Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea: Perspectives in International Law Seminar

old map of timor sea crop

15 February 2016

Monash University Law Chambers




2016 Law Seminar Timor Sea Expert Panel
Timor Sea Expert Panel

Academics from the Timor-Leste Studies Association organised this public Law Seminar to examine the dispute over the maritime boundaries and inform potential solutions. The issue had become increasingly politicised and polarised and the convenors hope that the presentations and discussions documented here will add objective content to the debate. At the time of the Seminar the profile of this issue was high due to the Australian Labor party’s announcement of a change in policy on this issue disrupting the historical bipartisan consensus.

The Seminar inspired media coverage of the issues raised and links to these articles appear at the end of this page.

Seminar Program

Session 1: Expert Panel: Perspectives in International Law

  • 10-11am Professor Don Rothwell (ANU): ‘Australia and Maritime Delimitation vis-a-vis Neighbouring States‘
  • 11-12 Dr I Made Andi Arsana (Gadjah Mada University): ‘An historical survey of Indonesia’s maritime boundary agreements‘
  • 12-1pm Professor Don K. Anton (Griffith University): ‘The Vienna Convention and maritime boundary negotiations between Australia and Timor-Leste

Session 2: National Perspectives

  • 1.45 -2pm Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Position Statement)
  • 2pm-2.45pm Ambassador Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to Australia, Abel Guterres

Session 3: – Paths Forward –Joint Panel & Q&A

The recordings of each Presentation follow below in order of the Program. A Question and Answer session is included at the end of each Presentation. PDFs of Presenations also follow if available.

Session 1: Expert Panel on Perspectives in International Law

Professor Don Rothwell, ANU

‘Australia and Maritime Delimitation vis-a-vis Neighbouring States‘
2016 Law Seminar Timore Sea Expert Panel DR

Prof Don Rothwell


Donald R Rothwell is Professor of International Law, and Deputy Dean at the ANU College of Law, research has a specific focus on law of the sea, law of the polar regions, and implementation of international law within Australia. He has authored, co-authored or edited 21 books including most recently The International Law of the Sea 2nd (Hart, 2016). He is Co-Editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law. Since 2012 he has been Rapporteur of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on Baselines under the International Law of the Sea.

2016 Presentation Rothwell Maritime Boundaries

Dr I Made Andi Arsana, Gadjah Mada University

A Historical Survey of Indonesia’s Maritime Boundary Agreements
2016 Law Seminar Timor Sea Dr A

Dr I Made Arsana


Dr Arsana is Lecturer and Researcher from Department of Geodetic and Geomatic Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. He holds a PhD from the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong and masters from the University of New South Wales, focusing on the maritime boundary delimitation between Indonesia and Timor Leste. He has published around 200 works in the fields of geospatial aspects of ocean affairs and the law of the sea in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. Dr Arsana has received awards from Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.

2016 Presentation Arsana Indonesian Maratime Boundaries

Professor Don K. Anton, Griffith University

‘The Vienna Convention and maritime boundary negotiations between Australia and Timor-Leste2016 Law Seminar Timor Sea Law DA

Professor Anton leads a major international research project, funded by DFAT exploring assumptions surrounding the development aspects of deep seabed mining by Pacific island states, that will provide direct input into the drafting of environmental impact assessment regulations of the International Seabed Authority exploitation regulations. He is active international law practice and has appeared twice before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Professor Anton also fulfils leadership roles with various professional international law bodies, including the International Law Association, the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, and the American Society of International Law.

Session 2: National Perspectives

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeDFAT fact sheet pic

The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) send apologies to the conference convenors that they were unable to send a speaker to present the Australian Government position on this issue and referred the conference to the Government Fact Sheet on Australia’s Maritime Arrangements with Timor-Leste .

Conference Convener Professor Michael Leach of Swinburne University of Technology, led this session and described the Australian government’s position in lieu of an official representative.

Ambassador Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to Australia, Abel Guterres

2016 Presentation Amb Abel Guterres

Session 3: – Paths Forward –Joint Panel & Q&A

2016 Law Seminar Timor Sea ML
Prof Michael Leach

This panel gave presenters the opportunity to share ideas about a path forward to resolution of the dispute. This was followed by a Question and Answer session with the audience. The panel was convened and chaired by Professor Michael Leach of Swinburne University of Technology.

The Timor Leste Studies Association and the Seminar Convenors would like to thank all the presenters and participants for attending.

TLSAFor more information about upcoming research, events and publications of the Timor-Leste Studies Association please go to:

Media Coverage

 ‘Oil, Spies and Sea Cucumbers’ The Age 21 Feb 2016
‘East Timor May drop spying case against Australia…’ 16 Feb 2016
 Crocodile Motif CinattiFor information on the Crocodiles in the Timor Sea Seminar that followed on 16 February please go to: