2015 Timor-Leste Update - Sessions

1 October 2015

2015 Timor-Leste Update ‘Terms of Inclusion’2015 Timor-Leste Update Session Abstracts Terms of Inclusion: A Political Entente Cordiale?

Chair: Sue Ingram, , PhD Candidate, SSGM, ANUSpeakers:Jose Teixeira, former Member of Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Timor-LesteRui Feijo, Centre for Social Studies, University of CoimbraAderito Soares, PhD Candidate, Centre for International Governance and Justice, RegNet, ANU

The evolving entente between the leaders of CNRT and FRETILIN, culminating in the formation of a newgovernment in February 2015 that included a prime minister and ministers drawn from the official oppositionparty, has been widely – but not universally – applauded. Critics are variously uneasy that it diminishes theeffectiveness of parliamentary opposition and executive accountability, and consolidates an elite bargain thatcould work against wider inclusion. How is the new government performing relative to its predecessors? Arethe fears of the naysayers well-founded? How sustainable is this alliance over time?

Terms of Inclusion: Timor-Leste in the Region

Chair: James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow, SSGM, ANUSpeakers:Michael Leach, Department of Education and Social Sciences, Swinburne University ofTechnologyDavid Freedman, Asian Development Bank, Timor-Leste Resident MissionMica Barreto, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University ofTechnologyAndrey Damaledo, PPhD Candidate, School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU

Looking beyond Timor-Leste’s borders, the terms of Timor-Leste’s inclusion in its immediate geographicregion remain a work in progress. Membership of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)remains a high, although as yet unrealised, national priority. Relations with China are warm and growing.Political, economic and social relations with Timor-Leste’s large neighbour and former administering powerIndonesia are close and interdependent. Looking eastwards, relations with Timor’s other large neighbour,Australia are cordial if not completely untroubled while links with Pacific Island countries have been sporadic.What are the key drivers of Timor Leste’s approach to its immediate region? How is policy decided in thisarea? Will the appointment of a new Prime Minister prompt any changes of approach?

Terms of Inclusion: Major Regional Development Initiatives - Suai Tasi Mane Project andOekussi Special Economic Zone

Convenor: Armindo Maia, PhD Candidate, SSGM, ANUSpeakers:Jose Teixeira, former Member of Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Timor-LesteMeabh Cryan, PhD Candidate, SSGM, ANUMichael Rose, PhD Candidate, School of Culture, History and Language, ANU

The Government of Timor-Leste has invested expansively in two substantial regional development initiativesdesigned to drive rapid economic development: the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project on the southcoast and the Oekusi Special Economic Zone, led respectively by former prime ministers Xanana Gusmaoand Mari Alkatiri. Both projects promise significant economic benefits but involve significant dislocation oflocal populations as subsistence agriculture gives way to major economic and commercial infrastructure.What is the prospect of these projects delivering their anticipated returns, how will the benefits be distributed,and who will be the winners and losers in the development process?

Terms of Inclusion: Distributional Equity and PublicPolicy

Chair: Lia Kent, Fellow, Centre for International Governance and Justice, RegNet, ANUSpeakers:Guteriano Neves, Researcher of Economic Development and Regional Integration, Department ofResearch and Analysis of the Presidency of the Republic of Timor-LesteCharlie Scheiner, Economics and Natural Resources Department, La’o HamutukBrett Inder, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash UniversitySandra Silva, Social Protection Adviser, Australian Aid, Timor-Leste

While Timor-Leste’s national income has grown rapidly, petroleum revenues are now declining and povertylevels remain the highest in the Asia Pacific region. Successive governments have invested heavily in socialtransfers and public infrastructure to reach out to disaffected constituencies (including ‘petitioners’ andveterans) and the disadvantaged (including single mothers and the elderly.) Yet questions remain about thesustainability of these schemes, as well as the extent to which they are reaching those most in need. What isthe scope of these schemes and what is their impact? What challenges are faced in reaching disadvantagedgroups? More broadly, what are the implications of current economic policies and strategies for questions ofwealth distribution, inclusive growth, inequality and poverty? To what extent does the appointment of the newprime minister signal any change in approach?

Terms of Inclusion: Women, Youth and Disability

Chair: Ruth Nuttall, PhD Candidate, Pacific and Asian History, School of Culture, History andLanguage, ANUSpeakers:Sophia Cason, Access to Justice and Organisational Strengthening Advisor, The Asia FoundationSusan Marx, Country Representative Timor-Leste, The Asia FoundationDeborah Cummins, Founder & Director, Bridging PeoplesJoaozito dos Santos, Executive Director, Raes Hadomi Timor Oan, Disabled Person’sOrganisationHis Excellency António da Conceição, Minister of State, Coordinator of Social Affairs and theMinister of Education

While recent policies have helped to foster high levels of women’s participation in the national parliament, thefact that women remain disadvantaged vis a vis men on key social and economic indicators, and continueexperience high levels of domestic violence, continues to constrain their participation in public and politicallife. That 60 percent of Timor-Leste’s population is under the age of 25 also highlights the importance ofinterventions that promote education, skills development and the participation of young people in society. It isalso well-established that people with disabilities are seriously disadvantaged in Timor-Leste. To what extentare current laws and policies effectively addressing the underlying causes of social inequity? To what extentare they effectively promoting the participation of women, young people and people with disabilities in publicand political life? Are these laws and policies addressing the diverse needs of urban and rural-based womenand young people, and people with disabilities? Does the appointment of the new prime minister signal anychange in approach?signal any change in approach?

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