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Australia, East Timor and missing maritime boundaries

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Date: Thursday 29 September 2016
Venue: TD307/TD310, Hawthorn Campus

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Is Australia’s position fair? Is it sustainable?

The School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities invites you to a Seminar Series event examining Australia’s continental shelf-natural prolongation claim in the Timor Sea.

Presenter Janelle Saffin, ex Labor MP and human rights activist will draw on international law, UNCLOS and concomitant case law, to examine how Australia has persistently refused to negotiate maritime boundaries with East Timor.

Janelle will reveal the role Australia’s singular de jure recognition of Indonesia’s illegal occupation of Timor-Leste has played in the petroleum politics of the Timor Sea, along with its withdrawal from the arbitral jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, and the International Law of the Sea on the eve of East Timor’s restoration of independence.

She argues that athough the Australian Government has rhetorically emphasised the positive role of bilateral negotiations in these disputes, it has persistently refused to do so with East Timor.

About the speaker

Janelle Saffin has been engaged in East Timor’s quest for independence since the 1980s and will stay engaged until the maritime boundaries between our countries are settled. Janelle has been a Federal MP, State MP, lawyer, teacher, abattoir-process-factory worker, bar attendant, check out operator and more. Leaving school at 13, Janelle self-educated and has, in her words, “carved out an interesting life of activism, doing good and being a moral busybody.” She was awarded an Order of Timor-Leste for her activism and a Burma Lawyers Council gold award for promoting the rule of law.

Janelle is Principal of Gallagher and Saffin Lawyers & Attorneys,  a legal practice in her home town of Lismore. She has worked as an adviser to the Timor-Leste Government and is Special Adviser to Nobel Laureate José Ramos-Horta.