Australia, Indonesia need to look beyond spying: Vice President

Indonesia Vice President Dr Boediono. Photo by Jimmy Walsh.
14 November 2013
Indonesia Vice President Dr Boediono. Photo by Jimmy Walsh.

Indonesian Vice President Dr Boediono has called for cooperation from both Australia and his country to ensure any intelligence information gathered from either side will not be used against the other.

After delivering the 2013 ST Lee lecture to a packed audience at ANU on Wednesday, Dr Boediono was asked to comment on revelations that Australia had been spying on Indonesia from its Jakarta embassy.

He was also asked to clarify discussions between the two countries on asylum seekers picked up in search and rescue zones while travelling from Indonesia to Australia by boat.

He avoided committing an answer to the latter question.

“I think the best thing we can do, together, is to concentrate on our long-term, mutual interests. We are neighbours by destination,” he said.

He said good will from both sides would help stave off the thorny issue of spying allegations.

“When it comes to the surveillance issue, yes, the public in Indonesia is of course concerned about this,” he said.

“I think we must look forward in this case. How to find ways together, Australia and Indonesia, to come to some arrangement; ways that guarantee that intelligence information from both sides will not be used against the other. “

“There must be some system.”

During his speech he said concerns surrounding corruption in his country were widespread.

“The Indonesian public, and all branches of the Indonesian government, are very concerned about the issues,” he said.

He believes the government is gradually stamping out the problem.

“What is especially notable in the past few years is that Indonesia’s well-known Corruption Eradication Commission has been vigorous in investigating and then prosecuting a very significant array of senior officials found to have been engaged in corrupt practices.”

That said, Indonesia’s legal system fell well short of what was needed.

“One major problem is that our courts often do not function well,” Dr Boediono said.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly and are sometimes less than effective.

“It is difficult to carry out a strong and effective campaign against corruption when the legal system is weak.”

In addition to delivering the ST Lee lecture, Dr Boediono, a long-standing friend of ANU, was at the University to receive an honorary doctorate.

Set up in 2007 and hosted by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, the annual ST Lee lecture sees leading states people from the Asia Pacific to speak on developments or trends in the region.

Article by Belinda Cranston


Updated:  16 October, 2013/Responsible Officer:  Web Communications Coordinator/Page Contact:  Web Communications Coordinator