12 September 1999
Editorial opinion expressed on this site is unbiassed by any advertising dollar.



The local councils of NSW held elections on Saturday 11 September.  Despite appearances, these are "supervised" elections, under the control of the state government.  Any time it needs to give a patron a favour, such as leasing the Sydney Showground to Rupert for 100 years or giving building permissions for the Darling Harbour casino, the state government takes planning power away from the councils.  If unpopular taxes must be levied, or unpopular regulations enacted, then the councils get the responsibility.



The leadership of the Indonesian military has been accused of attempted genocide in East Timor.  If this crime has been comitted, then as in Germany at Nuremburg by the victors, so it will be in Jakarta when a democratically elected Indonesian government is formed.

The Independence vote is counted, and it is 78%.   Do Indonesians think that they can any longer pretend that the people of this conquered province are willingly ruled by Indonesia?  The Indonesian military control an important bloc of votes in the election of the new president in November, and this no doubt gives leverage over presidential contender president Habibe.  However the people of Timor have spoken.  The citizens of the world have heard.

The only way to reverse a majority of 78% in a population of eight hundred thousand east Timorese is to slaughter or remove half a million people.

For consumption by the Indonesian people there are reports calculated to arouse nationalism and sovereignty.  Dark hints about an Australian wish to capture the "treasures of Timor" are undoubtedly a hint of "revelations" yet to come about the unexploited hydrocarbons under the ocean between Australia and Timor.  It is unlikely that Australia would benefit more in dealings with a Timor government than it did with corrupt Indonesian gangster generals.

But science and the Internet are changing the world faster than criminal's expectations and anticipations.  In advanced countries, criminals who thought themselves safe are being found & convicted for crimes committed decades past.  In Timor, the guilty parties have left a lot of bereaved survivors.  Do they think that they can kill all the witnesses and hide all the evidence?  What about the bodies?  They will be examined, and cause of death determined.  What about the soldiers and officers & militia who are reported to have committed the genocide?  How can their silence be assured?

SPIN suspects that the people of Indonesia will ultimately want this dark chapter of their history expunged.  Only a full enquiry, and a bringing to account of those guilty will suffice.

Monday FLASH  The Indonesians have agreed to a UN peacekeeping force.  It would be advisable for Australian politicians not to involve themselves any more in this matter.  Nor should our Prime Minister go to Willie, hat in hand, begging for a US contingent.  Politicians from both countries have bloodied hands over this matter.  Has Howard no shame?

This page published 12 September 1999.