Page 6097 - Week 18 - Thursday, 12 December 1991

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The Prime Minister's move away from our isolationism is to be welcomed. ... The Prime Minister's public acceptance of East Timor as Indonesia's 27th province is as mistaken in its appeasement as was Prime Minister John Curtin's declaration in Federal Parliament on 27 April 1938 that the Anschluss had improved prospects for peace.

The count-down for the Australian abandonment of the East Timorese people began with the signing in Jakarta on 9 October 1972 of a seabed boundary agreement with Indonesia. The terms of this agreement left a gap opposite East (then Portuguese) Timor. In signing an ambiguous Bilateral Agreement with Indonesia rather than a Trilateral Agreement to include Portugal the Australian Government began the process which led to the Timorese Anschluss and compromised both the Liberal and Labor parties.

Although Australia made exploratory moves with Lisbon in 1974 and 1975, the gap was closed on 7 December 1975 when the East Timorese fell under the Indonesian heel. After an appropriate period of mourning for our -

journalists -

and the Timorese dead, Australia resumed discussions with Jakarta much to the relief of all at BHP which had come up with oil at its Jabiru No. 1 Well.

That well is in the Timor Sea. Today we witnessed the end of that disgraceful episode in Australian history - the signing over to the Shell oil company of the Timor Gap exploration rights which rightly belong to the Timorese people. It is a disgraceful act, a disgusting act that besmirches the history of our country and our good relations with the East Timorese.

We often hear Federal parliamentarians saying that we are not real politicians in this place. Well, we are. We passed a resolution; we sent it to the Prime Minister; and he has ignored it. That disgraceful deal, bartering away the rights of the Timorese people, was signed today in Sydney.

East Timor

MR STEFANIAK (6.53): I was moved by Mr Collaery's speech. I cannot help but say a couple of words. Mr Collaery talks of appeasement. We already have had this debate in relation to East Timor. I am not going to go over what I said in relation to that particular issue, save to say that a lot could, I think, have been done in 1975, and perhaps

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