Dear friend of Timor-Leste

This email is to notify you of THREE coming events on the Timor-Leste solidarity calendar.


During 1975, before the invasion of East Timor by the Indonesian military, the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA was founded. It changed its name to the Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA in 2002 after East Timor became Independent.

2015 is also the 40th anniversary of the TNI murder of six Australian-based journalists (the Balibo 5 and Roger East), the Declaration of Independence of East Timor by FRETILIN and the Invasion. See ABC memorial for Roger East who was freelancing for the ABC when he was killed.

We especially welcome patrons, life members of the Association and those who have been involved in this proud history of solidarity with the struggle for East Timorese Independence and justice for many years.

Do come and celebrate and commemorate these anniversaries with us which are very significant  for Timor-Leste and AETFA SA.

26 SEPTEMBER  2015 (6.30 pm for 7pm)
STUMPS BISTRO (formerly Paradiso)
150 King William Rd, Hyde Park

An evening of Tapas delights and Live music

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER:    SHIRLEY SHACKLETON  (long time East Timor activist, author of the Walkley Award winning book, Circle of Silence)

Cost: full wage – $40, concession – $35
You can make payment through a bank. Our banking details are as follows:
BSB 105-900 Account: 952850740 (Bank SA)

Please send an email to: or phone (below) indicating that you have paid, and if you would like tickets posted to you or collected at the door.
RSVP 21 September 2015      
    For tickets, more info, please contact:
    Andy Alcock, Information Officer Phone:  08 83710480;  0457 827014          
    Email:    <>
    Bob Hanney, Secretary   Phone:    08 8344 3511    Email:      < >


2.) Please also support the following fundraiser:

Australia East Timor Friendship Association, SA Unions, the SA Working Women’s Centre & the APHEDA Union Aid Abroad Activist Group SA
                                          invite you to:

 See the film:

Wednesday 28 OCTOBER 2015       5.30pm: Drinks & Nibbles      6.30pm:  Film
   VENUE: CAPRI THEATRE 141 Goodwood Road, Goodwood SA 5034
   ADMISSION: Full Wage:  $20    Concession:  $15

   Tickets are available from:
    AETFA:      Andy Alcock: Phone: 83710480     Email:
    APHEDA:       Jan Schultz:     Phone: 8231 5532    Email:
    SA UNIONS:       Phone:  8279 2222    Email:
    SA WORKING WOMENS CENTRE:      Sandra Dann:  Phone:  8410 6499   Email:
     Please pass this invite along your networks. Hope to see you there!


Set in the 1950s, The Dressmaker is a bittersweet comedy about a glamorous young woman who returns, after many years in Europe, to her small home town in rural Australia in order to right some wrongs from the past. When Tilly (played by Kate Winslet) comes home, she not only reconciles with her ailing mother Molly (played by Judy Davis) but, with her sewing machine, and haute couture style, she transforms the women of the town in such a way that she gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. She also falls unexpectedly in love, which leads to her greatest loss and her most destructive deed.

Written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker brings together a highly acclaimed cast and film-making team.
Stars: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis

See the trailer:
In September 2011, APHEDA Union Aid Abroad was proud to help launch the Working Women’s Centre Timor-Leste – the first dedicated service for women to better access their employment rights and combat gender violence in the workplace in Timor-Leste.
The South Australian Working Women’s Centre has played an important role in helping to establish this Centre and to give it ongoing support along with SA Unions and AETFA SA.
The Timor Leste Working Women’s Centre educates and advocates on behalf of Timorese working women, including vulnerable domestic workers,  free of charge.
Women of Timor-Leste have long held traditional roles in the home and many women are now seeking employment to help lift themselves and their families from chronic poverty. Timor-Leste is the poorest
country in our region due to the illegal occupation by the Indonesian military, which was responsible for wiping out almost 1/3rd of the population, committing gross human rights abuses and destroying 80% of the country’s infrastructure.
About two-thirds of adult women have never attended school and employment opportunities for those without a formal education are limited.
Most of the work available to women in Timor-Leste is characterised by ‘informal’ workplace arrangements. Jobs are paid cash in hand, without negotiation on fair wages or conditions, such as working hours and basic leave entitlements.
Income can vary from $US 35 – $US 130 per month. The basic wage is set at $US 115 per month.
In addition, women in informal work are unable to access existing or proposed Timorese social security schemes, and with an absence of occupational health and safety standards, some women are experiencing
bullying, violence, sexual harassment and other forms of coercion.
The  Centre needs our support so that it can continue to provide its excellent services to the working women of Timor Leste.

