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Thursday, 2 June 1994
Page: 1232


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —I table the government's response to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on Australia's relations with Indonesia. I seek leave to move a motion in relation to that response.

  Leave granted.


Senator GARETH EVANS —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the document.

On 18 November 1993 the foreign affairs subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled the report of its inquiry into Australia's relations with Indonesia. Following earlier reports on the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea, this is the third and final in a series of reports by the committee on Australia's relations with its closest neighbours.

  This report is a comprehensive study of our relations with our most important neighbour. It is the result of more than two years of extensive research and inquiry. It reflects a determination by my parliamentary colleagues to grapple with a complex relationship and identify areas for improvement. I was pleased to receive it, and to be able now to table the government's detailed response to its specific recommendations. Might I say, in that context there seems to have been some confusion in the House of Representatives as to whether or not there was a detailed response as distinct from simply a tabling speech. There is, indeed, a very detailed response to each one of the 36 recommendations that were made by the committee and that response has been tabled and is now, as a result, publicly available.

  Through its work the committee has highlighted the enormous interest in Indonesia by the Australian community. It has generated public discussion on the many strands of Australia-Indonesia relations and drawn these together in a complete picture of our ties. The government acknowledges, and appreciates, this contribution to public awareness of Australia-Indonesia relations.

  As the report demonstrates, Indonesia and Australia enjoy a unique relationship in which each country is profoundly different, but understands the strength of its shared interests with the other. The report acknowledges the importance of this relationship for both countries, strategically and economically. It is an important relationship in its own right and because we are partners in one of the world's most dynamic regions. This partnership is vital to Australia's engagement with, and credibility in, the Asia-Pacific region.

  I fully concur with the committee's finding that our relationship with Indonesia is open and positive, and in better condition than it has been for some years, but more can be done to improve it. Australians and Indonesians can and should work together to develop a relationship which goes even further in meeting the needs of both countries.

  Indonesia under President Suharto has experienced political stability, rapid economic growth, new prosperity for Indonesians, and leadership in international affairs. Recent changes in Australia are no less remarkable. We have had to make our economy more competitive, efficient, and skilled. We are realising the full significance of our geography and giving unprecedented attention to the region in which we live. We are discovering the comparative advantage of multiculturalism in our dealings with Asia. We are debating a new sense of national identity and direction. In all these areas, this government has been a driving force for change.

  As Indonesia and Australia redefine their places in the world, particularly in the region, prospects for greater dealings between us become more and more evident. We have a heightened sense of shared interests. Economic reform in both countries has thrown up complementarities stimulating greater commercial dealings. A perception of shared interests beyond the bilateral level is prompting our work together on regional security and prosperity. In short, we are poised to take on new opportunities with Indonesia. The environment is right, and the time is right.

Progress so far

  My government knows this and has been working towards the challenge. In a few years we have turned perceptions of shared interests into concrete programs for cooperation. We have developed a close rapport at the highest levels of the Indonesian government, in a range of fields. Australian and Indonesian ministers are beating an increasingly well worn path to each other's doors.

  The two governments are developing a solid institutional framework in which to explore ways of delivering long-term benefits. Agreements have been signed on matters as diverse as investment, taxation, copyright, education, customs, development assistance, and fisheries cooperation. We are negotiating an agreement on science and technology cooperation. Our officials have regular exchanges in the fields of education, science and technology, health, customs and primary industry, to name just a few examples.

  The Australia Indonesia Ministerial Forum, which is particularly directed at giving government impetus to economic ties, is our most significant bilateral arrangement. Since the establishment of this forum by the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) and President Suharto in 1992, government and business representatives have regularly met to identify areas for commercial collaboration and to address impediments to trade and investment. Business missions under the aegis of the forum have already resulted in tangible commercial outcomes. We take careful note of the committee's recommendation to exploit fully the potential of this forum, and will be doing our best to take the process forward at the next forum meeting in Canberra in August.

  The development of these institutional links is not haphazard. We have worked consciously to put them in place, and see them as the foundation stones of a stable and enduring relationship. I welcome the committee's recognition of their value and its recommendation that they be strengthened.

  The web of ties is being woven beyond government as well. Australia's business community is becoming engaged in Indonesia at a rate we welcome but would like to see further improved. In five years our exports to Indonesia have trebled to reach $1.8 billion; within that, manufactures exports have more than trebled to reach $766 million. We are Indonesia's 10th largest source of investment, with over 180 Australian companies now operating there.

  In people-to-people links, there is also a quiet revolution under way, again supported by government. The Australia-Indonesia Institute spent over $1 million in 1993-94 on cross-cultural studies and exchanges in the professional, cultural, youth and sports fields. We would welcome closer involvement by the Indonesian government in stimulating ties at this level, and I wholeheartedly support the committee's recommendation that we encourage Indonesia to establish a counterpart to the Australia-Indonesia Institute. We have been doing just that.

  We firmly believe in the value of grassroots cooperation and understanding. We have also demonstrated our commitment in this respect by allocating $48 million over the next four years to the study of Asian languages, including Indonesian, in primary and secondary schools through our national Asian languages studies initiative.

  The activities I have outlined bring tangible benefits for Australians. They also help cement a bedrock of understanding between the two countries—an understanding which can be drawn on when dealing with the problems which are bound to arise from time to time. As the committee notes, Australia and Indonesia do not always see eye to eye. Our relationship is not always comfortable, and the committee has reported frankly on areas where we have differed.

  The most sensitive area of our relationship is in the field of human rights, where we often register our concerns at the highest levels of the Indonesian government. We do not apologise for doing so. As a democratic government we wish, and indeed are obliged, to represent community concerns, including in our foreign policy. But, importantly, we believe that the concerns and issues we raise reflect not just our own values, but those of the entire international community as evidenced in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related instruments and as recently reaffirmed at last year's Vienna Conference on Human Rights.

  We are mindful of the need to ensure that these representations are effective, and we believe they are most likely to be so if Australia is seen as a constructive interlocutor on human rights issues, in the context of a strong and broadly-based relationship. We share the committee's conclusion that human rights issues should neither be submerged in the relationship nor be allowed to dominate it.

  In that context, we shall continue, as we have done for some years, to argue for a commitment by the Indonesian government to reconciliation with the people of East Timor—through achieving a major reduction and refocusing of the role of the military, giving the fullest possible recognition to East Timor's distinctive cultural identity, engaging in sensitive economic development, and also, hopefully, enabling a significant degree of local autonomy.

  Australia and Indonesia have often found ways creatively to work through difficulties together. The Timor Gap treaty is an outstanding example of an innovative approach to what seemed an insoluble problem, addressing as it does the issue of undefined boundaries by creating a framework in which we could jointly explore for, and develop resources for, the benefit of both our countries. We must be similarly creative in those areas of our relationship which need more attention. We still have some way to go, for example, in addressing the problem of illegal fishing. The government appreciates the committee's detailed consideration of fisheries matters and acknowledges its concerns. We support the recommendation to keep the issue of illegal fishing under review. The fisheries cooperation agreement allows us to consult effectively on this and other fisheries matters of common concern.

The way ahead

  The committee has seen for itself the growing knowledge of, and interest in, Indonesia by Australians, and that we are poised to enter a new phase in our relations. We can build on our gains so far, and we must take advantage of the momentum for taking forward the relationship which now exists. The imperative to strengthen and diversify our commercial ties is foremost. For this reason we are taking government cooperation with business to new levels. Later this month Senator McMullan will lead a mission of up to 250 Australian companies to a business forum in Jakarta to be opened by the Prime Minister. Participants will discuss Indonesia's trade and investment prospects with an array of Indonesia's most influential business representatives. This is the largest business mission to have travelled overseas from Australia at any one time, and its outcome will substantially affect deliberations in Canberra this August on how best to use the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum to advance our commercial agenda.

  These commercial objectives will be enhanced by our work with Indonesia on regional economic and trade liberalisation. We will continue to work closely together to ensure the success of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation process, and do all we can to support Indonesia's chairmanship of APEC this year.

