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The Forum > Article Comments > Downer will not be able to rewrite history in East Timor > Comments

Downer will not be able to rewrite history in East Timor : Comments

By Bruce Haigh, published 23/7/2008

If Australia wants to have a reasonably healthy long-term relationship with Indonesia, unpleasant matters need to be dealt with.

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Downer at his best. The man who quipped that he only read DFAT cables whilst dozing in a [VIP] plane seat.

Hopefully Australia won't intervene so late again through a failure of imagination, leadership and guts.

Meanwhile Downer as a man of principle will be scrupulous in avoiding personal enrichment as a consultant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Downer#Post-ministerial_career on the basis of his recent public job.

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 11:15:19 AM
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The author is right but that won't stop him from giving it a good old (English style) public school try. Itíll be 30 year before the truth.
He has never been in touch with real people.
Even on the TV the other night he referred to his student days and his tussles with the left wing at college in England.... He was/is a product of HIS environment not necessarily ours.
For him a career in jolly old politics was ordained to favour the ruling elite and their interests and machinations, it was all he knew. Fortunately his is a disappearing breed.
His jobÖ a job for the boys
Posted by examinator, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 12:00:57 PM
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examinator

I take it most of your post is referring to Downer (of sound thrashings) not to Bruce. To enhance your post for clarity would you agree with the following?

"The author is right but that won't stop Downer from giving it a good old (English style) public school try. Itíll be 30 year before the truth.
Downer has never been in touch with real people.
Even on the TV the other night Downer referred to Downer's student days and Downer's tussles with the left wing at college in England.... Downer was/is a product of DOWNER's environment not necessarily ours.
For Downer a career in jolly old politics was ordained to favour the ruling elite and their interests and machinations, it was all Downer knew. Fortunately Downer is a disappearing breed.
Downer jobÖ a job for the boys" ?

That Downer took up his father's seat at the House of L..{Reps] (and did not dance to House) is on the record. Adelaide and the clappers of the Melbourne Club are the poorer for him.

A era passath indeed. Roll on Redgum, may they win Downer's family seat this time.

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 6:10:49 PM
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Not surprising, it seems awfully petulent to rehash Aust History -specially after 18 years of Diplomatic gaffes, starting with Gough Whitlam in the early 70's.

Displaying one's dirty linen in Public, devalues National pride, unity and coherence. Some things are better off closeted in the National Archives in Canberra.

The other aspect of this egregious expose, is the validity of it's author ? Can anyone vouch for his credibility ?

Indeed, one would seriously question his motivation - now that Alexander Downer has landed a plum job in the United Nations. Some might even question his loyalty and integrity. Careerist in DFAT equates with professionalism and keeping a tight lip.

The Official Secrets Act, and Oath of Office is enough to deter even the faintest of biographers !

Name dropping is an old fashion pastime - as archaic as the Christian Bible itself. Haigh goes to extraordinary lenghts to belabour his point. Quoting out of text, or abridged versions of newspaper columns is heresy. Bringing up a person's foibles, or his reasons for living e.g. Merv Jenkins isn't cricket..by any sense of the imagination. Bear in mind, his family who suffered his loss, and are coping with the aftermath of his demise.

Who can imagine why anyone resorts to suicide ?

Quote: " if Aust wants to have a reasonable healthy long-term relationship with Indonesia, unpleasant matters need to be dealth with " ??

Mam mia, who is driving the wonky cart ?

There is no denying Timor- Leste relationship has been a suppurating cancer, ever since intransigent Gough Whitlam gave President Soharto his blessings for a military putsch, precisely two months after Portuguese withdrawal. Kapossus and local militia ( Fretilan ) group invaded, Sept 1974.

Abtruse DFTA, under pain of breaching FOI laws, released to the public, confidential excerpts of the manoeuvrings of the Govt at the time. It was alleged, Duntroon trained General Wiranto on observing Whitlam's remarks: ' crystallised Suharto's thinking of the matter '.Result 102,000 Tinorese died, 250,000 displaced in sordid jungle camps.

Overshadowing the saga was the brutal murder of five Aust TV Journalist by
Posted by dalma, Sunday, 27 July 2008 1:37:58 PM
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by Indonesia Special Forces ( courtesy Fort Bragg.US )which to this day GW maintains was ' foolhardy ' and branded it a long running media vendetta against Indonesia.After 4 public inquiries, their families are no closer to closure ?

In retrospect, one would have thought our ADF would have got the message by now. Generals Nasution, Wiranto, and Major Renaldo etc were all recipients of military Officer training at Duntroon Academy.Fisher ACT. Ironically, all at one time or another plotted,schemed and white-anted our Defence Forces on the ground. Maj Gen Cosgrove of INTERFET fame was well aware of the undercover and subversives ISF used to intimidate the locals causing wide spread unrest, rioting and slaughter of innocents.

After Independence, UNTACT - a UN sponsered Police, AFP, Interpol contingent was formed to document and prosecute Human Rights violations, abuse and atrocities.

There's more..
Posted by dalma, Sunday, 27 July 2008 1:55:13 PM
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dalma

I appreciate your interest in Australia but Duntroon is, in fact, in the suburb of Duntroon not in Fisher.

You appear to have a smattering of knowledge about my country but little feel for its substance, laws or public freedoms. Thats natural of course. I don't claim to know much about Indonesia.

I'm sure your own General Wiranto would resent your implication that his education and outlook mimics his time in Australia. Rather he would be inspired by his long training in Indonesian military academies and experience in directing soldiers in Indonesia and East Timor (for good or ill).

What is your opinion of the words of your leader (former General Yudhoyono)? See this article http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24035711-28737,00.html in The Australian "Jakarta regrets..."

"Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says he will abide by the commission's outcome and accept responsibility for what happened in East Timor on behalf of his nation. It has been a relatively painless thing for him to do because the violence did not occur on his watch. But that does not make his gesture meaningless.

"We convey very deep remorse at what happened in the past that has caused the loss of lives and property," Yudhoyono said in Bali this week, as East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao stood by his side to formally receive the report. It really couldn't be put more strongly than that. Or could it?"

Is your leader mistaken?

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:46:24 AM
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