More details can be found on the APHEDA website:

Friday, 18 September 2015
Fundraiser for education projects in Timor-Leste and Philippines. Sponsored by the Cypriot Community.


                       Compared by the incomparable, amazing Quiz Master Edgar
A fund raiser for two vital projects:

  • Rise up San Vincente – Education, building and feeding programs for the CHILDREN of Leyte – Philippines.

  • Towards A Brighter Future – Children of Timor Leste – Education projects for CHILDREN of Timor-Leste.

When:           Friday, 18 September 2015
What time:   
6:30 pm
Cypriot Community Centre  (view map)
6 Barrpowell St

BYO or Delicious Greek BBQ and drinks available at reasonable prices

Tickets $15 per person – support 2 worthy projects
(Cash ONLY – no Card Facilities)
100% of money raised goes direct to the projects – no overheads

For further information contact -
Julie 0403 110 308 or Sara 0400 267 116

Kindly sponsored by the Cypriot Community


Yours in solidarity and justice
Bob Hanney
Secretary AETFA SA

West Papua: the Struggle for Self-determination (Public Talk)

Special Invitation

The University of Adelaide (Faculty of Arts), Abraham lnstitute and
The Australian lnstitute of lnternational Affairs (SA)


West Papua: The Struggle for Self Determination

Dr Peter King
Research Associate in Government and International Relations
Co-convenor: The West Papua Project, University of Sydney

6.00 pm: Thursday 13 August, 2015

Room 4, Ground Floor, Napier Building, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide

Note: This is the sixth talk in the series of a programme of talks:
Peace Building Colloquium: Can Enemies Become Friends – From Conflict to Peace Building

Demonstration For Open Access to Papua

Demonstrations to Call for
Open Access to Papua
Please join us on the 29th of April for a Global Day of Action for Media Access in West Papua
where the Indonesian government still systematically bans foreign journalists from entering.






Adelaide Event
Wednesday 29th April 2015  12 noon
Parliament House, North Terrace, Adelaide

Demonstrators are urged to wear all-black clothing to protest the media blackout in Papua.
They will be carrying placards, some of which will be ‘censored,’ and have their mouths taped
Free West Papua Campaign
Well Known West Papuan Activist Benny Wenda has asked all West Papuan support groups around the world to hold local rallies on this issue.

On April 29, Demonstrations will be held in London, New York and many other parts of the world
calling for an end to 50 years of isolation and free and open access to Papua. The London protest will take place at noon, outside the Indonesian embassy, 38 Grosvenor Square; the New York protest will begin at 6 pm at the Indonesian consulate, 5 E. 68th St. (near 5th Ave.) in Manhattan. Additional protests may take place elsewhere. Tapol, which initiated the protests, is organizing the London demonstration. ETAN is organizing the one in New York.

West Papua is one of the world’s most isolated conflict spots. For decades, indigenous activists
campaigning for their rights have been arrested, disappeared, tortured and killed. Local journalists who uncover the truth face lethal risks. Foreign journalists trying to report on Papua have been arrested, deported and even imprisoned. One by one, international humanitarian organisations have closed their Papua offices. Access for UN human rights observers has been closed for eight years. Until Indonesia lifts the repressive restrictions on access to Papua, Indonesian security forces and paramilitaries are free to act with total impunity, and indigenous Papuans will continue to be killed.