  The security of our regional environment remains a priority, and we will be enhancing our engagement with Indonesia on political and security issues in this region. We continue to share a commitment to Cambodia. We need to, and will, talk further about developments in Burma-Myanmar and ways of achieving its more responsible involvement in regional and international affairs. Indonesia is a key player in the regional security dialogue that is now emerging, in particular through the new ASEAN regional forum which we will be attending together when it meets for the first time in Bangkok in July.

  A positive defence relationship with Indonesia is crucial to our strategic partnership with the region. We will strengthen our dialogue on defence and security, increase practical cooperation such as exercises, training, and study visits, and explore opportunities for defence industry collaboration. We will continue to place particular importance on professional and personal relationships between members of our defence forces.

  Our development assistance program, worth for Indonesia around $140 million in 1994-95, further underscores our commitment to this country. We remain strongly interested in the humanitarian and development aspirations of its people. In line with the Indonesian government's priorities, Eastern Indonesia will remain a focus of our development cooperation. Such cooperation should stimulate Australian commercial activity, entrenching Australia's stake in Indonesia while assisting local economic development.

  To this agenda we have added a further task, that of encouraging Indonesians towards a more complete understanding of Australia. In the next few days a major Australian promotion will commence in Indonesia, Australia Today: Indonesia 94. The Prime Minister inaugurated this promotion at the Australian end from Sydney in March this year. On 14 June I will formally open the promotion in Jakarta: joined by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Hartarto—himself a graduate of the University of NSW—who has agreed to act as patron.

  Apart from the Prime Minister, Senator McMullan and me, several ministerial colleagues will attend during the course of the promotion: the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Mr Howe; the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Senator Cook; the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Mr Crean; the Minister for Human Services and Health, Dr Lawrence; and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Mr Punch.

  The promotion will showcase Australia's achievements in business, science, culture, sports and other fields. It will demonstrate our achievements as a modern, sophisticated and technologically advanced nation, and it will promote our lifestyle. Around 500 Australian organisations and 1500 individuals will participate. The business forum that will be opened by the Prime Minister is a highlight of the promotion. And the Australia-Indonesia relationship will receive particular focus in a conference in early July examining all aspects of our dealings with each other, in which I will participate.

  Australia Today: Indonesia 94 is the largest promotion of its kind undertaken by Australia. It is a combined effort between government, business and Australians from all the fields of activity we are seeking to promote. As the initiative demonstrates, a relationship between two countries must move beyond the dealings of governments in order to have substance. Governments can be frontrunners, but communities and individuals must join the running before we can claim to be real partners.

  Australians and Indonesians in all walks of life must strengthen their efforts to improve their understanding of each other's aspirations. We will then be on our way towards real partnership. We have begun this journey, and the committee's report helps indicate the direction we should take. This is no small achievement. I thank the members of the committee, and those who assisted them, for the role they have played in enhancing Australia-Indonesia relations.

  I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the detailed substance of the response recommendations.

  Leave granted.

  The document read as follows—

AUSTRALIA'S RELATIONS WITH INDONESIA

Government's Response to the Report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade presented by Senator the Hon Gareth Evans QC, Minister for Foreign Affairs

INTRODUCTION

When the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 5 June 1991, seeking formal referral of the terms of reference for an inquiry into Australia's relations with Indonesia, the Government welcomed this initiative as appropriate recognition of Indonesia's importance to Australia. Not only is Indonesia Australia's largest, most populous neighbour, but our relationship with Indonesia is a vital part of our engagement with Asia and critical to the success of our diplomacy in the region. Our relations with Indonesia provide a springboard for closer involvement in South East Asia, strategically and economically.

The Government attaches the highest priority to the continued development of Australia's relations with Indonesia and, over the past five years, both the Australian and Indonesian Governments have made a conscious effort to develop practical links between our two countries. The Government, therefore, warmly welcomes the Committee's Report, and is most appreciative of the Committee's work in drawing attention to the depth and complexity of Australia's relations with Indonesia, and the positive recommendations that it makes for broadening the relationship still further.

The Committee's Report has highlighted the Australian community's wide-ranging interest in Indonesia. The Report has generated public discussion on the many strands in Australia-Indonesia relations and drawn these together in an extensive picture of the ties between the two countries.

The Government particularly welcomes the Committee's conclusion that the future is very promising for our two countries to work together in a harmonious way. At the same time, the Government acknowledges the Committee's conclusion that a great deal can still be done to strengthen the relationship, particularly in terms of increasing Australian trade and investment with Indonesia. The Government agrees with the Committee that it must work closely with the business community to ensure that businesses are kept informed of the emerging opportunities in Indonesia.

The Committee made thirty six recommendations, covering a diverse range of issues, including regional issues, defence links, human rights issues, fisheries, minerals and energy, further development of education and cultural links, trade and investment strategies and development assistance. The following are the Government's detailed responses to each of the recommendations put forward by the Committee. All government departments and agencies with an interest in the issues raised by the Committee were consulted in the preparation of these responses.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND RESPONSES

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government encourage the Indonesian Government to abide by the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)

Response

In its regular discussions with the Indonesian Government on sea law issues, the Australian Government routinely conveys its expectation that the Indonesian Government will respect international navigation rights such as those set down in the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention) including the archipelagic provisions set out in Part IV of that Convention. With respect to the question of the right of passage through international straits and archipelagic waters, the Australian Government will continue to make clear its view that, while now reflected in the provisions of the Convention, the right of such passage exists independently of the Convention as a general right at international law. Australia has consistently supported the regime for archipelagic states set down in the Convention because it elaborates rights and obligations which constitute a fair balance between the requirements of archipelagic states on the one hand and the navigation interests of the international community on the other.

Recent comments of Indonesian officials indicate the generally positive approach Indonesia takes towards the Convention. For example, on 9 December 1993, the Indonesian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Nugroho Wisnumurti, acknowledged the importance of a unified legal regime of the seas to Indonesia's national ocean policy as an archipelagic state and affirmed Indonesia's commitment to bring its national legislation into harmony with the obligations contained in the Convention.

It should be noted in this context that the sixtieth ratification of the Convention was deposited on 16 November 1993 and, in accordance with its terms, the Convention will enter into force twelve months from that date i.e. on 16 November 1994. Until entry into force, Indonesia and Australia are under an obligation under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to refrain from acts which would defeat the purpose of the Convention. Clearly, however, Australia will be in an even stronger position to ensure Indonesia abides by the provisions of the Convention if both countries are Parties. This fact reinforces a number of arguments in favour of Australia taking steps to ratify the Convention once outstanding issues relating to the Convention's seabed mining regime have been resolved.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that current discussions about regional security continue and expand, with the object of working towards the creation of a cooperative regional defence structure.

Response

The Government agrees with the Committee's recommendation that current discussions on regional security continue and increase. Significant progress has already been made in this area, most importantly the decision at the 1993 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) to establish the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as a region-wide vehicle for discussions on Asia Pacific security. The Australian Government actively supported the establishment of a forum for multilateral Asia-Pacific regional security dialogue and welcomed the decision to include Russia, Vietnam, Laos, China and PNG in the ARF. The first ARF will take place in July this year in Bangkok, immediately prior to the 1994 PMC.

The Australian Government has also proposed the initiation of a bilateral officials' level dialogue in security and disarmament matters. The first exchange will take place in June 1994.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that, when major equipment purchases are being finalised:

where possible, discussions be held in advance with regional countries to ensure the purposes of these acquisitions are explained; and

such purchases are announced in formal statements to Parliament.

Response

A key objective of Australia's policy of regional defence engagement is to reduce the potential for misunderstanding or tension to emerge in the region by promoting greater openness of regional countries on strategic planning and force structure issues, including prospective major equipment acquisitions.

In dialogue with regional countries Australia has sought to encourage this openness and itself has one of the most open strategic and force structure processes in the region. In recent years, the Australian Government has published a number of defence planning documents which identify the kinds of capabilities which Australia is planning to acquire and the priorities attached to these. Such documents include strategic assessments (Strategic Review 1993 and Australia's Strategic Planning in the 1990s) and guidance on defence policy and force structuring processes (1987 Defence of Australia White Paper and 1991 Force Structure Review).

