East Timor has taken Australia to an international court in an effort to take control over large oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. But this isn't the only time the Timorese have come up against Australia ― which has sought to impose its interests on the former Portuguese colony in recent decades. The Portuguese had a presence in Timor from 1509, trading sandalwood, converting Timorese to Catholicism and fighting against the Dutch for control. In 1859, the Treaty of Lisbon finally stopped the colonial conflict, dividing the island into the Dutch western half and Portuguese east.
Having leaked the disturbing details in the chapter on intelectual property rights in the secret proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last year, WikiLeaks released the TPP's environment chapter on January 15.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman recently hinted that his government’s controversial bikie laws were likely to be repealed after a mandatory review in three years. “Ultimately, in less than three years' time, these laws can disappear from the statute books in Queensland, because that's the intention of the government,” he said. Newman claimed he never wanted the laws, saying: “I didn't particularly want to see these laws implemented, but the sooner we can get rid of them the better.”
Hundreds of people have been arrested and some killed as Indonesian authorities crack down on events commemorating the declaration of West Papua's independence. On December 1, West Papuans mark the first raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of West Papuan independence. On that day in 1961, the flag was raised by the New Guinea Council, the parliament in the then-Dutch colony. Soon after the ceremony, Indonesia invaded West Papua, claiming it was part of its campaign to liberate the Dutch colonies of the East Indies.
WikiLeaks published a leaked draft chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement on November 13. The leaded chapter of the propsed “free trade” deal concerned intellectual property rights — and confirms fears its provisions favour big corporations and restrict the ability of governments to regulate corporate activity.
A recent report details genocide against the indigenous people of West Papua carried out by the Indonesian government, which has occupied the territory since the 1960s. The report, “A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua”, was written by Dr Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon, both visiting scholars at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University. It was published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity.
Three West Papuan activists scaled the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali on October 6, during the APEC meeting on the island, to seek refuge and demand that foreigners be allowed to freely enter West Papua. The Australian government, however, took the opportunity to reaffirm its long-standing support for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua.
A group of West Papuan asylum seekers arrived in Australia on September 24, defying the Australian government and potentially raising already high tensions between Australia and Indonesia over asylum seekers. The group of West Papuans includes six adults and a child. It has been reported the group had some connection to the West Papua Freedom flotilla, in which supporters of freedom for West Papua tried to sail to the Indonesian-occupied territory. The flotilla sparked by Indonesian authorities on its West Papuan organisers.
The Australian government has made it clear that it will not offer consular help to activists on the West Papua Freedom Flotilla if they are arrested by Papua New Guinea NG or Indonesian authorities. The flotilla is expected to enter Indonesian territory early next month. Carrying West Papuan and Australian Aboriginal activists, its aim is to raise awareness about the occupation of West Papua by Indonesia.
Prime minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement of the “PNG solution” — where refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will be denied resettlement and sent to Papua New Guinea — has sparked the largest refugee rights rallies in Australia since John Howard was in power, as well as opposition from within PNG itself. On August 2, 2000 students at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) held a protest against the proposed plan.