Alison Bevege – The Greens party has broken decades of political silence, directing members to raise the banned West Papuan flag on December 1 in a move sure to infuriate Jakarta.
Australia's third largest political force sent a message to supporters including state and federal MPs to raise the Morning Star to mark their independence day.
'The Australian Greens Global Issues Group (GIG) is asking you for your assistance to bring attention to the on-going oppression of West Papuans by Indonesian police and military,' the request said.
'The people of West Papua have been resisting violent and oppressive Indonesian occupation for 55 years now... Since Indonesian rule, hundreds of men and women have been detained as political prisoners.'
Australia's two major political parties have given bipartisan support to Indonesia's annexation of the territory since its takeover was recognised by the UN in 1969.
For decades all major political parties have been silent over the repression of West Papuan activists, including the 1998 Biak Massacre where Indonesian soldiers shot unarmed villagers gathered around a Morningstar flag raised over a water tower.
Survivors were tortured and killed, and their bodies dumped at sea, according to the findings of a citizen's tribunal held in Sydney and presided over by former NSW attorney-general John Dowd.
A report published by Yale Law School in 2004 found Indonesia had killed roughly one seventh of the 1961 population either directly or through starvation and sickness from forced relocations.
Indonesia is highly sensitive over its claim to the disputed region, which is rich in gold and resources.