DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
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"Australia must cease to draw
oil from the Laminaria-Corallina field in the Timor Sea and put the
monies it has accumulated over the last few years into a trust fund for
the East Timorese. Additionally the Australian government must learn to
treat East Timor as an equal in the negotiations surrounding the
disputed maritime boundaries and to conduct these negotiations in a
generous and ethical way." Social Justice Network with East
Timorese community in Perth
MEDIA RELEASE FROM WA SOCIAL JUSTICE NETWORK
Australian Trust Fund from Oil for East Timorese
Australia must cease to draw oil from the Laminaria-Corallina field in
the Timor Sea and put the monies it has accumulated over the last few
years into a trust fund for the East Timorese. Additionally the
Australian government must learn to treat East Timor as an equal in the
negotiations surrounding the disputed maritime boundaries and to
conduct these negotiations in a generous and ethical way.
These proposals emerged at a meeting organised in Perth this week under
the auspices of the Social Justice Network in combination with members
of the East Timorese community in Perth.
It was argued that this dispute represents a moral and ethical issue.
The Timorese recognise this but it is not clear that the Australian
government do. Australia’s withdrawal from the International Court of
Justice in relation to maritime boundary disputes was condemned. There
was a call from the meeting for the Australian government to rejoin the
Concern was also expressed at the lack of transparency in the recent
discussions between Alexander Downer and Ramos Horta regarding the
maritime boundaries between Australia and East Timor. The fact that no
announcement was made after that meeting was also worrying. At the
press conference following the discussions there was unfortunately a
refusal to give any details. The group in Perth emphasised the need for
any resolution of the dispute to occur very soon. Alexander Downer's
suggestion of Christmas - which would be after the Australian
federal election - as a possible time for possibly settling the dispute
is all too late and all too uncertain. The meeting argued strongly that
the issues involved were ones of principle and justice. Speakers called
on both governments to enter into a fair, open and early agreement on
the maritime boundaries.
These represent important issues for East Timor. The East Timorese see
a need for a just and principled settlement of this dispute. Such a
settlement would help
* to alleviate the poverty of the East Timorese;
* to build social infrastructure by way of health care,
education services, etc; and
* to protect the independence of East Timor.
There are also important issues for Australia. This country needs to be
seen to be acting morally, justly and generously towards its East
Timorese neighbour. Australia should seek to help to maintain East
Timor as an independent, stable and democratic neighbour.
Gavin Mooney as co-convenor of the
Social Justice Network stated: "It is most unfortunate that the oil
revenues have become a political game for John Howard to stay way from
the International Tribunal/Maritime boundary issues." He added: "What
was very apparent at the meeting was the strength of feeling of the
East Timorese about the principles involved here. They are fighting for
a principle of justice rather than the oil revenues as such. We now
need a principled response from John Howard and Alexander Downer."
For more detail contact:
Gavin Mooney (SJN)
08 9266 4304 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
Professor Gavin Mooney of the Social and Public Health Economics
Research Group at Curtin University and Colin Penter, Principal of the
Matrix Consulting Group, organised A Trilogy of Conversations on Social
Justice to build momentum to establish some structure, group, alliance
or loose network on social justice in Western Australia.
Their vision is to use these occasions as a base to create some new
structure or space in which groups and individuals interested in and
working for social justice can find ways to meet together, work
together and perhaps together make a difference.
Following the trilogy of conversations, a strategy planning is to held
to discuss just how such a structure might best be built. The structure
may be able to provide a forum which taps on the fantastic work on
social justice already being done by many groups individuals in their
own areas of interest. (See link below.)
The Society of Professional Social Workers believes there is a great
deal of support from the social work profession, which shares many of
the principles and apsirations reflected in the views in these
conversations on social justice.
Copies of the text of presentations (which are available) are being
made accessible in the interim from the SPSW website to enable social
workers and others to support the formation of a Social Justice Network.
See also: http://socprofsocwkrs.highway1.com.au/justice.html
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