Australian Embassy

Towards a Stronger and More Resilient Indo-Pacific

Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs


Today I will join ministers and heads of delegation from 18 countries and other international organisations in Jakarta for the High Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation: Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Inclusive Region.

This event comes at a crucial time for Indonesia, Australia and the region as a whole.

We are united by a commitment to stand together in friendship and understanding. We must work together to build resilience in the face of the many challenges we face in our increasingly contested and uncertain region.

This is particularly important in the wake of the appalling terrorist attack in Christchurch last Friday.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

It is abhorrent to the fundamental values for which we stand for in Australia.  From those who have placed flowers in front of mosques, to those who have offered to stand guard, to those who have paid tribute and prayed across our nations the message is clear.  Diversity and tolerance will prevail.

Religious freedom and tolerance are fundamental to open, multicultural and resilient societies.

Southeast Asia is the most diverse region in the world. Across our region, we have Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews – to name only a few - living side by side. We celebrate and cherish this diversity; it is part of what makes our region so unique and special.

In the wake of Christchurch, Australia renews our commitment to religious freedom, and the friendship and understanding that unites the people of Australia and Southeast Asia.

I want to say today to all Indonesians, and to all Muslims across the world, that I offer my profound condolences and sympathy for this attack on behalf of all Australians.

The views this terrorist professed have no place in multicultural Australia, have no place in New Zealand and have no place in any country or community.

Australians of every faith from across the country have come together in the aftermath of the attacks to remember those who lost their lives in the massacre and show solidarity with their Muslim friends and neighbours.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and I joined the Grand Mufti of Australia and other Muslim community leaders to express our condolences at the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney.

Now, more than ever, we must come together to encourage tolerance and respect between faiths and across our communities.

While there will always be those who seek to drive us apart, their hate will only strengthen our resilience and cooperation.

I am in Jakarta today to discuss the Indo-Pacific, a region in which Australia, Indonesia and all countries are coming together to help create peace, stability and prosperity for all.

At its heart, and as suggested by the name of the meeting, today’s discussions in Jakarta represent an important opportunity to develop momentum towards a common understanding about the kind of region in which we want to live. 

A valuable starting place is to articulate the key principles we wish to see embedded in our region.

A region in which our fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of religion, are respected.

A region characterised by openness, transparency, and inclusiveness.

A region in which all nations have a voice.

A region in which the rule of law – a rules-based order – is respected.

These principles are of course entirely consistent with those advanced by Indonesia, including through the Global Maritime Fulcrum, introduced by President Widodo at the East Asia Summit in 2014.

We see today’s discussions as a valuable step towards building consensus. They should also be seen as underlining the importance of ASEAN. 

Indonesian leadership has much to offer the countries in the Indo-Pacific as we seek to strengthen cooperation and build trust and understanding. We welcome Indonesia’s leadership on this agenda.

Our vision for this region is one of prosperity and optimism for all people.

This vision could not stand in greater contrast to the tragic events that have overshadowed the past week. The events have only strengthened Australia’s resolve to work with Indonesia and the rest of our ASEAN partners to create a more tolerant, open and prosperous region.


Published on Kompas, 20 March 2019, page 6