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PM Has Selective Amnesia Over Timor

PM Has Selective Amnesia Over Timor

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs & Defence Spokesman Ken Shirley today accused the Prime Minister of selective amnesia over the 1975 Indonesia invasion of East Timor.

"It is now clear from official documents that then-Prime Minister Bill Rowling was fully briefed by Foreign Affairs officials of the presence of Indonesian troops, and he chose to publicly feign ignorance.

"Undoubtedly broader geo-political considerations prevailing at that time including Cold War anti-communist sentiments influenced the third Labour Government's stance.

"It is preposterous that Helen Clark should now attempt to rewrite history and in doing so impugn not only the integrity of officials but also the competence and independent capabilities of Bill Rowling.

"I was electorate secretary to Bill Rowling during the 1970s, and I was his successor in the Tasman seat. I knew Bill Rowling well. He was not one to be easily led by the nose. I am confident that he would have taken the strategic position that he did after considering all facts and information available.

"This incident reinforces Helen Clark's well-established trait of burying the truth and blaming officials for adverse outcomes that don't suit her agenda.

"It is obvious that during the recent visit of Jose Ramos Horta, Helen Clark chose to disguise the fact that it was a Labour Government that deliberately chose to ignore the plight of the East Timorese and to sacrifice them to the invading Indonesians.

"Unjustified and untruthful attacks on officials undermine the political independence of our public officials and I call on Helen Clark to apologise for her slurs," Mr Shirley said.

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