[TimorLesteStudies] VALE DAVID SCOTT - 'Dencansa em Paz'

Ismenio Martins da Silva ismenio_nito at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 24 19:15:29 EST 2012

Our deepest condolence to his family, friends and salute to Timor's great comrade (Sr) David Scott. We can't thank him enough for his enormous contribution to Timor-Leste's history from occupation to independence. Timor is about to loose great heroes, but we are certainly won't or never forget all friends and comrades. 

'May your soul be resting in peace, maun David'


Labour and Education Attaché
Embassy of Timor-Leste in Australia
7 Beale Crescent, Deakin ACT, Australia 2600
Tel: (+61) 2 62604833 & Fax: (+61) 2 62324075

Mobile no: +61 (0)448508398 (Australia)
                 +670 7363745    (Timor-Leste)

Email: ismenio_nito at yahoo.com
          tl_attache at yahoo.com

 From: Australia-East Timor Association <aetamel at aetamel.org>
To: AETA office <aetamel at aetamel.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:19 PM

Members of the Auastralia-East Timor Association will be saddened to hear
that our founder, David Scott AO and Ordem de Timor-Leste, passed away on 
Sunday the 22nd of April.

On the 7th of December 1975 David called an emergency meeting at the
Brotherhood of St Laurence in Brunswick St, Fitzroy in response to the 
full scale attack by Indonesian armed forces on Dili earlier that day. 
The large number of people present resolved to set up the  Australia-East 
Timor Association.

The funeral service will be held at Christ Church , South Yarra, cnr Punt and 
Toorak Rds, South Yarra on Saturday the 28th of April commencing at 2 pm.
Flowers welcome, but donations to the Brotherhood of St Laurence will be 

The following obituary has been written by Richard Tanter who has played a very 
important role in our Association and in the East Timor solidarity movement generally.         


David was well known in East Timor circles for this extraordinary commitment
to the cause of self-determination for the people of East Timor from
1975 onwards. He told some of that story in his 2005 book "Last Flight
Out of Dili: Memoirs of an Accidental Activist", and more in another
study of Australia and Timor Leste still to be published.

What may be less well-known in the wider Timor-Leste activist
community is the fact that this was but one of the fields where he
made an extraordinary contribution, both within Australia and beyond.

In the 1950s and 1960s David built the Brotherhood of St. Laurence
into the most significant and progressive agency for social welfare
and social policy in Australia. He founded Community Aid Abroad, the
largest non-government aid agency and campaigner for global justice,
which later became Oxfam Australia. His original vision for CAA, which
was for many years a reality, was that it should be a genuinely
transnational network linking people living communities in Australia
with the people of communities in poorer countries, rather than a
simple matter of donating money.

David was the chair of the Land Conservation Council of Victoria, and
the first Commissioner for the Environment in Victoria. He also served
on the Board of the State Electricity Commission, and in many other
public capacities. He also played a key role over many years in the
International Council on Social Welfare, and many comparable
Australian welfare bodies. He was also the founder and publisher of
the monthly magazine Australian Society.

One of David's great achievements was his role, together with others,
in preventing a ghastly miscarriage of justice in the case of Robert
Peter Tait, who was convicted of a quite brutal murder in 1962, and
sentenced to death, even though he was manifestly insane. Together
with others, David led a huge public campaign against the government's
determination to hang Tait. David applied for an order that Tait be
psychiatrically assessed. The government refused, and David took the
case to the Supreme Court and subsequently the High Court in an
emergency hearing which brought down an injunction against Tait's
hanging after the government challenged the authority of the High
Court. Tait sentence was eventually commuted to life imprisonment, and
he died in a psychiatric facility. As a result of the public and legal
campaign, only one person was executed in Victoria subsequently.

Those of us who worked closely with David, and who were privileged by
his friendship, valued his extraordinary combination of determination,
political skill, and generosity of spirit. Social and political
movements are never a matter of one individual, but there are times
when the role of one person is critical. It is probably fair to say
that without his central role in organising practical and political
support for the Fretilin external representatives immediately
following the invasion of East Timor in December 1975 and the years
following, and his vigorous campaigning in Australia, the United
States and at the United Nations, it is far less likely that the
people of Timor Leste would have eventually gained their freedom from
Indonesian colonialism.

What marked out David's work in all these fields was a special kind of
political creativity, which had a great deal to do with the way he
worked with other people building organisations. My own life was
deeply affected by David in many ways that I can only begin to account
for. It is right to say that I was privileged with David's friendship
and trust and companionship in the darkest years of the movement to
support self-determination in East Timor, and in other endeavours. He
had a great capacity to find people who could work with him on the
issues he felt deeply about, and to bring out the best in such people.

Richard Tanter
School of Social and Political Studies, University of Melbourne,
Senior Research Associate, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability


Some Links

The Tait case mentioned above:

Archive: Guide to the Timor papers of David Scott

Re: David Scott's 2005 Timor book, "Last Flight Out of Dili: Memoirs
of an Accidental Activist".
Publisher's blurb: http://www.plutoaustralia.com/p1/default.asp?pageId=349
Clinton Fernandes review: http://bit.ly/IyrGCB
John Tomlinson review: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4128

Suai Media Space item on David's receipt of Timor-Leste honours, 2011.

John Waddingham
Archivist / Manager
Clearing House for Archival Records on Timor Inc.


Australia-East Timor Association 
PO Box 93
T: 9416 2960E: aetamel at aetamel.org
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