Demonstrators will be wearing all-black clothing to protest the media blackout in Papua. They will be carrying placards, some of which will be ‘censored,’ and have their mouths taped shut. This visual protest will highlight the absence of free and open access to Papua for international journalists and human rights observers.

We invite advocacy groups around the world to join our call to the Indonesian government to open
access to West Papua. Let the authorities know that the world is watching and standing in solidarity with Papuans. Protest against this veil of secrecy and ask President Jokowi to make good his Presidential campaign promise of opening access to Papua!

Please help to spread the word about the demonstration via social media and by printing and
distributing this flyer.
Please join us on the 29th of April for a Global Day of Action for Media Access in West Papua where the Indonesian government still systematically bans foreign journalists from entering.

Canberra, 12 noon outside the Indonesian Embassy                                                                 Perth, Australia protest details here:
Darwin, Australia protest details here:
New York, USA protest details here:
London, UK protest details here:
Edinburgh, UK details protest here:



Dear supporter of Timor Leste

The Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA cordially invites you to attend a Reception for 5 veterans of FALINTIL (the East Timorese defence force that resisted the illegal occupation of the nation for 24 years), who will be in Adelaide next week as guests of the RSL during ANZAC Day events.

This invitation is also extended by the East Timor Students’ Association SA (ETSA SA) and the Honorary Consul for Timor Leste in SA, Dr Ian Leitch

Our apologies for the very late notice of this event as final details only became known today.

Details are as follows


Wednesday 22 April 2015 6pm

Venue:  RAAF Mess, 1st Floor, Torrens Parade Ground, Victoria Drive, Adelaide (Entrance on south side of building) (Free parking is available in the grounds)  

Speeches from:  

Ian Leitch (T-L Hon Consul to SA), 

AETFA SA (tbc),  

ETSA-SA (tbc), 

Spokesperson for Veterans,  

MC: Rosemary McKay, Chair AETFA SA                                   

Songs by Fernando Carceres (from ETSA)                                   

Supper provided. Drinks on sale at the bar.  

Donation appreciated to help pay for catering. Timorese students exempt. Please RSVP by Tuesday midday (for catering) to: Andy Alcock ph 8371 0380; mob 0457 827014; email: andyalcock@internode.on  



The Information Officer of the Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA, Andrew Alcock, announced today that 5 veterans of FALINTIL, the East Timorese defence force that resisted the illegal occupation of the nation for 24 years will come to Adelaide next week to be guests of the RSL during ANZAC Day events.  

The initiative to bring the  veterans to South Australia was a plan of the government of Timor-Leste to explore ways that they can better help all their FALINTIL veterans. Like most soldiers, they can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other problems fitting back into main stream society after their military experience. In addition, the Timor-Leste Government wants to explore ways that can bring their society to realise the great sacrifice that the veterans made while defending their nation for nearly a quarter of a century.  

The 5 veterans coming to Adelaide are:   

MR PAULO ALVES SARMENTO                                                                                                          MR PEDRO DE OLIVEIRA                                                                                                                 MR FRANCISCO SARMENTO                                                                                                            MR LUCAS DA CONCEICAO SALSINHA                                                                                            MR LUCIO DINIS MARQUES  

All the men were involved in active military service during the time that they were with FALINTIL.  

Each state is hosting a delegation of FALINTIL veterans and they will be invited to be on the official dais at ANZAC Day marches and to participate in other ANZAC Day events. In some states, they will participate in the marches.  

AETFA SA considers that the decision by the RSL to host these Timorese veterans is a recognition of the great sacrifice the East Timorese made during World War 2 to assist the Australian commandos who fought there. During the war, Australia lost 40,000 lives out of a population of 7 million people. The East Timorese lost about 70,000 out of a population of half a million. It is believed that the Japanese Imperial Military targeted those villages where the Australians received assistance and about 40,000 who lost their lives were summarily executed for helping the Australians..  

Some believe that if Australia had not occupied East Timor, then a colony of Portugal, the Japanese military may not have invaded.  

The sacrifice of our East Timorese brothers and sisters is a reason why there is a very special bond between Australia and Timor-Leste.  

