We live in hope.
A new Press Release from the Permanent Court of Arbitration has arrived. It follows the agreement of 30 August, 2017 where boundaries were decided and it was planned to enter on a pathway to development of the resources.
Meetings since August have been held, seeking to reach agreement on an "Action Plan". Methods of disclosure to the public of the terms of the agreement were also discussed and private stakeholders (oil companies) are being brought in to the discussions. Both Australia and Timor-Leste will need to secure the approval of their parliaments.
December this year will see further disclosures of the content of the meetings, with the Commission's report due in early 2018.
It seems that the Timorese leaders have worked with the Australian representatives and the Commission towards the terms of the agreement, and accept such terms. So there must be grounds for hope.
However, we must learn from history. Throughout the whole sorry saga of the Australian relationship with East Timor, official Australian accounts ignore or deny decades of Australian unfairness. What Australian governments say in regard to East Timor is at odds with what Australian governments do. That is the pattern.
I hope it will be different when this matter is publicised, but I fear that similar tawdry interpretations will be made. That is, that in fighting for and securing its rights under international law against Australia, any Timorese success will be painted as an example of Australian "fairness" and "generosity". We'll see.
But perhaps the headlines will read:
"Plucky Timor finally achieves justice"
"A new day for loyal neighbours"
"Australia recognises Timorese rights"
As I say, we live in hope.
The Petition to the House of Representatives which was to be presented in Parliament on Monday 27 November has now been postponed to a later date, yet to be decided. This has eventuated because of Prime Minister Turnbull's decision to cancel the parliament sitting for that week.
There have been a couple of related articles recently: