MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

New poll shows massive Australian support for West Papua

A new opinion poll shows over 75% of Australians support self determination – including the option of independence - for West Papua.

The poll conducted between 7-9 April, by Newspoll of 1200 people nationwide asked the following question:

And now a question about the Indonesian province of West Papua. Recently, there has been some discussion in the Australian media about whether the people of West Papua should have the right to self determination, that is, the right to determine their own political future, including the option of independence. Are you personally in favour or against self determination for the people of West Papua?

77% were in favour of self determination and only 6% were against. The remaining 17% were undecided or didn’t know.

The poll was commissioned by Australian businessman Ian Melrose who has previously funded an advertising campaign in support of East Timor’s right to oil and gas revenue in the Timor Sea.

Mr Melrose does not belong to any political party and never has.

“This is a massive level of support for the people of West Papua throughout the Australian community,” Mr Melrose said.

“I am delighted that Australians so overwhelmingly support West Papua. I expected nothing less of them – we are a warm-hearted caring nation.

“It is a shame that John Howard and Kim Beazley do not match the Australian peoples’ inherent decency when it comes to basic human rights and freedoms.

“I believe the poll sends a clear message to Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley.

“Taking sides with the Indonesian Government and military over the rights and aspirations of the West Papuan people is very unpopular across all sections of Australian society,” Mr Melrose said.

More information: contact Ben Oquist 0419704095