During their stay in Adelaide, the FALINTIL veterans will attend events organised by the AETFA SA, East Timorese students in Adelaide, members of the East Timorese diaspora and those who have worked in solidarity with Timor-Leste for many years.  

AETFA SA, which began as the Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA, will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.  

Andrew (Andy) Alcock                                                                                                               Information Officer                                                                                                                           Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc                                                                             (PO Box 240 GoodwoodSA 5034)                                                                                                Phone:    61 8 83710480                                                                                                                  0457 827 014                                                                                                                          Email:       andyalcock@internode.on

West Papuan leader Benny Wenda threatened with deportation from PNG

Press Release – Benny Wenda in Papua New Guinea
MARCH 25, 2015
Free West Papua Campaign Press Release 25th March 2015
Attention All Global Media – Benny Wenda in Papua New Guinea

Benny Wenda

Benny Wenda a West Papua independence leader and Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua arrived in Papua New Guinea yesterday and was unexpectedly detained by PNG immigration authorities.

Today Mr Wenda is still being detained by immigration authorities and is now being threatened with deportation.

This is despite a direct order from the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
to allow Mr Wenda to enter PNG.

It appears that Indonesian influence on the PNG immigration authorities is very strong today because the head of the immigration service at the PM airport is refusing to take calls from the PNG Prime Minster and is saying that he is intending to deport Mr. Wenda.

Earlier today Mr Wenda explained to media that he is coming to PNG to thank the Prime Minister for his recent statements of concern for the Melanesian people of West Papua and to brief the PNG Foreign Minister on the latest developments. Mr Wenda said that “the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is seeking to apply for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and I will brief PNG on the progress of the application and on the situation in West Papua generally.”

Mr Wenda said “I have come back to this homeland of our ancestors to thank the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for showing strong support to stop the suffering of our people in West Papua and I have also come to seek support from my fellow Melanesians to help West Papua. Our campaign for freedom for West Papua is a lawful, peaceful and democratic movement that has stood up in the face of Indonesian genocide of Melanesian people in West Papua. One day we will live in peace and freedom as an independent nation and we will be good neighbours with Indonesia”.

Mr Wenda stated, ”as a Melanesian it is perfectly normal for me to travel to other Melanesian countries to discuss the situation with all my Melanesian Brothers and Sisters. We are all one Melanesian people together.” Mr Wenda said “only last week Indonesian soldiers killed Papuan activists in West Papua who were campaigning and collecting money for Cyclone relief in Vanuatu”. “This was a big mistake by Indonesia”.

Mr. Wenda continued, it was quite disgusting, the Indonesian soldiers even stole the money the Papuans had collected for Vanuatu disaster relief along with other funds.

Now Indonesia is exerting undue influence on PNG immigration authorities but I know that PNG is a sovereign country and will not allow this”.

Mr Wenda then said: “I really need the support of my Melanesian brothers and sisters. Please tell everyone about this situation, and support the Prime Minister in his decision to allow me entry into Papua New Guinea and in supporting an end to the suffering of our West Papuan people. I am sure that my fellow Melanesian family will always support our people, our wantoks in West Papua. Thank you very much”

Benny Wenda is available now for media interviews and can be contacted directly on this number: +44 7411 053 953
PNG Immigration: +675 323 1500

Indonesian police chief: “I ordered to burn the civilian’s houses…”



Indonesian police chief: “I ordered to burn the civilian’s houses in Utikini village. This was deliberately done to trim the movement. I will annihilate them.” We have received more reports about the arrests, torture and burning of houses by the Indonesian police and military towards West Papuan civilians in Timika. According to an Indonesian police chief, over 1500 personnel have been mobilised to Timika to undertake this operation which has resulted in the burning of dozens of traditional West Papuan houses and the arrests of over 100 Papuan civilians.

This operation was conducted in order to try and crush pro-independence sentiment in Timika, West Papua. The only excuse given for the attack by the Indonesian police and military was that there were banners calling for an independence referendum found in the basement of a house.

