May 23, 2019
“I find it very hard to accept that Australia’s national interest is about putting security listening devices of the walls of our poorest, nearest neighbour.”
This is an interview about espionage, exploitation and politics.
Elizabeth Biok is a lawyer and member of the International Commission of Jurists.
She talks to the Creating Space Project about the case of Witness K and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery. These two men exposed the Australian government for bugging the offices of the newly formed government of Timor-Leste.
“The Australian intelligence agents were asked to put listening devices inside the cabinet room and some of the ministers’ offices in the parliament of Timor-Leste. And that was no doubt to eavesdrop on what the Timorese politicians were saying, while the negotiations were going on with Australia about the oil boundary, and sharing the resources in the Timor Sea.”
For exposing corruption, Witness K and his lawyer are charged with breaching the National Security Act and are now imprisoned and facing a trial that lacks open and fair justice.
Elizabeth went to East Timor as a legal monitor of the Independence Ballot in 1999 and bore witness to the political oppression and militia violence of the Indonesian occupation.
She takes us, with wonderful clarity, through the history and geography of our relationship with Timor-Leste, and our place in South East Asia, to help us understand how this situation came about and how it pertains to processes of economic development, democracy, and our identity and values as Australians.