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Jesuit says 100% of revenue to East Timor would be fair

Jesuit human rights lawyer Frank Brennan is arguing that the fairest outcome to the Timor Sea maritime boundary dispute would give East Timor 100% of the oil and gas revenue from projects north of a modified median line between Australia and East Timor and an increased percentage of revenue from the joint Greater Sunrise fields.

Fr Brennan puts forward his argument in an Australian Catholic Social Justice Council paper being launched in Sydney today by former Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Mr Richard Woolcott.

The Council says the paper offers a "balanced and closely reasoned response to the complex and vexed issue of justice in negotiations on the Timor Sea's oil and gas deposits. Fr Brennan gives a credible account of the history and complexity of the competing claims".

He urges agreement based on justice, not charity - "a fair go for all three parties, including the one who is the smallest, poorest and newest in the region".

In a presentation of some of the argument in The Australian newspaper today, Brennan insists that a just settlement is more important than a quick settlement.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said recently: "It's doable by the end of the year".

But Fr Brennan says: "The negotiation of equitable maritime boundaries in the Timor Gap is likely to take years, involving not only Australia and East Timor but also Indonesia. These boundary negotiations over sovereignty should not be rushed or clouded by a federal election or by the politicians needing to strike a fair financial deal allowing the Greater Sunrise project to proceed by Christmas."

The full text of the paper is not available in electronic form at this time. It can be obtained in print form from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

Frank Brennan: Maritime boundary claims down to shelf life (The Australian 3/9/04)
Media Alert (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)

Closing the Timor Gap Fairly and in a Timely Manner (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 3/9/04)
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council - Catholic Social Justice Series Papers
Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
Nun challenges media mischief on Timor oil (CathNews 6/8/04)
Timor Sea Justice
Dennis Shanahan: Latham 'threat' to East Timor (The Australian 28/7/04)
Christian Brothers leader writes to PM on Timor Sea oil (CathNews 20/5/04)
East Timor could become failed state-aid agency (Reuters 19/5/04)
Josephite support for Timor Sea boundary rethink (CathNews 13/5/04)

Commission says Australia 'bullying' East Timor (CathNews 20/4/04)
Timorese fury at 'immoral oil grab' (The Guardian 19/4/04)
Office of Territory Development: Timor Sea Oil and Gas

3 Sep 2004