Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Press Conference – Indonesia




TOPICS: Indonesian relationship; West Papua.

MINISTER PURNOMO:        [Speaking Indonesian]

STEPHEN SMITH:     Minister Purnomo, thank you, very much for your hospitality over the last two days. Can I thank your Ministerial colleagues for the hospitality they’ve accorded to us and also for our most productive meeting’s.

As you have said today and yesterday, our meeting, the first Annual Defence Ministers Dialogue has been in three parts: firstly, discussion of Defence matters, which we did yesterday, secondly discussion of search and rescue matters, which our respective Transport Ministers presented yesterday, and thirdly, today our conversation on Defence Materiel, defence acquisition and defence sustainment and maintenance, led by Minister Hatta and Minister Clare.

Can I say, Pak Purnomo that firstly, this has been a most successful visit and most productive. It is an historic occasion where we signed the Defence Cooperation Agreement. Under the Lombok Treaty in the defence and security area, we look to a number of important areas for practical cooperation: counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, maritime security and intelligence and information sharing.

And the Defence Cooperation Agreement now provides a framework for all the practical cooperation in those areas. And we’ve been very pleased with the discussions which we’ve had to continue to enhance our arrangements in those areas, advancing the cooperation on the United Nations peacekeeping, looking forward to expanding our coordinated maritime patrols, the work that we continue to do together on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and the level of our exercises and training which is at the highest level that we’ve seen for two decades.

But the deep significance today is the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement. It was a great honour for me, together with Indonesia’s then Foreign Minister, Wirajuda to bring the Lombok Treaty into force when we noted its effect in Perth in 2008. And so it’s a great personal honour for me, together with you Pak Purnomo, to sign the Defence Cooperation Agreement.

The detailed work that we’ve done today is in the Defence Capability area. And Minister Purnomo and I are happy for Minister Hatta and Minister Clare to detail those matters for you. Thank you.

MINISTER HATTA:   [Speaking Indonesian]

JASON CLARE:         Minister Purnomo and Minister Hatta, thank you for hosting Minister Smith and myself over the last few days. We’ve had very good discussions. The Australian-Indonesian Defence cooperation is very strong. And it’s evidenced by the Defence Cooperation agreement today. For almost 40 years we’ve been working together in mutual training and exchange of officers. We’re now involved in exercises. One example is Exercise Pitch Black, another is the work we’re doing in preparation for the desktop exercise in humanitarian and disaster relief.

But the work that we do in defence equipment is very limited and we’ve begun to explore opportunities to work together today. In July, the President visited Darwin and at that time the opportunity presented itself to make the announcement of the gifting of the four C-130 aircraft.

Minister Purnomo, Minister Smith and myself also had discussions at that time about opportunities to work together and Minister Purnomo made the suggestion that I come to Indonesia to talk about how the Australian Defence Force and the Indonesian Defence Force can work together with industry to look at opportunities to work together. That discussion has begun today and we’ve agreed that our officials will explore in more detail the opportunities that might exist over the next few months for our two countries to work together in this area.

In November on the 7th to the 9th of this year, the Defence Industry Expo will be held here in Jakarta. And 20 Australian companies will be attending. Four years ago when the expo was held in 2008, one Australian company attended. Two years ago, 2010, eleven companies attended. In November, twenty companies will be here looking at opportunities for our two countries and our two defence industries to work together and I think that gives you an example of the interest of Australia and Australian defence industry in working with the Indonesian Government. I thank you once again for the discussions that have commenced today. I think that they have been very good and very promising discussions.

JOURNALIST:  Ministers, Michael Bachelard of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. We’ve had the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister in the past week or so call for an inquiry into some actions by police in West Papua. Was the issue of West Papua raised in discussions over the past two days? And do you have any concerns on the Australian side for greater enhanced defence cooperation and Defence Materiel sales here, given the allegations that are sometimes made against the Indonesian military in West Papua?  

STEPHEN SMITH:     The question of Papua and West Papua was raised in passing. Firstly and secondly, no, I have no concerns about our enhanced defence cooperation, practical cooperation, whether it’s through the Defence Cooperation Agreement or our earlier discussions on defence capability. Australia’s position as far as Papua and West Papua is longstanding and well known. Firstly, under the Lombok Treaty, we respect the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Indonesia. Secondly, we welcome very much President Yudhoyono’s commitment to raise the standard of wellbeing and livelihood in Papua and West Papua by economic investment and programs in Papua and West Papua.

Secondly we also welcome the fact that President Yudhoyono has indicated that when allegations are made they will be investigated. Thirdly, it is well known that Australia provides counter terrorism training for Indonesian military officials. And that’s a very sensible thing for Australia to do given that we are now almost ten years on from the Bali bombings. Hand in hand with that counter terrorism training, are our expertise, our lessons and our commitment to obligations to respecting human rights and obligations to satisfy and abide by international legal obligations.

That is a longstanding Australian Government position. We mentioned Papua and West Papua in passing.  It wasn’t a focus of our conversations but the principles which I’ve outlined to you are the principles outlined by me when I meet with our Indonesian counterparts or by Foreign Minister Carr when he meets with his counterpart.

MINISTER PURNOMO:        Let me share with you, that what happened in Papua is actually something that happened when we tried to capture Mako Tabuni. Mako Tabuni was involved in several shootings. In fact he was also involved in the shooting of a German citizen, Deitrich Helmut, and the German person died at the time. When the police tried to capture him and he struggled to fight back, that’s why they shot him.

But this I think is nothing to do with human rights, it was criminal. And that happened in the jurisdiction of Indonesian territory. It’s under the law, under the regulations and under the territory of Indonesia. So we really appreciate the support of Australia in the sense that both countries agree with the Lombok Treaty. Actually in Article 2 that was mentioned by Minister Smith. And I think our cooperation will continue into the future and we hear that officially our neighbouring country respects our territory of West Papua. This is in our jurisdiction.

JOURNALIST:            Can I ask a follow up to that. How do you respond to the call by the Foreign Minister of Australia in the past week or so for a full, open and transparent inquiry into that incident? From what you’re saying, it sounds like you feel that no inquiry is required.

MINISTER PURNOMO:        Well, what I’m saying is that what happened when Mako Tabuni was shot by the police, regarding in respect to the military’s operations in Papua, I don’t want to comment on what the people said about us. But I just want to share with you the fact that we do not send troops from outside Papua to operate in Papua. The troops in Papua is the local troops because the troops that we have from outside Papua is only used to protect the border. That’s our regulation, so if we look at the troops outside Papua, it’s usually located at borders, because in our borders, usually we send troops from the special forces, from the strategic forces but not for doing, like the criminals, the OPM…we leave that to the police. We leave that to the police because it’s still under the criminal law, the criminal regulations, one. And second, the situation in Papua is still a civil situation. It’s not an emergency situation. It’s normal condition.

JOURNALIST:  Firstly to Pak Purnomo, how quickly do you expect Indonesia to approve and finalise the rapid response of Australian planes into Indonesian airspace and the landing of planes to refuel for search and rescue? And to Mr Smith, what sort of military hardware or technology is Australia considering sharing with Indonesia and what’s the most significant part of this agreement that you think is most significant?

MINISTER PURNOMO:        The good news for us is that we have that condition, or precedence with the United States. So because we have that condition, precedent with the United States, then we can look at that and apply that to Australia. So that’s the easy one. But the thing is we have to come to the reality, when the plane comes to our landing strip, and then they want to fill up with fuel, then you have to contact Pertamina, the state oil and gas company.

And you have to contact the little institutions in our country which need coordination. What we did yesterday is for Minister Albanese to come here at the end of the year in December to scrutinise further the field action. Because if we talk at the policy level, Minister Smith and I can do it. But when it comes to the details on transportation, when it comes to whom they report when they land, you know who’s going to contact the state oil company and who’s going to pick up the bill, or something like that. It has to be in details to put into the implementing regulation, something like that.

