26 October 2014


Shakespeare got it right on so many fronts - in fact if he had lived in the 21st century he would have been able to spend his old age saying "I told you so!".

His play, Julius Caesar, has the right quote for the Whitlam years:

"The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;".

Failure on East Timor

The Age – letters - 241014

Gough Whitlam's record in power is not without fault. Foremost was his failure to support a just resolution of the Indonesian takeover of East Timor when he had the opportunity. Mr Whitlam sometimes claimed to justify his failure to act in 1975 because of his preoccupation with domestic issues. But he lost any chance of influencing events in East Timor much earlier when he met president Suharto in 1974 and supported Indonesia's takeover of Timor. He had the chance to at least insist on a peaceful process, surely essential given Suharto's brutal record, but said nothing.
In the almost four decades after the Indonesian military invasion, Mr Whitlam never deviated from his support for its control of East Timor, with scarcely a word about its appalling human rights abuses there. The nearest he came to criticism was suggesting Indonesia “overplayed its hand” at the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in Dili. I was a witness to that massacre, and my travelling companion, an Australian university student, was one of those killed. How could Mr Whitlam, steeped in the rule of law and human rights values, so diminish the gravity of that event? Yes, Mr Whitlam was a great Australian. But we need to acknowledge his whole record, not just the parts we find most palatable.
Bob Muntz, Ascot Vale

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm