9 Nov 2006

Concerns over secrecy of Australia's security treaty with Indonesia

4:23 pm on 9 November 2006

The Australia West Papua Association is expressing concern at the new security treaty with Indonesia claiming it's been veiled in secrecy in order to push it through.

The first security treaty was scrapped after the Australian government agreed that it had not been subject to public debate.

But Joe Collins from the Association says there have been no calls for submissions on the current treaty, which he believes is due to be signed next week.

Mr Collins says the Australian government is acting in haste in order to heal the rift with Indonesia, which was angered by a decision to accept 40 asylum seekers from Papua.

He says whilst the full contents of the treaty are not yet known, it contain clauses that could affect free speech in Australia.

"There are clauses that commits us to suppress Papuan independence supporters and activists. Are they saying that West Papuans here in Australia, particularly the asylum seekers, will not be allowed to speak out? Or are they talking about NGO groups working on human rights issues on West Papua could also be targetted? I mean, this is a very ambiguous statement and actually an attack on free speech for anybody in Australia that wants to speak on the issue of West Papua"

Spokesman for the Australia West Papua Association, Joe Collins