Alexander Downer copped a serve yesterday in Crikey over the Timor Gap
treaty negotiations – but good intentions and commercial realities
might be clashing here. Opponents of the Timor treaty in its current
form say Australia is stealing Timorese resources. We, however, have
plenty of gas of our own closer to our shores.

Resources industry sources have their own interests – but they say it’s
time to drop the do-gooding. They claim Australia’s proposals will
actually assist the fledging nation of East Timor by shutting shonks
out of its economic development. Without Australia, they say, East
Timor will be unable to do anything other than market its gas on
short-term discounted contracts, as international consumers will not
into long term deals with the new country. They point to that other
failed state, or failing state, just off our coast – Papua New Guinea –
and its deteriorating trade. Tough love?