In addition Australia maintains regular dialogue with regional countries on a range of security issues, including strategic and force structure planning processes. For the first time, in the course of preparing the 1993 Strategic Review, the Review team visited regional countries including Indonesia to develop a better understanding of regional perspectives and interests. These kinds of discussions are consistent with our efforts to encourage greater transparency in defence planning processes in the region as a means of enhancing regional security. A new Defence White Paper is in preparation for release later this year.

Information is readily available on Australia's acquisition and approval processes. Proposed defence equipment acquisitions are generally made public through the budgeting and approval process, which includes:

Defence New Major Capital Equipment Proposals (The Pink Book), a chronologically ordered list of proposals for new equipment and their expenditure spreads, which provides an orderly five year projection of decision points, expenditure patterns and total cost of proposed acquisitions. This is a public document.

The Defence Organisation's published annual Defence Report, which lists proposed major defence acquisitions.

The Defence Program Performance Statements, which are tabled in Parliament each year. These statements show total expenditure over the last year and budget estimates for the following year. They include a listing of major projects and major capital equipment expenditure.

Decisions regarding major acquisitions are made public through statements in the Parliament and by the Minister for Defence.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Department of Defence review the appropriateness of training provided to Indonesian military personnel to ensure that:

training in international standards of human rights behaviour is provided as an integral part of the defence cooperation program; and

training which is provided is directed towards the acquisition of operational military skills and not those which should more appropriately be given to civil police.

Response

The principal areas of our cooperative defence activities with Indonesia incorporate, both directly and indirectly, human rights issues.

Human rights aspects of the training provided by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to Indonesian military personnel are directly related to human rights education within the ADF itself. Human rights and humanitarian issues are an integral part of a comprehensive training approach for all ADF personnel. The two main areas of human rights training in the ADF are training in international humanitarian law (with an emphasis on the Law of Armed Conflict) and awareness of appropriate workplace attitudes and behaviour.

Indonesian students participating in ADF courses receive, as do all foreign students, the same periods of instruction regarding international humanitarian law as their ADF counterparts. This training is designed to improve leadership skills, to impart professional and technical expertise, and generally to create a more effective atmosphere for cooperation in external defence activities.

In addition, Indonesian military personnel during training with or attachment to the ADF are exposed to the ethos of the ADF, and Australian values in general, and towards issues of conscience, including human rights. Current directives also require operational units to include such training in ADF exercises. In-country professional and technical training provided by ADF personnel, which incorporates Law of Armed Conflict and human rights elements as appropriate, is also included.

The ADF does not provide training or undertake other cooperative activities with the Indonesian Armed Forces in skills designed to enhance internal security or counter-insurgency capability. The limited cooperation that has occurred between the ADF and Indonesia Special Forces (KOPASSUS) forms a very small part of the wider defence relationship with Indonesia. The limited cooperation with KOPASSUS in 1993 focused on low-level military war-fighting skills, with only basic familiarisation training being conducted. Activities of the Indonesian troop in Australia included communications, small arms range practice, medical training, water work and rope work. These skills focus on improving the ability of Indonesian Special Forces in war-fighting activities such as would be undertaken against an external enemy. Such skills are an established part of normal Special Forces operations. Special Forces training with KOPASSUS has also taken place in 1994. A team of SAS soldiers trained in Indonesia in basic military skills, while at the same time a group of Indonesian soldiers used special purpose training facilities in Perth for counter—hijack training.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade examine, in conjunction with such bodies as the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau and the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, the provision of defence and defence-related assistance to Indonesia to ensure that an appropriate, formal level of consultation exists for effective and efficient delivery of that assistance.

Response

The Government agrees that the Department of Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other relevant organisations should continue to consult as necessary regarding defence-related activities.

A primary aim of co-operative activities is the building of personal and professional links between each defence organisation, in order to maintain and consolidate the overall defence relationship between Australia and Indonesia. Such activities are not organised as aid. Their purpose is to further the goals of the defence relationship. Some of them, however, such as language training for military personnel and mapping, have benefits beyond the defence area and can be reported internationally as more general development assistance. There are good working level contacts between the Department of Defence and AIDAB and there is an exchange of information and experience relevant to Australia-Indonesia defence activities.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence consult regularly on

cooperative defence matters including between Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade personnel at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

Concerning Defence consultation with the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, coordination between Defence (Directorate of Survey-Army) and the AGSO already occurs both informally and formally. On a formal level, both the AGSO and Defence have representatives on the Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee and its various sub-committees. This Committee discusses, among other things, the survey work carried out by relevant Australian organisations in other countries. This ensures that the activities in each country are coordinated and no unnecessary overlap occurs. The Directorate of Survey—Army is aware of the survey activity that has been done by AGSO in Irian Jaya and understands that there is no overlap between AGSO's activities and the work of Defence. On an informal basis, officers of the Directorate of Survey—Army are in regular contact with AGSO personnel as the need arises.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government respond positively to any request it might receive from the Indonesian Government to assist in reviews of its legal system.

Response

The Government has an interest in developing closer links with Indonesia in areas of law of mutual interest to both countries. Our willingness and ability to provide assistance to regional Governments has been demonstrated on many occasions. For example, the Attorney-General's Department has been co-operatively involved with a number of regional Governments (including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Pacific Island nations) in relation to the modernisation of their laws and the practical operations of their legal systems. AIDAB also supports legal development programs e.g. a portfolio of projects in Vietnam worth $5 million.

In relation to Indonesia, the Deputy Chief Justice of the Indonesian Supreme Court visited the Attorney-General's Department in November 1993 for an exchange of ideas on the respective legal systems and to familiarise himself with Australia's legal system. In addition, the visit to Australia in December 1993 by Mr Saleh Baharis, the Director-General of Legal Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Justice, has expanded contacts in law and legal education between Australia and Indonesia. The purpose of Mr Baharis's visit was to enable him to examine the Australian approach to the regulation of securities markets and to business and commercial law policy issues generally. The visit was planned and coordinated by the International Legal Services Advisory Council (ILSAC) and the Attorney-General's Department. ILSAC proposes to focus part of its work program over the next two to three years on activities to encourage closer links in law between Australia and Indonesia at the government, university and private level. This includes cooperating with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta to organise a one day seminar on 28 June 1994 which will take place under the umbrella of the Australia Today Indonesia 94 promotion. The work of the Australia Indonesia Institute and its Legal Affairs Sub Committee is also important in the process of encouraging closer links between Australia and Indonesia in law and legal education.

During his visit, Mr Baharis indicated that the process of legal reform in Indonesia is mapped out over the next 25 years, with a specific legislative program over the next five years, especially in the area of commercial law. The issue of assistance in legal matters is not only a sensitive one, but one in which the Indonesian authorities have reasonably clear ideas of the matters with which they require assistance and of the areas in which they might be prepared to consider assistance. They are also particularly interested to identify the areas where we may be able to provide assistance before this will be considered by them as an option. A further issue is whether or not the area of law being discussed is politically neutral. Our response to a request for assistance would be to consider it actively based upon informed discussion with our Indonesian counterparts (at Ministerial and officials level) on the substance of their needs, what we may be able to provide by way of assistance and what we are prepared, or able, to provide by way of assistance if such is requested.

AIDAB has been approached to provide assistance with training in legislative drafting. An AIDAB short term training mission visited Indonesia in January-February 1994 and examined opportunities for Australia to provide `tailor-made' training programs in key sectors and discussions were held with the Indonesian Ministry of Justice and other legal bodies to jointly determine priorities. It was agreed that aspects of commercial law, including Intellectual Property Rights, should be targeted for assistance. Discussions will also be held with the National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS) and the Cabinet Secretariat which will help determine the priority for training in this sector compared with other competing sectors.

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government should press for the re—opening of its consulate in Dili.

Response

The Government notes the Report's comments on the merits of an Australian consulate in Dili, on commercial and consular grounds. The Government will seek opportunities at an appropriate time to raise the matter of a consulate with the Indonesian authorities. Any decision to establish a consulate in Dili, however, would need to be considered in the light of the Department's available financial resources.

