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27       Timor-Leste

Senator Patrick, pursuant to notice, moved general business notice of motion no. 1144—That the Senate—

(a)              notes that:

(i)                    in 2004 Australia, during ‘good faith’ sea boundary negotiations with Timor-Leste, one of the poorest countries in the world, spied on their negotiating team with an aim to forcing them to surrender most of the revenue from the Greater Sunrise resource project,

(ii)                  Mr Bernard Collaery and Witness K have been charged for blowing the whistle on the unlawful conduct,

(iii)                the spying has blemished Australia’s reputation in Timor and undone much of the good will that stemmed from assisting the nation gain independence,

(iv)                the alienation of Timor has the potential to damage Australia’s diplomatic and national security interests, and

(v)                  at the 27 May 2021 estimates hearing of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions advised that the impact these prosecutions could have on Australia’s relationship with Timor was beyond the scope of the matters they included in their public interest considerations; and

(b)              calls on:

(i)                    the Federal Government to recognise that the prosecution of Mr Collaery and Witness K is not in the public interest, and

(ii)                  the Attorney-General decline to proceed further with the prosecutions as per section 71 of the Judiciary Act 1903 .

Debate ensued.

At 5.30 pm : Debate was interrupted while Senator Watt was speaking.