|Subject: AN: Aussie commission unable to set up more
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:22:51 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
via Kompas web site
Kamis, 22 Juli 1999 Update 10:00 WIB
Ballot: Aussie commission unable to set up more registration centers
Canberra, July 24 (Antara)
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has ruled out the possibility of setting up more registration centers for the East Timor popular consultation on autonomy as requested by many East Timorese living in Australia.
The East Timorese residents had asked for the additional registration centers because they were domiciled in places far removed from each other.
An AEC spokesman said the number of registration centers the commission had provided was in line with provisions in the May 5 agreement on the East Timor ballot reached by Indonesia, Portugal and the UN secretary general in New York.
AEC Chief Bill Gray said here Friday that any change as well as addition to the determined number of registration centers in Australia was totally the business of the United Nations.
AEC is the institution officially appointed by the UN to carry out the registration process for East Timorese living in Australia.
As agreed, the AEC has been organizing the process of registration in Australia -- opened on July 16 and to last for a period of 20 days-- at nine centers spread in four states, namely in Victoria (Melbourne, Dandenong, St. Albans and Oakleigh), in New South Wales (Campbeltown, Liverpool and Mount Drutt), in West Australia (Perth) and in Northern Territory (Darwin).
AEC director for information, Brien Hallett, separately told ANTARA that a number of East Timorese people in Brisbane had asked for the opening of a registration center in the city or any place in Queensland state.
"We explained to them that concerning the popular consultation, the AEC's duty was only to provide facilities on infrastructures and experts. We had to reject their requests," he said. About 20,000 eligible East Timorese voters based in Australia are expected to give their votes --scheduled to be conducted on August 21 or 22-- to indicate whether they accept integration into Indonesia with wide-ranging autonomy or independence.