As the Report notes, the Government has actively worked to build links with East Timor, and to assist its development. The level and involvement of Australian aid cooperation in East Timor is steadily increasing. Australia's development assistance program in the province will amount to $30 million over the next five years. Over time this will assist in creating a more natural base for Australia's presence in the province. Commercial linkages, including increased trade, and direct air or shipping links between Dili and Darwin, would also boost the natural linkages with the province and create a more credible basis for such an approach and enhance the prospect of favourable consideration.

Regular visits by officers from the Embassy in Jakarta provide opportunities to monitor and report on the province, and to support Australia's development assistance activity in East Timor. Visits occur on average once a month—a greater frequency of visits than to any other part of the archipelago.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government encourage the Indonesian Government to seek the re-establishment of a direct, regular Darwin-Dili air service to facilitate access for trade and tourism to East Timor.

Response

Australia's aviation arrangements with Indonesia permit the operation of scheduled services by the carriers of both countries between points in Indonesia east of Bali and Australia. This would include Dili and Darwin. Currently, the Indonesian carrier Merpati Nusantara is the only airline to operate services from points east of Bali to Australia, operating the full Indonesian capacity entitlement of twice weekly F28 services between Kupang and Darwin.

Both the Australian and Indonesian Governments are keen to foster the development of air services between Darwin and points east of Bali. Local provincial government officials have spoken of the desirability of building the tourist industry as a means to overcome the still severe unemployment problem on the northern coastal strip. Should the Indonesian carriers require additional capacity to operate further services between Darwin and points east of Bali, it would be a relatively simple matter to increase the capacity entitlements on this route for both Australian and Indonesian airlines.

Air services between Darwin and Dili are a matter for the commercial judgement of Australian and Indonesian airlines.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that:

the proposed course on human rights be introduced and made compulsory for all officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau before they take up overseas postings; and

the content and structure of the course be reassessed to ensure that the information provided on the philosophy and practice of human rights is sufficiently detailed to give these officers a sound knowledge of the subject.

Response

DFAT and AIDAB have worked closely together on the design and implementation strategy for the training course on human rights for the staff of both organisations. The first prototype of the course was held in March 1994. While it is agreed that officers about to take up overseas postings should be an early target group for the training exercise, the intention is that in time all staff should have the opportunity to attend the course.

The aims and objectives of the course are:

to develop in officers an appreciation of Australia's human rights policies and the international context in which they operate, with particular emphasis on practical application;

to provide officers with practical guidance for human rights reporting and representation skills, and in the identification of suitable human rights projects;

to provide AIDAB officers with an appreciation of human rights issues (including good governance and participatory development) as they impact on Australian aid policies;

to provide AIDAB officers with practical guidance for identifying aid projects and programs which reinforce the objectives of protecting and promoting human rights;

to provide officers with an appreciation of the domestic political context in which human rights policy is developed.

In working to design a course which serves the needs of both organisations (AIDAB and DFAT), the approach is to run a common core introductory module which is then followed by separate DFAT and AIDAB modules which focus on the respective staff operational requirements.

As the first step in organising the AIDAB module of the training course, an in-house workshop was held on 30 November 1993 involving a range of senior program officers from AIDAB as well as participants from DFAT, the Attorney General's Department, the Australian National University, non-government organisations and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Sub-Committee on Human Rights. The workshop focused on human rights and good governance issues in the context of delivering an effective aid program as well as the most practical and effective approach for an operationally focused human rights training program for AIDAB staff. The workshop concluded that the on-going training for AIDAB staff should focus on particular recipient countries or regions. This would help to ensure the maximum practical benefit for program officers of the Bureau.

DFAT, with input from AIDAB, has also produced the first edition of the DFAT Human Rights Manual which is designed to assist all officers to better understand the challenges in promoting and protecting human rights The Manual is as a core text in the staff training courses.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau include an assessment of progress towards the establishment and protection of human rights, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the criteria by which it evaluates the feasibility and the success of official development assistance.

Response

The Government's policy is that the aid program is not linked to human rights performance. The Government attaches high priority to the international promotion and protection of human rights.   AIDAB endeavours to identify opportunities for the aid program to play a positive role in this area and the aid program makes a real contribution to improving human rights in our region. Indeed, virtually all aid activities have the potential to contribute to the achievement of the right to development, the right to work and other economic and social rights.

The Government does not equate the promotion of good governance with the imposition of Western-style models of democracy. Good governance is understood more broadly as the effective management of a country's social and economic resources in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable and equitable. In this context, all the projects that AIDAB considers for potential support undergo a careful feasibility, design and appraisal stage during which the potential benefits and impacts on intended target groups are assessed as well as the viability and sustainability of the planned project. In the early project identification and initial assessment of potential activities screening criteria include those with clear human rights implications—eg the potential to displace or disrupt social groups; the strategies proposed for participation of intended beneficiaries in project planning and implementation; and the political climate relative to participatory democracy.

Similarly, in undertaking ex-post evaluations of completed projects, the impact assessment is made against a number of criteria—including social and cultural, environmental, economic, and the impact on women—all of which have clear implications for the establishment and protection of human rights.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government continue, within the limits of national sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, to make representations to the Indonesian Government about the principles and applications of human rights in all parts of Indonesia. Furthermore, the Committee urges the Australian Government to use its good offices to facilitate reconciliation between the Government of Indonesia and the people of Irian Jaya, Aceh and East Timor through discussions with all those who have interests in resolving the issues which currently inhibit the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

Response

The Government is committed to working for the universal observance of internationally accepted standards of human rights. In this context, the Government has regularly raised human rights issues with Indonesia, as it has with other countries.

The Government has consciously sought to strengthen its human rights dialogue with Indonesia including at the highest levels of the Indonesian Government. The development of a more broadly based relationship with Indonesia in recent years has allowed an increasingly regular and frank exchange with Indonesia on human rights. The Government will continue to build on this dialogue and to make representations about the principles and, where appropriate, the application of human rights throughout Indonesia.

The Government continues to encourage the Indonesian Government to pursue strategies for reconciliation in the provinces of Irian Jaya, Aceh and East Timor. In doing so, an emphasis is placed on the need for economic and social development strategies which take account of the cultural sensitivities and particular aspirations of the inhabitants of these provinces, the need for a more sensitive approach by the armed forces in these provinces and a reduction of their presence. The Government also stresses the need for facilitating access to these areas, for example by human rights and humanitarian organisations, parliamentarians and the media.

The Government recognises Indonesian sovereignty over Irian Jaya, Aceh and East Timor. It would therefore be inappropriate for the Government to engage in direct dialogue with representatives of separatist movements. However, the Government will continue to raise developments in these provinces with the Indonesian Government and will seek to contribute to an improvement in conditions for their inhabitants, for example through development assistance programs and through support for the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that the Attorney-General convene a conference of Western Australian, Queensland and Northern Territory Attorneys-General to attempt to standardise the treatment of illegal Indonesian fishermen by different jurisdictions.

Response

This recommendation has been accepted by the Government to the extent that the issue of standardisation of the treatment of illegal Indonesian fishermen was on the agenda for discussion at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General at its meeting on 18 February 1994 in Canberra. The Standing Committee decided that Government officials from the relevant jurisdictions should discuss concerns about the issue.

There are a number of reasons why the treatment accorded to illegal Indonesian fishermen differs depending on their place of apprehension. First, the place of apprehension might fall within one of four different jurisdictions (Commonwealth, Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory ). The lack of uniformity in the penalties applied is understandable given that each jurisdiction will have different policies relating to the fixing of penalties. Moreover the jurisdiction dependent differences in penalties and treatment are not confined to illegal fishing. Those differences apply to many other areas of activity and are an inevitable consequence of the Australian federal structure.

Secondly, the type of penalty which may be imposed in some maritime areas is restricted by international law. In the area beyond the 12 nautical mile territorial sea Australia is not able to impose imprisonment as a direct penalty for illegal foreign fishing. State legislation (which largely applies within 3 nautical miles of the coast) may provide for an imprisonment as a direct penalty for illegal fishing. However, by reason of the international legal constraint just mentioned, Commonwealth fisheries legislation (which in part applies beyond the territorial sea) does not allow for imprisonment as a penalty for the offence of illegal fishing.

