Learn how the Australian government used the guise of national interest to forge a false account of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor The Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975 led to a prolonged conflict, severe human rights abuses and a large loss of life. From 1975 to 1983 the Indonesian military's campaign of 'encirclement and annihilation' destroyed rural food resources, creating the famine that took most of the lives lost during the occupation. The Australian governments of Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser presented themselves as advocates for human rights and the international rule of law, while viewing relations with Indonesia as key to their foreign policy objectives. These positions came into conflict due to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.
Based upon an extensive study of Australian foreign affairs archives, as well as interviews, A Narrative of Denial demonstrates how the Australian government responded to the conflict by propagating a version of events that denied the reality of the catastrophe occurring in East Timor. It worked to protect the Suharto regime internationally, thereby allowing it to continue its repression relatively unhindered. This remarkable story will unsettle existing perceptions of how Australia operates in world affairs.