An independent poll has confirmed that most Australians want the Government to establish a permanent maritime boundary in the Timor Sea in accordance with current international law, even if that delivers East Timor a substantial share of the oil and gas in the Timor Sea.
Think tank The Australia Institute commissioned a poll conducted by ReachTEL on the evening of the 30th of August 2016 covering 10,271 residents across Australia.
The question posed was this:
Now thinking about Australia's international relationships. There is currently no permanent maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor. Drawing a boundary in accordance with current international law is likely to deliver East Timor a substantial share of the oil and gas located in the Timor Sea.
Should Australia try to establish a permanent maritime boundary in accordance with current international law?
In response 56.5% said yes, only 17% said no and 26.6% responded 'don't know'.
This is a greatly encouraging result. It is no surprise that for many the issue is not something they feel they know enough about to say yes or know. These are people that we need to reach with good information. If we remove the 'don't know ' responders and consider those who were ready to offer a yes or no - then 76.9% are responding in the affirmative. Bravo!
Ben Oquist, Executive Director from The Australia Institute said:
“Fairness is a nationally defining trait for Australians. This polling suggests that most people want Timor-Leste to have a fair go with regards to resources in the Timor Sea. This shows there is public support for negotiations to mark the maritime boundaries between our two countries, as currently there are none.
“It would be terrible if Australia’s behaviour in this affair has the potential to undo the good will and strong friendship forged through our support of East Timorese independence. The Government should heed the public mood on this issue and enter future negotiations with a new spirit of amity and respect for international law.”
AAP published a news piece which is titled New poll calls for fairness for East Timor
Other analysis done by us here at TIMFO looked just at the yes and no responders and found that of this group 80.4% of women voted yes, along with 84.1% of older Australians [65+] whom I think we can deduce have more memory of the history.
Also considering the same group, political affiliation did not create huge differences with 72.7% of L/NP, 82.6% of Labor and 86.1% of Greens responding yes.
Finally of the Yes or No group the ACT [81.8%] and Queensland [80%] responded most positively.