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Jakarta Post

An equivocal diplomacy on the doorstep

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Canberra   /   Tue, January 9, 2018   /  12:40 pm
An equivocal diplomacy on the doorstep Australia therefore needs to think about its attitude towards Islam, and particularly how best to use what influence we have with Islam in Indonesia. (Shutterstock/File)

Recently in Jakarta I was asked to compare Australia’s relationship with Indonesia today with that under the New Order. During the New Order, our problems derived mostly from former East Timor and from the different backgrounds of our countries. Our leaders generally tried to steady the relationship, and Keating and Soeharto sought to strengthen it. But Australians saw Indonesia as militaristic and corrupt. To Indonesians, Australia was a country cousin of the colonial powers but without their political savvy. These perceptions affected how we dealt with each other. When Timor fell off the agenda and Indonesian democracy sprung open, the relationship arguably became more equable. It also became more complex. Border issues, combatting terrorism, economic dealings, education and so on are constants in the relationship. However it is increasingly shaped by four overarching facto...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.