Our people desperately need international support to help stop this genocide against us. There is so much you can do to help. Please visit the Take Action part of our website to find out how you can act to support us in out struggle for freedom from oppression and occupation.

Please hear our cries for freedom.

please we must get the Australian Government to listen more then ever we need to send a loud voice please share this cause and sign all petitions on this cause,Peace Soon!

Public Forum – Justice in the Timor Sea: Whose Oil is it?


Australian Institute of International Affairs, SA Branch
Australia-East Timor Friendship Association, SA Inc.

supported by

United Nations Association of Australia SA Division Inc.
Australian West Papua Association SA (Inc.)
Kathleen Lumley College, University of Adelaide


Public Forum

Justice in the Timor Sea: Whose Oil is It?

Guest Speakers:

Dr Michael Sullivan
School of Political and International Studies, Flinders University

Ms Janelle Saffin
Senior Legal and Security Advisor
Office of the Prime Minister, Timor Leste
Former Member of the Australian House of Representatives

Mr Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Ordem de Timor-Leste Medalha
Information Officer:
Australia East Timor Friendship Association (SA) Inc

6.00 pm for 6.30 pm start
(Nibbles and drinks provided)

Thursday 11 December 2014

The Common Room
Kathleen Lumley College, University of Adelaide.
51 Finniss Street (opposite The British Hotel) North Adelaide

Ample on-street parking is available on the Mackinnon Parade side of the College. Gates are at 51 Finniss Street and 120 Mackinnon Parade.

For Further Information contact Bob Hanney, Secretary AETFA SA: PH 08 8344 3511;               0469 359199; Email:

OR Andy Alcock, AETFA SA Information Officer: PH 08 8371 0480; 0457 827014;                      Email:



Australia halved the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA – the old “Timor Gap”) with Indonesia in 1989 while Timor was being subjugated.

Australia shamelessly withdrew from the maritime jurisdiction of both the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in March 2002, just two months before East Timor’s independence, thus forcing the Timorese to negotiate with Australia without an international umpire.

Australia has shamelessly received billions of dollars in tax revenue from the disputed area Laminaria-Corallina since September 1999, more than the total of all assistance Australia has ever given to East Timor.

Through the Timor Gap Treaty Australia still get 10% of the old JPDA even though it lies 100% on Timor’s side of half-way. With all processing done in Darwin, Australia shamelessly gets all the jobs.

In Timor Sea disputes Australia still clings to defunct Continental Shelf principles, while the rest of the world determines maritime boundary disputes on the basis of the median line. (And so does Australia when any other nation except Timor is involved, e.g. New Zealand.)

After claiming 82% of yet another field, Greater Sunrise, which is far closer to Timor than to Australia, Australia finally agreed in 2006 to split the resources 50/50 with the Timorese on condition that Timor did not raise the issue of maritime boundaries until 2056.

The lack of a maritime boundary reduces stability and security and Timor Leste, trying to get on its feet.

A decade ago, Australia took advantage of a nascent East Timor to negotiate a remarkable treaty that short-changed the second poorest country in Asia out of tens of billions of dollars in gas and oil revenue. That included alleged spying on East Timor negotiators to get an upper hand.

When East Timor learnt of Australia’s espionage last year, they sought to renegotiate the treaty. What happened next was shocking. Australian agents raided the home of a former intelligence agent and seized his passport preventing him from travelling to the The Hague to provide his evidence.

The International Court of Justice has slammed the Australian Government’s actions.
Without international pressure, history may well repeat itself during this next round of negotiations.

On the Human Development Index out of 187:

Timor Leste ranks at 134; Australia’s rank is 2 (with Norway No. 1)

Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia

ETAN (East Timor & Indonesia Action Network) is a U.S.-based group seeking justice for the genocides perpetrated against the peoples of Indonesia, Timor Leste and West Papua. AETFA SA supports this petition:. ETAN’s website with links is

Please join us in signing ETAN’s petition  urging the U.S. Government to release the records and acknowledge the crimes! A big thank you to all who have signed so far.
Although the massacre of between 500,000 and one million (or more) people in Indonesia in 1965-1967 is a crucial event in modern Indonesian political history, it remains mostly a footnote in the United States and elsewhere. In 2012, the documentary The Act of Killing shocked audiences throughout the world as perpetrators of the mass murder re-enacted their violence. The film has fuelled a debate within Indonesia and drawn attention internationally to events long kept out of U.S. history books: Events that the U.S. Government facilitated and celebrated.

