Tuesday 11 August 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

Speech before the Address by the President of Indonesia

Mr Morrison: (Cook—Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service) (11:37): Mr Speaker, today we welcome the President of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Joko Widodo. President Widodo, it is an honour and a privilege to have you here amongst us as a true friend. Selamat datang! And, President Widodo, we are welcoming not only you and your delegation at this time in this country, because at present we welcome 40 members of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, including military engineers and medical staff, who are currently assisting with bushfire relief and recovery in New South Wales, and today they re working on floods. We thank you, Mr President, we thank the people of Indonesia and we thank the Republic of Indonesia. Like a true friend, as you are, you have lent a great hand, and we are a grateful nation. President Widodo, you join us here in the home of our democracy as the leader of our most important neighbour and as a dear, dear friend. Shortly after becoming Prime Minister—on my first overseas visit, in fact—I found myself at a school in Bogul, surrounded by young Indonesian students, brimming with promise—singing, in fact. So, I decided to tell them a story, as we often do we when visit our schools. I told them the story of a man I was on my way to meet that a man who had come from modest and humble begi a man who had worked hard to put himself through university, who d studied forestry and then set up a business and did what others thought he couldn t or perhaps shouldn t; a man who, as we say here in Australia, had a go. And then I asked the students, Do you know who I m talking about? and they didn t know, so I pointed across the room to a photo that hung on the wall, and it was your portrait. It was your story I told, which they knew as Bapak Jokowi. It was a story that showed we can make our own futures, and that is as true in Indonesia as it is here in this country. He s like you, I told the students. President Widodo, you have many admirers here in this chamber and that fill the galleries here today. We have watched and seen your great leadership in your country and throughout the region, and we know it and we trust it. Thanks to your leadership, Indonesia today is an even more dynamic and more successful country, to the great benefit of your people. Your commitment to deepening our two nations partnership and strengthening our shared region in the Indo-Pacific is honoured here today. And I like to think we are countries that can cheer each other on. We can cheer on our successes together and, as Australia has appreciated in recent months, stand together in the so-many difficult times, as Australia will always with Indonesia, as you face other difficult times. Many years ago, it was another generation of Australian leaders who championed and supported Indonesian independence—so much so that President Sukarno asked Australia to represent Indonesia in the UN discussions—a generation that dreamed and hoped for what we could achieve together. Our countries are living out that hope today. Of course, as our modern relationship has matured, there have been many times when we haven t agreed. That s only normal in the relationships between friends, where you have to deal with a multitude of challenges. But respect underpins the trust that we have formed. Our countries work hard to understand where there are differences, rather than focus on them. We listen to each other, we learn from each other and, importantly, we are honest with each other. In doing so, we have discovered, as Prime Minister Menzies said during his first visit to Indonesia in 1959, that we have 10 times as much in common as we have in difference. And that is ever so today. Today, Australia and Indonesia have built the trust that underpins only the truest of friendships. Trust allows us to work through the differences that neighbours sometimes face. For Australia, we see Indonesia s success as something to be celebrated. We count Indonesia amongst our most important partners and it has now become, indeed, a convention that the first visit of any Prime Minister is to Jakarta. There are many challenges in the Indo-Pacific region: the strategic competition, maintaining international rules and norms and a resurgence of terrorism and violent extremism, all of which we must face together because these are not challenges any of us can face alone. We need partners. We need our friends. As the Indonesian saying goes: berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing—heavy when shouldered alone, light if carried together. Australia and Indonesia understand this well and we have worked together closely over many years on defence and counterterrorism on maritime security, combatting smugglers and illegal fishing along our maritime border. Together, Australia and Indonesia are motivated by our shared concerns for our region and our shared vision for an open, prosperous Indo-Pacific underpinned by strong institutions, rules and norms. By continuing to work together, we can build the region s resilience and make our people safer and our economy stronger. Our ambitious comprehensive strategic partnership, which was finalised 18 months ago, gives us a 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, counterterrorism, 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. But that is only where our ambition begins. We know there is more to be done, especially on the economic front. Indonesia is one of Australia s nearest northern neighbours, a growing trillion-dollar economy and the fourth most populous nation, but only our 13th-largest trading partner. Australia is Indonesia s 13th-largest too. There is enormous untapped potential for both nations, which we have recognised, and we are determined to unlock this through the IA-CEPA. And I want to acknowledge today the presence of former Prime Minister Mr Malcolm Turnbull, who did so much work to bring this to reality. Once in force, this modern, transformative agreement will do more than make trade it will open the door to new economic opportunities and forge more partnerships between our businesses, farmers, investors, tech entrepreneurs, researchers and scientists. One area where IA-CEPA can facilitate closer economic engagement is, of course, in education. Our educational connections already run deep, with 16,000 young Indonesian leaders studying in Australia every year, and I am delighted that the first university in the world to establish a branch campus in Indonesia will be Australia s Monash University. Monash Indonesia—what a combination, those two names!—will contribute powerfully to Indonesia s economic, social and technological development. It will deliver master s, PhD and professional training programs, and partner with Indonesia s leading national, private and Islamic universities to establish deep research links with Indonesian businesses. Our countries, economies and people are being drawn closer. That is something we have encouraged, with the New Colombo Plan, the BRIDGE program and interfaith exchanges also, something I know that President Widodo and I are both keen to promote. Mr President, this black summer the Australian and Indonesia people have suffered traumatic climatic events, with bushfires here in Australia and floods in Indonesia. Fire and flood—nature can be so indiscriminate. Sixty-one people died in new-year floods that hit Jakarta and the West Java and Banten provinces, with the most ferocious rain resulting in flash flooding and landslides. Despite their own struggles and amidst their own suffering, Indonesians remembered Australia and reached out to us also, kindness upon kindness. In Bali—a place that has become, for Australians, a home away from home—there were dozens of fundraisers to assist our fire efforts. For two days, 1,250 local taxi drivers from the Blue Bird Group made donations from every taxi trip booked in Bali. In Makassar, a group of Indonesians who had attended Australian universities raised funds for the Red Cross. In their words, We felt we had to do something to help. And last week, in Surabaya, a six-year-old girl organised a school fund she wanted to help our koalas. We re seeing the same generosity from the Indonesian community here in Australia too. In Darwin, a food bazaar event was organised by the local community group and supported by the Indonesian consulate. There was bakso, tahu isi and bakwan—and I apologise for my pronunciation—all on offer. One of the men behind the event, Dominic Witono, said that what he and his community had raised wasn t the biggest sum. But to that I would say: it was the bigness of his heart that mattered. These actions, and so many more, speak of the wonderful Indonesian character. These acts of kindness make me confident about Australia and Indonesia s future, President Widodo, as does your presence here today and your friendship. On behalf of this parliament and the Australian people, I welcome you again, and we look forward to your address. Terima kasih. Thank you, my friend.

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