Calum Hyslop (The Jakarta Post)
Thu, February 2, 2023
Since Indonesian independence, Australian and Indonesian governments have recognized the strategic and economic importance of their relationship. This relationship has the potential to improve the wealth and security of the entire Indo-Pacific region.
Australia is a capacity builder in Indonesia, whether that is through improving institutional resilience or a deepening of democracy. As one of the oldest democracies in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia can share invaluable knowledge with its neighbor to create the type of wealthy egalitarian society that Indonesians crave. For Australia, closer ties with Indonesia can deepen its needed diversity of markets and protect Australia’s need for free and fair trade routes throughout the Indo-Pacific through closer defense ties.
The last 20 years have been incredibly successful in deepening the relationship through solid government-to-government dialogue at the ministerial level. However, dialogue becomes almost nonexistent beyond the elite-level discussions of bureaucracy and academia. This paucity of people-to-people contact has led to instability in the relationship with populists, easily whipping up xenophobia on either side of the Arafura Sea.
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