Page 6096 - Week 18 - Thursday, 12 December 1991

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Motion (by Mr Berry) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

East Timor

MR COLLAERY (6.49): I wish to note the signing, in recent hours, of an agreement between the Shell oil company, the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government for oil exploration in the Timor Gap. We passed a motion in this Assembly recently, which I assume Mr Speaker and the Chief Minister have transmitted by now to the Prime Minister, calling for an act of self-determination for the people of Timor.

I am appalled to learn today that we have again compromised ourselves in that regard. I would like to read into the record a letter I wrote to the Canberra Times. This was not published. I will read it now. I wrote:

In his book "Isolationism and Appeasement in Australia", published in 1970, Eric Andrews chronicled the activities of the German Consul-General, Dr Asmis, who became notorious during the pre-war years in Australia in his attempts to suppress criticism of Nazi Germany and use appeasers in Australia to condone Nazi expansionism and denials of humans rights.

A strong sense of deja vu again pervades Canberra when we hear similar utterances from the Indonesian Embassy about, among other things, their notorious trans-migration program.

In 1985, I went to Thursday Island to represent some West Papuan refugees. One had bayonet wounds. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs referred to the then problems in West Papua stemming from the trans-migration program as involving "minor cultural disruption". A Federal Minister referred to my clients as "canoe paddling job opportunists". During that period, an Indonesian patrol boat (donated by Australia) -

one of several -

with a damaged propeller was slipped at Thursday Island and an RAAF Hercules flew in a replacement propeller. The boats are used to patrol the infamous Merauke Line between West Papua and Northern Australia.

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