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West Papua

Speeches in Parliament
Richard Di Natale 2 Dec 2015

Senator DI NATALE

I ask that general business notice of motion No. 960 standing in my name for today relating to West Papua be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT

Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal? Formality has been denied.

Senator DI NATALE

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT

Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator DI NATALE

I find it remarkable that formality would be denied on a motion that simply notes that this is the 54th anniversary of the raising of the Morning Star flag, that celebrates the long overdue release of a political prisoner, namely, Filep Karma, and that calls on the Australian government to engage in constructive dialogue with its Indonesian counterparts to call for an amnesty of further political prisoners. We are not asking for much here; we are just asking for some transparency to grant access to foreign journalists and human rights monitors as well as foreign researchers to West Papua.

It must be remembered that the suffering of the West Papuan people is seldom reported, we have an Indonesian government that has banned journalists and other human rights monitors, and here we have a new Indonesian head. We now have the opportunity, through our negotiations with Indonesia, to ensure that the plight of the West Papuan people is brought to light.

Senator RYAN

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT

Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RYAN

The Australian government unreservedly recognises Indonesia's sovereignty over the Papua provinces as underlined by the 2006 Lombok treaty between Australia and Indonesia. This is a bipartisan position in Australia. Indonesian sovereignty over the Papua provinces is also widely recognised by the international community. The Australian government's assessment is that the human rights situation in the Papua provinces has improved in recent years. However, we recognise there are still challenges to be addressed. We condemn all violence in the Papua provinces affecting civilians and security personnel alike. Our consistent position has been that the rights of all citizens in Indonesia, including those in the Papua provinces, should be upheld and that credible allegations of human rights abuses should be investigated. The Australian government welcomes President Widodo's decision o9 May this year to grant clemency and release five Papuan prisoners and the release of Mr Filep Karma on 19 November this year.

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