Subject: SMH: Ads lash Bush, Howard over Timor abuses

Sydney Morning Herald

Ads lash Bush, Howard over Timor abuses

Hamish McDonald

September 4, 2007

A WEALTHY businessman will spend nearly $500,000 trying to get Asia-Pacific leaders to focus on human rights abuses this week.

In a series of advertisements starting in newspapers and on television and radio in Sydney and Canberra tomorrow - the morning the US President, George Bush, wakes up in Sydney - Ian Melrose will highlight Indonesian military abuses in East Timor and Papua.

Whether Mr Bush or other APEC leaders, such as the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will pick up the Herald or tune in to Channel Nine or SBS is unclear.

An effort to make sure they got the message on the roads into the city from Sydney Airport was stymied by the refusal of the main billboard company, APN Outdoor, to carry political content.

Channel Seven also ducked out of the campaign, telling Mr Melrose on Friday afternoon it was dropping the ads he had booked and paid for. "They said the ads were repetitive," Mr Melrose said. "I got the feeling they were looking for reasons."

The ads say that 183,000 people died in East Timor as a consequence of the Indonesian invasion in 1975, according to a United Nations report, and 100,000 have died in Papua since Indonesia wrested it from Dutch control in 1962 and 1963, citing church sources.

They also mention the alleged execution of five Australian-based television newsmen at Balibo in October 1975 and of the Australian journalist Roger East in Dili in December 1975 by Indonesian forces.

"Why have your countries supplied weapons and training to the Indonesian military?" the advertisements will ask Mr Bush and his host, John Howard.

Channel Seven's decision is drawing criticism.

"It's a sad state of affairs when the same channel which employed Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham and Tony Stewart [who were among the Balibo five] won't run an ad about their murders," Dr Clinton Fernandes, a lecturer at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said.

Mr Melrose, an accountant, is the proprietor of 47 optometrical shops trading under the brand name of Optical Superstore.

Spurred by reading about the death of a young Timorese girl from worm infestation, he has run ad campaigns against the Howard Government's tough negotiations with East Timor over seabed oil and gas resources.

Commercial TV stations and even SBS have baulked at stark lines such as: "When you steal from Third World countries, you kill their kids."

Mr Melrose has committed $200,000 to television ads and $196,000 to newspaper and radio messages, plus about $60,000 to a campaign in Canberra and further spending in regional media during the APEC meeting.

"Luckily I have more money than most, but money is not the issue," he said. "The issue is 183,000 Timorese, 100,000 West Papuans that have been killed, and our Balibo Five plus one, and the Howard Government's still supporting them."

He says this is just the start of a campaign leading up to the federal election, in which he will urge the 640,000 customers on the Optical Superstore database to consider human rights in their voting decision.

"I'm lining up the ducks for that," Mr Melrose said, adding he'd chosen more farmyard humour for his campaign against the "cowardice" of Australian leaders towards Indonesian Army abuses: "The chicken's last march to the woodheap."

Mr Melrose targeted three Liberal MPs in Adelaide during the 2004 election and claims to have been influential in losses by two of them. "It will be interesting to see if we've got a better reputation with our patients than the politicians have with their constituents," he said.


Text of ad in Weekend Australian

September 8, 2007 Saturday


In 1969 the Australian Government stopped 2 West Papuans going to the UN to tell the world the West Papuan Independence vote was corrupted by the Indonesian Military. Since the Indonesian military invasion in 1962 over 100,000 West Papuans have been KILLED by the Indonesian Military and more are KILLED daily.

The Indonesian military also KILLED 183,000 innocent East Timorese during 24 years of occupation and no Indonesian Military have been found guilty.

Our 'Balibo 5' were KILLED and no Indonesian Military have been found guilty.

George Bush & John Howard, WHY have your governments supplied weapons and training to the Indonesian Military who KILL innocent people?


Will the Howard Government, or if elected the Rudd Government, do anything to correct the past wrong acts by the Australian Government? Not likely! Only the Greens, Democrats and a few Independents have tried to help.

It is NOT the Indonesian people. It was never the Indonesian people. It is the Indonesian Military.

Our Balibo 5 KILLED

Greg Shackleton KILLED

Brian Peters KILLED

Malcolm Rennie KILLED

Tony Stewart KILLED

Gary Cunningham KILLED

We did not have room for the photos of the 183,000 East Timorese and the 100,000 West Papuans KILLED.

Written & Authorized by Ian Melrose, Booragoon  

Back to September menu

World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu