A crowd of young Timorese standing in front of the Portuguese Embassy in Dili has become a familiar sight in recent years. They are hoping to acquire a Portuguese passport, which represents an opportunity for a shot at a better future in Europe. But why are these young people so eager to leave their
The coronavirus pandemic has provided just the latest cover for a variety of authoritarian moves criminalising journalism across Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, a full frontal attack on the free media has been long underway with the Duterte government’s cancellation of the broadcasting
The economic impact of coronavirus has been made even more severe in oil-producing countries due to the consequences of Covid-19 itself and a collapse in oil prices. Crude has fallen below US$20 per barrel as demand for oil has plummeted. This dual shock has made it harder for oil producing
As of today, Timor-Leste has one confirmed case of Covid-19. Nonetheless, the feeling of panic among the public has been mounting. There is a valid reason for this: Timor-Leste’s public health system is under-resourced to respond to an outbreak of this scale.
Over the last one month, the
In late January, Timor-Leste’s governing alliance collapsed after the largest coalition party, Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT, abstained on the government budget, leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak. By late February Gusmão revealed a new 34-seat majority coalition, which
What do the East Timorese defence force, “clean coal”, women’s empowerment, and Kevin Rudd’s first-term government have in common?
The answer is the year 2020.
Back when 2020 felt like a halcyon time far-far away, this was the year that, respectively, the Government of Timor-Leste, the
In an extraordinary development, the government’s revised budget for 2020 failed to pass Timor-Leste’s parliament last Friday, despite the governing alliance having an outright majority. Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT – the largest of the three parties of the Alliance for Change and Progress (AMP
Twenty years ago, several hundred soldiers from the 3RAR Parachute Battalion Group, including me, flew from our base in Holsworthy to Darwin. We had a brief training session with a cavalry squadron we had never worked with, and then, never having conducted any maritime training, we embarked on HMAS
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET), a multinational mission led by Australia to stabilise the country in 1999. As a former Army officer posted to Timor-Leste after INTERFET, I’m proud to be back in Dili today to represent the
The 20th anniversary of the popular consultation that brought independence for Timor-Leste has been a time to celebrate the courage, determination, and persistence of the Timorese people. Despite enduring decades of violence, they never lost their hope for self-determination.
Timor-Leste today is
Last week, Dili polished itself up and played host to visiting government officials from more than 20 countries, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison from Australia, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s vote for independence on 30 August 1999. As the excitement and gravitas
There are 100,000 people tonight in Tasi Tolu, a wide, flat, dusty expanse on Dili’s outskirts, near the capital’s western bus terminal, with enough space to fit all those coming to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s vote for independence.
Inside, grandstand seating is set up
This month, Timor-Leste is in a festive mood, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its independence referendum. On 30 August 1999, the people of Timor-Leste cast their ballots in a United Nations–administered popular consultation to determine the fate of the country, with 78.5% voting to separate
There has always been something of a ghost-like quality to languorous Dili, capital of Timor-Leste with its Portuguese-era buildings and statues from Indonesian times still standing.
Nowadays, it feels that there are new ghosts in the city: imprints of a once prominent international presence
There used to be thousands of them – the children of the children of the first Chinese people to migrate to Timor-Leste in the 1800s and their indigenous Timorese husbands and wives.
But conflict, rejection, and the promise of a better life abroad saw the dispersed Hakka-descended Chinese-
The recent agreement by Timor-Leste’s government to purchase US energy group ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise syndicate, which has rights to exploit the substantial undersea gas and oil reserves worth upwards of US $50 billion, is in many ways a logical step.
The $384 million
Last week, an Australian leader visited Dili for the first time in five years. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spent 36 hours in Timor-Leste as part of a four-country diplomatic trip around Southeast Asia.
The dispute over whether a pipeline should be built to transfer Greater Sunrise gas to the
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in Timor-Leste at the weekend, on her first official visit and the first by any Australian minister to the country in five years. Bishop arrived with the promise of a beatific “new chapter” in the two nations’ previously fraught
On 9 May, the United Nations Conciliation Commission (UNCC) concerning the Timor Sea dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia released its final report. This was the first time such a form of compulsory dispute resolution had been invoked, with the proceedings initiated in April the year
After ten months of political gridlock and one dissolved parliament, Saturday’s decisive parliamentary election result represents one kind of victory for Timor-Leste’s fledgling democracy.
Winning an unusual outright majority of 34 seats in the 65-seat parliament, experienced coalition Change
John Carlson says Australia approached maritime boundary negotiations with Indonesia in 1972 by arguing the Timor Trough was the meeting point of two geologically distinct continental shelves at a subduction zone. But the trough does not constitute two separate shelves any more than a rumpled carpet
The signing of a treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste marking maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea represents a huge step forward in resolving the two states’ long-standing disputes. The conciliation process that led to the agreement was groundbreaking for being the first time such an approach
In her article “How Australia crossed a line in the Timor Sea”, Kim McGrath claims that Australia had evidence supporting Indonesia’s claim in maritime boundary negotiations – but buried it.
This serious charge is not substantiated by the 1970 report from then Bureau of
The UN Compulsory Conciliation between Australia and Timor-Leste, which aims to set a boundary in the Timor Sea, appears to be inching towards resolution, with details emerging in the Portuguese media last week of a deal involving a median line boundary and a revenue-sharing arrangement
Making a judgement in the present about events in the past is fraught with difficulties. It is natural and often right to view past events with the moral and legal perspectives of the present. However, it is very risky to impute motivation to actors in the past as if they were informed by facts or
Throughout the course of 2017, Australia and Timor-Leste have negotiated in international conciliation proceedings to resolve their protracted disagreements over hydrocarbon resources and maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea.
So far, we know the two countries have reached an agreement on maritime
Laying bare the greed for petroleum resources that has steered five decades of Australian policy regarding East Timor, Kim McGrath’s Crossing the Line is a masterfully written and researched piece of scholarship.
Australian politicians and policy makers have generally escaped significant public
In 2015, not long after the formation of the unprecedented national unity government between Timor-Leste's two largest parties, CNRT and Fretilin, senior CNRT Minister Agio Pereira commented on the country's remarkable transition from 'belligerent democracy' to a new era of consensus democracy.
Almost two months since the 22 July election, a new government will be sworn in today in Dili. Fretilin, with 23 seats in parliament, has joined with Democratic Party (PD) which has seven representatives, giving them 30 seats in the 65-seat house. As recently as Wednesday* a majority government was
Last Friday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) announced a 'breakthrough' in maritime boundary conciliation proceedings between Timor-Leste and Australia. The two parties 'reached an agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation' and on a 'Special Regime'
Amid the celebrations of ASEAN's 50th birthday last week, the question of whether Timor-Leste will soon be granted full membership lingers.
ASEAN membership is the cornerstone of Timor-Leste's foreign policy. In March 2011, Timor-Leste applied for formal membership to ASEAN while Indonesia was
For a nation that only won its hard-fought battle for independence 15 years ago, Timor Leste has travelled a long way fast.
On 22 July, the Timorese people voted for the fourth time in parliamentary elections to elect the 65 members of the National Parliament. As the first election administered
On 10 April this year, the 2006 Certain Maritime Agreement on the Timor Sea (CMATS) was terminated. CMATS was an agreement between Australia and Timor-Leste designed to facilitate development of the contested Greater Sunrise gas field, a 5.1 trillion cubic foot gas field in the Timor Sea.