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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 96

Question No. 169

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 18 May 1983:

Will he consult with the Minister for Defence to (a) ensure that no military aid is given to Indonesia while it maintains its military role in East Timor, West Irian and elesewhere, and (b) divert funds allocated for military aid to constructive projects to increase security between Indonesia and Australia, such as promoting English Language studies in Indonesia and study of Indonesian culture in Australia.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) The Government has paid considerable attention to Australia's relation with Indonesia. Our aim is to enhance the generally good relationship that has been built up between Australia and Indonesia over several decades. We want a productive relationship based on mutual respect and one which is given strength by its ability to constructively resolve the inevitable differences which will arise from time to time.

During my visit to Jakarta in April, I had wide ranging discussions with President Soeharto and senior Indonesian Ministers. East Timor and Australian assistance programs, including the Defence Co-operation Program were among the subjects discussed.

At the conclusion of my visit, I announced that existing programs, projects and exchanges in Indonesia would be maintained as we mutually explored our bilateral relations with the purpose of putting them on a firmer, more constructive and creative footing and sought to reduce causes for differences and misunderstanding.

In respect of East Timor our primary concern is to ensure that we do all that we properly and reasonably can to help the East Timorese.

(b) The Government fully supports the promotion of English Language studies in Indonesia as well as the study of Indonesian culture in Australia.

I am happy to say that when he visited Indonesia in June, the Prime Minister opened the Australian Language Centre in Jakarta for which $5-7 million has been allocated for the first five years.

You will also be aware that over the past five years the Defence Co-operation Program has been sponsoring a significant English Language instruction project with the Indonesian Armed Forces. As well as providing Language Laboratory equipment to improve English teaching resources, the project involves the exchange of English Language instructors to aid in improving Indonesian teaching techniques.