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Thursday, 8 September 1983
Page: 633

Mr HAND(10.05) —Tonight I wish to comment on a report tabled in this place on Tuesday concerning East Timor. I rise tonight because of contact people have made with me and my office expressing concern at statements in the media concerning this report. I find the report disappointing in its content. I find it very hard to understand why the report did not detail any recommendations for this House to consider. Everybody in Australia knew before the delegation left Australia what sort of things the delegation would be allowed to see by the Indonesian Government. I guess that, in some senses, the report is predictable because most people who have been overseas would know that they will see only what the Government of a country wants them to see. I believe that, in some respects, the report sells the East Timorese people short.

I was interested to see in the introductory statements that the Indonesian Government was upset by the fact that Fretilin representatives visited this country. The report claimed that accusations were made that the Australian Government supported the enemies of Indonesia. Quite frankly I consider that to be absolute rot. Indonesia has a record of genocide; it has military leaders equal to anything in Hitler's murder squads.

It is demanding of us not to allow people to enter the country to inform people in Australia about those atrocities. I reject the philosophy being put forward by the Indonesian Government. The report, in its introductory comments, states that Indonesia has the support of countries in South East Asia. Blimey! I ask honourable members to look at the Philippines, Taiwan and some of the other countries in that region. They are hardly in a position to be talking about civil liberties. Their records are well known to all.

I reject the theory that because in the eyes of many the most evil acts of genocide against the people of East Timor may have happened in the past we should forget or even worse, pretend that those acts did not happen. I will not be forgetting because I believe that murder and genocide, wherever it occurs, should not be pushed under the international carpet. We should ensure that the world is not allowed to forget what has happened in East Timor. Some people will have us believe that the churches and the Press have it all wrong; that Amnesty International has it all wrong; that the graves of 200,000 people butchered by the Indonesians in East Timor do not exist; and that representatives of Fretilin had misled the world when they travelled around telling people in other countries what had occurred. Some of the headlines in the newpapers were as follows: 'No mercy for Fretilin; Indon general', and 'Fretilin shows photographs of atrocities'. Those people who were shown pictures by Fretilin were horrified by the sight of beheaded Fretilin women and children, acts committed against those people by the Indonesian soldiers who proudly held up the heads of 10 and 12-year-old children for people to take photographs of. A further newspaper headline quoted: 'Amnesty protests over Timor torture orders'. The article that followed mentioned the publication of a document which told Indonesian soldiers how to commit torture and not let it be known. There has been illness within the gaols. A report in the Melbourne Age on 6 June 1983 is headed:

Illness 'killed 202 jailed Timorese'.

Another article in the Canberra Times is headed:

Program to 'cut Timorese birth rate'.

The Sydney Morning Herald of 14 May 1983 carried the headline:

In hard times they eat the dog.

That is the sort of thing that the Indonesians are leading the East Timorese to do. The Canberra Times of 27 March 1983 reported:

Thousands of Timorese 'held on island'.

The Age on 28 March headlined a story:

Timor battle still rages: refugees.

An article headed 'UN body hears allegations of human-rights breaches' appeared in the Canberra Times on 9 February 1983 while the Northern Territory News of 4 June 1983 featured an article headed 'Banned drug used on Timorese'. That article dealt with a drug used on the women of Timor by the Indonesian Government. An Amnesty International report of August 1983 stated that the Indonesian Government condoned the use of physical and psychological torture in certain circumstances during interrogation. That report goes on and on. I wish to comment also on--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.