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IMPLEMENTING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR POLICY November 19, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Duckspeak, The Neighbours.
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The Indonesian leadership is being very direct in relation to the bugging of the mobile phones of the President, other members of the Cabinet and the President’s wife.

In a sense, this is perhaps not Australia’s doing as first movers. It reflects the subservience to the American defence umbrella. So this story is another chapter in the invasive, intrusive spying of the NSA arc that bends towards injustice, or at the very least grievous offence, as it has done in the cases of the Chancellor of Germany, the President of Brazil and others. In these cases it has been damaging to American internet communication companies, which for good reason nobody on the planet trusts.

And the issue of trust is crucial. On what basis can Indonesia, or any country, act in good faith without trust. Indonesia has withdrawn their ambassador, for an indeterminate time to signify that the relationship has broken down. The question is how long can this stand off remain. Obviously, the opportunities for misunderstandings can only develop.

This is not best environment for crude, targeted policy for a segment of the domestic audience to apply. One senses a pattern with Tony Abbott of using his power to impose over others. He is not the person, it may be thought, to recalibrate policy in the face of change circumstances. A predisposition to violence will aggravate the situation.There was no subtlety in his statement to Parliament, to suggest that the Prime Minister does not understand that words have consequences, and in this instance it is not how they will be received in Australia that matters, rather how they will be understood in Indonesia. The aggressive refugee policy has just become more perilous, and not just for the people travelling in the boats.

However bad the Indonesian relationship might get, and it may well be irredeemably broken now, Tony Abbott can take satisfaction that perhaps uniquely among members of the Commonwealth he has such a close relationship with the Sri Lanka Government. The two naval patrol vessels gifted to them will symbolize the special relationship. On the other hand, Indonesia is somewhat closer and larger – and perhaps more important.

The spying apparently started in 2007, at first not successfully.

Perhaps the Poles have reason to be pleased that no Australian ministers are visiting Warsaw for the UN climate talks. COP 19. There is an stark contrast between David Cameron and Tony Abbott with respect to climate change and the treatment of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

The description “fiasco” in relation to Mr Abbott’s Government might have seemed premature last week on the first day of sitting of the 44th Parliament, but by Monday it has gone to a stage beyond, possibly national debacle. While the tension in the relationship with Indonesia is not entirely of Tony Abbott’s making, he seems bereft of the necessary deftness and safe hands to manage the unfolding situation.

Elsewhere:

There is nothing surprising about Tony Abbott’s behavior. Given past reports, it is what is to be expected.

Oliver Laughland reports in The Guardian is about Indonesian reaction:

Indonesia has reacted with anger and frustration at Tony Abbott’s refusal to apologise for or comment further on the phone-tapping revelations at the centre of a diplomatic crisis between the two nations.

Jakarta said it was still waiting on a formal response from Australia.

Speaking to Guardian Australia and the ABC at the presidential palace, President Yudhoyono’s foreign affairs spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, described the Australian prime minister’s decision to neither confirm nor deny the revelations as “not advisable”.

He said: “At the moment, what we are requesting is very clear. The earlier the clarification that we receive, that will clear the air. It’s not advisable to maintain the status quo of not confirm[ing] nor deny[ing] if there is any tapping incident in the past.

“At stake is the strategic relations that we’ve already established,” he said.

On Tuesday, Abbott refused to apologise to the Indonesian president during a parliamentary address over allegations that Australian surveillance targeted Yudhoyono, his wife and his inner circle.

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