(Greens-Media) Greens challenge Labor over East Timor oil and gas dispute

Submitted by Editor on Thu, 07/10/2004 - 01:59

The Australian Greens today challenged Labor to pledge to refer the dispute between Australia and East Timor over oil and gas reserves to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if it wins government.

Willis, Katrina (Sen B. Brown)


Thursday, 7 October 2004

Greens Senator Bob Brown pointed to a Newspoll survey showing overwhelming support among Australians for the independent adjudicator to settle the matter.

"The Greens have advocated for some time that the ICJ should adjudicate on the disputed maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor to ensure that international law applies," Senator Brown said in Melbourne.

"If it does, we know that East Timor, the poorest nation in our region, will get a much fairer share of oil and gas reserves than it has under the Howard government

"East Timor needs its rightful share of these resources to provide for its people - to build schools, hospitals and roads.

"The Howard government has refused to allow the ICJ to settle the dispute. If Labor wins the election on Saturday, Mr Latham must ensure that his government will readily involve the ICJ if this dispute cannot be settled."

Senator Brown was commenting on a survey commissioned by Australian businessman Ian Melrose in conjunction with a $2M advertising campaign he is privately sponsoring. The Newspoll showed that 77% of people questioned wanted the ICJ to resolve the dispute.

The campaign aims to put additional pressure on the Australian Government to agree to a fair deal for East Timor in negotiations over oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

More information:
Katrina Willis
02 6277 3170 or 0419 704 095

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