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Check out the movers, shakers that rocked our world in 2012

JANUARY

1: Former prime minister John Howard is appointed to the Order of Merit.

13: Up to 32 people killed when the cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground off Italy.

26: Security officers drag Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard from The Lobby restaurant in Canberra during the Australia Day riot. Opposition Leader Tony

Abbott also requires security assistance to leave the building after indigenous protesters surround the building.

26: Actor Geoffrey Rush named Australian of the Year.

FEBRUARY

6: Queen Elizabeth II marks the 60th anniversary of her becoming monarch of the Commonwealth.

16: The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly votes in favour of an Arab-sponsored resolution condemning human rights violations by the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict continues to this day.

22: Kevin Rudd resigns as Foreign Minister while on a trip to Washington.

23: Julia Gillard calls for a leadership ballot after Kevin Rudd's resignation. The next day Mr Rudd announces he will contest the ballot, which Ms Gillard wins comfortably.

24: Gordon Wood is set free after being acquitted of the murder of model Caroline Byrne in 1995.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee; Hurricane Sandy strikes America’s north-east; the London Olympics go off with a bang; Felix Baumgartner skydives from 39km above the earth; Costa Concordia sinks off Italy’s west coast; NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on Mars.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee; Hurricane Sandy strikes America’s north-east; the London Olympics go off with a bang; Felix Baumgartner skydives from 39km above the earth; Costa Concordia sinks off Italy’s west coast; NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on Mars.

MARCH

2: Julia Gillard ends days of speculation by announcing former NSW premier Bob Carr will be the new foreign minister. Mr Carr fills the Senate vacancy left by Mark Arbib, who retired from politics on the day of the leadership ballot.

17: Julian Assange announces plans to run for the Senate of Australia despite being under house arrest in the UK.

18: Dame Edna retires after 56 years of performing.

22: Malcolm Naden, Australia's most wanted man, is captured after seven years on the run. He is charged with murder.

APRIL

13: Bob Brown resigns as leader of the Greens after announcing he will leave the Senate in June.

17: Julia Gillard announces the intention to have Australian troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.

22: Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper stands aside as Speaker of the Parliament after staff member James Ashby accuses him of sexual harassment.

MAY

1: The report into phone hacking at the News of the World is released, with the committee concluding Rupert Murdoch "is not a fit person" to run a major international company.

2: The Australian Federal Police launches a formal investigation into allegations that Peter Slipper misused cab charges.

8: Treasurer Wayne Swan hands down his fifth budget, promising to "spread the benefits of the mining boom" while returning the budget to surplus.

15: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks are charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to the alleged destruction of evidence associated with the News International phone-hacking scandal.

 

The Wiggles.
The Wiggles. Neil Hamilton-Ritchie

17: The Wiggles announce they are calling it quits after 21 years.

18: Facebook holds an initial public offering and closes nearly flat at $38.23 a share.

21: Qantas announces cuts to 500 maintenance jobs.

21: Craig Thomson makes an hour-long statement to parliament addressing allegations about his time as national secretary of the Health Services Union.

22: Schapelle Corby is granted a five-year cut to her prison term.

25: Dozens of women and children are killed in a massacre by the Syrian army in the town of Houla, Homs province, Syria during the ongoing Syrian uprising.

30: Julian Assange loses his appeal in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom against extradition to Sweden on sex charges.

Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth. Bang Showbiz

JUNE

2: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, starting days of celebrations.

12: A fourth coronial inquest into the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain rules that a dingo took the infant from an Uluru campsite in 1980.

13: Gerard Baden-Clay is charged with the murder of his wife Allison nearly two months after reporting her missing.

19: Julian Assange takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-related charges.

23: Black Caviar keeps her

undefeated record intact after winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

JULY

1: The controversial carbon tax takes effect in Australia.

2: Sergeant Blaine Diddams is shot and killed in Afghanistan.

4: Scientists around the world celebrate the confirmed existence of the Higgs Boson, known as the "God particle", after a 48-year search.

