Timor Sea Justice Campaign: Letter from Michael O'Connor

Published: 28 Feb 2017

The following letter was sent from CFMEU National Secretary to Australia's Foreign Minister, in support of the Timor Sea Justice Campaign. 

Click here to learn more about the campaign


Dear Foreign Minister,

We are a group of Australians from diverse faiths and backgrounds who have come together to urge you to finalise a permanent maritime boundary halfway between the coasts of Australia and Timor Leste in accordance with international law.

The Timorese people have long held a special place in Australian hearts. We campaigned to send troops there to support independence in 1999, and many Australians feel a deep connection with Timor's developing national identity.

However, the legacy of goodwill and mateship between Australia and Timor is being undermined by the refusal of prior Foreign Ministers to negotiate permanent maritime boundaries. This refusal means we continue to rob Timor Leste of billions of dollars in resource revenue - revenue that could fund schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure.

Australians expect our Government to be better than this. We refuse to stand by and watch one of our closest neighbours be treated with such a disregard for what is right and fair. For us, this is about treating a neighbour and friend with respect, it's about Australia behaving like a country we can be proud of. For Timor, this is about justice, fairness and their future development as a nation.

With conciliation currently underway at the Hague, now is the time to stand up and do the right thing. We commend your recent decision to terminate the CMATS Treaty, and the steps that have been taken to show that you are willing negotiate a permanent boundary in good faith. We urge you now to finalise these negotiations as soon as possible with a boundary that abides International Law.

You can fix this problem. Negotiate in good faith with Timor and establish a permanent, maritime border along the median line in accordance with international law.

Yours sincerely,

Michael O'Connor
National Secretary