sabotaged the reconciliation process between government and indigenous people. For fear of future claims for compensation, the government declined to make a public apology for the state's abuse of the indigenous population throughout history, as the indigenous people's leaders had otherwise suggested. Instead, the government made an official "regret" of the historic assaults.

The World Economic Forum meeting in Melbourne in September 2001 was met by protests as around 10,000 protesters blocked the access roads to the Crown Casino where the meeting was to take place. The pressure of the forum organizers hit the protesters hard.

In January 2002, 211 asylum seekers in the Woomera Asylum Center began a hunger strike in protest of conditions at the center and the difficulties of obtaining asylum in the country. As part of the strike, several of the participants sewed their mouths together. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) characterized the detention and detention of asylum seekers as "unnecessary" and "unacceptable". Prime Minister Howard defended the mandatory detention policy as a means of stating: "one cannot just enter Australia illegally", and further that: "neither condemnation by international organizations, hunger strikes nor suicide attempts will make us change refugee law".

A large part of the islanders are Afghans. Although the UN had requested that their right to seek asylum be not generally questioned, Australia argued that the situation in Afghanistan had changed radically following the fall of the Taliban regime. Instead, Australia offered financial support to get the Afghans to return to Afghanistan. In April, a number of asylum seekers managed to escape the Woomera camp and be on the run for a week. The escape became possible after hundreds of protesters toppled the fence around the camp in protest of the treatment of asylum seekers.

 

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