It was with great regret that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste received the news regarding the death of Gordon McIntosh, a former Australian Senator and defender of Timorese independence.
Gordon was an enthusiast for the self-determination of our people and was adamant in his struggle against the occupation of our country. The East Timorese people were fortunate to have such a passionate supporter in the Australian Parliament.
In 1983, he was in Timor, integrated in the first Australian parliamentary delegation to visit the then territory under the occupation of Indonesia. After the trip, the Senator wrote a report denouncing the delegation’s comments, describing the attempts of some parties to present Timor as no longer a significant political issue. His petition to the United Nations Decolonization Committee, in 1982, was essential in keeping Timor on the list of territories with open decolonization processes, and his activities, over many years, have made an important contribution to the Timorese cause.
The former Senator visited Timor-Leste for the last time in March 2016, to participate in the activities of the first Veterans Day celebration. In February of the same year, the former President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, unveiled a ten-page letter, written by him in 1988 and sent to Gordon McIntosh, through Resistance cadres exiled in Australia. This letter includes a detailed history of the struggle for independence and criticizes the Australian Government back then which were motivated by the desire to “safeguard Australia’s economic interests to the detriment of the worthiness principles of a democratic country.” And he denounces that everything indicates that the Australian policy for Timor was determined by the Indonesian offer of Timor Gap’s joint exploitation.
Gordon or “Ulun tos”, an affectionate name given to him in the 1980s by FALINTIL, who admired his ‘stubbornness’ and ‘discernment’ for not accepting the opinions of his colleagues during the 1983 visit, was awarded the Order of Timor-Leste in 2014 for his efforts in favour of Timor-Leste’s independence.
Gordon McIntosh will not be forgotten in Timor-Leste and will be forever remembered with great affection, admiration and respect. In this sadness moment, we mourn his death, but we celebrate his contribution.
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, on behalf of the Timorese People, sends condolences to the family of Gordon McIntosh and the everlasting gratitude of the whole nation. END