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Speech

Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra, 10-3-2010

Speech at Australia Parliament

 

SPEECH BY
DR SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
BEFORE THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT

GREAT HALL, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERAA
MARCH, 10, 2010


<i>Bismillahirrahmanirrahim</i>

Hon. Harry Jenkins MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Hon. John Hogg, President of the Senate,
Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP, Prime Minister,
Hon. Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition,
Honourable Members of the Federal Parliament of Australia,

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am greatly honoured and privileged to be given this rare opportunity to address this august chamber. May I also once again thank the Government and people of Australia for the warm and gracious welcome you have extended to me and my delegation.

It is really good to be back here, and thank you for the wonderful lunch. I also know that many officials reported for work on Monday, although it was a public holiday, to prepare for this visit. For that, accept my gratitude and please also convey my appreciation to your families.

The last time I spoke here was at a luncheon in this building in 2005. I am grateful for the invitation to address the Australian Parliament today. I know that you invite foreign leaders to address this chamber only on very rare, very auspicious occassions, so I am very humbled by the honor of this historic occassion.

I have come to this great country to bring a message of goodwill and friendship from the good people of Indonesia. It is an important message that I trust will be well received in this great hall. I hope it will also be heard beyond this Parliament, in the homes and work places of all Australians.

And that message is very clear and simple: Australia and Indonesia have a great future together. We are not just neighbors, we are not just friends. We are strategic partners. We are equal stake-holders in a common future, with much to gain if we get this relationship right, and much to lose if we get it wrong.

For Australia and Indonesia have evolved a special relationship.

To illustrate the depth of our relations, let me take a few moments to mention the names of some very distinguished Australian citizens.

Matthew Davey, Matthew Goodall, Paul Kimlin, Jonathan King, Stephen Slattery, Scott Bennett, Paul McCarthy, Lynne Rowbottom and Wendy Jones; They were selfless soldiers who died in a helicopter crash while helping Indonesian earthquake victims in Nias.

Morgan Mellish, Mark Scott, Brice Steele, Allison Sudrajat and Elizabeth O’Neill. They were dedicated reporter, officers and diplomats who died in a plane crash in Yogyakarta while preparing a bilateral visit.

And a highly committed Embassy trade officer, Craig Senger, who lost his life in the latest Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta.

These are ordinary names to the ear, but they belong to very extraordinary people. Heroes.

These fine Australian men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of friendship, solidarity and humanity.

Let us give them a big hand to show our deep respect and appreciation. <i>(long applause)</i>

And let us honor them by continuing their noble work to build bridges and help one another. For THAT is the business we are in.

We have come a long way together. In the last 60 years of our diplomatic relations, we have gone through many ups and downs, many generational changes, many political eras, and many crises.

We in Indonesia will always remember that Australia resolutely stood by us when Indonesia was struggling for our God-given right to independence and statehood. We remember how Prime Minister Chifley, Foreign Minister Evatt, and seasoned diplomat Richard Kirby actively supported Indonesia during critical moments of diplomacy in the United Nations, a stance that collided with that of The Netherlands.

That was one of the finest hours of our relations. And we have had many more high points since.

Our intense and fruitful cooperation to bring the Bali bombers to justice, and Australia’s outpouring of sympathy and rescue and relief efforts in the wake of the Tsunami tragedy of 2004 were the emotional turning point of our bilateral relations.

I will always remember when Australian servicemen went all out to help us during the tsunami tragedy in Aceh and Nias. It was Indonesia''s darkest tragedy ever, but I was so proud to see Australian soldiers and TNI troops working together to save lives and bring relief to the suffering.

We are two nations united by grief : it mattered to us in Indonesia that we were able to lend a helping hand to the Australian people during the bush fires in Victoria early last year.

Yet, over the decades, ours was not always an easy relationship.

One Indonesian observer in the 1980''s described it as a "love-hate relationship". There were periods when we were burdened by mistrust and suspicion at both ends. There were times when it felt like we were just reacting to events, and were in a state of drift. There were moments when we felt as if our worlds were just too far apart. During the East Timor crisis in the late 1990’s, our relations hit an all-time low.

Today, Indonesia looks at Australia in a different way.

Australia means differently to the Indonesian generation of today. Australia is now a country of choice for Indonesian students and tourists. Indonesians admire Australia''s high standard of living, social dynamism, openness and generosity. They keenly watch the Australian Open on their tv, they watch your soap operas, and Australian stars - such as Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, and the late Steve Irwin. They all have many fans in Indonesia.

