Good gath­er­ing for Ti­mor Leste meet­ing

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS / PEOPLE - By JANET MCKEN­ZIE

MORE than 60 people gath­ered at the De­latite Ho­tel re­cently to hear the Hon­orary Con­sul for Ti­mor-Leste, Rae Kings­bury, present the Ti­mor Sea Jus­tice Cam­paign.

The event was or­gan­ised by Friends of Ve­ni­lale (FoV), Mans­field’s Friend­ship Town in Ti­morLeste, and raised funds for com­mu­nity projects there.

A spe­cial guest was the FoV li­ai­son of­fi­cer, Ge­orgina Sarmento, who is part way through a two-month visit to Mans­field.

Sev­eral mem­bers of Friends of La­cluta came from Wan­garatta to sup­port the event.

Ms Kings­bury ex­plained t he back­ground to the dis­pute be­tween Aus­tralia and Ti­mor-Leste that is cur- rently be­fore the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice in The Hague.

At is­sue is a doc­u­ment called a Cer­tain Mar­itime Agree­ment in the Ti­mor Sea, or the CMATS Treaty, signed in 2006.

“This treaty es­tab­lishes the sea bor­der be­tween Aus­tralia and Ti­morLeste and, more im­por­tantly, the right to ac­cess bil­lions of dol­lars worth of oil and gas re­serves,” Ms Kings­bury said.

“Dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions for the treaty, Aus­tralia used spies dis­guised as AusAID work­men to bug Ti­morLeste’s cab­i­net room,” she said.

“Aus­tralia ne­go­ti­ated in bad faith with our tiny, im­pov­er­ished neighbor, and ex­ploited this ad­van­tage to ob­tain treaty terms which are very much in Aus­tralia’s fa­vor,” Ms Kings­bury said.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Kings­bury the CMATS Treaty es­tab­lishes a tem­po­rary bor­der which, con­trary to the pro­vi­sions of the Law of the Sea, gives ex­tra ter­ri­tory to Aus­tralia.

“If the treaty re­mains in force, no per­ma­nent bor­der will be es­tab­lished un­til 2056, by which time all the known re­sources will be long gone,” Ms Kings­bury ex­plained.

Part of the area is the Ti­mor Trough, a strate­gi­cally im­por­tant deep­wa­ter chan­nel in which sub­marines can travel un­de­tected.

China is ey­ing re­sources through­out South-East Asia and is show­ing in­ter­est in the Ti­mor Sea.

“When Ti­mor-Leste de­cided to chal­lenge the un­fair CMATS Treaty in the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice, the Aus­tralian govern­ment sent ASIO of­fi­cers to raid the of­fice of Ti­mor- Leste’s Aus­tralian lawyer, Bernard Col­laery, and seize the documents he was plan­ning to use in court,” Ms Kings­bury said.

“Again, Aus­tralia acted in bad faith and gained an un­fair ad­van­tage.

“Ti­mor-Leste is ask­ing Aus­tralia to ne­go­ti­ate a new, fair and per­ma­nent bor­der - this would re­store the friend­ship be­tween our two coun­tries.”

Ms Kings­bury ex­plained that people who are con­cerned about this man­i­fest in­jus­tice should write to federal MPs, sen­a­tors and min­is­ters such as At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis.

They can also join the Ti­mor Sea Jus­tice Cam­paign at www. tim­o­rsea­jus­tice.com, or fol­low it on Face­book.

The chair of FoV, David Fos­ter, thanked Ms Kings­bury for her talk.

OPEN OUR EARS: Mans­field mayor, Ray Robin­son, with the guest speaker the Honorary Con­sul for Ti­mor-Leste, Rae Kings­bury.

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