Sunday, July 1, 2012

Taking leave

Dear Port Focus readers
I am writing to let you know that I am taking leave of Port Focus for two weeks. I am going to East Timor Timor-Leste with a community delegation from Port Phillip to observe the parliamentary elections taking place on 7 July. We will be going to Suai in the district of Covalima. For 12 years, the Port Phillip community has been formally committed to assisting this coastal community through the Friends of Suai.
And the Port Focus?  Port Melbourne's Bill Armstrong AO has chaired the Friends of Suai for many years, bringing his extensive relationships and experience in international development to the role.  David Scott AO, who passed away just recently, was a committed advocate for the East Timorese dating from from his experience of the Indonesian invasion in 1975. He spent his last years with us here in Port Melbourne. Nancy Price, part of the community delegation, is a member of Port Melbourne Uniting Church. The Carmelites in Rouse St have been in East Timor since 1999.
On the broader front, democracy - a system we stand by so strongly - is underpinned by free and fair elections. This will be the first election in East Timor to be overseen by the local electoral commission -  not by the UN. The Port Phillip delegation will be part of a network of observers from friendship relationships such as ours all over Australia.
Please keep an eye on Port for me, and let me know of anything of interest that happens while I'm away.
Best wishes

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