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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 2664

Senator GARETH EVANS —Mr President, on 20 October, Senator Lewis asked me as Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question about defence co-operation with Indonesia. The Minister for Defence has now provided the following answer: Indonesia has advised that it does not wish to take up offers of places on courses at the Joint Services Staff College, the Royal Australian Air Force Staff College and the Army Command and Staff College in 1987. No reasons have been indicated for these particular decisions. This should not be interpreted as a `clear breach' in our relationship with Indonesia. Countries from time to time and for various reasons decline positions on Australian training courses. It is also relevant that our officers continue to be welcome at Indonesian staff colleges. The Australian Government desires to maintain a sound and constructive defence relationship with Indonesia. This derives from our shared strategic interests in the security of our region. Australia and Indonesia have undertaken a range of defence activities over many years and the Government continues to be willing to support activities such as training in Australia where these are sought by Indonesia.