16: Former NRL star Craig Field is charged with murder in Kingscliff, New South Wales.

20: James Eagan Holmes opens fire at a movie premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, killing at least 12 people and injuring 59 others.

27: The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games is held at London Olympic Stadium.

AUGUST

6: NASA's Curiosity rover lands on Mars, sending back photos of its historic landing.

13: An expert panel led by former defence chief Angus Houston hands down its "hard-headed but no hard-hearted" report on asylum seekers, calling for Nauru and Manus Island processing centres to be reopened.

15: The High Court upholds the Gillard government's tobacco plain packaging laws.

16: Ecuador grants political asylum to Julian Assange. British police mass near the Ecuadorian embassy after Britain threatens to use force to get Assange out.

Lance Armstrong at the 2012 Paris Roubaix cycle race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2012 in Paris, France.
Lance Armstrong at the 2012 Paris Roubaix cycle race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2012 in Paris, France. Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

23: American cyclist Lance Armstrong announces he will not contest United States Anti-Doping Agency charges of doping, paving the way for him to be stripped of his titles including seven Tour de France victories.

23: Julia Gillard holds a marathon press conference to answer questions relating to the so-called AWU slush fund scandal.

29: Three Australian soldiers are killed in an insider attack in Oruzgan province. Another two Australian special forces soldiers die on the same day in a helicopter crash in Helmund province, making it the worst day for Australians in combat since the Vietnam War.

SEPTEMBER

8: Julia Gillard's father John dies while the PM is in Russia.

11: Militiamen storm the US consulate in Benghazi killing Ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other people. The attack is thought to have been sparked by an anti-Islamic video made in America.

12: Apple Inc unveils the iPhone 5.

22: Melbourne woman Jill Meagher is raped and killed in Brunswick. Her body is found several days later.

28: Sydney Swans win the AFL premiership.

29: Melbourne Storm win the NRL premiership.

29: Radio shock jock Alan Jones is almost universally criticised after it is revealed he said Julia Gillard's late father had "died of shame" because of his daughter's "lies".

OCTOBER

10: Julia Gillard delivers her now famous misogyny speech in the Parliament. The speech goes viral, racking up more than two million views.

Former Speaker Peter Slipper.
Former Speaker Peter Slipper. Warren Lynam

10: Peter Slipper resigns as Speaker after text messages he sent former staffer James Ashby are made public.

14: Felix Baumgartner breaks a string of world records after jumping from 39km above the earth's surface.

19: Australia wins its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

21: Corporal Scott Smith is killed by an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

30: Hurricane Sandy strikes America's north-east, killing more than 90 people and causing billions of dollars worth of damage.

 

Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC
Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC

NOVEMBER

 

1: Corporal Daniel Keighran is awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of bravery during the Battle of Derapet in 2010.

5: Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla touch down in Longreach for their five-state, six-day tour of Australia.

6: Green Moon wins the Melbourne Cup.

6: Barack Obama wins a second term after comfortably defeating Republican Mitt Romney.

12: Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces the creation of a national royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

22: Isabelle Colman, 17, dies after falling from a balcony during schoolies celebrations on the Gold Coast.

DECEMBER

4: Brisbane teenager Harrison Kadell dies in the pool of a Fiji resort while celebrating schoolies.

5: Prince William and Kate announce they are having a baby.

7: Nurse Jacinda Saldanha, one of the nurses duped by a prank call from Sydney radio station 2Day FM, is found dead. Ms Saldanha was the one who transferred the hoax call to another nurse, who then revealed details about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge.

12: The Federal Court throws out James Ashby's sexual harassment suit against Peter Slipper.

13: Australian Communications and Media Authority says it is investigating the 2Day FM prank.

13: Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes is charged with child sex offences dating back to the 1980s.

14: Adam Lanza kills 27 people at a school in Newton, Connecticut. Twenty of those killed are children, aged 6 and 7.

Topics:  editors picks geoffrey rush john howard queen elizabeth year in review


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