Overseas trip for election view

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CR HUGH Fraser will be one of several observers from the Mornington Peninsula at next month’s parliamentary elections in Timor-Leste.

Along with members of the shire-backed Friends of Lospalos Community Committee Cr Fraser will be part of the Australia Timor-Leste Election Observer Mission 2018.

The elections are being held less than a year after the July 2017 poll which failed to provide the country with a workable parliamentary majority.

The estimated $4236 cost of sending Cr Fraser to Timor-Leste (East Timor) will come out of his $16,000 four-year term Conferences, Training and Seminars account of which he has already used nearly $4200.

No stranger to overseas trips on behalf of the shire, Cr Fraser, a barrister, must submit a report for inclusion on council’s agenda on the “outcomes and benefits” of the 6-16 May trip within 30 days of his return.

In a report to council’s Tuesday 27 March meeting strategic governance officer Christine Aslanidis said the shire’s “friendship” relationship with Lospalos, a city in Timor-Leste, dated back to 2000.

A friendship agreement between the shire and Lospalos, more than 200 kilometres from the capital Dili, was signed in June 2008.

“The Timor-Leste municipal agreement was signed in January 2016 consolidating the shire’s ongoing relationship with the people of Lospalos,” Ms Aslanidis stated.

The Friends of Lospalos Committee – volunteer community members and councillor representatives – have raised more than $100,000 since 2013 for Lospalos community capital works, including a school library.

The elections of which Cr Fraser will be an observer are the fifth held since Timor-Leste gained independence.

“A key role of the [volunteer international observer] delegation is to reassure local voters that the process is sufficiently free and fair, and to call attention to any irregularities that may compromise the election,” Ms Aslanidis said. “International observers have become a part of Timor-Leste’s democratic process, and strongly believe that a transparent and accountable political process is the key to the success of Timor-Leste’s future. To ensure a credible observation mission, election observers must maintain professional independence and strict impartiality.

“The Delegation will also meet with Lospalos Commissioners to discuss present and future capital development projects for Lospalos.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 10 April 2018

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