09 December 2008

Account of the 5th Dr Andrew McNaughtan Lecture

Dr Andrew McNaughtan Lecture SYDNEY 07.12.08 - The "FIFTH DR ANDREW MCNAUGHTAN MEMORIAL LECTURE" was held at Gleebooks at 49 Glebe Point Rd, Sydney, on Sunday 7th December 2008, the 33rd anniversary of the Invasion of East Timor. A substantial number of activists and interested persons attended, keen to continue to support the Timorese people.

Every year AETA, (the Australia-East Timor Association NSW) remembers Dr Andrew McNaughtan with a memorial lecture in his honour. Andrew was a medical practitioner from Mosman in Sydney who died unexpectedly at home in his bed in the days following the opening of the Timor-Leste Embassy in late 2003. Andrew was the Convener of AETA as well as a Board Member of both the leading emergency aid group TIMOR AID and of ETISC, a leading human rights advocacy and NGO-Aid body.

Andrew's contribution to the freedom enjoyed by Timor-Leste remains understated, including his contribution to the military success of INTERFET, to the media coverage of Timor-Leste and to the raising of global human rights issues and Timor-Leste's independence struggle in public forums.

Through the Annual Memorial Lecture and the raising of funds for the Dr. Andrew McNaughtan East Timor (Education) Foundation the name of this remarkable man is honoured.

The members of AETA, including Jefferson Lee, Stephen Langford, Alix Mandelson, Brendan Doyle and Deirdre O'Sullivan are to be congratulated on hosting yet another stimulating event. A letter was read out from Paddy Kenneally of the Australian 2/2 Independent Company which invaded Portuguese Timor in December 1941. Paddy's support of the Timorese since then has been second to none.

Bernadette Connole and Trish Johns chaired the evening.


John Maynard spoke as the Producer of the new feature movie "Balibo" due for release next year and starring Anthony LaPaglia. The Federal Attorney- General Robert McClelland has stated that his office had referred the findings of the 8th investigation into the deaths of the Balib√≥ Five (October 2007) to the Australian Federal Police for further investigation. The AFP have made no public statement, nor acted publicly on this issue in the past six months, despite a call for action at the most recent anniversary of the Balib√≥ murders by family and activists. John was Introduced by a family member of the "Balibo Five", Mr Paul Stewart, a working journalist and lead singer from the Melbourne Timorese rock band the "Dili All Stars”.

Mr James Thomas was welcomed as a television journalist for the Channel Seven commercial TV network's leading current affairs program "Today-Tonight". Mr Thomas addressed the unresolved issue of "war crimes" as exemplified in his three part story on the "Gui Campos issue" which Channel Seven has aired over the past three months. After some stalling at a Federal Government and AFP level, this story compiled by James Thomas has forced an official Commonwealth Police investigation. It raises the issue of possible future Australian prosecution of war criminals from the Indonesian regime on Australian soil. James spoke compellingly of his investigation and the effect it has had on him and he urged those present to play their part in seeing that justice is done, not only for the families of those tortured and murdered in East Timor, but as a way of moving Australian society to taking a stand for justice in our own region. The audience applauded Joana Ximenes and her family, whose appeal to “Today Tonight” over the presence in Australia of the alleged murderer of their young brother had brought the Gui Campos story to light.

Ceu Federer

At the invitation of AETA the former CEO of Timor Aid, Ms Ceu Federer, flew to Sydney from Dili and Darwin to participate in the forum. Ms Federer reflected on her close friendship with the late Andrew McNaughtan, and outlined her forthcoming two volumes of books of stories about Timor- Leste's "unsung heroes", both indigenous and from overseas solidarity. Ms Federer was introduced by former lawyer for Timor Aid and human rights activist, Ms Jacquie Everitt, who since her involvement inside Timor-Leste in 1999- 2001, has worked in Cambodia and most recently released the book "The Bitter Shore" on the mistreatment of asylum seekers in Australia. Australian business woman and Rotarian, Ms Tricia Johns, who is on leave from her Dili-based Woven Women's Art initiative opened the second part of the program for the afternoon by introducing Sister Susan Connelly from the Mary MacKillop East Timor Mission (MMETM), who launched the second edition of the "English-Tetun Dictionary of Everyday Words", and pointed out to the audience the necessity of teaching children to read in a language already familiar to them, a proven educational principle which must be observed in Timor-Leste if all Timorese children are going to be educated.

Dr Jean Berlie

AETA and those present at the forum were honored to have the presence of Mr Jean Berlie who travelled from Paris, France for the occasion. Two books from this Hong Kong University based linguist were launched: "EAST TIMOR A Bibliography" ((Les Indes Savantes, Paris 2001) and Dr Berlie's world-first Mandarin language "Politics and Education in East Timor" (Hong Kong University 2008). Members of the Timorese-Chinese Association have welcomed this publication.

Susan Connelly rsj
With thanks to Jefferson Lee's press release.


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