SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

27 February 2018

AUSTRALIA – TIMOR-LESTE AGREEMENT

Labor warmly welcomes the agreement reached at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for a treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste on the disputed maritime border and on a “pathway” to develop the giant Greater Sunrise offshore gas fields.

The treaty, to be signed in New York on March 6, will establish a maritime boundary in the Timor Sea between our two nations for the first time and vindicates the strong position taken two years ago by Labor under Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek to take decisive steps to settle our dispute with Timor-Leste.

The maritime boundary dispute with Timor-Leste has strained our bilateral relations and has gone on too long. In my visit to Timor-Leste last year it was clear that the relationship would substantially benefit from its resolution.

Labor is committed to multilateralism and a rules-based international system. We believe all nations benefit from abiding by international norms. If we want to insist that other nations play by the rules, we should adhere to them.

That’s why Labor committed in February 2016 to reaching a binding international resolution with Timor-Leste.

This agreement vindicates Labor’s position and brings to an end more than 40 years of uncertainty over this maritime border.