At a special ceremony in Melbourne last weekend, President Jose Ramos-Horta presented the Insignia Da Ordem De Timor-Leste to Port Phillip resident and long time friend of East Timor, David Scott AO in recognition of his commitment and contribution to the people of Timor-Leste.
David Scott AO has been committed to the cause of Timor-Leste for more than 30 years. His book Last Flight out of Dili: Memoirs of an Accidental Activist in the Triumph of East Timor is a personal narrative of his long involvement with Timor-Leste. (Pluto Press) For more about David Scott and his two unpublished chapters from this book in English and Tetun read here.
David first went to Timor-Leste in 1975, just days before the Indonesian invasion and was forced to leave on the last flight out of Dili. When he left Timor his actions led to Horta escaping and he assisted Horta set up the diplomatic strategy in the U.S. in the U.N. He also was the founding member of the Australia East Timor Association that has been the source of accurate and accessible information about East Timor for all Australians from 1975 to this day. His experience ultimately led to a critical and fully documented account of Australia’s role in the events of 1974-75 which draws on extensive personal correspondence with Jose Ramos-Horta when the country was under occupation.
David has spent much of his 85 years dedicated to community service both overseas and in Australia. Through his early involvement with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Scott took on the directorship of Food for Peace in 1962 which became Community Aid Abroad (CAA). He served as National Director of CAA from 1962-70 and as the organisation’s Chair for a further 10 years from 1970-80.
In 1965, under Scott’s leadership, Community Aid Abroad began a long and cooperative association with the then UK-based aid agency Oxfam which eventually led to CAA becoming known as Oxfam Australia in 2005.
It is testament to his tireless commitment to helping others over the years, that saw David honoured by President Horta in this way.