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Inquiry into Australia's relationship with Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island countries

25 June 2002

Inquiry into Australia's relationship with Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island countries.

Weapons sales to Indonesia; support for the invasions and armed occupation of East Timor, Bougainville, and West Papua; rapacious mining companies causing devastating environmental destruction and armed conflict; the dumping of asylum seekers on Pacific Islands ... there is certainly a lot for the Australian Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee to consider in their inquiry. But they won't consider any of these issues unless you draw their attention to them ...

This alert is in two parts: 1) the Terms of Reference of the inquiry and where to send your submission to; and 2) Sources for information which you could include in your submission.

1) Terms of reference

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 8 July 2002.

The Senate has referred the following matters to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report: Australia's relationship with Papua New Guinea and the island states of the south-west Pacific (known as Oceania or the South Pacific), with particular reference to:

(a) the current state of political relations between regional states and Australia and New Zealand;

(b) economic relations, including trade, tourism and investment;

(c) development cooperation relationships with the various states of the region, including the future direction of the overall development cooperation program; and

(d) the implications for Australia of political, economic and security developments in the region.

Guidelines on making a submission can be found on the Committee's web site at or tel the Secretariat on (02) 6277 3535, Fax: (02) 6277 5818. E-mail:

The Committee invites individuals and organisations with knowledge and information relevant to the inquiry's terms of reference to lodge submissions by 8 June 2002 with The Secretary, Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee email to The Committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form. E-mailed submissions must include the author's full name, phone number and postal address.

2) Sources for information which you could include in your submission

dot Diplomatic and military support to Indonesia

- Australia ... "has long been complicit in providing diplomatic and military support to Indonesia's regime, partly due to their desire to obtain allies against Communist influence in South-east Asia from Vietnam and China, and partly due to their desire to exploit the rich natural resources around Timor and the Indonesian archipelago." 'Arms Exports to Indonesia', Campaign Against the Arms Trade, October 1999 at

- See also theTapol (Indonesia Human Rights Campaign) web site at

- More links under East Timor below

dot East Timor

- 'Australia let Indonesia invade East Timor in 1975: Records show Canberra had 3 days warning but did nothing' (September 2000) at

- "Australia yesterday announced it would no longer submit to international legal rulings on maritime boundaries - after leading lawyers advised East Timor that Canberra was poised to rob it of tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue." 'Timor gas billions all at sea' (March 2002) at

- "The UN put up a tough fight to get a better deal from Australia and the mighty oil companies, including US-based Phillips Petroleum, than the one which Indonesia had made years earlier. The surprise came last year when the US started warning East Timor not to push Australia too hard shortly after Vice-President Dick Cheney had received Australian representatives in his Washington office. " East Timor is Independent: So Long As It Does As It's Told - President Bush cannot leave the world's newest state alone' (May 2002) at

- Articles on 'East Timor's Oil' are listed at

- More articles on the Australian government's support for Indonesia are listed on the index page at

- Web sites you could search for more information are and

dot Bougainville

- 'Australia tries to thwart Bougainville class action' (March 2002) at and the consequence of this interference 'US court dismisses case against miner Rio Tinto' (March 2002) at

- "Australian Supplied Iroquois Helicopters for Papua New Guinea Defence Force Deployment in Bougainville: In May 29th 1989, the then Australian Minister for Defence and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Gareth Evans, under the former Labour Government, endorsed and donated 4 Ex-Falklands Iroquois Helicopters (used during the Falklands war by British Forces). Supplied with Australian and New Zealand pilots for immediate deployment in the Bougainville war theatre, a guerrilla style warfare ensued. PNGDF immediately converted these helicopters into 'gun-ships' with devastating effects not on the BRA forces, but on ordinary civilians." from 'Bougainville: Peoples Integrated Development Peace and Economic Self-reliance', Moses Havini (September 2000) at

- 'Bougainville: Blood on our hands - Australia's role in PNG's war' (1997) at

- 'Australia - arming PNG' (October 2000) at

dotWest Papua

- See articles listed on the West Papua index page at

- West Papua Project - for peaceful ways forward and useful things the Australian government could be doing to assist the people of West Papua - at

- "In Irian Jaya, Indonesia (also known as Papua or West Papua), Rio Tinto, along with the American company, Freeport McMoRan, operates the second largest gold mine in the world. The Indonesian military, supported by Rio Tinto's security forces and paid in part by Rio Tinto, has suppressed local opposition to the mine. According to the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, between 1994 and 1995 there were 22 civilians and 15 alleged "guerrillas" living near the mine who disappeared or were killed by the military with assistance from the mine's security forces. Other opponents to the mine have been arrested, tortured or forced to leave the area. As the mining operation expands, Rio Tinto is aware of the fact that more local people will be evicted, which means more opposition to the mine. In response, the Indonesian military has increased its presence in the area." ("Associating with the Wrong Company, Rio Tinto') at

dot Activities of Australian mining companies

- 'Rio Tinto: Global Compact Violator' at

- 'Report of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid: Eyewitness accounts of West Papuan resistance to the Freeport-McMoRan mine in Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Indonesian military repression' (1995) at

- 'Australian Mining Companies: Inquiry needed into the impact of their overseas operations' at

- 'Australian Companies Mining Indonesia: With Australian mining companies increasingly operating in the Asia Pacific region, Jeff Atkinson looks at their impact on poor communities.' at

- 'Australian Companies Mining Indonesia' at

- Mining Ombudsman Annual Report 2000 - 2001 (with case studies of the impacts of Australian mining companies) at

dot Refugees and asylum seekers

- 'Adrift in the Pacific: The Implications of Australia's Pacific Refugee Solution, Oxfam Community Aid Abroad' (February 2002) at

- 'Playing With Children's Lives: A Tried and Tested Tactic for Australian Government', Aziz Choudry (March 2002) at

- 'Few asylum-seekers actually reach Australia's shores, and if they do, their treatment beggars belief', John Pilger (January 2002) at

- Links to Australian web sites on refugees and asylum seekers: Amnesty International at Australians for Just Refugee Programs at Refugee Council of Australia at Refugee Action Collective of Victoria at Show Mercy: Rights for Asylum Seekers at

dot Other useful sites

- Aidwatch has a selection of articles about the Australian government's behaviour in the Pacific and Asia at

Submissions due     Australia index


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