MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE AUSTRALIA

19 September 2000

Release of Document on East Timor

At today's National Archives launch of the East Timor documents 1974-1976 it was suggested that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not released all material within the scope of the Government's decision.

This is incorrect.

Particular reference has been made to a document of 21 July 1975. This document has been released to the public, although with some excision after consultation with a foreign government which has a legitimate interest. This is standard practice. The document is available in the collection made public today by the National Archives of Australia.

Another document from 1975 which has been previously leaked was not included as it was a document of the Department of Defence. It did not come within the scope of the Government decision as it was not held on DFAT or PM&C files.

As has been made clear before, the Government directed that Cabinet records and intelligence material were not to be released.

That said, DFAT has been determined to be as completely open as possible in the release of all of its own material on this issue. Judgements about the events of the time are not for the contemporary Department to make our commitment has only been to demonstrate the maximum degree of openness with all the material available to us.

Media inquiries: Paul Robilliard (02) 6261 1555