Indeed, I know of no other Western country where Bahasa Indonesia is widely taught in the school curriculum. I know of no other Western country with more Indonesianists in their government, universities and thinktanks. And no other western country has more Indonesians studying in their Universities and high schools.

And here I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to the Professors, teachers, students and families across Australia who have been so kind and generous in welcoming tens of thousands of Indonesian students into your campus and your homes. I have heard heart-warming stories from various Indonesians who studied and worked in this country, including from my son Ibas, who spent 5 years at Curtin University.

So allow me to say on behalf of many proud Indonesian parents: <i>Terima kasih,</i> Australia. Thank you, Australia!

Excellencies,
Your Honors,
A watershed event in our relations is the Comprehensive Partnership that we entered into in 2005, and the Agreement on the Framework for Security Cooperation - or the Lombok Treaty - that we signed the following year.

The Comprehensive Partnership has locked us in a vision of two countries that are compelled to work closer together in pursuit of common objectives.

The Lombok Treaty entered into force in February 2008 through an exchange of notes in Perth. The Plan of Action for the Agreement was signed in November 2008.

For Indonesia, the Lombok Treaty is a landmark, since it makes possible a forward-looking cooperation in the field of traditional as well as non-traditional security.

Let me stress that the Lombok Treaty creates neither a security alliance nor an exclusive club. It recognizes the complexity of the security issues that our two countries are confronting together. Hence, it is a treaty-level commitment by both sides to work together to address these complex issues.

Moreover, both sides commit themselves to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. That means each side will in no way support any separatist movement against the other. Thus the Treaty is a paradigm shift on the notions of security, threats, mutual respect and cooperation.

By signing on to these agreements, we were changing course, and we reinvented Indonesia- Australia relations, for the better.

I commend the bipartisan stand of Australia that is firmly committed to the new partnership with Indonesia. The same spirit prevails on the Indonesian side. Indonesia has a proliferation of political parties—but whichever is in power, a constructive relationship with Australia will always be of the highest priority.

And what a difference it has made. In recent years, the contents of our relations have expanded, our respective officials have become much more comfortable with each other, and the pace of our interaction has picked up.

Imagine : in our first 55 years of relations, only three Indonesian Presidents visited Australia – an average of one every 18 years or so. In the last 6 years, I have visited Australia three times - an average of one every 2 years. Indeed, I have made it a policy to include Australia in my first batch of bilateral visits after each of my Presidential inauguration.

And it is also of enormous diplomatic significance that Prime Ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd attended Indonesia''s Presidential inaugurations in 2004 and 2009.

But we should not be complacent. We must nurture our partnership patiently, prudently and creatively. The worst that we can do is to take this partnership granted. We have to continue to earn each other''s trust, for trust is at the heart of our bilateral relations.

Excellencies,
Your Honors,
The Australia-Indonesia partnership today is solid and strong. But just how far this Partnership will take us will depend on our ability to address a set of challenges.

Let me highlight at least four of them.

The FIRST challenge is to bring a change in each other’s mindset.

I was taken aback when I learned that in a recent Lowy Institute survey, 54 percent of Australian respondents doubted that Indonesia would act responsibly in its international relations.

Indeed, the most persistent problem in our relations is the persistence of age-old stereotypes - misleading, simplistic mental caricatures that depict the other side in a bad light.

Even in the age of cable television and internet, there are Australians who still see Indonesia as an authoritarian country, or as a military dictatorship, or as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, or even as an expansionist power.

On the other hand, in Indonesia, there are people who remain afflicted with Australiaphobia, those who believe that the notion of "White Australia" still persists, that Australia harbors ill intentions towards Indonesia, and is either sympathetic or supports separatist elements in our country.

We must expunge these preposterous mental caricatures if we are to achieve a more resilient partnership.

I want all Australians to know that Indonesia is a beautiful archipelago, but we are infinitely more than a beach playground with coconut trees.

Indonesia is the world''s third largest democracy, and the largest country in Southeast Asia. We are passionate about our independence, moderation, religious freedom and tolerance. And far from being hostile, we want to create a strategic environment marked by a "million friends and zero enemy".

Indonesians are proud people who cherished our national unity and territorial integrity above all else. Our nationalism is all about forging harmony and unity among our many ethnic and religious groups. That is why the success of peace and reconciliation in Aceh and Papua is not trivial but a matter of national survival for us Indonesians. We would like Australians to understand and appreciate that.

The bottom line is that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to people-to-people contact, when it comes to appreciating the facts of each other’s national life.

That is why I keenly welcome the Asian languages studies programme initiated by the Australian Government. I hope the programme makes Australia not only the most Asian-literate country but also the most Indonesian-literate country.

