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East Timor: revelations on Four Corners.

East Timor: Revelations On Four Corners


Laurie Brereton - Shadow Minister For Foreign Affairs


Media Statement - 15 February 2000


The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today renewed Labor's call for a comprehensive inquiry into the Howard Government's East Timor diplomacy.


"Last night's ABC Four Corners program provided further confirmation that Foreign Minister Downer and Prime Minister Howard consistently failed to speak the truth about the Indonesian military's orchestration of violence in East Timor", Mr Brereton said.


"Significantly Four Corners also disclosed new information concerning the circumstances preceding the death of Defence Intelligence Organisation officer Merv Jenkins."


"The Four Corners report reinforces suspicions about the truthfulness of Prime Minister Howard's emphatic denial of any restrictions imposed by his Government on East Timor intelligence sharing with the United States."


In a press release on 17 September 1999, Mr Howard stated 'I categorically reject the suggestion that Australia has held back from the United States information and intelligence on East Timor'.


"United States sources told Labor some months ago this statement was not correct", Mr Brereton said. "Last night's Four Corners program raises further serious questions about the Howard Government's handling of the East Timor crisis, including its intelligence dimension."


"Labor has repeatedly called for a judicial inquiry into the Howard Government's East Timor diplomacy. There are numerous precedents. In the United Kingdom, for example, Lord Franks conducted an exhaustive investigation of the Falklands Crisis. More recently, the Blair Government commissioned Sir Thomas Legge to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the supply of arms to Sierra Leone."


"The Howard Government's refusal to commission a comprehensive inquiry into last year's East Timor diplomacy leaves a cloud of suspicion hanging not only in respect of its own performance, but also over our diplomatic and intelligence services."


Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.