Policy Briefs | 04 March 2010

Indonesia and Australia: time for a step change

The relationship with Indonesia is one of Australia’s most important but it is still not on a firm footing. Government-to-government ties have been strengthening but relations are focused around a mostly negative set of security-related issues.

Fergus Hanson

  • Fergus Hanson

The relationship with Indonesia is one of Australia’s most important but it is still not on a firm footing. Government-to-government ties have been strengthening but relations are focused around a mostly negative set of security-related issues.

Fergus Hanson

  • Fergus Hanson
On this page

Key Findings

  • “The Australian government almost seems embarrassed or afraid to draw attention to its relations with Indonesia … Public perceptions of Indonesia present the Australian government with one of its most pressing foreign policy problems.”
  • The relationship with Indonesia is of critical importance to Australia.
  • Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is badly underdone at the government, business and people-to-people levels.
  • Major leadership gestures are needed to try and jolt it back onto a more positive trajectory.

Executive Summary

Business-to-business links are underdone and mutual public perceptions are poor. Major incentives to drive closer ties are needed to ensure build one of Australia’s most important relationships.