2. SOUNDBITE (English) John Howard, Australian Prime Minister:
"Later this afternoon, Mr. speaker, 150 member of our commando company group will arrive in East Timor accompanied by Blackhawk helicopters and a C-130 Hercules aircraft. These Australian forces will take immediate action to secure the perimeter of Dili International Airport. It's our expectation that this will ensure that the airport remains open and functioning normally. This forward deployment has the express approval of the government of East Timor. This action, Mr. speaker, follows a significant deterioration in the security situation in East Timor, especially in and around Dili."
3. Wide of parliament
4. SOUNDBITE (English) John Howard, Australian Prime Minister:
"This deployment also reflects what I have said on many occasions, and that is that Australia, a large, stable and prosperous country has a special responsibility to act as a force for peace and order in our immediate region. I want to reaffirm, Mr. speaker, in the strongest terms, that this action is in our national interest, because the world we live in is one where the problems of weak and fragile states, especially the ones on our doorstep, can very quickly become our problems."
5. Wide of parliament
Canberra - 25 May 2006:
1. Australian Army Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie and Australian officials on tarmac in Canberra
2. Gillespie and officials boarding plane bound for East Timor
3. Wide of plane
4. Wide of plane taxiing
Darwin - 24 May 2006:
6. Various of the Australian navy ship HMAS Kanimbla in Darwin harbour
7. Various of Australian citizens arriving from East Timor
8. SOUNDBITE: (English) Vox Pop
"Many many people expressed the desire for the Australian soldiers to come as quickly as possible because they feel that if the Australian soldiers don't come that there's going to be civil war there."
Australia sent helicopters and 150 commandos to East Timor's capital on Thursday to secure its airport amid a surge of violence, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.
Howard said East Timor's government agreed to the deployment as shooting continued in the fledgling country's capital.
The violence between East Timor's military and disgruntled former soldiers has killed at least five people this week.
The commandos, Blackhawk helicopters and a C-130 Hercules aircraft were to arrive in East Timor later on Thursday, Howard told Parliament.
"These Australian forces will take immediate action to secure the perimeter of Dili International Airport," he said. "It's our expectation that this will ensure that the airport remains open and functioning normally."
Australia has offered 1,000 to 1,300 troops, along with three ships, helicopters, armoured personnel carriers and heavy airlift capabilities.
"This action follows a significant deterioration in the security situation in East Timor," Howard said.
"At all times, Australian troops will be under Australian command," he added.
East Timor has been plagued by violence since the dismissal earlier this year of nearly 600 soldiers - a third of the entire army - after they went on strike, complaining of discrimination and poor working conditions.
Howard said one of the Australian force's aims is to "create a secure environment for the conduct of a successful dialogue to resolve the current
He could not say how long the Australian military presence would remain in the impoverished near neighbour.
Australian and New Zealand officials are meeting with East Timor government officials in Dili Thursday to agree on conditions for foreign troops to operate.
Relations between Australia and Indonesia hit a low when Australia led INTERFET (International Force for East Timor) troops against the Indonesian military and their proxy militia to end bloodshed in East Timor.
Howard said Australia had an obligation to help East Timor because of Australia's role in its independence.