Sunday, April 15, 2012

Australia–Indonesia relations

Australia–Indonesia relations are foreign relations between Australia and Indonesia.
Since Indonesian independence, the two countries have maintained mutual diplomatic relations, formalised co-operation (especially in the fields of fisheries conservation, law enforcement, and justice cooperation), a measure of security co-operation, broadening treaty relationships, co-membership of regional forums, and co-participation in several multilateral Treaties of significance.

The two nations differ in terms of religion and language: Indonesia is a secular country with ethnically diverse heritage shared among its diverse ethnicities, whereas Australia possesses an Anglo-Saxon culture forcibly imposed upon a long standing animist aboriginal culture. Recent years have seen a deepening of Australia's aid commitment to Indonesia, and Australia has become a popular venue for Indonesian students.

In 2008-09, Indonesia is the largest recipient of Australian aid at a value of AUD462 million.

Public opinion

The proportion of those voters mentioning Indonesia as a threat reached one in five after the Dili massacre of 1991 and increased to three in ten after the atrocities in East Timor following its 1999 independence referendum. In 2004, an Australian Strategic Policy Institute survey showed 29% of those polled identified Indonesia as 'most likely' to pose a threat to Australia in the future, a slight decline from the figure of 31% recorded in 2001. In all surveyed periods, Indonesia was unambiguously recognised as the country representing the most likely threat to Australia.

Recent relations

Relations between the two countries reached one of their lowest points at the time of East Timor's secession from Indonesia in 1999.[13] Following a United Nations agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and Portugal[14] a UN-supervised popular referendum choosing between autonomy within Indonesia and full independence, was held on August 30, 1999. The people of East Timor overwhelmingly voted for independence. An Australian-led and Indonesian-sanctioned peacekeeping force, INTERFET, was sent into the territory to restore order following a violent 'scorched-earth' policy carried out by pro-integration militia and supported by elements of the Indonesian military

For more details on this topic, see United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

INTERFET was replaced by a UN force of International Police, the mission became known as UNTAET, and the UNTAET Crime Scene Detachment was formed to investigate alleged atrocities.

Since 2002 a number of Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks in Indonesia have been directed at Western interests including the Australian embassy in Jakarta and the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, which killed a total of 92 Australian nationals as well as some hundreds of other human often left unmentioned. Indonesian diplomatic and consular premises in Australia received a number of hoax and threat messages in 2005. Both the United States and Australian governments have issued warnings against travel to Indonesia, advising their citizens of a continued risk of attacks.

Contemporary relations

In January 2005, Prime Minister Howard and President Yudhoyono announced the formation of the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD) under which Australia will contribute $1 billion over five years towards reconstruction and development in Aceh and elsewhere in Indonesia. All funds have now been allocated to projects.

The current travel advisory suggests travellers Australia travellers to reconsider the need to visit Indonesia because of the 'very high threat of terrorist attack', threat of kidnap, violence against the Australian Embassy, suicide attacks that have been known to target great numbers of Australians.

Both nations are members of APEC and the East Asia Summit.

A total of 92 Australians died as a result of the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 in Indonesia. As of February 2007, Australian Government travel advisories suggest Australians 'reconsider their need to travel to Indonesia' due to the 'very high threat of terrorist attack'.

The Strategic Relationship

Indonesia's strategic significance to Australia is revealed by the circumstance that 60% of Australia's exports pass by its Northern approaches.[22]Indonesia is also the most populous country neighbouring Australia, and is nearer by landfall to Australia than all countries excluding Papua New Guinea. Ahead of Indonesia, Australia's favoured trading partners include China, Japan, the US, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK, Taiwan, Singapore, and India.

The significance of Australia to Indonesia is firstly demonstrated by the existence of a maritime boundary between the two countries. Both countries have been concerned to definitively delimit that boundary for the purpose of protecting fisheries from encroachment,[24] and determining the limits of responsibility for vessels found in that area. The significance of Australia to Indonesia is less than that of its ASEAN co-members, particularly its close neighbours in the Philippines and Malaysia.

Indonesia's highest trade volumes are with Japan, the USA, Singapore, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

Australian aid to Indonesia

In some areas, like education, development aid to Indonesia traces back to the early 1950s commencing with scholarships funded through the Colombo Plan.

Under the Australia-Indonesia Partnership (AIP), which includes the A$1 billion committed by Australia following the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia is providing funds to help rebuild communities in Aceh and in other disaster affected areas, and to promote economic growth across Indonesia. Combined with the pre-existing Australia-to-Indonesia program it boosts the value of the Australia-to-Indonesia aid over a five year period from 2005 to A$2 billion(figure includes at least A$500 million in concessional loans)

The AIP is governed by a Joint Commission, overseen by the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Indonesia.

In 2008-09, Indonesia is the largest recipient of Australian aid at a value of AUD462 million.

Some examples of the assistance given or to be given (all figures A$):
• $50 million for restoration of services in ACEH
• 600 scholarships
• $10 million for emergency response capacity building
• $50 million for 'government-to-government partnerships'
• $328 million loans/grants for road improvement
• $300 million loans/grants for school construction and rehabilitation

During a Bilateral meeting in the Indonesian Island of Bali on 10 December 2008,Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an announcement that Australia will Contribute about $650 million to Indonesia to survive the Global Credit Crisis.

Five-year Development Strategy (2008-2013)

On June 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the development partnership with Indonesia during his visit with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta. This strategy reveals the purpose to help resolve poverty in Indonesia and also to promote peace and stability between both countries. Australia aspires to accelerate Indonesia’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, chiefly in improving the health of mothers and children, providing access to proper sanitation and clean waters, and combat climate change.

Australia is providing a four-year maternal and neonatal aid estimated to be AUD49 million to ensure pregnancy and childbirth are safe for these women. The program includes:

• Increasing the number of trained midwives
• Improving the administration of maternal and neonatal health care
• Improving support from various communities for new expecting mothers

In light of the tsunami which struck Sumatra in 2004, it demonstrated the vulnerability of Indonesia to natural disasters. In response, Australia has reacted immediately by forming an Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD) in reconstructing and developing the infrastructure of the tsunami-affected areas.[33] Furthermore, the Australian government will be providing up to AUD50 million to support the worst-hit tsunami areas to construct a sustainable and prosperous future. This includes; providing a quality education, promoting community members in the participation of democratic course and establishing economic development.

Apart from humanitarian efforts to combat poverty and rebuild the tsunami-affected areas, development programs also include economic reforms and political governance in supporting anti-corruption measures in the parliamentary and electoral institutions and also in the financial sectors.

In Australia’s 2010 budget speech delivered by the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, it was estimated that the aid granted to Indonesia amounts to AUD458.7 million.The assistance focuses on promoting sustainable growth and economic management, supporting climate change and health systems, improving access to water, clean sanitation and education, improving governance and democracy and lastly maintaining peace and safety.

Cultural ties

With the exception of participations in the Arafura Games, sporting ties are not significant. No Indonesian athlete or sporting team has achieved a high profile by visiting Australia. Popular Australian sports such as rugby, cricket, Australian rules football, swimming and netball raise little interest in Indonesia. Both countries maintain professional Football (soccer) leagues: see Liga Indonesia and A-league. The two leading teams from the Australian A-League and the champions of the Indonesian Liga compete in the Asian Champions League.

Since 1989, an Australia-Indonesia institute has funded youth exchanges, journalist fellowships, and artistic residences in Indonesia. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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