Looking back, 2005 was a big year for me and quite a cultural one, as I covered a good number of artistic events.
On the local level, the AWB scandal came to light, alleged terrorists were detained, there were crocodile attacks, the number of kangaroos living close to the cities were already a problem for humans, we had cyclones Olaf and Ingrid, serious bush fires in South and Western Australia with nine deaths. There were elections in New Zealand and, Helen Clark, who was my hero, made it again.
Australia and East Timor continued with their eternal dispute over the Timor Sea resources, Australia did not want the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) to apply. It was, and still is, a complex story and the teachings of my International Law professor, often came to mind.
Japanese whale killers were causing trouble Down Under, there were elections in Papua New Guinea, which I covered with information from Papuan journos over the phone. I thanked them with some rugby t-shirts for their children. Uranium mining was all over the news. And I went on another great trip, this time from Sydney to Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island, Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Uluru, to write some features.
Chilean president, Ricardo Lagos, visited Australia. APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) members met in Brisbane to talk about bird flu (H5N1). Many people thought, then, that an eventual pandemic of avian influenza would kill us all. At the meeting I was probably the only journalist who spoke Spanish and it was my turn to help my Australian colleagues understand what experts from Peru, Mexico and Chile had to say.
I traveled to Fiji in November; a team of the qoliqoli (traditional fishing grounds) committee and WWF had agreed to create an Area of Marine Protection over a network of so-called ‘tabu areas’, where nobody would fish during specific periods. I also took the chance to also explore the country from a more political and social perspective.
The ‘Cronulla Riots’, racial tensions, clashes, assaults and attacks happened that summer, it was difficult to explain how something like that happened in such an open and multicultural country.