The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua sits in a long tradition of Australians taking a stand for democracy and justice in Indonesia. So why won’t our leaders speak up, asks Tom Clarke
Although successive Australian governments have been overly eager to align themselves with the more regressive elements of the Indonesian political landscape, ordinary Australians have stood up time and time again for democracy and human rights in our region.
Following the defeat of the Japanese at the end of World War II, Indonesia proclaimed independence, but four more years of fighting was required to defeat Dutch attempts to regain control of their former colony. During this crucial period, many within the Australian community supported the Indonesian cause. For example, a boycott led by the Australian Waterside Workers’ Federation and supported by 30 other Australian trade unions, immobilised 559 ships that were meant to supply the Dutch effort.