Subject: Letters to Australian papers

From editorial page, Sydney Morning Herald, January 8-9, 2005


In all the talk of long-term commitment to the rebuilding of infrastructure in the devastated areas of Asia, let us not forget another nation all too recently destroyed, nor our responsibilities to it. East Timor's status as the poorest nation in Asia must continue to be our concern.

Why is it that all of the infrastructure to process the gas resources of the Timor Sea is planned for Darwin? Surely at least one liquefied natural gas plant could be built in East Timor, bringing employment and training prospects to the people.

Come on, Australians. Let's match the wonderful generosity to the tsunami victims with a willingness to engage in the Timor Sea resources dispute with intelligence and commitment and to demand that our Government act fairly.

Sister Susan Connelly, St Marys, January 7.



The Australian

January 5, 2005 Wednesday All-round Country Edition


Keep the spotlight on Aceh


Aid effort

NEWS that Australia is planning a massive $500 million contribution (on top of the $160m already promised) towards the cost of rebuilding the tsunami affected regions of Indonesia is most welcome.

As well as providing for the health and infrastructure needs of our neighbours, it offers an opportunity to forge a new relationship with Indonesia.

Our involvement in Aceh will ensure that it remains open to scrutiny by international observers. Indonesia had placed strict controls on access to the region, particularly for aid workers and human rights observers. They said they could not guarantee the safety of the visitors, who might be attacked by separatists; however, the Indonesian military has been implicated in horrific crimes against humanity in the region.

By playing a role in the reconstruction, Australia can keep a close eye on the situation -- as long as the public has a long attention span. A 10-year timeframe has already been raised by some; it will likely be longer. We can't open our wallets today, and tomorrow forget about the people we wanted to help.

When we remember what happened in East Timor, and the shameful blind-eye role Australia played, it becomes even more important to take this chance to intervene. Out of adversity comes hope. Although the deaths of an estimated 92,000 Acehnese prompted this new arrangement, our vigilant commitment might save the lives of millions.

Robert Corr Greenwood, WA

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