Indonesian academic to speak on democratic rights


By Max Lane

Dr George Aditjondro was the first Indonesian senior academic to speak out against the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. He has also been an outspoken advocate of democratic reform and environmental policy in Indonesia. As a result, he came under much harassment from the regime, which climaxed in charges being laid against him. In exile, he now teaches at the University of Newcastle.

On March 22, Aditjondro will be speaking at a public meeting and dinner organised by ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) on the theme "Australia-Indonesia-East Timor: Triangle of Oppression".

Speaking to Green Left Weekly, Aditjondro said, "We know how Gough Whitlam gave the green light to Suharto's invasion of East Timor, and how the Labor government arranged the Timor Gap Treaty. During Labor's period in office, some ALP left figures got into business arrangements with Indonesian businessman leeches from East Timor.

"The question now is whether under the new Coalition government there is going to be a change. The NT County Liberal Party government has invited many of Suharto's business cronies to invest. Will this be the model for Australia now?"

Aditjondro is also concerned about Indonesia's plans for nuclear power. "With Indonesia going nuclear, will the Coalition's ending of the three mines policy mean that Australian business will be looking more to Indonesia as a market for uranium? Will the Coalition be siding with the Suharto government or supporting the environmental movement in its campaign against this mad scheme?"

Aditjondro is also concerned that the Australian defence industry will see Indonesia's repression as a bonus. "Is it just going to be more profits for Australian business flowing from Suharto's war against the East Timorese?"

The dinner and public meeting will take place at 6.30pm, Friday, March 22, at Glebe Town Hall, St Johns Road, Glebe. Space is limited, so bookings on (02) 690 1977 are advisable.