by Larry Pickering

Gough Whitlam once said, “Australia will not stand in the way of Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor”. That worked out pretty well as a rampaging Indonesian militia promptly cut a swathe through a civilian population leaving five Australian journalists brutally murdered in their wake.

Yet not a word of complaint was heard from a compliant Gough.

Tony Abbott recently said, “I want to acknowledge the work that Indonesia has done to provide greater autonomy… to provide a better life for the people of West Papua”.

And in response to demonstrators in Jakarta, he said, “… and people seeking to grandstand against Indonesia’s [invasion of West Papua] please, don’t look to do it in Australia. You are not welcome.”

Documented incidents of torture and mass murder by the Indonesian military in West Papua abound, while the local population complains that profit from the rich resources raped from its land finds its way back to Jakarta leaving West Papuans destitute.

West Papuans are a distinctly ethnic and mostly Christian group ripe for Islamic dominance. Bows and arrows prove hardly an effective defence against the rape of women and children and the slaughter of entire villages.

Toward the end of Dutch colonisation in 1962, the West Papuans prepared for their independence by creating a national education program, proud national symbols, including the Morning Star flag, a national anthem, and even a parliamentary body.

But their hopes and dreams came to nought as Indonesia quickly annexed the territory using a farcical United Nations-supervised "Act of Free Choice". It was a thinly veiled sham referendum in which only 1,054 people hand-picked by Indonesia were allowed to vote, from a population of almost 800,000 .

Australia has always supported Indonesia’s occupation of a virtually defenceless West Papua, and it helps train a murderous bunch of gun toting Indonesian thugs guilty of the worst crimes imaginable.

Yet no outcry from even the Greens. Not one news item, not a paragraph of protest from any of Australia’s media, yet over 100,000 West Papuans have been mercilessly slaughtered as a result of the Indonesian occupation.

A recent report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, found that two helicopters supplied by Australia were used in an operation that killed more than 5,000 defenceless highland natives.

Their only crime was to seek to reclaim their native land with primitive weapons.

Dissenting West Papuan leaders have also been assassinated including Arnold Ap in 1984, Theys Eluay in 2001, Kelly Kwalik in 2009 and, as late as 2012, Mako Tabuni.

Hundreds of West Papuan civilians simply “disappear”, never to be seen again.

Indonesia correspondent Budi Hernawan says, “Torture is often used in West Papua, intended less as a means of procuring information from victims than as a method of public intimidation”.

Rape and torture of West Papuan women and children is also commonplace. After having been gang raped, hundreds were rounded up by the Indonesian military, loaded on to boats, taken far out to sea and thrown overboard.

Another Indonesia correspondent, Michael Bachelard, detailed the trafficking of West Papuan children to hard-line Islamic schools in Jakarta.

He reported, “Their names are changed, they are forced to observe Islamic practices and they are confined in harsh conditions. Families never hear from their children again.”

Dissenting West Papuan indigenes are regarded by the Indonesian State as the “enemy” and, therefore, legitimate targets for genocide.

Australia is duty bound to report these instances of genocide on its doorstep but inexplicably it prefers to silently support this Indonesian carnage.

Can Parliament possibly be unaware of it?

Tony Abbott is making a serious error appeasing an Islamic Indonesia. The disdain in which its new President, Joko Widodo, holds a craven and cowering Australia is conspicuously palpable.

If we are ever to reclaim our position as a just and influential South-East Asian democracy we must stop supporting this ISIS style barbarity.

We must atone for our own complicity in this carnage and keep an expansionist Indonesia from running amok in our front yard.

Only then can one lesson be learnt both at home and in West Papua:

“Never, ever show weakness in the face of animalistic Islam!”