The Director of the Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies has criticised a "sanitised" account of history that absolves former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam from playing a significant role in Australia's betrayal of the East Timorese people before the United Nations.
    In a letter to this Sunday's Catholic Weekly, Sr Susan Connolly is critical of the account of a mercy visit Mr Whitlam made to East Timor with the Red Cross in 1982.
    She said he in fact used the misleading impression gleaned from the flying three-day visit, to "extol the progress made under Indonesian rule, to say that he saw no evidence of hunger or disease".
    She described his report as an attempt "to challenge the accuracy of the plea to the world made by Monsignor da Costa Lopes, the Apostolic Administrator, who claimed in 1982 what we all now know is the truth: that enforced relocation resulted in mass starvation."
    Sr Susan continued: "After he gave his evidence to the [Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence], Mr Whitlam took off for the United Nations where he argued forcefully for the removal of East Timor from the UN agenda."
    She suggested that Australia should deal with these matters now because they "involve the moral fibre of this country".
Cath Weekly
4 Oct 00

NEWS INDEX | Meditation | Website reviews | Directory || About us | Products | Media | Contact | Search