A companion film, The Look of Silence, is currently showing at film festivals focuses on the victims. It follows the investigation by Adi Rukun into the murder of his older brother who was killed during the violence. 

While these are powerful films, any discussion of the events of 1965-1967 would not be complete without a discussion of the role of Western powers in this violence, including that of the United States. ETAN continues to call for accountability for those in the West who encouraged and assisted in the mass violence in Indonesia.

Sign the petition urging the U.S. government to take two immediate steps:
1) Declassify and release all documents related to the U.S. role in the mass violence, including the CIA’s so-called “job files.” These detail its covert operations.
2) The U.S. should formally acknowledge its role in facilitating the 1965-66 violence and its subsequent support for the brutalities of the Suharto regime.
ETAN has prepared a backgrounder on the events and aftermath of Suharto’s brutal seizure of power, where we focus on the U.S. role and responsibility. Read Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia’s Mass Violence.
Once again, thanks to everyone who has already signed! 
Please Support ETAN. We need your support to continue our work for justice and accountability. Please donate today. 

Thank you!


Australia East Timor Friendship Association, SA Unions, the SA Working Women’s Centre & the APHEDA Union Aid Abroad Activist Group SA invite you to:




PRIDE [Rated M]
starring Bill Nighy & Imelda Staunton

Wednesday 29 OCTOBER 2014

5.30pm: Drinks & Nibbles

6.45pm: Film

141 Goodwood Road, Goodwood SA 5034

ADMISSION: Full Wage: $20;    Concession: $15

Tickets are available from:

AETFA: Andy Alcock: Phone: 83710480 Email:

APHEDA: Jan Schultz Phone: 8231 5532 Email:
Please pass this invite along your networks. Hope to see you there!


PRIDE: ABOUT THE FILM                                                                                                       and  Background on the T-L Working Womens Centre

Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the UK miners’ strike in 1984 during the Thatcher era, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. Continue reading

The Timor-Leste spying case is a taste of our future under Asio’s new powers

The overblown security concoction being cooked up by George Brandis and our security elite is more about protecting the spy establishment than the nation
Richard Ackland, Wednesday 10 September 2014×276.jpeg

‘Interested citizens are scratching their heads and wondering: kept safe from what?’ Asio boss David Irvine. Photograph: AAP