Over and above the differences which exist in the maximum penalties between the various States and the Commonwealth, magistrates and judges have a discretion in the level of penalty imposed in each case. The exercise of this discretion in response to the circumstances of each individual offence inevitably leads to differences of penalty even within a single jurisdiction. The Commonwealth would not support the fettering of such discretion. Nor would it support special uniform penalties to be applied only in relation to illegal Indonesian fishing. Such special uniform penalties would be seen as discriminatory either to the illegal fishermen or to the persons who did not have the benefit of these special penalties.

Finally, the offences committed by illegal Indonesian fishermen are not confined to fisheries offences. Serious customs, quarantine and migration offences may also be involved. These latter offences are Commonwealth offences and uniform maximum penalties apply, though again a magistrate or judge will have a discretion as to the actual level of penalty imposed below that maximum.

In summary, the differing treatment accorded illegal Indonesian fishermen flows from Australia's federal structure, with State governments regulating fishing in some areas and the Commonwealth regulating fishing in other areas. However, discussions have been held at both Ministerial and officials levels between the Commonwealth and individual states (particularly Western Australia) on the penalties and treatment accorded illegal Indonesian fishermen. Also, as a result of the Committee's report, the issues raised in Recommendation 12 were placed on the agenda of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. As indicated earlier, that Committee decided at its meeting on 18 February 1994 that officials should examine concerns about these issues.

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that the Department of Primary industries and Energy keep the arrangements for the provision of services at Willie Creek under review.

Response

A mechanism has been established to review arrangements for the provision of caretaker services at the Willie Creek detention centre which is located approximately 60 kms from Broome in Western Australia.

Specifically the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is responsible for the tendering and management of the centre. The current contract is for a period of 2 years running from 1 September 1993 to 31 August 1995 with provision for full or partial termination if performance is not adequate. The Department of Primary Industries and Energy in conjunction with AFMA will review the operation of the centre at the end of the first year. A similar process is being observed in respect of caretaker arrangements in Darwin.

Recommendation 14

The Committee recommends that the Department of Primary industries and Energy consider broadening the scope of the Fisheries Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia to consider the relevance of aquaculture research projects and the joint management of maritime resources.

Response

The Fisheries Co-operation Agreement already provides scope for research to be undertaken into aquaculture projects. This is provided for under Article 9 of the Agreement which encourages the exchange of information and Co-operation with respect to aquaculture. There are also more general provisions set out under Articles 1 and 4 respectively of the Agreement concerning the facilitation of Co-operation in fisheries research, through exchanges and training of fisheries and marine conservation personnel. Formal consultations with Indonesia are planned for this year and will provide an opportunity to review the adequacy of the Agreement both from an Indonesian and Australian perspective.

It is uncertain, however, whether aquaculture projects would achieve their aim of increasing the level of trochus production in Indonesian waters within a medium-term time frame. There would need to be careful monitoring, surveying and management of any increased trochus resource in Indonesian waters if sustainable production were to be assured. Even if such measures were adopted, it appears that population pressure and the resultant demand for natural resources will always tend to outstrip supply and Indonesian fisherman can be expected to continue to be attracted to Australian waters.

In addition, given that Indonesian fisherman are also attracted to Australian waters to fish for shark and finfish species, research projects aimed at increasing the level of trochus production in Indonesian waters are unlikely to alleviate the problem of illegal Indonesian fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ). Over the past twelve months the price of trochus has declined and virtually all recent illegal Indonesian fishing activity has focused on shark and finfish species. The recent accent on illegal fishing for shark and finfish species is thought to be driven also by the generally depleted condition of Indonesian fisheries resources, due in large part to the high levels of foreign fishing activity. As such, traditional and smaller commercial Indonesian fishing operations are seeking better catches in the more prospective AFZ.

Important cultural influences also mean that illegal Indonesian fishing is not purely a market motivated phenomenon affected by the availability of local resources or price factors. The taking of trochus from the more distant AFZ is apparently seen to be an act of manhood of significant cultural and personal importance.

Aquaculture may alleviate some of these pressures in the longer term and is an option that should be pursued, but at best is likely to have only minimal impact on the pressures which underlie illegal fishing.

The Government strongly supports the development of closer Co-operation with Indonesia on the management of fisheries resources occurring in both the AFZ and Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone. However, a joint management approach, possibly involving some form of `buffer zone' or `zone of Co-operation', is not considered appropriate or viable given the significant institutional and operational differences that exist between Australia and Indonesia in the management of fisheries resources.

Australian industry is also unlikely to benefit from joint management and it is highly unlikely that the status of shared resources would be enhanced. Indonesia already licenses a level of fishing effort by foreign and domestic vessels in the Arafura Sea which fisheries scientists and managers in both countries consider to be excessive and unsustainable.

Our preferred model for closer Co-operation with Indonesia is for the development of fisheries management practices, based on the exchange and analysis of data on the shared stocks of the Arafura and Timor Seas and collaborative work on stock assessment and fisheries research for species of common interest. The Joint Australia-Indonesia Workshop on the Shared Stocks of the Arafura Sea, held in Darwin in November 1992, is a good example. At this meeting Indonesia expressed interest in placing such an arrangement on a more formal basis, with annual meetings to address matters of mutual interest and concern.

Until there is a major change in the way Indonesia manages its fisheries, clear delineation of the maritime boundary with complementary, but distinct, management regimes by both countries is the most cost-effective approach. It is also the approach which will result in the best outcomes from a resource management perspective.

Recommendation 15

The Committee recommends that the Department of Primary Industries and Energy approach Indonesian authorities to undertake jointly a thorough examination of all aspects of Indonesian fishing in Australian waters, using such models as the Torres Straits Treaty with Papua New Guinea, the Timor Gap Treaty with Indonesia and the forthcoming Convention for Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, with the objects of:

renegotiating the 1974 Memorandum of Understanding;

defining `traditional' fishermen in a more appropriate way; and

arriving at more effective arrangements for fishermen of both countries in the Arafura Sea.

Response

The following background is relevant to the current fisheries arrangements between Australia and Indonesia:

.  In 1968 Australia established a 12nm fishing zone, thereby reserving the zone for the exclusive use of fishermen and vessels licensed under Australian law. However, in recognition of traditional fishing activities and as a good neighbour, Australia agreed that traditional activities could continue in the declared fishing zone and the territorial sea adjacent to Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Seringapatam Reef, Scott Reef, Adele and Browse Islands.

.  Significant numbers of Indonesian fishing vessels were subsequently found on or operating in the vicinity of Australia's north-west coast—some 225 and 198 in 1973/74 and 1974/75 respectively. Following considerable concern over the health and quarantine threat posed by such activity (foot & mouth disease, rabies and Newcastle disease are endemic in Indonesia) the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, raised the issue with President Suharto in Jakarta in August 1974. Officials then met in Jakarta in November 1974 and settled the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia regarding the operations of Indonesian traditional fishermen in areas of the Australian Fishing Zone and Continental Shelf.

.  It was agreed that, due to health and quarantine concerns, Indonesian fishermen would no longer be permitted to fish in waters adjacent to the Australian mainland and immediately adjacent to islands, but could do so in waters under Australian jurisdiction adjacent to the off-shore islands and reefs of ashmore, Cartier, Scott and Seringapatam reefs and Browse Island. Additionally, Indonesian fishermen could shelter within these off-shore island and reef complexes, but were not permitted (due to conservation concerns) to go ashore other than to obtain fresh water on the Middle and East Islands of Ashmore Reef. Because Australian health authorities found the wells on the Middle and East Islands of Ashmore Reef to be contaminated by faecal and cholera organisms in 1983, approved access for fresh water was subsequently changed to West Island.

.  In more recent times, concerns regarding depletion of fisheries resources in the AFZ, threats to the primary industries on the Australian mainland and loss of protected species have continued. Significant numbers of Indonesian fishing vessels, both traditional and non-traditional, continue to operate in waters of the northern and north-western AFZ. The continuing presence reflects the fact that Indonesian fisheries resources are under increasing and, in some areas, unsustainable pressure.

