Three Cheers for Some Senators!

As a result of the meeting in Canberra on 13 and 14 June 2017, we were able to persuade some senators to bring the issue to attention in the Senate.

                             Senator Scott Ludlam speaking at the rally outside Parliament House on 14 June 2017

                             Senator Scott Ludlam speaking at the rally outside Parliament House on 14 June 2017

On 20 June, Senator Ludlam (Greens), Senator Xenophon (NXT), and Senator Claire Moore (ALP) gave notice of a motion, as below.

AND Senator Ludlam made a speech in the Senate...


Notice of Motion:

The Senate - 

1.      Notes:

a.     There is currently no agreed upon border in the Timor Sea between Australia and Timor-Leste; 

b.     A fair and permanent border is in both our nations’ national interest;

c.     On 21 February 2017, the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ms Bishop) urged the

d.     claimants in the South China Sea to negotiate in accordance with international law or resort to arbitration through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);

e.     After 14 years of Australia refusing negotiations, Timor-Leste has initiated proceedings in the United Nations for compulsory conciliation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, seeking “the area of the Timor Sea subject to its exclusive sovereign rights under international law";

f.      There is nothing to stop Australia and Timor-Leste reaching agreement before the report of the commissioners under the conciliation process, due in September 2017;

g.     Many Australians have called for a permanent maritime boundary in the Timor Sea settled in accordance with current international law;   

h.     Australia's Prime Minister, in Singapore on 1 June 2017, stated Australia's vision for the region where the "rights of small states are untrammelled; where our shared natural bounty, our land, water and air is cherished and protected, and disagreements are resolved by dialogue in accordance with agreed rules and established institutions”. 

2.      Urges the Australian Government to finalise in good faith and as soon as possible, a fair and permanent maritime boundary between Australia and Timor-Leste.

The motion is on the Senate motion list but because the Senate is dealing with business the government wants finalised, it will not be debated until the Senate resumes after the winter recess in August.

The motion was watered down from the draft we offered, to secure the support of the ALP, which declined to refer to the median line principle.

When Senator Ludlam moved the motion the Government denied leave to allow debate on it, but he was able to make a short speech about it.  You can see the video on the Senator's Facebook page: