I wrote a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald after Nick Xenopon's article on the 3rd of August "Failure to deal fairly with with East Timor opening the door to China". It also appeared titled as "Australia needs to be East Timor's friend, not foe" and "Timor stance paves the way for China".
I'm fired up. The ALP has announced a policy that in Government they would engage with Timor-Leste to negotiate maritime boundaries. That is good news. The Government of Timor-Leste certainly seems to think so.
But what about the current Government of Australia?
My letter didn't make it to the paper ... but thankfully it has made its way to you:
It is incomprehensible to me why Australian governments continue to treat Timor-Leste as Nick Xenophon so well describes (“Timor stance paves the way for China”). It must also be mysterious to the thousands of Australians who work hard and donate generously for health and education programs in Timor.
The people continue to do what successive governments have failed to do.
Are those thousands of Australians the ones who can’t stomach the fact that there is still no recognition of the 40,000 Timorese lives lost in World War II because of Timorese support of the 700 Australian soldiers there, or that the official position on Timor’s later problems is that Australia saved the day?
The real history is one of forgetfulness, complicity and denial. The good done by so many Australians, including the military, has been overshadowed by official deceit, painted as some grotesque ‘national interest’.
All the current talk of ‘border protection’ is hilarious when Australia is refusing to decide on one with a neighbour. We need to take the thumb out of our collective mouth and get on with it.
Draw the line.
By the way just because my letter didn't make it to the paper on this occasion doesn't mean that yours won't. Please write. Also visit your local member of parliament. There is information that will help you here.