By David Connery
East Timor’s violent transition to independence, which started early in 1999, awarded the Australian executive with an important international coverage challenge. This hindrance used to be now not surprising, absolutely unforeseen or eventually threatening to Australia’s survival. however the challenge ate up the eye of Australian leaders, observed major nationwide and overseas assets hired, and ended in the most important operational deployment for the Australian Defence strength because the Vietnam battle. This predicament additionally created an important rupture within the hitherto carefully-managed relationships among Australia and its vital neighbor, Indonesia. The occasions of September 1999 finally ended in the beginning of a brand new state and the deaths of many folks who may need another way anticipated to get pleasure from that independence. during this significant examine, David Connery examines how the Australian Government—at the political and bureaucratic levels—developed and controlled nationwide protection coverage within the face of this challenge. The occasions, and the policymaking techniques that either led and undefined, are reconstructed utilizing sixty interviews with key members. This examine identifies sure features of problem policymaking in Australia that come with a dominant govt, secrecy, exterior actors and complexity.
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Additional resources for Crisis Policymaking: Australia and the East Timor Crisis of 1999
246–47. 34 Interviews with John Moore, Allan Behm and 035-05 (Canberra, 14 October 2005, identity protected). 36 DFAT was also busy. Aside from increased consultation with both Indonesian leaders and East Timorese groups by McCarthy,37 meetings with other countries included specific discussions about East Timor. In one example, Ashton Calvert visited Washington, DC, to consult the US Assistant Secretary of State, Stanley Roth about America’s views on events. DFAT also established its own policy unit, headed by Nick Warner and managed by Chris Moraitis, to coordinate the diplomatic aspects of national policy.
Table 4: Selected Key Events for December 1998‑April 1999 19 December 1998 Howard’s letter is delivered to Habibie. 12 January 1999 Details of a new policy towards East Timor are announced by the Australian Government. 12 January 1999 Details of a new policy towards East Timor are announced by the Australian Government. 27 January The Indonesian Government announces its intention to allow the East Timorese people to vote in a popular consultation on their future status 9 February The NSCC meets and decides its initial approach to the East Timor situation.
We needed someone to pull all of this disparate stuff together, to ask some hard questions about things that had not been thought of, and provide a bit of focus. Asking desk people to do that on top of the day-to-day [is a little much].