//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Indonesia invites Australia for controversial “turn back the boats” asylum-seeker talks


Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has opened the way for Australia’s Tony Abbott to make his first foreign visit as prime minister to Indonesia, with bilateral talks on the controversial policy of turning around asylum-seeker boats possible within a fortnight.

The development came as another key plank of Mr Abbott’s asylum-seeker policy began to take shape, with Chief of Defence David Hurley planning to promote a new three-star general to lead border-protection operations for the incoming Coalition government.

The Australian Defence Force has begun the search for a senior officer to lead Mr Abbott’s Operation Sovereign Borders and plans to promote one of the dozens of two-star officers in the army, navy and air force to the second-most senior level in the ADF.

There are six officers of three-star rank in the ADF. All fill onerous positions and none is likely to take on the additional border-protection role along with their current duties.

Dr Yudhoyono spoke to the incoming Australian prime minister by phone last night and invited him to Bali for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum leaders meeting from October 7-8.

However, Dr Yudhoyono and Mr Abbott also discussed an earlier bilateral meeting in Indonesia and agreed their senior officials would examine the opportunities, presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told The Australian. The early meeting, if agreed, would most likely happen in Jakarta in the week of September 22-29.

The question of the Coalition’s plans to turn back asylum boats, deeply unpopular in Indonesia, did not arise in yesterday’s 10-minute conversation, in which Dr Yudhoyono congratulated Mr Abbott on his election win.

However, Dr Yudhoyono has opened the way for the leaders to deal with that issue at a pre-APEC meeting. He said that the leaders would be able to “discuss bilateral issues and developments in the region”, Dr Faizasyah said.

With Mr Abbott and his cabinet not sworn in until next week, and during the busiest part of the year for summits, the opportunities for a separate bilateral meeting are limited. However, Dr Yudhoyono has cleared space by deciding not to attend the UN General Assembly “leaders week” in New York from September 23-27.

During their conversation yesterday, Dr Faizasyah said, the leaders agreed to work together to achieve a successful APEC summit in Bali. “Prime minister Abbott conveyed his belief the two countries can build good co-operation and underlined that Australia, from his perspective, is a trusted partner for Indonesia,” Dr Faizasyah said.

On the eve of the election, Mr Abbott told The Australian his first bilateral visit would be to Indonesia and that “because of its size, proximity and potential in many respects this is our most important single relationship”.

In a series of television interviews yesterday, Mr Abbott set out his ambition that his new border-protection operation – including escorting seaworthy asylum-seeker boats back to the Indonesian maritime border, tougher visa conditions and offshore processing – would begin as soon as the new government was sworn in.

The Australian has learned the ADF began “standard contingency planning” some time ago when the Coalition announced its multi-faceted policy. Selection and appointment of the promised “three-star” commander of the proposed multi-agency taskforce will not begin formally until the relevant ministers are sworn in, most likely on Monday.

The Coalition is keen to avoid being seen to interfere with the ADF’s chain of command and the new commander will be selected by ADF chief David Hurley and other senior officers. The plan is for the officer to report directly to incoming immigration minister Scott Morrison.

The are currently six three-star commanders in the ADF, including the heads of the army, navy and air force. The ADF chief, General David Hurley, is a four-star officer.

A possible candidate to head the Coalition taskforce is Major General Angus Campbell, a highly respected officer who is now deputy chief of the army.

Major General Campbell left the army to become deputy national security adviser in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Howard government and was later brought back into the army and promoted to command Australian troops in the Middle East. He has the broad experience dealing with a range of diverse agencies that is needed to fill such a major co-ordination role.

Another possibility is the current chief of Border Protection Command, Rear Admiral David Johnson, a “two-star” officer who could be promoted to fill the role.

The Australian has been told that because the new border-protection strategy embraces a range of agencies and policies that would have an effect in Australia and abroad, the new commander would not necessarily be a naval officer. An army officer could be advised on the practicalities of interception operations at sea by the two-star naval officer in Border Protection Command.

Source: The Australian – Jakarta opens door to talks on Tony Abbott’s asylum policies
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Australia’s military takes over border protection; SAS commander in charge | Craig Hill - September 17, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,358 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

In a recent briefing, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines warned, “I would characterize it as the Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here.” So, where is the Russia-Ukraine war heading? What is Russian President Putin planning next? Is Europe ready for […]

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

The Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are destabilizing international order in an effort to expand their global power, Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, warned lawmakers during a House hearing on Tuesday. In his written testimony submitted to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Adm. Aquilino explained that the Department […]

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

We have noticed that the embrace with China had become suffocating in the last twenty years. The West universe of consumers and China the factory of the world. We started with modest and low value-added materials and products, to refine the trajectory and revolution to the most refined and complex technologies, such as 5G and […]

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

As President Biden welcomes leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a special summit this week in Washington, D.C., his administration is affirming Beijing as the U.S.’s main rival and underscoring the region’s importance in U.S.-China competition. The two-day event is part of the U.S effort to woo ASEAN members caught in a […]

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

A strong international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is critical to deterring China from embarking on territorial conquests in Taiwan or the South China Sea, said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. “China has been carefully observing the current situation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and they are paying particularly close attention to what […]

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

Finland is a unique country with a distinct language and culture. However, its possession was always contested between Sweden and Russia. Though Finland mainly remained under Swedish control in 1809, it was annexed by Russia. Using the end of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in late 1917, Finland declared its independence from the […]

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans to develop a system for monitoring asteroids that pose a threat to earth, highlighting the nation’s growing ambitions for its space program. The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said in a TV interview, according to […]

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Formally, Russia is not at war with Ukraine, where it claims to be conducting a so-called “special military operation.” But with Japan, given that Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty officially ending World War II, the two Asian neighbors remain technically at war. And after Japan recently described four Kuril islands whose ownership […]

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with China

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with  China

A tiny island chain in the South Pacific has Western governments scrambling after it agreed to a security pact with China that the United States and its allies fear could enhance Beijing’s military power in this strategically important region.  The deal between China and the Solomon Islands, a nation of 700,000 people that had deadly […]

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

Militaries all around the world are looking at integrating modern technology into their military weapons. China, as usual, appears to be making serious efforts to prepare for the future battleground, this time, with plans to include artificial intelligence and high-speed features in its future choppers. During a recent public lecture, a prominent Chinese military helicopter […]

%d bloggers like this: