Kekukuhan dan kehangatan hubungan Australia-Indonesia terlihat jelas pada sebuah konferensi besar di Sydney pada 19-21 Februari 2009. Konferensi tersebut menarik minat para tokoh pemerintah, bisnis, media, universitas, akademisi, organisasi masyarakat, kelompok keagamaan dan pemuda.
Perdana Menteri Kevin Rudd menyampaikan pidato pembuka pada jamuan makan malam di Art Gallery, New South Wales, yang sebagai perayaan 20 tahun Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII). Menteri Luar Negeri Stephen Smith menggambarkan Indonesia sebagai mitra demokrasi yang alamiah dan bernilai bagi Australia. Menteri Perdagangan Simon Crean berkomitmen untuk membangun hubungan perdagangan bilateral sebesar $10 triliun, menyitir bukti bahwa kesepakatan perdagangan bebas bilateral dapat mewujudkan potensi terpendam.
Berikut adalah transkrip pidato Menteri Luar Negeri Stephen Smith yang mengambarkan Indonesia sebagai mitra demokrasi yang bernilai bagi Australia.
Speech by: The Hon Stephen Smith MP
AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Thank you, Allan, for that introduction.
At the outset I express my appreciation to you as co-host, and to the sponsors of this landmark conference, the Australia Indonesia Institute, AusAid and the ANZ Bank.
To my counterpart, Dr Hassan Wirajuda, and his fellow Ministers, Dr Mari Pangestu and Mr Rachmat Witoelar I say “selamat datang” .
I warmly welcome all conference delegates. Thank you all for making the time to join us. Hassan, I thank you publicly for the very generous Indonesian contribution of US$1 million towards a school reconstruction project, and a victim identification team, following the tragic fires in Victoria a fortnight ago.
All Australians are truly touched by this gesture of neighbourly support.
This conference is being held at a critical time. The economic, social and political challenges Australia and Indonesia now face are significant. Luckily, we need not face them alone. So strong is the bilateral relationship that it can work not only to the advantage of our two countries, but has the potential to operate with real impact in our regional and global context.
Realizing this potential, however, will require more than the excellent cooperation that exists at an official level. It requires a wider public recognition in both countries of the benefits our relationship brings to ordinary Australians and Indonesians, and of the prospects that exist for our emerging partnership.
Both governments have a role in countering some persistent inaccurate perceptions, but, as Dr Wirajuda has pointed out previously, this is not a task in which governments can succeed by themselves. It will take a broad effort by leaders across many sections of society not only to add further substance to the relationship, but to bring along some of those who are yet to see its potential.
This conference is part of that effort.
By capitalizing on the diverse expertise gathered here, I am confident we can emerge with fresh ideas and strategies to realize even more for the relationship.
At a minimum, I hope participants will gain a new appreciation of the contemporary nature and value of the relationship.
The bilateral agenda: looking ahead
This conference is the first time we have brought together so many senior and influential figures from our two countries, from both within and outside government. It is fair to ask: what are we building? What do we hope to achieve?
Our starting premise is that history and geography may have thrown our countries together, but that it is the active and creative engagement of our governments and peoples over six decades that has come to bind us as neighbours, friends and partners.
As with any relationship, there have been ups and downs. There have been periods when we have not seen eye to eye. But we have now learnt to address our differences without disrupting the whole relationship. And intermittent tensions have not prevented us from finding new ways to cooperate. The foundation of our relationship as nation states lies in the support Australia gave to the emerging Indonesian nation in the post-War years. That support went against the then policies of our allies and friends the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
It demonstrated Australia’s instinctive understanding of the forces sweeping away colonialism after World War II and our willingness to be bold in our support of the fledgling Indonesian Republic.
What has really served to bind us together, however, are the profound changes that have transformed Indonesia over the last decade. It is hard to overstate those changes. Indonesia has emerged as a new polity after a series of significant shocks: the Asian financial crisis; its transition to democracy; and the tragic human cost of terror attacks and natural disaster. Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim community among its many faiths, is now also the world’s third-largest democracy, after India and the United States.
Australia, as a neighbour and friend, has looked on with admiration and respect at the blossoming democracy to our north. A lively Parliament and civil society are both increasingly influential political voices. Along with a vibrant media, they reflect a fundamentally pluralistic and tolerant society with an underlying ethnic and religious diversity.
In addition, strong economic growth in recent years has helped raise living standards and foster the stability needed for democracy. Australia has seized the opportunity to broaden and deepen our links with Indonesia. Indonesia’s political evolution makes it a more natural and valued partner for Australia.
We recognize that a confident Indonesia is looking to assert its interests and project its achievements, and to work in partnership with Australia and others on global as well as bilateral and regional issues. That is what’s happening now. We’re working together in the G-20 on a global response to the financial crisis. We cooperate closely in the WTO and, in our own region, our two countries are pushing for closer economic integration. Our Trade colleagues, Simon Crean and Dr Pangestu are working towards a bilateral free trade agreement which covers trade, investment and capacity building. Our officials now cooperate more closely than ever at the planning and operational level in policing, immigration, customs, the environment, climate change and defense. In the face of transnational threats such as terrorism, natural disaster, people-smuggling and illegal fishing, we have reacted by finding ways to share expertise and to develop common strategies.
The successes have been considerable.
Indonesia’s achievements in countering terrorism have been remarkable and we value highly our practical cooperation in this area. Indonesia’s impressive gains reflect its strong political will, a robust judicial approach and the effective marginalization of radical Islam. The Indonesian Government has been deservedly praised for dealing regional terrorist networks a series of significant blows.
We are committed to building on our cooperation with Indonesia, and others in the region, to counter the threat of terrorism. Our police forces have cooperated successfully to capture key people-smugglers and disrupt organized criminal networks.
Later this year, Dr Wirajuda and I will co-chair a Bali Process Ministerial meeting to further strengthen our regional efforts to counter people-smuggling. Cooperation on maritime security is helping us better patrol our vast territorial waters, combat illegal fishing and jointly secure our common maritime borders. Last month the heads of our respective defense forces signed a Joint Statement which focuses our defense engagement in the areas of counter-terrorism, maritime security, intelligence, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peace-keeping. The Joint Statement reaffirms Australia and Indonesia’s commitment to taking a cooperative approach to security issues under the umbrella of the Lombok Treaty. Dr Wirajuda and I signed the Treaty into force last year in Perth and in doing so made the Lombok-Perth Treaty a cornerstone of the modern Australia-Indonesia relationship. Under it, we will work together to counter non-traditional threats including terrorism and natural disasters.
Regional friends, global partners
Indonesia is a nation increasingly engaged and influential in our region and on the global stage, befitting its emergence as a major regional democracy, with links across the developed and developing worlds. Indonesia is rightly growing in international influence and that is a trend Australia welcomes. Ours is no longer the relationship of 1947, or, as some might have characterized it, a relationship between a donor and a country in need. It is a genuine partnership between robust democracies, that extends well beyond the bilateral to the regional and international spheres. It is also a partnership built on mutual respect. Our shared participation in the Inter-Faith Dialogue is a practical illustration of how different religious beliefs are no barrier to working together as friends. Our close cooperation has important symbolic value at a global level. We may not appear to be natural partners, yet we work together very effectively, and learn more about each other and ourselves in doing so. Our work to pursue common interests goes far beyond mere symbolism. It’s a partnership that is achieving, and will continue to achieve, results.
In late 2007, for example, Australia and Indonesia worked hard together behind the scenes to ensure a positive outcome at the Bali Climate Change conference.
The reality is that Australian and Indonesian leadership will again be vital in securing an inclusive post-Kyoto framework. Our practical work on climate change and the environment, contemporary issues of the highest importance, continues to evolve and prosper. President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Rudd agreed last year on a Forest Carbon Partnership that will support programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It is an innovative, multi-dimensional initiative that includes technical support for Indonesia to develop its national forest carbon accounting and monitoring system. Our bilateral cooperation on reducing emissions from deforestation is starting to pay dividends internationally. In December 2008, Australia and Indonesia made a joint submission to the Poznan Climate Conference on lessons learned from our demonstration activities in Indonesia. The submission was an excellent example of developing and developed countries cooperating on reducing emissions from deforestation.
Another area in which our strong bilateral experience is translating into joint international action is in the promotion of strong, resilient democracies.
Indonesia has shown the region and the world that democracy and economic development can go hand-in-hand. Its whole-hearted embrace of democratic values such as freedom of speech, and the consistently high participation of its people in elections, have been deeply impressive. This morning’s first conference session will address the common challenges we face as democracies and the areas in which we can cooperate to strengthen democratic governance.
That is a challenge Indonesia has taken up in a regional context through the vision and leadership of President Yudhoyono and Dr Wirajuda. Australia strongly supported Indonesia’s initiative to convene the Bali Democracy Forum in December last year, and the Prime Minister co-chaired sessions of the meeting with President Yudhoyono.
By establishing the Forum, Indonesia signaled its understanding that institutions of democracy need to be constantly reviewed and improved. Significantly, Indonesia also signaled its recognition that, along with international partners, it could play a leading role in promoting democratic renewal in the region.
In 2009, we will be taking forward with Indonesia a number of practical initiatives under the Bali Democracy Forum to strengthen democracy and key institutions of good governance in our region.
I’ve been speaking, for the most part, of the task of government in building the relationship into the future. However, the strands of understanding, affection and respect woven by thousands of Australians and Indonesians are equally important.
That is what this event is all about. This Conference is an opportunity to generate practical ideas on how we can build the Australia-Indonesia partnership over the coming years. I encourage you to be creative and enterprising in your discussions.
Last night’s dinner celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Australia-Indonesia Institute and highlighted the people-to-people links so vital to any good relationship.
We now have substantial groups of people in each country with a detailed knowledge of the other, formed through business, media, education, culture, and sport.
The Australia-Indonesia Institute is itself a significant player in facilitating these exchanges. Despite all this good work, we face some obstacles.
We have a way to go in countering some negative perceptions of the relationship that persist in both Australia and Indonesia. A 2008 Lowy Institute poll indicated that Australians felt more warmly about Russia and the United Arab Emirates than they did about Indonesia – a troubling revelation, given that we are neighbours. From time to time, Indonesia’s media reveals that adverse perceptions of Australia endure in Indonesia. The key is to persevere in building comprehensive links between our societies: Australia is now part of the Asian Group for the World Cup.
Last year the Australia International Cultural Council delivered major arts and cultural program in Indonesia. That program, titled IN2OZ, was aimed at updating perceptions of Australia as culturally diverse, dynamic and creative. Jessica Mauboy’s two visits to Indonesia with the IN2OZ program were particularly popular with Indonesian audiences. We saw why last night. Jessica, who has an Indonesian father and an indigenous Australian mother, took the time to visit some Australian-funded schools in West Java and West Timor.
Australian and Indonesian authorities are together working on an ambitious and wonderful project to build, repair or expand 2000 high schools across 20 Indonesian provinces by the end of 2009. Our goal is simple: to give children across Indonesia, from the poorest of areas, the hope of a better future. Last year Dr Wirajuda and I formally opened the one thousandth of these Australian-funded schools in Sulawesi.
Education, of course, is a key element of our development assistance work in Indonesia as well as a driver of sustained people-to-people ties between our countries.
The Australian Government awards 300 development scholarships to Indonesian students each year. This program both furthers their education and invests in the relationship between the Australian and Indonesian people. With around 15,000 Indonesians studying in Australia, we are the most popular overseas destination for Indonesian students and we welcome them. It is also highly desirable that more Australians study the Indonesian language and learn about Indonesian society.
When Dr Wirajuda visited my hometown, Perth, last year, he visited the modern day successor my old high school where he spoke with a class of young Australian students learning Bahasa Indonesia.
We’re also strengthening our education partnership through a new program to bring Australian schools and Indonesian schools together, classroom to classroom, to help young Australians speak Indonesian. This will occur through teacher exchanges and internet-based contact between teachers and students. This new school twinning program complements our program of over $60 million to boost the study of Asian languages in Australia. Academic links are particularly important as we look to build a new generation of Australian Indonesia specialists; they’ve almost become an endangered species. One of our young speakers and delegates at this conference, Nik Feith Tan, is the grandson of the late Herb Feith, one of Australia’s most distinguished scholars on Indonesia. We heard Nik last night and he would undoubtedly agree that we need not only greater interaction between our academics, but also greater numbers of young Australians developing expertise on Indonesia.
The Australian Government-funded program for accredited courses at universities in Central and East Java has taken on fewer than 100 Australian students per year.
We’d very much like to see it expand to include more universities in eastern Indonesia and more fields of study.
We have come together for this conference because we all have a personal interest in setting the direction for the Australia-Indonesia relationship and maximizing it over coming years.
Part of the challenge we face, as Ministers, Parliamentarians, teachers, academics, artists, businesspeople, journalists and officials, is to help others in our communities understand that they, too, have a stake in this extraordinary relationship.
I therefore encourage all of you to bring a level of ambition to your discussions: be creative, enterprising, bold – even provocative. We need fresh ideas and the cross-fertilization of experiences to generate momentum and to fully realize the enormous potential of our relationship. I now invite Dr Wirajuda to make some remarks.