SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

7 March 2018

AUSTRALIA – TIMOR-LESTE TREATY

Labor warmly welcomes the signing of the historic treaty in New York overnight between Australia and Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea.

The treaty brings to an end more than 40 years of uncertainty over our shared maritime border 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 in my visit to Timor-Leste in June 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.

We are therefore pleased that this treaty is the first ever to be achieved by conciliation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Now that treaty has been signed, bringing certainty over this region we very much hope that the Greater Sunrise Gas field can be developed for the benefit of both Australia and Timor-Leste.

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