Issue 4 - May 4, 2010 enews home

Universities join forces for democracy in East Timor

Associate Professor Dennis Shoesmith

Associate Professor Dennis Shoesmith

By Leanne Coleman

Making democracy more representative in East Timor was the major focus of a Charles Darwin University and National University of Timor-Leste symposium in Dili held from April 26 to 27.

The “Locating Democracy: Representation, Elections and Governance in Timor-Leste” symposium was co-hosted by the universities and allowed a range of agencies to review the process of local government reform being undertaken in East Timor.

Symposium co-convenor, CDU Associate Professor Dennis Shoesmith said local government in East Timor was entering a new phase of development.

“Part of the reform program is the establishment of municipal assemblies, with the aim of making democracy more representative. The Northern Territory and Australia in general have a strong interest in a stable and prosperous East Timor,” Dr Shoesmith said.

“The successful application of the local government reform program will provide greater stability in the country and facilitate economic development and opportunities for further development of the fruitful partnership with the Northern Territory.”

Dr Shoesmith said the symposium was a timely opportunity to review the local government program as associated laws are about to be introduced to parliament.

“The symposium has, for the first time, brought all the stakeholders together to exchange ideas and views about government reform. It was an opportunity for the East Timorese Government and Parliament to review the local government program,” he said.

Symposium convenors have received sponsorship and support from Airnorth.