Australian Embassy

Transcript: Media doorstop at Indonesian Vice President’s Office

The Hon Michael Keenan MP
Minister for Justice
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism

19 August 2015

Media doorstop at Indonesian Vice President’s Office

Question: (…inaudible…)

It was a great honour for me to meet here with the Vice President and I am very pleased to be visiting Indonesia on the 70th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence. The relationship between Australia and Indonesia is very strong. We are good friends, we are good partners but we have a lot of shared challenges as well.

I have been very keen to talk to my Indonesian counterparts and I have had discussions with the Vice President today about how we are going to enhance our cooperation on security issues in particular, which I have responsibility for in Australia.

So far my visit has been very constructive, it’s very good to talk and meet with old friends here in Indonesia. And I am looking forward to continuing to do that over the course of this evening and tomorrow as well.

Question: What are the things that you think Australia can learn from Indonesia with regard to counter terrorism and legislation that needs to go to parliament?

Well, I think the most important thing we can learn from Indonesia, which is the world’s largest Muslim country, is the great tradition of tolerance and respect that Indonesians have for each other. They are really a great example to the rest of the world about how to run a multi-faith society. These are values that we share in Australia as well.

I have been pleased to have discussions at the mosque earlier on today and also with the Vice President about why those values remain so important, particularly in the world where those values are under challenge by radical and violent terrorist organisations.

Question: What assessment did the Vice President give you of the influence of extremist groups in Indonesia, like Islamic State?

Well obviously the Indonesian government, like the Australian government, is concerned about the reach of this barbarous terrorist organisation in the Middle East. And the methods that they use to radicalise people - and we are very concerned about them radicalising young Australians - are very similar in Australia as in they are in Indonesia. So it’s good for us to be able to share that experience, but also to share strategies for combatting it as well.

Question: Can you elaborate on what you mean by assistance, (…inaudible…) is it assistance or funding?

Look it was an exchange of information. We’ve got very similar challenges and it’s good for me to come here to see how the Indonesian government is dealing with the challenges here in Indonesia.

Question: What kind of things can Australia and Indonesia do together to combat terrorist groups?

Look, cooperation is already very, very extensive. The Australian Federal Police has very good relationships with the Indonesian National Police. Our security agencies have very good relationships with one another. We have a long history of cooperation that we cemented after the Bali bombings. It’s cooperation that the Australian government takes very seriously. It’s cooperation that we are very keen to continue to enhance.

This is a vitally important relationship for Australia. My visit here I think underlines the fact that we have shared challenges within that relationship. And I was very keen to be able to inform the Vice President today that the Australian government wants to continue to cooperate and continue to enhance our cooperation on every level, but particularly on security issues.

Question: How would you describe the state of the relationship now that the trouble that we have seen throughout the… (trails off)

Well the relationship is very strong. It’s always very strong because Australia and Indonesia are good friends. But also we have very similar issues that concern us. Those issues of national security that I have discussed.

But we are also very keen, and the Vice President made the point to me that we are also keen, to enhance our economic relationship. The trade minister will be visiting Indonesia later on this year to enhance that relationship. So, the people to people relationship, the country to country relationship is very strong. But whatever we can do to make that relationship stronger I think is in the interests of both countries.

Thank you very much.