It is important to note that Australian enforcement authorities usually adopt a flexible and sympathetic attitude in dealing with traditional Indonesian fishing activity within the AFZ. Most vessels apprehended for illegal fishing are non-traditional and are engaged in overtly commercial operations, usually with motors, radio and navigational equipment. Traditional vessels operating outside the terms of the 1974 MOU are usually warned off and directed to those areas where they are permitted access. Due regard is given to their traditional status, their ability to accurately determine their position in the AFZ and the prevailing winds.

The Government supports the need to keep under review the issue of illegal Indonesian fishing and to discuss with Indonesian authorities those aspects requiring clarification and/or modification. Such a review is considered timely given the nature of the issue, recent developments and the need to ensure that the australian response is an effective and appropriate one. It is important to note, however, that the illegal fishing issue is regularly raised with Indonesia during appropriate meetings, including at the Joint Australia-Indonesia Workshop on the Shared Stocks of the Arafura Sea held in Darwin in November 1992 and at the time of Australia-Indonesia Maritime Boundary Delimitation Negotiations in April and October 1993 and, most recently, in May 1994, with the result that both countries have a good understanding of the issue and the constraints under which they are operating. The review would take place under the Fisheries Co-operation agreement which establishes, inter alia, a formal consultative framework to facilitate the resolution of fisheries matters of common concern.

The Government acknowledges the concerns of the Committee regarding the 1974 MOU. It should be noted, however, that Indonesian authorities have recently acknowledged the worth of the MOU. The terms of the MOU reflect a measured response by both countries to circumstances where Australia has sought to balance the needs of traditional Indonesian fishermen with its health and quarantine requirements and requirements for the conservation and management of the Australian Fishing Zone. The terms of the MOU continue to be generally relevant to the needs of the traditional Indonesian fishermen while meeting Australian conservation and management requirements.

The Government considers that the appropriate mechanism for seeking to deal with the problems identified by the Committee is through the existing channels of bilateral consultation rather than through seeking to renegotiate the existing arrangement. Moreover, we consider that neither the Timor Gap Treaty, nor the Torres Strait Treaty with PNG, are appropriate models on which to base revised fisheries arrangements. The former provides for the joint exploration, development and management of offshore petroleum and gas reserves and is not an appropriate model for practical Co-operation in fisheries matters. Fisheries management is significantly different from that of petroleum exploration where minimum standards and operational guidelines can be achieved. The latter provides for the management of overlapping jurisdictions and the rights of Torres Strait islanders to engage in traditional activities. Illegal Indonesian fishing occurs within Australian waters, and the islands affected are not inhabited; nor is there the element of reciprocity which underpins the Torres Strait Treaty.

Recommendation 16

The Committee recommends that action be taken urgently to permit carriage of solar powered radios which can receive weather warnings on vessels which would otherwise be classified as `traditional', and that this matter be part of the examination of the definition of such fishermen in Recommendation 15.

Response

The Government supports the recommendation that traditional Indonesian fishermen should be permitted to equip their boats with solar powered radios to receive weather warnings. However, the use of these receivers should be limited to radio frequencies on which weather reports are transmitted, to limit the possibility of surveillance information being obtained or shared between boats.

This issue could be discussed with Indonesia during the formal consultations proposed for 1994 which were referred to previously.

Recommendation 17

The Committee recommends that the Department of Foreign affairs and Trade continue to encourage the Indonesian Government to establish an Indonesia-Australia Institute.

Response

The Government supports the recommendation. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Embassy and the Australia-Indonesia Institute have continued to encourage the establishment of an Indonesia-Australia Institute. During a visit by the Board of the Australia Indonesia Institute to Jakarta in March 1994, the Indonesian Foreign Minister foreshadowed the establishment of an Indonesia Australia Institute in the near future.

Recommendation 18

The Committee recommends that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly reaffirm its support for the Australia-Indonesia Institute, its staff and programs, and that the Institute's annual funding allocation be increased to offset the additional costs which it now has to absorb.

Response

The Government strongly supports the work of the Australia-Indonesia Institute and its Secretariat and will continue to ensure that it has adequate resources for the effective administration of its programs. However, in view of the constraints on its resources, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade needs to make savings wherever possible.

The Committee commented on changes to the funding and staffing of the Secretariat of the Institute. These changes were based on an assessment by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that the Cultural Relations Branch (CRB)—now International Cultural Relations Branch—should no longer bear all the administrative costs of the Institute and other bilateral foundations. These costs had previously been met largely out of the Branch's annual running costs allocation. Like other areas of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Branch has had to absorb, among other things, an annual reduction of 1.25 per cent in its budget as an efficiency dividend. In the circumstances, it was considered only prudent to ensure that costs were shared between the Branch and the foundations, and that all foundations were treated equally in terms of access to Branch funds for administrative purposes.

The Committee raised as a matter of concern the "downgrading" of the Institute Director position, the fact that the Director's position had been vacant since February 1993, and the reduction in the number of dedicated Institute staff from four to two. The Branch has in recent years been faced with continuing budget pressures that have eroded the salaries budget of the Branch. Also, a recent internal program identified the need for reorganisation of the Branch and a review of Branch activities and noted that it would be possible to save resources by centralising administrative functions currently dispersed throughout the Branch.

Recommendation 19

The Committee recommends that, under the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training, the Schools Council of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training consult the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture about ways of providing additional resources to schools, especially those in the eastern provinces. The Committee also recommends that the Department of Employment, Education and Training consults with the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau about the allocation of additional resources for schools in the eastern provinces.

Response

The Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) and the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) are consulting with each other, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture and related agencies on the provision of education services in eastern Indonesia, including the question of additional resources to schools.

DEET, through its participation in Joint Working Groups set up under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training, has established a program of consultation for identifying key education issues and discussing mechanisms for cooperation in delivery. Areas identified by Indonesia include curriculum development, teacher exchange and student exchange. More resources have been allocated in particular to teacher exchange. This will include increased teacher development for eastern Indonesia.

Consistent with its responsibilities under the Employment, Education and Training act, the Schools Council of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training will consult with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture about establishing a mechanism for improving information exchange between Australian and Indonesian education authorities at both the school and system level.

AIDAB, through its management of the bilateral development cooperation program, consults continuously with Indonesia's National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture and related agencies in developing Australia's development cooperation activities in the education sector. This program focuses on eastern Indonesia and future programming will continue this focus. Under the Indonesia-Australia Technical and Vocational Education Project-Part a (IATVEP A), further resources will be allocated from the bilateral development cooperation program until the project ends in December 1995. a further project to build on the achievements of IATVEP A is being considered for implementation in January 1996. In designing this project AIDAB and Bappenas—in consultation with DEET and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture—will draw on cooperation under the MOU in identifying directions for collaboration which result in the best outcome for both countries.

DEET and AIDAB will continue to consult on the development of respective programs to ensure that Australia's national interest is optimised.

Recommendation 20

The Committee recommends that the Department of Employment, Education and Training, with the Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee, examine the assessment and notification processes for higher degrees to ensure that the time taken is as short as practicable and that the results be conveyed to the Joint Committee within six months.

Response

The Department of Employment, Education and Training consulted with the Australian Vice—Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) regarding the examination of assessment and notification processes for higher degrees.

The AVCC advises that it brought Recommendation 20 to the notice of all Australian universities and invited comments. The comments received related almost entirely to higher degrees involving research and the presentation of theses, as the award of course-work higher degrees does not present any particular problems.

Responses from a wide range of universities indicated that the completion of all procedures involving the submission of a thesis based on research is a time consuming process despite efforts made by all universities to monitor the time taken at each stage. Most universities have specified the times allowed for various parts of the procedure of examining theses. These invariably include a requirement that students give notice, usually two months, of their intention to submit work. When students do not give this notice delays may occur in alerting examiners and scheduling reports to relevant academic committees and the governing council.

The procedures followed in the assessment of a thesis and notification of further requirements are the same for both local and international students. The time taken is sometimes lengthened, however, when international students who return to their own countries soon after submitting a thesis need to be contacted in order that they might make a required revision of their work or undertake an oral examination as part of the examination process. a number of universities reported difficulties where international students do not notify them of their address, or changes to address, after completing their thesis.

