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Tuesday, 7 December 1976


Mr FRY (Fraser) - I remind the House that today is the anniversary of the brutal invasion of East Timor by the forces of Indonesia. It is now 12 months since that invasion. At least 60 000 innocent Timorese people have been killed. This information comes from Indonesian sources. The latest information we have from church sources in Indonesia is that the figure may be as high as 100 000 casualties. Recently a report was tabled in this House concerning casualties in Lebanon. They were described as horrific. I tell the House that the number of casualties in Timor is at least five or six times as great as the number in Lebanon. So how can we describe the Timorese situation? Let us look at the present position in East Timor, 12 months after the invasion. Our latest information, again from Indonesian sources, is that the Indonesians control only 20 per cent of the area of East Timor. They have established a legacy of hatred between the people of Timor and the Indonesian people. The people of Timor continue to suffer great hardships and privation. They have always had a high infant mortality rate, of around 50 per cent. Now that people are isolated in the hinterland the rate would be much greater. They have extremely poor health and nutrition. They receive no humanitarian aid from any source.

Twelve months after the expedition of aggression which set out to create stability in East Timor, we find an area of instability which is likely to continue indefinitely. What has been the role of the Australian Government and the Australian people? I suggest that it has been one of continuing appeasement of the Indonesian aggression. The situation has now been reached where Indonesia is dictating the policy of the Australian Government. I support that statement with 3 examples-the recent refusal of a visa to enter Austrafia for Mr Lobato, the cutting off of Telecom messages from Timor and the abstention from the vote criticising Indonesia 's action.

Fretilin heroism and the heroism of the Timorese people, their courage and the fine example of their leaders in defying 30 000 Indonesian regular soldiers has won the admiration of liberation movements throughout the world. The dedication of the Fretilin leaders outside Timor has also ensured that the issue has been kept alive in the United Nations and in other world forums, despite the efforts of Indonesia to keep the truth from the world. Those efforts included the brutal murder of Australian journalists. The Indonesian Government stands condemned for its brutal aggression against a small and virtually unarmed neighbour. It stands condemned for its blatant disregard for the UN resolution to withdraw and to allow the Timorese people the fundamental right of self-determination. It stands condemned for its failure to allow the independent International Red Cross access to that country. We, as Australians, stand condemned for deserting our loyal wartime comrades in their hour of need, for our abject appeasement of Indonesian attacks and for our failure to stand up for the right of the Timorese people to an act of self-determination. So today, in remembering the brutal invasion of Timor by Indonesia, we should also remember it as a day of national shame when the Australian Government sold out its friends in Timor and turned its back on one of the most brutal acts of aggression in modern history.







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