Personal thanks a sign of a new stage in the friendship

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Thanks for new ute, Transport Comments Off on Personal thanks a sign of a new stage in the friendship

The Friends of Suai recently received a big thank you from Alberto de Jesus (Acting Co-ordinator Friends of Suai Community Centre in Suai) on behalf of the staff and commission of the Community of Cova Lima to the Friends of Suai and the residents of Port Phillip for the new utility 4 WD and equipment sent recently.  He reported the staff and community expressed surprise and delight when they drove in with the new car.  Alberto said: “People said ‘that this is the car from the Friends of Suai to help their friends in Cova Lima through the Community Centre.  Some said the car was sent from Australia because of the good governance of Francisco, Simao and Alberto.”

This is the first letter of its kind received from Suai. The Friends of Suai regularly receive reports about funded activities, materials and events as well as accounts since the Internet became readily available and appropriate training was achieved. A personal thank you of this kind in English is a sign of two big changes. The first is  the level of gratitude for such a useful gift, that really makes life much easier and adds a level of efficiency and convenience to the work that cannot be achieved without a car. It also reflects the fact that Alberto particularly, has achieved not only a high standard of English but an understanding of our culture.

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Winner Walkley Book Award 2010

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Winnder Walkley Book Award 2010 Comments Off on Winner Walkley Book Award 2010

How fantastic it was to see Shirley Shackleton receive the Walkley Book Award for her book The Circle of Silence – A personal testimony before, during and after Balibo, last night in front of Australia’s finest journalists.  Shirley has been writing articles about justice and the Balibo Five’s murder and cover up in East Timor for over thirty years. She set up a scholarship for journalists to study in the U.S. which saw several of our leading journalists educated through it. The Circle of Silence tells the story of the impact of the murder of the Balibo Five on Shirley and her family and the subsequent struggle against gigantic odds to inform people in this country as well as around the world about what was going on in East Timor. The roughshod treatment she received from the Government and the television station who employed Shackleton following the journalists disappearance is eye opening stuff. Not always popular with local activists for her abrasive warts and all style,  her voice was the one that often cut through when others’ didn’t and she showed the courage of a true giant of democracy and truth putting aside the cost to her personally.  I highly recommend the book as a good read. Published by Murdoch Books.
In her speech Shirley said she ‘wanted to put down what I know to have happened so it’s on the record’.  She also called for help to pressure the Indonesian Government to send the bodies of the journalists. home. It seems at 78 Shirley still has unfinished business.

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New Mayor remains on Friends of Suai

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Mayor remains on Friends of Suai, News from Port Phillip Comments Off on New Mayor remains on Friends of Suai

It was announced today that newly elected Mayor Rachel Powning will remain on the Steering Committee of the Friends of Suai

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Friends of Suai member becomes new Mayor for Port Phillip

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Member becomes Mayor of Port Phillip, News from Port Phillip Comments Off on Friends of Suai member becomes new Mayor for Port Phillip

At the Special Meeting of Council last night, Cr Rachel Powning was elected as Mayor of the City of Port Phillip for the next year.  In keeping with many of our surrounding Councils, the decision was made not to elect a position of Deputy Mayor at this time.  The photograph above shows Ms Powning opening the Connections Across the Timor Sea Exhibition in May 2010 when she was Deputy Mayor. Mayor Powning has been an active and helpful member of the Friends of Suai Committee for the past two years and it is hoped she will be able to remain on the Committee.

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Shirley Shackleton Walkley Book Award finalist

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Shirley Shackleton, Walkley Book Award Finalist Comments Off on Shirley Shackleton Walkley Book Award finalist

Port Phillip Citizen of the Year Shirley Shackleton is enjoying a spate of attention for her years of dedication to the East Timor cause.  It was revealed recently by the Walkley Foundation that she has been shortlisted for the 2010 Walkley Book Award for her book The Circle of Silence: A Personal Testimony Before During and After Balibo (Murdoch Books).
The prestigious Walkley Awards are awarded annually for Excellence in Journalism. The Foundation website says the aim of the “Walkley Book Award celebrates excellence in non-fiction literature and long-form journalism. More than 60 books were entered this year, and the subject matter ranged from true crime, politics and war to biography and investigative journalism”.
Shirley is up against some stiff competition: Chris Hammer for The River: A Journey through the Murray-Darling Basin (Melbourne University Press) and Paul Kelly: The March of Patriots: The Struggle for Modern Australia (Melbourne University Press).
The winner will be announced at the Walkley Awards gala dinner on Thursday, December 0 at the Crown Ballroom in Melbourne. The awards ceremony will be televised on SBS.

