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Challenges ahead for Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste has emerged from its dark past and extremely low levels of development with some cause for optimism. A range of human development indicators, from infant mortality to longevity and education, have all begun to trend more positively, government programs have alleviated some of the worst effects of poverty and infrastructure is being developed.
But Timor-Leste still faces significant challenges, which its new government, no matter who is elected this year, will have to deal with. These challenges fall into three categories; the environment, the resources curse, and human capacity.
At one level, Timor-Leste has a physical environment that is set. The soil is relatively poor, especially on the north coast, its capacity to produce crops is limited and its rainy season is usually brief, in regional terms, but often very heavy. Added to the mountainous nature of the land, cropping is difficult, poor seasons are common and torrential rains can wash away crops in a day.

Pillowtalk and evidence: High Court rejects privilege against spousal incrimination

In ACC v Stoddart,[1] the High Court recently held that there is no common law privilege against incriminating one’s spouse, which had been thought to exist for several centuries. What impact will this decision have?

Francisco Xavier do Amaral: First President of East Timor, politician and elder statesman

(unknown) 1937 – 6 March 2012. East Timor’s first president, for just 9 days ahead of Indonesia’s invasion in 1975, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, has died in Dili at the age of 74 of complications caused by advanced cancer. Do Amaral, affectionately known in East Timor as ‘Grandfather’, was born in Turiscai in the Mambai-speaking mountainous central region of East Timor. The son of a liurai, or local ‘king’, he was educated at St Jose Jesuit seminary in Macao where he qualified for the priesthood. However, do Amaral chose instead to work in the Dili Customs House where he became a popular, politically active intellectual. With Nicolau Lobato and current president, Jose Ramos-Horta, on 20 May 1974, do Amaral founded the broad-based anti-colonial Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), at Ramos-Horta’s urging becoming its president.

National Coal Seam Gas: An Important Step in Protecting Water

A new national agreement designed to protect water resources from coal seam gas extraction and coal mining could offer a level of protection so far unseen in Australian environmental legislation. Any states serious about protecting water for farming and the environment should be signing up.

theconversation.edu.au/national-coal-seam-gas-agreement-an-important-step-in-protecting-water-5654

 

 

 

Can East Timor make the great leap forward?

As East Timor heads to the polls this year, starting with the presidential election next month, it will be embarking on a new and hopefully more positive phase of its often troubled development. East Timor now appears to be moving along a path of stability and hope, but a number of major issues await its new government but.

First among the issues to confront East Timor’s new government will be how to handle the withdrawal of the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force later in the year. East Timor is now much more stable since the 2006 crisis and looks to remain so, but its police are still poorly trained and underlying problems continue, including poverty and high levels of unemployment.

How people choose in volatile times

In a 2008 paper on neuroeconomics, Carnegie Mellon University economist George Loewenstein said: “Whereas psychologists tend to view humans as fallible and sometime even self-destructive, economists tend to view people as efficient maximisers of self-interest who make mistakes only when imperfectly informed about the consequences of their actions.” 

Timor-Leste to go to the polls

Timor-Leste will go to the polls as a result of its five-year electoral cycle on 17 March, kicking off an electoral process that will run until early July.

The question hanging over this process is whether it will mark the formal consolidation of democracy in the once deeply troubled territory, or whether it will signal a return to the problems of 2006–07 — which have been a common feature in many other post-conflict, post-colonial states.

The Arab Spring One Year On: the Challenges of Reforms and Democratic Transition

The Arab Spring, now entering its second year, was no random event. Rather, it was a synthesis of many interconnected failings within the post-colonial Arab state system ranging from endemic political corruption, to dire economic stagnation and associated social marginalisation of the masses to list just the obvious ones. But revolutions, as idealistic and romantic as they may appear to be, are never meant to be quick and tidy events. Indeed, the Arab Spring from its beginnings in Tunisia on 17th of  December 2010 to its current manifestation in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the region  is exhibiting all the hallmarks of a highly unpredictable phenomenon driven by a combination of internal dynamics and external interests.
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