Widodo Inauguration: Abbott Stresses Jakarta Focus In Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flown to Indonesia to attend the inauguration of its new President, Joko Widodo.

In his weekly video message, Abbott repeated his earlier remarks that “our foreign policy needs a ‘Jakarta’ focus rather than a ‘Geneva’ one”.

He said one million Australians visit Indonesia each year. “It has the world’s largest Muslim population, it is the world’s third largest democracy and, along with India, it’s the emerging democratic superpower of Asia.” [Read more…]


Indonesia Demands Spying Explanation, Suspends Co-operation; Abbott To Respond; Shorten Invokes ‘Team Australia’

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has suspended intelligence exchanges and military co-operation with Australia and demanded Tony Abbott explain the tapping of his and his wife’s mobile phones.

SBY

The suspension of military co-operation includes the sharing of information for anti-people smuggling operations as well as joint military exercises of any kind.

“Facing the common problem of people smuggling, Indonesia and Australia have coordinated operations, coordinated patrolling in the sea area – I have asked for this to be suspended until everything is clear,” President Yudhoyono said. [Read more…]


Abbott Statement On Indonesian Intelligence Operations; Regrets But Does Not Apologise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a statement to the House of Representatives on Indonesia and intelligence operations.

Abbott

Abbott’s remarks follow yesterday’s revelations of Australian phone-tapping of Indonesian officials, including President Yudhoyono and his wife. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia was withdrawn late yesterday.

“I sincerely regret any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused [President Yudhoyono],” Abbott told the House. “It is in everyones’s interests – Indonesia’s no less than Australia’s – that cool heads prevail and that our relationship grows closer, not more distant.” [Read more…]


Indonesia Refuses To Accept Turned Back Boat; Asylum Seekers Taken To Christmas Island

The Australian government has confirmed that Indonesia has refused to accept a boat Australian authorities attempted to turn back just south of Java.

According to a statement from Operation Sovereign Borders, Indonesia is “reviewing the request put forward by Australia”.

The boat was rescued 43 nautical miles south of the coast of Java, within the Indonesian search and rescue zone. A request was made to transfer the passengers to Indonesia. The statement says: “On two recent occasions, Indonesia has agreed to these requests and facilitated an on water transfer.”

The vessel’s passengers have now been taken to Christmas Island and will eventually be taken to Nauru or Manus Island.

The Opposition says the government’s asylum policies are in disarray and it is in retreat from its “turn back the boats” policy. The government statement says the number of “illegal arrivals” is down 75% since Operation Sovereign Borders began.




Morrison Quizzed About Stand-Off With Indonesia Over Asylum Seeker Boat

The Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, faced a series of questions today about an asylum-seeker boat thought to be involved in a dispute with the Indonesian government that threatens the Abbott government’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Morrison appeared at the weekly Operation Sovereign Borders briefing. He was accompanied by Lt. General Angus Campbell. Both men were terse in their response to some questions during a willing encounter with journalists. [Read more…]


Paul Keating’s Murdoch Oration: Asia In The New Order

The former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, has delivered a stinging criticism of Australia’s foreign policy direction in a speech in Melbourne tonight.

Paul KeatingKeating delivered the Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library of Victoria.

He argued the era of effective foreign policy activism had passed, replaced by a flagging sense of independence and “an easy accommodation with the foreign policy objectives of the United States”.

Keating reiterated his long-held views about the decline of the “Anglosphere”. He said that as prime minister, “I rejoiced in the diversity around us and the fact that the big and old societies of the East, formerly locked down by colonialism and poverty, were free to go their own way.”

“We need to concentrate on where we can be effective and where we can make the greatest difference.”

Text of Paul Keating’s Keith Murdoch Oration.

Asia in the New Order: Australia’s Diminishing Sphere of Influence

Keith Murdoch, in whose name this oration is given, represents an important position in the history of this institution. Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1939 to1945, of what was then the Melbourne Public Library, he came to the position from an industry devoted to information, namely, newspapers.

He was appointed editor of the Melbourne Herald in 1921 and played a corporate role in the Herald acquiring the Sun News-Pictorial in 1925, becoming managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times in 1928. And so began the entrepreneurial career of the first Murdoch, building the Herald and Weekly Times, which sixty years later his son Rupert acquired. [Read more…]


President Obama’s Jakarta Speech: Text & Audio

President Barack Obama has delivered an address in Jakarta at the University of Indonesia.

  • Listen to Obama’s speech (31m)

This is the text of President Obama’s speech at the University of Indonesia.

Terima kasih. Terima kasih, thank you so much, thank you, everybody. Selamat pagi. (Applause.) It is wonderful to be here at the University of Indonesia. To the faculty and the staff and the students, and to Dr. Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri, thank you so much for your hospitality. (Applause.) [Read more…]