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Darwin rally decries Timor gas deal

ABC News Online - April 13, 2004

About a dozen people have rallied outside the Darwin office of the Member for Solomon this morning, to protest against Australia's treatment of East Timor in oil and gas negotiations.

East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri has indicated his parliament will not be ratifying an agreement that allows the oil and gas reserves to be developed.

The deal gives East Timor about 18 per cent of revenue from the fields. The country is currently disputing sea bed and maritime boundaries.

Rob Wesley Smith, from the Timor Sea Justice Coalition, says Australia has behaved like a brutal coloniser. "We believe that the Australian people will not accept this rip off ... denying them their economic future," he said.

"The problem has been that they haven't been able to get to the Australian people because [Prime Minister John Howard] and [Foreign Minister Alexander Downer] lied when they said East Timor was getting 90 per cent of everything. "It's just not true."