Shona Hawkes of the La'o Hamutuk research organisation talks from Dili with community radio about the status of the ISF (Australian troop forces) presence in Timor Leste. When first sent to Timor Leste by the Howard government they were given virtual diplomatic immunity. La'o Hamutuk has recently submitted a report to the Australian government that suggests their status should be changed to include some kind of accountability.
Jim Dunn was one of the observers of the 1999 plebiscite in Timor Leste when the Indonesian military unleashed a wave of devastation and murder against the Timorese people. Those responsible have still not been brought to account, thanks largely to the attitude of the Australian government. The ABC's program on "The Howard Years" skims over this aspect of the Howard administration's effect on Timor Leste. John Howard claims much of the credit for Timor becoming independent of Indonesia, but the true story is that Timorese independence was the last thing on his mind. Observers like Jim Dunn find the ABC's treatment of this aspect of the Howard Years disappointing, to say the least.