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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4326

(Question No. 334)


Mr Charles asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 1 September 1993:

  (1) Is the Minister able to say whether Xanana Gusmao has been moved from Dili, East Timor; if so, is the Minister further able to advise on his whereabouts.

  (2) Is the Minister able to say whether the International Red Cross is able to gain access to East Timor.

  (3) Is the Minister able to comment on the whereabouts of Ma'Huno, the Fretilin leader.

  (4) Is the Minister able to say what (a) is the condition and (b) are the whereabouts of two students taken into custody after a recent demonstration outside a cathedral when the Papal Nuncio visited East Timor.

  (5) Is the Minister able to say why the UN, Australian Government and international media are unable to gain free access to East Timor.

  (6) Is it a fact that the Australian Government has not promoted talks under UN auspices between Indonesia and a chosen representative of the East Timorese people; if so, why.

  (7) Does the Australian Government maintain a close association with Indonesia; if so, what evidence is there that the association has had a positive effect on reducing conflict in East Timor.

  (8) What forms of military co—operation exist between Australia and Indonesia.

  (9) Is Australia providing training in tactical interrogation to the Indonesians.

  (10) Is Australia sponsoring a development assistance program to provide water to areas in East Timor; if so, (a) what kind of water supply is being provided and (b) who has Australia sent to monitor the effectiveness of the program.


Mr Bilney —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question :

  (1) The Government was advised that Xanana was moved from Dili to a prison in Semarang, Central Java on 13 August. He was moved from Semarang to Cipinang prison in Jakarta on 30 September.

  (2) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed its program of visits to East Timorese detainees in early August 1993, having suspended that program first in May and then in June this year. The ICRC has a local office in East Timor.

  (3) Xanana's purported successor, Mauhunu, has reportedly been released from detention in East Timor. The Government understands Mauhudu, Xanana's former deputy, is not in detention but under house arrest. The Australian Embassy in Jakarta has been following up these cases, and continues to make representations about all East Timorese who are in detention.

  (4) The Government has been informed by the Indonesian authorities that of around 40 East Timorese who demonstrated outside a cathedral during the visit of the Papal Nuncio to East Timor in July this year, about 12 were detained and that they have since been released.

  (5) The Government continues to urge the Indonesian Government to grant access to East Timor by, for example, parliamentarians, the media, and human rights organisations. The Government welcomes the access to East Timor given to the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to East Timor, Amos Wako. A UN observer, local and international human rights organisations, and local and foreign media were all given access to East Timor to attend Xanana's trial. Officers of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta also attended the trial. Embassy officers make regular visits to East Timor. US Congressional aides have recently visited the province.

  (6) The Government supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to help Indonesia and Portugal reconcile their differences over East Timor, through the Indonesia—Portugal talks on East Timor under UNSG auspices. The Government believes that the question of parties to these talks is one to be agreed between Indonesia, Portugal, and the UN Secretary General. The Government welcomes the outcome of the most recent round of the Indonesia—Portugal talks, in particular, the consideration of possible confidence—building measures and the affirmation of the need to facilitate access to East Timor by UN, human rights, and humanitarian organisations.

  (7) The development of broader and more diverse links between Australia and Indonesia in recent years has enabled the Government to conduct a frank and productive dialogue with the Indonesian authorities, including at the highest levels of Government, on human rights issues and including the situation in East Timor. The Government's ability to raise issues concerning East Timor in a persistent manner at the highest levels of the Indonesian Government, and to receive prompt responses, results from this broadly based approach to the relationship.

  (8) Current co—operative defence activities with Indonesia include ship and aircraft visits, combined naval exercises, Indonesian observers at Australian land exercises and exercise planning conferences, training and some consultancy assistance by the ADF, reciprocal study visits, and personnel exchanges in shared areas of military interest, survey and logistics operation.

  (9) No.

  (10) Yes. As part of its development co—operation program with Indonesia, Australia is assisting the Government of Indonesia with the provision of an affordable water supply and sanitation services to approximately 100,000 people living in and around Dili and the town of Suai on the southern coast of the province. This assistance is being delivered through the five year Indonesia/Australia East Timor Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which began in October 1992. The total project cost is estimated at $18 million, of which Australia's contribution is $11.95 million. Project implementation is being managed on behalf of AIDAB by a joint venture of Scott and Furphy Pty Ltd and Coffey MPW Ltd.

  (b) Project performance is being monitored closely through regular field visits to the project by AIDAB officers from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and through six—monthly project progress assessments conducted by the Project Co—ordination Board (PCB). The Board consists of Embassy—based AIDAB officers and national and provincial officials of the Indonesian Government.