Through its missions in Australia, Indonesia is supporting this programme by providing Indonesian language teaching assistants in several primary and high schools in Australia. We are offering free language courses and establishing Bahasa Indonesia Language Centres in Perth and Canberra. We will do more of these in the future.

The SECOND challenge to our partnership is how to manage relations that are bound to become more complex, more dense, more hectic. It is the law of diplomacy that as two countries get closer and interact at an increasing velocity, we will experience some speed bumps. When we have a growing traffick of hundreds of thousands of our citizens and officials criss-crossing, we should expect problems to surface. Our job is not to lament these problems, but to solve them.

That is why I welcome the bilateral arrangement for Consular Notification and Assistance that was agreed at this visit.

In the face of problems like that, we need to put in place more pragmatic ways of diplomatic consultations.

Hence, I am glad that the Australia - Indonesia Ministerial Forum has progressed very well. Indonesia has very few bilateral forum with so many Ministers on both sides taking part in extensive policy discussions.

And I am told since Prime Minister Rudd assumed office, we have had 69 ministerial visits both ways. That is an impressive number. We must sustain this good momentum.

For the same reason, I am glad that our respective legislatures are vigorously engaged with each other. As I stand before the Parliament of this great country, I wish to thank the parliamentary group on Indonesia chaired by the Honourable Jim Tourner, MP and its counterpart in Indonesia. Because of their initiatives, we have better policy coordination between our countries today.

In that same spirit, I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and I agreed today to UPGRADE our partnership, with an annual Leaders retreat that is to take place alternately between Indonesia and Australia, and a 2 plus 2 annual meeting involving Foreign and Defence Ministers of both countries.

I am sure that this new arrangement will further cement Indonesia-Australia relations and enhance trust between us.

The THIRD challenge is how to make our partnership more opportunity driven.

We know that there is already a rich and dense relationship between our countries, especially in the people-to-people contact. But we have much to do to really connect with our true potentials.

Indonesia is one of the world’s emerging economies, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, with a GDP of $ 514 billion US dollars, the third highest growth among G-20 countries, a large market of 230 million people with a growing sizeable middle-class, and a wealth of natural resources.

Australia is a developed country, the 18th largest economy in the world, one of the world’s most competitive and innovative economies, with the best corporate governance, one of the easiest place to do business, with a GDP of $ 920 billion US dollars.

The prospects of Australia and Indonesia are indeed bright and exciting.

But these impressive statistics need to be reflected in our Partnership. Our bilateral trade stands at 6,7 billion US dollars in 2009, which grew 18 % in the last 5 years, but it is still growing at a much lower rate than Australia’s trade with ASEAN. Australian investment flows to Indonesia, which in 2009 was at 79 million US dollars with 26 projects, ranks at number 12. Meanwhile, services account only for 10 % of our total trade.

So we need to do better to harness these economic benefits. We need to encourage our private sectors to do more business with one another. On that note, I do welcome Australia’s efforts in fostering greater economic linkages with eastern Indonesia.

The FOURTH challenge for our Partnership is how to address new issues.

Just look at the list of issues that has defined and reshaped Indonesia-Australia relations and captured public imagination in recent years, and you will know what I mean : terrorism, tsunami, people smuggling, drug offenders.

We live in a different time. We face different sorts of challenges.

Both our countries are facing a new strategic reality where non-traditional threats are becoming more prominent. Terrorism, infectuous disease, financial crisis and climate change - to mention only a few - threaten the lives and well-being of our citizens. Our Partnership, to be relevant, must develop capacity to deal with these "new" issues.

In fact, the unique part of Australia-Indonesia partnership in the 21st century is how we cooperate beyond bilateral context to tackle issues of global significance.

I believe that Indonesia and Australia are on the same page on the need to foster a more democratic world order to reflect the changing global political and economic landscapes. We are both firm believers in the virtue of multilateralism and in the need to reform the United Nations system.

In anticipation of what may well be the “Asian Century”, Indonesia and Australia are also committed to strengthen and evolve the regional architecture to meet the challenges that lie await. And it is important that such regional architecture evolves in ways that ensures a new equilibrium, and ushers in a new geopolitics and geoeconomic of cooperation.

In addressing the global financial crisis, I am pleased that I was able to work closely with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, through many phone calls back and forth, to push for the realization of the historic G-20 Summit, which commenced in Washington DC in (2008).

