Government expresses condolences for the death of Gordon McIntosh

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Government expresses condolences for the death of Gordon McIntosh

It was with great sadness that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste received word of the death of Gordon McIntosh, a former Australian Senator and defender of Timorese independence.

Gordon was an enthusiast for the self-determination of our people and was adamant in his struggle against the occupation of our country. The East Timorese people were fortunate to have a fervent supporter in the Australian Parliament.

In 1983 he was in Timor, as part of the first Australian parliamentary delegation to visit the then territory under occupation of Indonesia. After the trip, the Senator wrote a report denouncing the delegation's comments, describing the attempts of some to present Timor as no longer a significant political problem. His petition to the United Nations Decolonization Committee in 1982 was instrumental in keeping Timor on the list of territories with open decolonization processes, and his activities over many years made an important contribution to the Timorese cause.

The former Senator visited Timor-Leste for the last time in March 2016 to participate in the activities of the first Veterans Day celebration. In February of the same year, the former President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, made public a ten-page letter, written by himself in 1988 and sent to Gordon McIntosh, through Resistance members exiled in Australia. This letter includes a detailed history of the struggle for independence and criticism of the then Australian Government to be motivated by the desire to "safeguard Australia's economic interests to the detriment of the principles worthy of a democratic country". Where he also denounced that everything suggests that the Australian policy towards Timor was determined by the Indonesian offer of joint exploitation of the Timor Gap.

Gordon or "Ulun tos", an affectionate name given to him in the 1980s by FALINTIL, who admired his 'stubbornness' and 'discernment' for not accepting the opinions of his colleagues during the 1983 visit, was awarded the Order of Timor-Leste in 2014 for his efforts in favour of Timor-Leste's independence.

Gordon McIntosh will not be forgotten in East Timor and will be forever remembered with great affection, admiration and respect. In this moment of sadness, we mourn his death, but we celebrate his contribution.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, on behalf of the Timorese People, sends condolences to the family of Gordon McIntosh and the gratitude of a nation forever grateful. ENDS