Just days after the terrorist bombings in Bali, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, has said that Australia must stay engaged with Indonesia.
Speaking to the Australasia Centre of the Asia Society, Costello said: “What we must be careful about is that it does not lead to a withdrawal of Australian engagement with Indonesia. We must not withdraw. We must increase our engagement. In the first place we must increase our engagement on law enforcement.”
Costello emphasised the importance of Australia’s trading arrangements with Asia: “Asia is economically and strategically important in world terms. Asia contains the world’s second largest economy, Japan, and the world’s two largest emerging markets, China and India. Notwithstanding the difficulties Japan has faced over recent years, on a purchasing power parity basis it continues to account for almost 7½ per cent of world GDP. Asia as a whole accounts for a third of world output; East Asia accounts for the bulk (85 per cent) of this. Fifty-five per cent of the world’s population lives in Asia (60 per cent of whom are in East Asia).”
This is the text of the speech delivered by the Treasurer, Peter Costello, to the Australasia Centre of the Asia Society.
Australia’s Role In Asia
I flew up here this evening from the Parliamentary sitting in Canberra, and as I was walking through the terminal at Sydney Airport, a man came up to me and said: “My name’s David. I’ve got a son who is missing in Bali.” And I said to him: “What news have you had?” And he said: “Only that he hasn’t been back to his motel.” He was standing there, with a friend who had his arm around him, and I said: “Who is this?” He said: “It is the Godfather. We’re flying to Bali tonight to bring our boy home.”