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East Timor veteran Shirley Shackleton wins Port Phillip Award

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, News from Port Phillip, Port Phillip Residents, Shirley Shackleton, Shirley wins Port Phillip Award Comments Off on East Timor veteran Shirley Shackleton wins Port Phillip Award

East Timor veteran of solidarity, Shirley Shackleton, wife of Greg Shackleton one of the Balibo Five murdered in 1975, has just one the Port Phillip Citizen of the Year Award in a ceremony at the St Kilda Town Hall.

In a speech to the assembled citizens Shirley shrugged aside the mammoth work load as well as the determination and courage she has shown through her  involvement with the solidarity movement for East Timor for thirty five years to tell a story of civil disobedience on our home turf. Shirley reminded us of the fragility of democracy through a local story about being wrongfully arrested in Albert Park whilst protesting against the park being converted into a racetrack for the Grand Prix.  At 78, Shirley Shackleton proved she hasn’t lost any of her sharp wit and determination to lay the bald truth before us when she asked us to remember that the wealth Australians enjoy now has been won at the cost of our own Aboriginal people.   Shirley beat five other nominees for the Award including the tremendously popular Father Bob Maguire who is a Port Phillip community icon.
Shirley is one of twelve residents of Port Phillip whose work was critical to the success of the Timorese peoples’ struggle for independence. There are short introductions to them here and more about Shirley Shackleton here.
Photographs by Chris Cassar and others by Liz Milsom

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Shirley Shackleton nominated for Citizen of the Year

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Port Phillip Citizen of the Year Nomination, Port Phillip Residents, Shirley Shackleton Comments Off on Shirley Shackleton nominated for Citizen of the Year

hirley Shackleton will front up to the St Kilda Town Hall tonight to see if the Citizen of the Year Committee of the Port Phillip Council considers thirty-five years of activism to help the Timorese escape death and oppression and hold our governments accountable for their role in East Timor’s oppression, is worthy of honouring her as Port Phillip Citizen of the Year. She is up against stiff competition in the form of Father Bob Maguire a popular local identity who is almost as outspoken and blunt as Shirley. Father Bob is a local parish priest in South Melbourne who is a friend of Shirley’s. Shirley told me last night at the Australia East Timor Association Independence Dinner that she has given three sermons in Father Bob’s church over the years. Father Bob reached national audiences in Australia through John Safran’s television series and now on Triple J’s Sunday Night Safran on religion politics and Hoochies!

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President Horta honours long-time friend of East Timor: David Scott

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Horta Honours David Scott, Horta honours old friend David Scott, News from Port Phillip, Port Phillip Residents 1 Comment »

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.

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Aust. media reports Ramos Horta unlikely to seek re-election

January 18th, 2011 jen Posted in Australian Media Reports, Friends of Suai News, Horta unlikely to seek re-election 1 Comment »

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in breaking news today that Horta is sussing out how the younger generation feel about taking up the reins in East Timor.  The article is confusing in some ways because while he is reported as saying he wants to step aside to leave room for the younger generation he is quoted as saying he “doesn’t see an obvious leader now”. Whether he is more interested in quelling the idea that the older generation isn’t keen to move aside or eliciting interest from the younger generation remains to be seen. Perhaps he is keen but feels there isn’t anybody ready as he offers to play the role of mentor to up and coming politicians. Despite the fact there has been peace in East Timor for over four years now the Australian paper still alludes to possible instability if there is change.  You can read more about it here.

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Port Phillip Librarian goes to Suai

January 17th, 2011 jen Posted in Library Project, Library training for Suai Comments Off on Port Phillip Librarian goes to Suai

In February 2011, next month, a Port Phillip Librarian will go to Suai to give some training in Library management and cataloging. She will be assisted by Desleigh Kent who has been to Suai before teaching English as a second language.

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