The frequency at which graduation ceremonies are held is also a factor determining the length of time that passes between submission of a thesis and the receipt of a degree certificate. Many universities now have two or three or more graduation ceremonies during the year. Many include at least one ceremony per year in an overseas country. Such measures reduce the time that successful students must wait to receive their testamurs. Students can also receive their awards in absentia. Additionally, a number of universities have introduced procedures whereby governing councils can award degrees in absentia to successful students in the course of council meetings instead of waiting for a public conferring ceremony.

All universities provide documents certifying completion of degree requirements and transcripts of results as soon as that part of the process is complete. Provided that students keep institutions informed of their addresses, there should be no delays in students being notified of their results.

On the basis of the further enquiries it has conducted, the AVCC would like to assure the Joint Standing Committee that universities are very conscious of the need to ensure that the time taken for assessment and notification of higher degrees is as short as practicable. Universities are particularly aware of this need in respect of international students.

Most universities have taken steps in recent years to provide all students with information about the expected time required between the submission of these theses and the various intermediate steps leading up to the presentation of a testamur. Institutions also review their procedures from time to time to ensure that the needs of students are being met.

Recommendation 21

The Committee recommends that the report Degrees of Success be examined by the Department of Employment, Education and Training and the Australian Trade Commission to establish ways and means by which Indonesian graduates of Australian universities and colleges can continue their association with Australia to the benefit of those graduates and the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

Response

The report Degrees of Success will be considered by the Department of Employment, Education and Training to examine ways to enhance the information flow to existing alumni associations and develop greater interaction with Indonesian graduates of Australian universities and colleges.

DEET has recently provided $10,000 to IKAMA (Ikatan Mahasiswa Australia), the national body of Indonesian alumni of Australian educational institutions, to assist with costs associated with its annual Dinner in Jakarta on 17 June 1994, an event scheduled to coincide with the education component of the Australia Today Promotion. The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is also seeking to strengthen alumni groups outside Jakarta. DEET is establishing a working group within the Department which will look into building closer links with alumni.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is undertaking a feasibility study on an Australian Asian central alumni directory as part of the Australia in Asia package announced by the Government in early 1993. The directory will make it easier to maintain contact with alumni in Asian countries. This will build on work already undertaken by DEET and AIDAB.

Recommendation 22

The Committee recommends that the Department of Employment, Education and Training examine the feasibility of paying austudy benefits to students pursuing part of their courses in Indonesia.

Response

Agreement has already been obtained for students to continue to receive AUSTUDY while studying in Indonesia under the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) program. Under UMAP, 51 Australian students will undertake one or more semesters of study in Indonesia during 1994. For the purposes of assessing liability under HECS, these students are treated as though they were studying within Australia. Any of these students receiving an AUSTUDY allowance will continue to receive that allowance during the study period overseas. This agreement is conditional on the student receiving full academic recognition by his/her "home" university for this study. The agreement has already been implemented and could be extended to students outside the UMAP program provided their "home" universities give full academic recognition for their studies and other conditions including HECS liability apply.

Recommendation 23

The Committee recommends that the framework provided by the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training and the Joint Working Group it set up be used to the maximum practical extent to focus and channel Australia's educational contribution to Indonesia.

Response

The Department of Employment, Education and Training will continue to develop cooperative programs with Indonesia under the framework provided by the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training. It will consult with AIDAB and other relevant Australian and Indonesian agencies involved in the sector and seek to play a national coordinating role where appropriate. In particular, DEET is developing an extensive network to focus and channel the activities of Australian education systems and institutions in Indonesia and to maximise the effectiveness of these activities. The recently appointed Education Counsellor in the Australian Embassy in Jakarta will play a major role in this process.

In relation to Australia's bilateral development cooperation program with Indonesia in the education and training sector, AIDAB will maintain its role as manager of the bilateral program in consultation with key Indonesian agencies and relevant Australian experts. This consultation will include those departments and agencies with activities under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training.

Recommendation 24

The Committee recommends that the Department of Employment, Education and Training:

examine, with such bodies as the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges Ltd, Australian International Development Assistance Bureau and the Australia-Indonesia Institute, the feasibility, cost and funding of an Australian Studies Centre in the eastern provinces of Indonesia

report back to the Joint Committee with its findings within twelve months; and

subject to a favourable outcome, give consideration to a formal approach to an appropriate university in the eastern provinces of Indonesia to assist in the establishment and maintenance of such a centre.

Recommendation 25

The Committee recommends that the Department of Employment, Education and Training and the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau examine the suggestions put forward by Dr Reeve and his colleagues:

preparation of a video series on Australia for use in Indonesia;

creation of a system of visiting fellows;

creation of a Masters Degree Program at the Australian Studies Centre at the University of Indonesia; and

translation of a core of Australian books into Bahasa Indonesia.

with a view to funding them as soon as practicable.

Response to Recommendations 24 & 25

The Department of Employment, Education and Training intends to examine these recommendations in the context of broader Government considerations of Australian studies. As well as consultations with IDP and AIDAB it will be necessary to consider this issue in the context of Australia's cultural relations program with Indonesia.

The Australian International Education Foundation (AIEF), recently established by the Department of Employment, Education and Training, will be taking on some responsibility for the promotion of Australia and Australian studies. The AIEF will be consulting closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including the bilateral councils, in formulating an Australian Studies program which would provide greater promotion of and access to Australian education and research by key target groups in priority countries, including Indonesia.

DEET have noted Dr Reeve's suggestions and will consider, in consultation with DFAT, how these can best be integrated with an overall Australian Studies program for Indonesia to maximise the program's impact in advancing Australia's diplomatic and trade objectives.

Recommendation 26

The Committee recommends that maximum use be made of the Indonesian-Australian High Level Group on Energy and Minerals to ensure:

consultations continue with Indonesia to resolve problems of energy demand and supply; and

Australian expertise and technology, including all the areas of alternate technology, are employed to the maximum extent practicable in the solutions to these problems.

Response

The Department has been consistently pursuing the objectives outlined in this recommendation since the establishment of the Australia/Indonesia High Level Group (HLG) on Energy and Mineral Resources Consultations in 1989. The HLG has met five times since its establishment and fostered good relationships and rapport between the two countries. The information exchanged is of considerable interest to Australian resource industries in both the energy and mineral sectors.

In view of Indonesia's increasing energy requirements, consultations will continue to focus on Indonesia's problems in resolving its energy demand and supply situation, with a view to identifying opportunities for energy sector cooperation and particularly the participation of Australian industries in the technology, services, equipment and investment fields.

At the inaugural meeting of the Indonesia/Australian Ministerial Forum in 1992, Ministers on both sides agreed to establish Working Groups on power and gas cooperation and extended the mandate of the HLG to facilitate the establishment of these Working Groups. The objective of the Working Groups is to work closely with Indonesian officials and power and gas industries to identify and collaboratively develop, through to feasibility study stage, projects for the Indonesian power and gas sectors.

The Working Group on power cooperation now called the Indonesia/Australia Cooperation Forum on Electric Power, held its first meeting in Jakarta in early December 1993. There was strong industry representation at the meeting from both the Australian and Indonesian sides. A second meeting will be held in Australia in early June 1994 where discussions will focus on possible pilot projects for cooperation.

The inaugural meeting for the Working Group on gas will take place in early June 1994 with strong representation from the Australian gas industry anticipated.

The use of alternate energy in which Australia has expertise continues to be promoted to assist Indonesia overcome its energy demand and supply problems at the HLG meeting in August 1993, the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Promotion Program (REPP) and the proposed UNIDO Solar Energy in Perth were both discussed with Indonesia.

In relation to the REPP, a presentation was made which outlined a number of options through which this technology could be transferred to Indonesia including commercial agreements and bilateral or multilateral aid and investment mechanisms. It was agreed that these mechanisms might be further considered and progress could be monitored at future meetings of the HLG.

As part of the process of developing the agenda for each of the HLG meetings with Indonesia, the Department of Primary Industries and Energy consults peak industry organisations and relevant Government Departments to ensure that the agenda developed takes into account prevailing issues and wherever possible, provides opportunities for industries to advise Indonesia of Australian expertise. Industry participation at meetings are fully encouraged where appropriate.

