#International Affairs
Federal Parliament and all State Parliaments of Australia
East Timor

During 1942, seven hundred Australian soldiers of the 2/2 and 2/4 Independent Companies were sent to the neutral Portuguese colony of Timor, just off the north-west coast of Australia.

The Japanese army was moving south rapidly and the island of Timor was seen as a possible place from which Australia could be attacked. The few Australians conducted a successful guerilla campaign against the thousands of Japanese military who subsequently arrived. The Timorese people sided with the Australians, feeding, sheltering and guiding them.

Young men carried the Australians' packs, led them through the jungles, advised on the best attacking positions and proved themselves loyal companions. They took them to their homes and the families shared what they had, nursing the Australians when they were wounded or sick. The toll on the Timorese was heavy, with at least 40,000 civilians dying as a result of Japanese reprisals and Australian bombing raids on Japanese positions. The Australians who returned testify to the courage, generosity and kindness of the Timorese.

There has yet been no official Australian recognition of this unique contribution to the welfare of Australians during the War, nor of the toll exacted on the small Timorese population.

We, the undersigned, call on Australia to recognise the significant role played by the East Timorese people in World War II in providing loyal assistance to Australian soldiers at the cost of at least 40,000 Timorese lives.

In view of this unique contribution to Australia, we ask that Australia bestow its highest Award on the the nation of Timor-Leste.

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The Australian Award for Timor-Leste petition to Federal Parliament and all State Parliaments of Australia was written by Susan Connelly and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.