//
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 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

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

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

The Chinese military has intensified its drone incursions into the skies above Taiwan with almost daily flights of combat and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) TB-001 drone was spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the island and China’s […]

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India’s foreign ministry said on Friday that disengagement along a disputed border area with China will be completed by Sept. 12. Both countries began disengaging from the Gogra-Hot Springs border area in the western Himalayas on Thursday, over two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting […]

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

Two electrifying moves in recent weeks have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act extends the Obama-era EV tax […]

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

In the post-cold war era, India has moved from a policy of non-alignment to a policy of multi-alignment. This means that India has friendly relations with almost all-powerful and developing nations. Today India is carving out a unique path for itself. Such an approach provides prominence and exposes India to the harmful behind-curtain activities by […]

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s frontline island of Kinmen was once again in the headlines when President Tsai Ing-wen paid tribute this week to the soldiers and civilians who “operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan” 64 years ago. On Aug. 23, 1958 mainland Chinese troops attacked Kinmen in a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan […]

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

The father of communism, Karl Marx, once famously said — “We have no compassion, and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror”. This statement summarises how terrorism and communism go hand in hand. Maoist China alone destroyed between 44.5 to 72 million lives. During […]

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say. Beijing has ramped up military maneuvers in the 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China — and the […]

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

Once China achieves its professed goal of establishing control over Taiwan, a process of “re-education” of the island’s population would follow, according to China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye. The ambassador was speaking on French television channel BFM TV on Wednesday night, when he said a majority of the Taiwanese population actually wanted to be […]

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s present state confirms the famous statement: “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” Sri Lankans have been repeating the mistakes of choosing the politicians Rajapaksas again and again. It is confirmed that there were unaccounted payments that the Chinese were liberal with during project negotiations with the island nation. They were paid […]

%d bloggers like this: