Below, an email from Andrew Johnson on Australia-Indonesia relations. First, Darryl Daugherty writes from Bangkok:
In his post of 5 February 2014, Bangkok: Protesters Still in the Streets But Battle Moves to Courts, Elliot Brennan offered the total vote throughout Thailand as a meaningful indicator.
Looking to more detailed statistics, it's seen that voter participation in the Pheu Thai strongholds of the North, Northeast, and Central areas of the country were almost uniformly in the 50%-60% range, with the most notable non-participation in provinces with no clear majority or third party wins in the 2011 general election.
One might add to his list of causes for participation drop-off versus 2011 that with the election boycott by the Democrats, many Pheu Thai supporters may have simply had better things to do with their Sunday than participating in a guaranteed PT victory.
This is a more parsimonious explanation for some non-participation than Mr Brennan's third assertion that 'reports of corruption in government (affected) voters' belief in the system as free and fair', which he does not deign to expand upon or support with citations.
In short, the 2 February 2014 vote almost precisely mirrored the 2011 elections rather than diverging from it as dramatically as Mr Brennan's general figures would suggest, with the most meaningful exception being interference by the Democrat-backing (and tacitly backed) PDRC in some Bangkok districts where Pheu Thai is recently ascendant.
The Democrats and their Southern-driven auxiliaries are all-too-aware that should their influence continue to wane in the capital, they run the risk of becoming little more than a regional party. Thus the weekend's drama in some contested Bangkok districts and their polling places, whereas in the rest of the country elections went quite smoothly and in line with projectable outcomes where they were held at all.
Andrew Johnson responds to What Peter Cosgrove Thinks About Indonesia:
Peter Cosgrove has displayed good diplomatic tact discussing 'rub points' and while asking questions such as 'Can any of you remember a protracted period when Indonesia, its actions and concerns and thus its relationship with Australia were not major issues?' Yet I remain concerned that Mr Cosgrove, nor our Ambassador to Indonesia, nor DFAT are realists about the history and economic value of our relationship with Indonesia.
Mr Cosgrove refers to 'its move to independence', which is the interpretation most texts give to the 1946 to 1949 conflict, yet the Dutch in 1946 had already declared at the UN that the region was a non-self-governing territory entitled to self-government and whose progress towards self-government Holland would report to the UN each year. Though there were Dutch opponents (business/church), the Hague by listing the region as a non-self-governing territory had set it on an inevitable course to independence. In my view Sukarno's war was not for his countrymen but was to retain his own position of authority and benefit.
Indonesia is not among Australia's top ten trade partners and despite sixty years maturity and being the largest recipient of Australian aid, Indonesia still expects our media and public to muzzle our discussions in Jakarta's favour. And when evaluating our security interests shouldn't we be honest with ourselves that Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, attacked Mayasia during the 1960s, invaded West New Guinea in 1962, and the federation which the UN endorsed in 1949 was attacked by one of its own states which subsequently declared the federation void and that the region had voluntarily decided to join the state called the Republic of Indonesia.
Good relations with any nation is desirable, as is a stable and prosperous world, but should Australia be aiding Indonesia at the expense of our own or our other neighbours' benefit?
Many West Papuans celebrate the arrival in 1855 of the first Dutch missionaries who began teaching the Dutch sciences, by the 1930s Papuan graduates were replacing the Dutch and before the Japanese military arrived in 1942 many people in West New Guinea had been debating their need to unite as a nation. During the 1950s Australia realised the eastern half needed the help of the western Dutch half of the island, not because of the mineral wealth now being mined by US and UK interests, but because West Papua had developed the social skills & cohesion which a successful Melanesian state would need.
After sixty years Indonesia remains a volatile and militant neighbour sensitive to comments by our media and members of our public. We have a choice, Peter Cosgrove and our Ambassadors can continue a diplomatic dance for another sixty years for questionable security or economic benefit, or at risk of Jakarta's ire we could help our two closest neighbours reach their social and economic potentials.
It is tragic that PNG was denied help of West Papua, a territory that formed electoral rolls in the 1950s and held its first national elections in January 1961. It is tragic that corruption and short sightedness still rule in PNG, but readers of The Interpreter as well as DFAT might do well in re-evaluating if there is still benefit for Australia if West Papua gains its independence.
Against Australia's interests the history of West Papua has been obscured since 1962. Indonesia did not win the invasion in 1962, its men were arrested and shipped back to Indonesia but in 1961 a American proposal for West Papua to become an UN trust territory was hi-jacked by the NSC which argued that America could benefit if it used the UN trusteeship system as means of giving Indonesia access to the territory. Chapter twelve of the UN Charter defines the International Trusteeship System and trusteeship agreements, and in 1962 Holland and Jakarta signed such an agreement which was then approved by the US and Soviet allies at the UN in General Assembly resolution 1752 (XVII).
Australian and Papuan interests have suffered for fifty years while we have been unaware of the significance of resolution 1752 in context of Chapter XII of the UN Charter. The fact is that West Papua since 1962 has been a UN trust territory for which the UN is legally required to promote 'self-government or independence'. The only reason Indonesia and other nations have been benefiting from the territory's wealth instead of our neighbours who would have natural trade and defence interests in common with us, is because nobody at the UN has yet told the Trusteeship Council about General Assembly resolution 1752 by adding it to the Council's agenda.