Thanks to all who came out on Saturday afternoon to participate in the Briefing Meeting of the Timor Sea Forum. Janelle Saffin was again a font of information and able to answer plenty of good questions coming from the group.
It was helpful to study and discuss the recent letters penned to the editor of the Saturday Paper and we have now put those up on the site here.
Timor-Leste's request is simple: Australia please negotiate the maritime boundary between our two countries!
Janelle started off emphasising something often misunderstood - there is NO maritime boundary between Timor-Leste and Australia. Timor-Leste is not seeking to "change the boundary" - there is no boundary and they are seeking to establish one. What currently exists are provisional arrangements.
It was helpful to get a handle on the various legal cases and to look at a map and understand what a median line looks like.
The group shared its experience of visiting their local politicians to discuss Timor-Leste's desire for boundaries and found that most were straight up in acknowledging they didn't really know about the issue - so a good educational opportunity!
Although the issue has many layers and can become complex what it boils down to is simple:
This issue is so important to the future of the Timorese people and the least they deserve as a sovereign nation is sovereign borders, and it’s OUR nation, Australia, which is preventing that.
For pity’s sake, Canberra, get your act together, accept Timor-Leste’s invitation, sit down, talk, and DRAW THE BORDER.
Stay tuned for some special activities planned for the new year. With the Timorese leadership outspoken on this issue, we will be rallying together to stand in solidarity with them.
2016 is going to see a bigger push to resolve this unfortunate impasse and we can all play a part.