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Timor-Leste thanks Australian unions for independence aid

SBS News - August 31, 2019

The Timor-Leste government has presented the Australian union movement the Medal of the Order for their assistance in achieving independence.

Australian unions have been presented the Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste in recognition of the role the movement played in the campaign for the country's independence 20 years ago.

ACTU President Michele O'Neil said it was a great honour for the Australian union movement.

"We are inspired by the strength, courage and resilience of the Timorese people and thank them for this great honour," Ms O'Neill said in a statement on Saturday.

"Today we're celebrating this legacy of solidarity, and the ongoing relationship between Australian unions and our sisters and brothers in Timor-Leste."

Australian unions campaigned for UN peacekeeping forces to enter Timor-Leste and provided medical and crucial supplies after the Timorese people overwhelmingly voted for independence in the face of Indonesian aggression.

The union movement in Australia also held rallies and blockaded airports to prevent Garuda airlines flights from taking off.

After independence was won, Australian trade unionists helped to train Timorese workers, and built emergency shelters and community facilities.

"Australian unions are proud to stand in solidarity with the people of Timor-Leste and our relationship continues to be strong," Ms O'Neill said. (AAP-SBS)

Source: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/timor-leste-thanks-australian-unions-for-independence-aid