Indonesia’s President has used an historic address to Australia’s Parliament to call for both countries to do more to address climate change and lower carbon emissions.
- Joko Widodo called on Australia to work with Indonesia to stop terrorism and foster human rights
- Scott Morrison says Australia will seek to simplify visa applications for Indonesian visitors
- The Indonesian President visited just days after his Parliament ratified a free trade deal with Australia
Joko Widodo delivered his speech in the official Indonesian language, Bahasa, describing Australia as Indonesia’s closest friend.
He said Australia and Indonesia needed to become anchors for sustainable development and environmental protection across the region.
“To prevent forest and land fires and commitment to lowering carbon emission and develop renewable energy and other green technologies,” Mr Widodo said.
His speech called for both nations to join forces in the battle against identity politics, to improve human rights, foster greater tolerance and stop terrorism.
“We must continue to advocate the values of democracy, human rights, stop intolerance, stop xenophobia, stop radicalism and stop terrorism,” the President said.
“Identity politics is a trap to democracy, a threat to adversity and a threat to tolerance.
“These threats will become more actual exploitation for short-term political interests, resulting in hatred, fear and even social conflict.
“These democratic and diverse countries, we must work hard, side by side together, to defend the values of democracy, tolerance and adversity and to look at the clash of civilisation.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Widodo made joint remarks together outside the House of Representatives but journalists were unable to ask either leader questions.
Mr Widodo arrived in Australia for a brief visit just days after the Indonesian Parliament ratified a free trade agreement with Australia.
That deal will come into force in 60 days, with high hopes among Australian farmers it will lead to greater exports of agricultural products.
Australian universities will have greater access to the Indonesian education sector under the agreement.
Mr Morrison confirmed his Government would look at ways to simplify visa application processes for Indonesians visiting Australia.
That is a change Mr Widodo has been seeking in a bid to stop Indonesians having to fill out a 17-page visa application form and pay $140.
Australians visiting his country can do so visa-free for a limited period.
“Our Home Affairs Minister here in Australia will be engaging with his Indonesian counterpart to proceed to look at how we can simplify and streamline the issues of entry to Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
Senators crammed into the Lower House so politicians from both chambers could listen to Mr Widodo’s speech in the House of Representatives.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was in the chamber, as were the heads of Australia’s defence, cyber and spy agencies.
“By continuing to work together, we can build the region’s resilience and make our people safer and our economies stronger,” Mr Morrison told the House of Representatives.
“Our ambitious comprehensive strategic partnership, which was finalised 18 months ago, gives Australia framework for even closer ties.
“We now have a plan of action to take the next steps in our relationship — from trade and investment to defence, counter-terrorism, maritime security, ocean sustainability and education, to name only some — and even today we add energy and the future of fuel sources for our nations to this long list.”