Page 1450 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2006

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The Assembly voted—

Ayes 9

Noes 8

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Burke

Mr Seselja

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Gentleman

Mr Pratt

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

District of Dili

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (12.02): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) reaffirms its commitment to the City of Canberra Friendship Relationship with the District of Dili;

(2) recognises the central importance of educational exchange in achieving the Relationship’s goals of friendship and mutual respect; and

(3) recognises and congratulates:

(a) the students and education professionals involved in forming Tuggeranong High Schools Consortium for their commitment to the Friendship Schools program and creative and inclusive program of educational exchange with the District of Dili; and

(b) the Canberra Institute of Technology for its ongoing commitment to the Friendship Relationship through its work and support of the Dili Institute of Technology.

I would like to begin by quoting from an article written by Jim Aubrey in May 1999:

Future Australians will look upon East Timor’s endurance and courage, its devotion to the right to live freely in peace, and they will say ‘this terrible invasion and war was an epic of Homeric proportions’.

The scale of the human tragedy in East Timor defies belief. On 28 November 1975, East Timor declared itself independent of colonial rule. For over a century the East Timorese were subjects of Portugal, when the small and remote island of Timor was divided amongst the Portuguese and the Dutch. Nine days after this declaration, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before this could be internationally recognised. Since the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, 200,000 East Timorese have been killed by the Indonesian military or have fallen victim to starvation and disease. That is a third of this tiny nation’s total population.

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