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Near Neighbours: Timor-Leste

It has been fifteen years since Indonesia relinquished control of East Timor and the Australian-led intervention supported the successful quest for self-determination. Following the independence ballot, in 2002 Timor-Leste emerged as the first sovereign nation state of the twenty-first century.

Since then, the relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste has been close, with strong trade partnerships and extensive aid programs, but it has also been shadowed by disputes. The contested ownership of Timor Sea oil and gas reserves and scandals over Australian spying on its near neighbour has, at times, tested the friendship. How strong is the Australia/Timor-Leste relationship? When will permanent maritime boundaries be established? And how is Timor-Leste faring as an independent nation?

For our final Fifth Estate of 2014, Sally Warhaft will be joined by Timor-Leste’s Goodwill Ambassador for Education Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmão and former Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks, now special advisor to the prime minister of Timor-Leste.

Who?

Portrait of Steve Bracks

Steve Bracks

Steve Bracks was Premier of Victoria for almost eight years, winning successive elections with large majorities. As Premier, Steve started rebuilding Victoria’s services and infrastructure while maintaining strong budgets and a growing economy. He now advises the Timor-Leste prime minister and several leading Australian finance and service sector corporations.

Portrait of Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Kirsty has lived in Timor-Leste since October, 1999 and is the founder and chairwoman of the Alola Foundation which she established in 2001 to address the needs of Timorese women and their families. The Xanana Gusmão Reading Room was established in the same year and Kirsty continues as the patron and chair of this library now housed in the Sentru Kulturál Xanana in Dili. She is the Goodwill Ambassador for Education for Timor-Leste.

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

The Fifth Estate

Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. The anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues in 2017 as she responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages. Every second Tuesday, Sally hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.

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