23 May 2019


23 May 2019


Cr Fraser –  Good evening everyone and welcome to our Mornington council chamber. Thank you all for coming along this evening to our leading Shire Library Week event in association with our own Friends of Lospalos Timor Leste.

For those of you I have not met – my name is Hugh Fraser – I am one of the Nepean Ward councilors and I also wear a hat as the Council delegate to our Friends of Lospalos, Timor Leste Committee.

At the outset may I thank Mornington Peninsula Library Services – particularly Stephanie Wilson and Gail Higgins – and Simone Borthwick from councillor support and the Friends Committee that have worked tirelessly to put this event together. It’s great to see such a large turn out this evening.

I am delighted to have with me Friends of Lospalos chair Xiao Li Ma and deputy chair and former Shire Mayor Graham Pittock.

May I pause here for a moment – for on your chairs you will find information about our Friends of Lospalos – how you can join and assist in our capital works and other programs in Lospalos.

I should also like to particularly welcome our speakers this evening Professor Clinton Fernandes and lawyer Bernard Collaery.

I should also like to acknowledge as present here this evening – Chris Brayne – the State member for Nepean, our Mayor – Councillor David Gill, Councillor Julie Morris – and her husband Ron who have served in Timor Leste, Shire Chief Executive Officer – John Baker, and my former co Councillor and immediate past Chair of the Friends – Tim Rodgers.

I acknowledge the elders, families and forbears of the Bunurong/Boonwurrung tribe, the Kulin, who were the custodians of this land for many centuries. We acknowledge that the land on which we meet was the place of age old ceremonies, initiation and renewal; and that the Kulin peoples’ living culture had, and continues to have, a unique role in the life of this region.

Today we celebrate the Restoration of Timor Leste Independence on 20 May 2002 after decades of terrible bloody conflict to achieve Independence. “Restoration” because Independence was declared on 28 November 1975 –  9 days before Indonesia invaded Timor Leste.

We mark Restoration of Independence Day this evening in the context of the Library Week theme throughout Victoria of “Knowledge, Integrity and Truth”.

This theme is particularly relevant to the contemporary issue of the means by which the Australian Government acquired information in bugging Timor Leste Government officers in Dili, the use that the Australian Government made of the information it acquired and the current prosecution by the Australian Government of the whistleblower that exposed this scandal – which pending in the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court.

So, may I introduce first – Professor Clinton Fernandes – He is a Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, a former Australian Army Intelligence corps officer on the Indonesian desk in the lead up to the INTERFET intervention in Timor Leste 20 years ago, a Doctor of Philosophy from Deakin University and the author of his recent book “Island off the Coast of Asia” – which will be available for signing by Clinton and purchase this evening with $12 of each sale to go to the Friends.

May I also introduce Bernard Collaery –  A barrister by profession and former member of the Australian Capital Territory Assembly. He has written extensively on the Australian Government covert spy operations in Timor Leste during the oil and gas negotiations and the “Witness K” pending prosecution in the ACT Magistrates Court.

Gentlemen, the floor is yours – and may I ask you all to make Clinton and Bernard very welcome.