Paul Keating this month reflected on his determination as Prime Minister 'to establish a new and durable' relationship with Indonesia' and lamented the Australian media and his predecessors' preoccupation with human rights abuses in East Timor.
'While I do think Papuan independence is inconceivable, greater autonomy is not, and it ought not be.
President Yudhoyono said early this year that he was willing to have dialogue with Papuans to solve the longest unresolved conflict in our region. Australia should put its weight behind any dialogue initiative.
Now is the time for such a stand because Yudhoyono will leave office in two years. His successor might not be open to the same path.'
Fr Frank Brennan SJ is professor of law, director of strategic research projects (social justice and ethics), Australian Catholic University, adjunct professor at the College of Law and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University. This article is taken from Fr Brennan's speech last night at the launch of Joel Hodge's Resisting Violence and Victimisation.