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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6520

Indonesia


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:39): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to reports of her impending visit to Indonesia in early July. When the Prime Minister is in Indonesia will she apologise for weakening Australia's border protection laws in 2008 that reinvigorated the people-smuggling trade in Indonesia and, to use President Yudhoyono's words, put the sugar back on the table?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:39): When I visit Indonesia I will pursue broadening and deepening our relationship with Indonesia. We have strengthened that relationship. We have worked patiently over time. We, under the life of the Labor government, have created the annual leaders-level exchange. That was a very important development in our relationship. Apart from those annual exchanges with President Yudhoyono, of course I have the opportunity to see him in a wide variety of other forums. We talk at the G20.

Ms Julie Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. My question went specifically to raising the topic of people smuggling with the president and whether she will apologise for changing the laws that reinvigorated the people-smuggling trade in Indonesia.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call and is being relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: I was asked about my forthcoming visit to Indonesia and I was making the point that it builds on the back of a number of exchanges with President Yudhoyono that this government has had and that I have had as Prime Minister: engaging in annual leaders-level meetings, engaging in a number of contacts beyond that, attending the G20 together to talk about the shape of the global economy, attending the East Asia Summit together to talk about the future of our region, attending APEC together to talk about economic cooperation and growth in our region of the world, participating at events at the UN and attending Indonesia, particularly the Bali Democracy Forum as a co-host at President Yudhoyono's invitation.

So when I meet with President Yudhoyono I will talk through the breadth and depth of the relationship between our two countries. Of course that will go to the work that we do on transnational crime, including people smuggling. What I will not do, of course, is take the approach of the opposition—that is, I will not take the approach of pretending that Indonesia have agreed to things when they have not. I will not take the approach of pretending that Indonesian officials say one thing in private and one thing in public—that is, I will not take the approach of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, which is delivering those kinds of insults to Indonesia. I also will not take the approach of the Leader of the Opposition, which is to walk around when a TV camera is there and beat his chest but when in front of President Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia, lack the courage and the confidence to raise policy issues. I will not take that approach either.

We will continue to build the mature relationship between our two countries and keep strengthening it for the future. That is what leadership requires, not this cheap posturing.