"Australian Government's Silence on Balibo Five Protests Sparks Accusations of Betrayal"australiangovernment,silence,balibofive,protests,accusations,betrayal
"Australian Government's Silence on Balibo Five Protests Sparks Accusations of Betrayal"

“Australian Government’s Silence on Balibo Five Protests Sparks Accusations of Betrayal”

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Betrayal: Australian government coy on calls to protest the largest mass-murder of journalists in Australian history


The Australian government is facing renewed calls to officially protest the 1975 killings of five Australia-based newsmen in East Timor by Indonesian forces. Former federal minister and ambassador Amanda Vanstone AO, along with a chorus of experts and family members, believes that the Australian government should protest the killings. However, the government has been coy in its response, avoiding direct questions about whether it will take action. This silence has sparked accusations of betrayal and calls for transparency in shedding light on Australia’s involvement in the cover-up of the Balibo Five murders.

The Balibo Five and the Call for Justice

The Balibo Five, comprised of Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters, Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, and Tony Stewart, were journalists working for Channel 9 and Channel 7 who were executed on October 16, 1975, by the Indonesian military after they had seized the town of Balibo in East Timor. A 2007 NSW coronial inquest confirmed these killings, but the Australian government has failed to officially protest the murders or seek justice for the victims.

Former Minister Vanstone emphasizes the importance of addressing past crimes and seeking resolution as a means of moving forward. She asserts that the clearing of the decks and an open acknowledgment of what happened is necessary to foster reconciliation between nations. However, the Australian government’s lack of action on this matter has left many disappointed and frustrated.

A Void in Government Response

The Department of Foreign Affairs has sidestepped direct questions about whether the government will finally protest the murders with Indonesia. While expressing regret over the journalists’ death and acknowledging the grief caused to their families and friends, the government has only mentioned its cooperation in previous investigations. The Australian Federal Police’s decision to abandon a war crimes investigation into the killings in 2014 due to “insufficient evidence to prove an offense” has further deepened concerns about the government’s commitment to pursuing justice in this case.

The government’s silence can be attributed, at least in part, to Australia’s significant economic and military ties with Indonesia. The delicate relationship between the two nations appears to be influencing Australia’s response, raising questions about the prioritization of political and economic interests over the pursuit of justice.

The Balibo Five Cover-up

Declassified documents obtained by the experts at Under Investigation reveal the extent of the Australian government’s involvement in the cover-up of the Balibo Five murders. These documents expose the Whitlam government’s secret collaboration with Indonesia in its plans to invade East Timor, revealing a betrayal of the Australian people.

According to Professor Clinton Fernandes from the UNSW Defence Force Academy, the facts surrounding the Balibo Five deaths were known almost immediately, but they were kept hidden from the Australian public and parliament. Rather than seeking accountability, the mission became one of covering up the truth and seeking assistance from Indonesia to maintain this cover-up.

These revelations highlight the need for transparency and the release of classified information related to Australia’s involvement in the invasion that led to the deaths of not just the journalists but also thousands of East Timorese people under Indonesian rule. The Australian government’s refusal to disclose these documents raises concerns about its commitment to truth, justice, and accountability.

A Continuing Struggle for Justice

The fight for justice continues for the families of the Balibo Five, who have endured decades of pain and grief. John Milkins, son of slain cameraman Gary Cunningham, expresses deep disappointment with the Australian government’s actions and its refusal to release important information that could shed light on the events of October 16, 1975. He believes that this struggle is not just about the deaths of five white journalists but about Australia’s abrogation of international human rights responsibilities and the breach of the Geneva Conventions. It is a much larger story that speaks to the core of Australia’s humanity and its commitment to upholding justice.


The Australian government’s reluctance to officially protest the murders of the Balibo Five and its continued silence on the matter raise serious questions about its commitment to justice, accountability, and transparency. The government’s prioritization of political and economic interests over human rights concerns is concerning and constitutes a betrayal of the Australian people.

In order to move forward, it is imperative that the Australian government acknowledges and takes responsibility for its involvement in the cover-up of the Balibo Five murders. Transparency, release of classified documents, and a sincere commitment to seeking justice for the victims and their families are crucial steps in rectifying this betrayal.

Australia has a moral obligation to address its past and ensure that it upholds the principles of truth, justice, and human rights. By protesting the murders of the Balibo Five and seeking accountability for those responsible, Australia can demonstrate its commitment to these values, restore faith in its governance, and honor the memories of the journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.


"Australian Government
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G'day, mates! I'm Greg Buckley, and I've been reporting here in the land Down Under for the last 15 years. I'm all about sports and culture, so if there's a footy match or an art exhibit, you'll likely see me there. Let's give it a burl together, Australia!

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