One element of the latest version of the Australian Governments' commitment to policy by opinion poll, the proposal to establish off shore processing of refugees in East Timor is particularly despicable.
East Timor faces huge problems is getting its development process under way and delivering basic health and educational services. Its capacity in terms of the human skills and administrative capacity to drive development at the pace needed to support the poorest people in its community is still severely limited.
So what does the Australian Government do? It attempts to find a way out of a political issue at home that is rooted in its lack of willingness to show leadership and engage the community on the issue of asylum seekers by loading its problem on a near by neighbour, one of the poorest communities in the region that is still struggling to overcome the trauma of 25 years of conflict and violence.
The potential of this proposal by the Australian Government to distort and derail the fragile political leadership and the administrative infrastructure of East Timor from its primary responsibility to support the poorest members of its community is unconscionable and displays a selfishness and short sightedness that must not go unchallenged.