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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2282


Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (15:38): I rise to take note of an answer given by Senator Bob Carr to a question from me during question time today. I am very disappointed that Senator Carr on the question of West Papua would immediately come to the defence of the Indonesian government and Indonesian sovereignty when that was not the substance of the question. On that issue, it is important to note where that sovereignty arises from. It arises from a huge breach of the democratic process in 1969, where the Act of Free Choice essentially resulted in a number of hand-picked people producing an outcome that was known from the start, and that is that an independent province, the province of West Papua, would effectively be handed over to the Indonesians because it was an area rich in natural resources.

But the substance of my question was very clear. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in December 2006 handed down a report which made two very clear recommendations that this government and all future governments should pursue—firstly, that this area be allowed access by the media and human rights monitors. We have a situation where a democratic nation refuses journalists entry into West Papua and refuses access to human rights monitors. Here on our doorstep is a situation that, frankly, is untenable. Secondly, the Australian government is financing the Indonesian military and parts of that financing are contributing to human rights abuses on our doorstep. It is simply unacceptable and the recommendations of the committee must be upheld.

Question agreed to.