It has been fifteen years since Indonesia relinquished control of East Timor and the Australian-led intervention supported the successful quest for self-determination. Following the independence ballot, in 2002 Timor-Leste emerged as the first sovereign nation state of the twenty-first century.
Since then, the relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste has been close, with strong trade partnerships and extensive aid programs, but it has also been shadowed by disputes. The contested ownership of Timor Sea oil and gas reserves and scandals over Australian spying on its near neighbour has, at times, tested the friendship. How strong is the Australia/Timor-Leste relationship? When will permanent maritime boundaries be established? And how is Timor-Leste faring as an independent nation?
For the Wheeler Centre's final Fifth Estate of 2014, Sally Warhaft was be joined by Timor-Leste’s Goodwill Ambassador for Education Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmão and former Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks, now special advisor to the prime minister of Timor-Leste.