18 Nov 2005

Call on Australia to probe its Papua links

6:00 pm on 18 November 2005

An Australian lobby group has called on the government to follow the Dutch example and commission a study into Australia's role in Papua becoming part of Indonesia.

The former Dutch territory became part of Indonesia in the early 1960s on condition that its residents be allowed to hold a referendum to decide between independence or integration with Indonesia.

In 1969, the so-called Act of Free Choice was held under the supervision of the UN, but a Dutch government report says the vote was a sham.

The Australian West Papua Asociation says the Australian government should also commission a study.

An Association spokesman, Joe Collins, says the Australian government could make up for its past mistakes by using its influence with the Indonesian government to help solve existing problems.