The Department of Industry, Science and Technology (DIST) has been working with industry to develop Australia's alternate energy industry including in export markets such as Indonesia. DIST has indicated that it is interested in being involved in the High Level Group to enable its work to be integrated into market development opportunities.

Recommendation 27

The Committee recommends that:

the Australian Government take every opportunity to impress on the Indonesian Government the serious consequences a nuclear accident would have for the region, and for north and north western Australia in particular; and

any assistance and advice which can be provided in connection with Indonesia's nuclear plans is made available.

Response

Australian community concerns that Indonesia's nuclear power program comply with high safety standards have been raised with senior Indonesian officials. The Government will continue to retain an interest in Indonesia's nuclear power plans as they evolve and will take opportunities to ensure Indonesian policy-makers are aware of these community concerns in Australia, while making it clear that it is Indonesia's sovereign right to make its own decisions on its future energy options.

As Australia does not have a nuclear power program it only has a limited capacity to provide assistance and advice to Indonesia on nuclear matters. As the report points out, Australia and Indonesia have been engaged in nuclear science and technology cooperation for a number of years. The proposed Nuclear Science and Technology Cooperation agreement is intended to enhance cooperation between Indonesia and Australia in areas such as nuclear medicine, radiation protection, nuclear-related safety information and applications of radioisotopes.

Recommendation 28

The Committee recommends that the Ministerial agreement on Science and Technology be debated in both Houses of Parliament after it is signed, and that detailed information be given at that time about the scope of the subsidiary agreements.

Response

The Government agrees with the Recommendation. The Department of Industry, Science and Technology is currently pursuing the negotiation of an agreement on Research and Technology Cooperation between Australia and Indonesia.

Recommendation 29

The Committee recommends that maximum possible use be made of the Australian-Indonesian Ministerial forum and its Working Group structure to develop bilateral trade.

Response

This recommendation is consistent with the high priority the Australian Government attaches to the Australia Indonesia Ministerial Forum, and its two Working Groups, one on agriculture and Food Cooperation and another on Trade, Industry and Investment, as vehicles for expanding the economic and commercial relationship between the two countries.

The Working Group on Agriculture and Food Cooperation which held its third meeting in Brisbane in April 1994, has made good progress in identifying areas for cooperation and developing workplans for prospective joint ventures in meat and livestock, dairy, food processing, horticulture and land and water management. The Working Group on Trade, Industry and Investment, at its second meeting in Darwin in October 1993, discussed issues relating to industry collaboration, the trade and investment regulatory environment, intellectual property, market access and services. These Working Groups are to produce substantive outcomes for consideration by the next Ministerial Forum meeting in the third quarter of 1994.

The Ministerial Forum expanded the mandate of the High Level Group on Energy and Minerals and established separate Working Groups on power and gas cooperation. This should create a valuable mechanism for collaboration in Indonesia's power and gas sector.

The direct participation in the Working Groups of business and peak body representatives from both sides has been particularly valuable. The Australian Government will continue to consult closely with the private sector in reaching practical business oriented outcomes for the Ministerial Forum and in advancing these outcomes beyond this.

Through the Ministerial Forum process ministers have endorsed the opportunity for developing cooperation and closer dialogue across a range of sectors to the mutual economic benefit of each country. In lead-up discussions to the next Forum, officials will be examining ways to encourage even greater growth in bilateral trade and to maximise mutual benefits from closer economic complementarity.

Recommendation 30

The Committee recommends that the Trade and Investment Sub-Group of the Working Group on Trade, Industry and Investment examine the feasibility of Australian assistance in a review and possible recodification of Indonesian commercial law.

Response

We support a continuation of the existing dialogue in the area of commercial law. There are indications that there is also scope for developing closer links with relevant areas of the Indonesian Government which will ultimately be of mutual benefit.

Consideration must also be given to what Indonesia has already planned or undertaken in this area. The new Indonesian Companies Law, for example, was introduced in early 1994, with laws on securities and other commercial matters, such as arbitration, to follow within the next five years. There may well be opportunities for assistance, including in areas such as enforcement training, and the Trade and Investment Sub-Group would be an appropriate forum for further discussion, should Indonesia request such assistance.

Recommendation 31

The Committee recommends that the Australian Trade Commission investigate ways of ensuring the widest possible distribution of its publication Business Guide to Indonesia, with the object of including the Australia-Indonesia Business Council and the State and Territory Chambers of Commerce and Industry in its distribution.

Response

The Australian Trade Commission has advertised its publication Business Guide to Indonesia to a wide audience in the exporting community and numerous copies have already been distributed. Industry organisations, including the Australia-Indonesia Business Council are aware of the availability of the publication. The Australia-Indonesia Business Council has been requested to advise council members and the wider Chambers of Commerce and Industry network that the publication can be obtained from Austrade.

Within Austrade, relevant operational staff, including client relationship managers and those operating the Austrade Hotline (13 2878) are raising the awareness within the business community of this very useful publication.

Recommendation 32

The Committee recommends that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lead a study of the feasibility, likely costs both capital and recurring, structure and management of a comprehensive data base on Indonesia, including appropriate representation from government, academic and business organisations, and report its findings to the Committee within twelve months.

Response

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has undertaken preliminary consultations with relevant government, academic and business organisations concerning the proposal for a feasibility study into the establishment of a data base on Indonesia.

Initial responses have not been supportive of the data base proposal. There is already a significant body of readily accessible data on Indonesia, including services provided by several government departments and agencies. Some of these, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Country Economic Brief and Cable Subscription Service, are commercially available. Concern has also been expressed about the cost of establishing and maintaining a data base given that it would become outdated quickly. The Australia-Indonesia Business Council, in particular, has questioned the need for the study and they intend writing directly to the Committee concerning this recommendation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to examine the feasibility of the database proposal and will report its findings to the Committee on completion of its study.

Recommendation 33

The Committee recommends that an Australian consulate be opened in Surabaya as a matter of urgency.

Response

Whilst the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recognises the advantages to Australians of a permanent consular presence in Surabaya, a major constraint in establishing new overseas missions is the limited resources available to the Department to open new offices overseas and the competing priorities on the Department's resources. although the Department has no plans at this point to open a post in Surabaya the need to open new offices overseas is under regular review. Australia's expanding political and trade links with Indonesia, as well as the increasing numbers of Australian visitors, may result in the need to open a post in the future.

To capitalise on export opportunities resulting from the strong industrial growth taking place in the East Java region, Austrade has established a sub-post in Surabaya headed by a locally recruited Marketing Manager.

Recommendation 34

The Committee recommends that, wherever practicable, the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau ensure that plaques or other means are used to identify projects provided by Australia.

Response

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta has raised the matter of plaques with the Department of Public Works and there is in-principle agreement that facilities provided in the future should acknowledge Australian Government assistance.

Recommendation 35

The Committee recommends that the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau reserve two Sponsored Training Program Scholarships per year for the Australian Studies Program at the University of Indonesia.

Response

Under our present arrangements with the Indonesian Government, AIDAB is not able to reserve scholarships for particular institutions. However, AIDAB has given the Australian Studies Centre full information on the more than 200 scholarships available including details of nomination procedures and deadlines. This should assist the centre to take maximum advantage of the significant opportunities already available. AIDAB would welcome arrangements which would ensure that scholarships were taken up with the Australian Studies Centre.

Recommendation 36

The Committee recommends that there be a full, independent and public review of the theory and practice of the Development Import Finance Facility to ensure its performance is consistent with Australia's development assistance objectives, including progress towards the achievement and protection of human rights in recipient countries.

Response

AIDAB is currently undertaking an evaluation of the Development Import Finance Facility (DIFF) with particular emphasis on measuring the developmental effect of the program.

In regard to human rights issues, the generic criteria upon which decisions are made on DIFF are the same as those elsewhere in the aid program. Consequently, the same approach as outlined in answer to Recommendation 10 regarding an assessment of progress towards the achievement and protection of human rights in recipient countries applies.