It is a sign of the times that Indonesia and Australia now are part of the premier forum for international economic cooperation. We both share a strong interest in advancing the G-20 process, in reforming the international financial architecture and in promoting a balanced, sustained and inclusive growth. We also need to ensure that G-20 Leaders avoid the danger of complacency that will result in the reform process losing steam. Prime Minister Rudd and I have kept in close consultation on international economic issues - and yes, we do winK at one another during G-20 meetings.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and I have also been in close touch on the issue of people smuggling. Given the regional circumstances, this is an issue that seems likely to go on in the short term. Indonesia and Australia believe in the imperative of the Bali process, which recognizes that people smuggling is a regional problem that requires a regional solution, involving the origin, transit and destination countries to work together.

What is our response ? At this visit, we have finally worked out a bilateral mechanism of cooperation to deal with this issue so that future people smuggling cases can be handled in a predictable and coordinated way. We will continue to work together to advance the Bali process. We will speed up the process of relocating illegal migrants now stranded in Indonesia to another country. Now that we know much more about their modus operandi, our respective authorities will intensify their cooperation to disrupt people smuggling activities. And to strengthen our legal instruments, the Indonesian Government will soon introduce to Parliament a law that will criminalize those involved in people smuggling - those found guilty will be sent to prison for up to 5 years.

In the fight against terrorism, the Indonesian National Police and the Australian Federal Police will continue to work closely together, including in intelligence sharing and information exchange, and capacity building. We in Indonesia continue to be relentless in our fight against terrorism. We have scored some major success against dangerous terrorists such as Dr. Azahari, Noordin M. Top and their associates. In recent weeks, we were able to disrupt terrorist cells operating and training in Aceh and in other places in Indonesia, which had some connections with other terrorist cells in region. Just yesterday, our police authorities raided an important terrorist cell in the suburbs of Jakarta and put several terrorist operatives out of commission. In any case, the Indonesian authorities will continue to hunt them down and do all we can to prevent them from harming our people. I agree completely with Prime Minister Rudd, who said in the aftermath of the Marriott bombing, that : “any terrorist attack anywhere is an attack on us all. Any terrorist attack on our friends in Indonesia is an attack on our neighbors”.

Another major concern that we share is climate change. Prime Minister Rudd and I have worked closely since the Bali climate conference three years ago. And last December we were both part of a meeting of 26 leaders that produced the Copenhagen Accord. But beyond the multilateral forum, there is much that can be done between us before waiting for the new global climate treaty to take place. I appreciate the opportunity to work constructively on the Indonesia – Australia Forest Carbon Partnership. Indonesia also appreciates Australia’s support for the Coral Triangle Initiative, which Indonesia initiated, and has become our collaborative effort with Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Brunei Darussalam. This endeavour would conserve the world’s richest marine biodiversity area in our region – known also as the “Amazon of the Seas”. The livelihood of some 120 million people around this marine area is dependent on it.

In the same spirit of conserving our marine and coastal resources we hosted the Manado Ocean Conference, which Australia strongly supported. We worked with Australia to ensure the mainstreaming of Ocean issues in the Copenhagen Accord.

I wish also to acknowledge Australia’s support for Indonesia’s initiative of forming the Group of Eleven tropical forest nations or F-11. This Group has contributed so much to the conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests, which serve as the “lungs of the Earth.” In caring for our precious forest resources, we in the F-11 are also fostering the larger cause of sustainable development.

In the political field, we are cooperating to strengthen a positive trend in our region—the growth of democracy. I am grateful to the Australian Government for strongly supporting the Bali Democracy Forum, which we launched in December 2008. The Bali Democracy Forum is the only intergovernmental forum in Asia on the issue of democracy.

As peace-loving democracies, we are strong advocates of disarmament, particularly the eradication of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. Thus, Australia played a pivotal role in the establishment of a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Pacific while Indonesia was a key player in the creation of a Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ).

Through the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, which is led by Australia and Japan, and other forums, we are working closely together toward the attainment of a world of zero nuclear weapons. Because of efforts like these, perhaps in our lifetime, we will no longer have to fear the possible tragedy of a nuclear holocaust.

Excellencies,
Your Honours,
Australia and Indonesia have become better nations, stronger nations, because we have each other for a friend and partner. We will get stronger and we will together contribute more to peace, security and equitable prosperity of our region and the world in the years ahead. We will do that by faithfully pursuing our enhanced comprehensive partnership.

Finally, I look forward to a day in the near future. The day when policy makers, academicians, journalists and other opinion leaders all over the world take a good look at the things we are doing so well together. And they will say: these two used to be worlds apart. But they now have a fair dinkum of a partnership. Why can’t we all do likewise?

And because others will follow our example, the world will become a better place to live in.

I thank you.