Already we have a taste of what lies in wait once the new bundle of Asio laws are passed.
Legislation, to be introduced shortly, provides for two new offences relating to unauthorised disclosure of information about “special intelligence operations” – up to five years and then up to 10 years for aggravated offences. Currently the tariff for unauthorised communication of information is two years.
There’s to be no mucking around when it comes to preserving state secrets, including ones that are not particularly worthy of the word “secret”. The penalties will apply even in cases of public interest disclosures about misconduct by security agencies where no risk to national security is involved.
That’s what makes the Timor-Leste spying case so apposite. Of course, it was a bugging and spying operation conducted by Asis, not Asio – though things have become a little blurred. The then head of Asis, David Irvine, who got authorisation for the bugging of the Timor-Leste ministerial office, is now the head of Asio, and ordered the raids on parties engaged in the complaint about the eavesdropping mission.
As a result of the espionage the Timorese are now before the permanent court of arbitration at the Hague, trying to unstitch the treaty with Australia over the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.
Timor-Leste lawyer Bernard Collaery and a former Asis officer, known as Witness K, both had their homes and offices raided by Asio early last December. An overblown task force of 15 Asio and AFP officers took to Collaery’s office seizing files, a computer and an important USB stick, just days before a preliminary hearing at the permanent court.
Witness K was extensively interviewed, had documents relating to the case seized and his passport confiscated. Witness K was one of the Asis officers instructed by Irvine to wire-for-sound the office used by Timor-Leste officials during the negotiations over the gas reserves.
Not only is Collaery acting for Timor-Leste, but he also acted for Witness K in another capacity. Three of the operatives engaged in the offshore bugging operation, including Witness K, were subsequently removed from their jobs at ASIS, with the explanation that management was looking for “generational change”.
The Asis officer was given permission to talk to the lawyer about his employment concerns. Collaery was an “approved lawyer” acting for Asio and Asis officers in their disputes with their respective agencies.
In a letter dated 2 April 2008, the then-inspector general of intelligence and security, Ian Carnell, noted there had been consultations and that Collaery would keep a watching brief on an internal inquiry into Witness K’s employment concerns.
In a ministerial statement on 4 December, Brandis told the senate that the raids on Collaery and Witness K were nothing to do with the pending hearings in the Hague, were not a contempt of court or an interference in lawyer-client privilege.
It was simply a matter of keeping Australia safe, leaving interested citizens scratching their heads and wondering: from what?
However, the attorney general did attack Collaery, saying that because he is a lawyer, “that fact alone does not excuse him from the ordinary law of the land. In particular, no lawyer can involve the principles of lawyer-client privilege to excuse participation, whether as principal or accessory, in offences against the Commonwealth”.
The suggestion seemed to be that Collaery shouldn’t have talked to Witness K about Asis and the espionage in Timor-Leste, the very issues that were related to to the move to shaft him from his employment.
Yet, these were the very matters that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) had cleared for discussion. A carefully worded denial from IGIS says there were no complaints made “about alleged Australian government activities in East Timor”.
Now Irvine has taken it one step further and got approval from Brandis for the AFP to investigate the possibility of prosecutions of Collaery and Witness K over alleged “unauthorised communication of information”.
There is a strong case that by spying on the ministers and negotiators of Timor-Leste, the Australian government may be in breach of international law.
Both countries are parties to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and article 49 says that if a country is induced to agree to a treaty by the fraudulent conduct of another party, then it may invoke fraud to invalidate its consent. Fraud extends to deceitful behaviour. Spying to obtain secret information is deceitful.
The testing point will be for Timor-Leste to show that that it was induced to enter the Cmats treaty as a result of that deceit. To this end the evidence of Witness K would have been crucial – yet he is without a passport and unlikely to be unable to attend the PCA.
So, we have the police and the security people seeking to establish a case that Collaery and Witness K broke the secrecy provisions of the security law in allegedly communicating about a government spying operation that itself was illegal.
In March the international court of justice ordered Australia to stop any spying operations against Timor-Leste and to seal the documents and data seized in the December Asio raids – all of which came as an embarrassment to Brandis and his swaggering assertions about the raid and our security.
Fifteen of the 16 judges on the ICJ panel concurred with the findings and orders. The only exception was Ian Callinan, the former “capital-C” Conservative judge appointed to the high court by the Howard government.
This overblown concoction by Brandis and the security wallahs has all the hallmarks of being more about the protection of Asis and Asio than anything directly bearing on the safety of the nation. No wonder there is no exemption for public interest disclosures in Brandis’ new Bill.
Why the legal profession should be so quiet about the Commonwealth meddling with the functions of an independent lawyer in court proceedings is a mystery.
One consolation: Brandis doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to his urging the authorities to take legal action against people he regards as enemies of the state.
For some time Brandis was at the forefront of a campaign to get the Commonwealth DPP to bring proceeds of crime proceedings against David Hicks, over the publication of his book Guantanamo: My Journey.
On July 23, 2012 the DPP made a decision to discontinue the proceedings. Apparently, until that point Brandis and the DPP had forgotten about section 84 of the Evidence Act, and the common law, both of which say that an admission of guilt in relation to a crime cannot be put to a court if it was procured by “violent, oppressive, inhumane or degrading conduct”.