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home / archives / politics / asia / 29th September 1999


Following the successful vote for Independence in East Timor there was a crisis in law and order as Indonesia lifted martial law and anti-independence forces went on a rampage. The Australian Government led by Prime Minister John Howard made immediate moves to provide protection to the new nation. At the time some critics accused the Australian Government of simply following US policy and US President Bill Clinton. The UN sanctioned troops being sent to East Timor, but not before an article appeared in The Bulletin with a statement, unfortunately, and wrongfully, attributed to John Howard, that Australia was "deputy sheriff" to the US in the Asia region.