Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Australia taps East Timor oil

Timor-Leste advocates have criticised the Australian government for failing to ratify a maritime border treaty dividing offshore oil fields between the two nations. Last year, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a treaty demarcating rights to the Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields, but the federal government’s failure to ratify the treaty in parliament has seen Australia siphon off tens of millions of dollars’ worth of oil that would belong to Timor-Leste under the treaty’s terms. Charles Scheiner, a spokesperson for Timor-Leste non-profit L’ao Hamutuk, claimed the foregone revenue would total more than US$76 million by the time Australia’s parliament next sat after the federal election, an amount that “would have covered the health costs of the entire Timorese population”. Timor-Leste Governance Program director and former Victorian premier Steve Bracks told Guardian Australia on Tuesday that Timor-Leste was “being denied that money because of the dysfunction of the Australian government and its insistence that parliament needs to ratify the treaty”.

The family of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody in Perth last week have called for witnesses of her interactions with police to contact legal services. Noongar and Yamatji woman Cherdeena Wynne, 26, died in hospital last Tuesday, five days after losing consciousness following her arrest. Jennifer Clayton, Cherdeena’s grandmother, claimed police raided Cherdeena’s mother’s home at 3.30am on the day of her arrest, pinning Cherdeena to the ground and calling her by another name. Cherdeena’s father, Warren Cooper, died in police custody in 1999, also aged 26. “It’s time for this to stop,” Clayton said. “I have lost my son and now I have lost a granddaughter.”

Guardian Australia has published a recording of a 2016 interview with Liberal Party candidate for the Victorian seat of Chisholm, Gladys Liu, in which she describes LGBTI genders and sexualities as “ridiculous rubbish”. In a candidates’ debate on Sunday, Liu dismissed the Guardian’s original reporting of her comments as “fake” and claimed she had been “misrepresented”, prompting the outlet to publish the interview recording on Tuesday. In the interview, Liu said “a lot of Chinese parents [they] just do not agree with letting boys go into a girls’ toilet”, and that Chinese voters were opposed to “concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, crossgender and all this rubbish”. Liu was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Chisholm after current member Julia Banks resigned from the party and announced her intention to run in the neighbouring seat of Flinders.

And Nationals MP George Christensen reportedly spent more than $3000 of his travel allowance on connecting domestic flights while making multiple private trips to the Philippines. The Herald-Sun reports that Christensen charged five flights between Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to his parliamentary travel entitlement, before flying on to the Philippines at his own expense. Labor has seized on revelations earlier this year that Christensen spent more days in the Philippines than in parliament in recent years, with colleagues allegedly dubbing him the “member for Manila”. Christensen has called the coverage a “smear campaign”.



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Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.