JOURNALIST:  So you expect by the end of the year? Is that a rough timeframe?

STEPHEN SMITH:     As I think I said to you last night or yesterday, weeks or months rather than days or weeks. Minister Albanese is back here in December to refresh or renew the Indonesian Transport Safety Assistance Package, which he indicated yesterday. As Pak Purnomo has said, our challenge here are the multiple number of agencies who we need to have to get into the correct order to get the fast track approval. We are confident it can be done and I would be disappointed and surprised if it wasn’t done by the time Minister Albanese returns.

On the Defence Cooperation Agreement, what the Agreement really does is provides us with the umbrella or the framework within which all of our practical cooperation flows, whether it’s peacekeeping, whether it’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, whether it’s exercises and training. So far as the capability or procurement is concerned, Minister Clare can add if he wishes, but we are very much at an early stage.

The conversation in this area arose out of the gifting of the four C-130’s and Pak Purnomo and I and Minister Clare then had a conversation which was essentially along the lines of, ‘if we can have this cooperation, collaboration for mutual benefit over C-130s, are there other areas?’ And that’s really the work that’s now been given to officials. I may be talking out of school but I have encouraged Pak Purnomo to approach me with a view to acquiring more C-130s if he wants to.

JASON CLARE:         Just to add to that, George, if you like, the focus of the conversation was on how our Defence Materiel Organisation works and how it works in Indonesia. So we gave a presentation on the Australian Military Sales office, which is like the American FMS system and how that provides an opportunity for Government to Government to work on defence procurement.

And I also gave the Ministers a briefing on our global supply chain program. We’ve provided the Australian Defence industry with $10 million to get access to the supply chains of large multinational corporations. With that funding, large multinational corporations identify Australian small businesses that can provide products for their supply chain. It’s been very successful. We’ve provided, as I said, $10 million to that program and it’s resulted in $400 million worth of work for Australian industries. So I gave Ministers a briefing on that program and how that might work. The first area of opportunity is the C-130s and the maintenance of those aircraft. But our experts will look at future opportunities down the track.

JOURNALIST:  [Indistinct]

STEPHEN SMITH:     Not today. We dealt with those issues yesterday when we had Defence Ministers and Transport Ministers present. And so the two Transport Ministers have announced the six point plan as far as those search and rescue matters are concerned. Pak Purnomo and I yesterday spoke about how, and I described it yesterday as our contribution to the search and rescue package about the fast-track or the hotline access to aviation airspace or territorial airspace of Indonesia and also the potential for refuelling. But we had no further discussion about that today. We focussed today on the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement and the procurement and capability matters that Minister Hatta and Minister Clare have detailed for you.    

JOURNALIST:  [Indistinct]

STEPHEN SMITH:     We have gifted four C-130 Hercules to Indonesia. We did that to coincide with the President’s visit to Darwin in July. And I’ve indicated to Pak Purnomo that if Indonesia is interested in acquiring more C-130s then we have some which we will be able to sell to Indonesia. And I’m not sure where you got the figure of six from but we’ve probably got about six that we could dispose of.

JOURNALIST:  [Indistinct]

STEPHEN SMITH:     Other than the C-130s as Minister Clare and I have said, our discussions about capability acquisitions are very much at a preliminary stage. They’ve grown out of the gifting of the C-130s. Our officials will now go and do some work to see if there are other opportunities for us. We’re coming off a low base. But such is the strength of our cooperation, our practical cooperation and friendship that we think it’s a good idea to explore whether there are other possibilities in the acquisition and capability area.

MINISTER PURNOMO:        [Speaking Indonesian]

On behalf of the Indonesian Government I want to thank the Government of Australia, especially my colleague here, Minister Smith. We appreciate it-

[Speaking Indonesian]

JOURNALIST:  [Speaking Indonesian]

MINISTER PURNOMO:        The question is in regarding terrorism in Solo in central Java. Did your Government announce a restriction of people to come to Indonesia because of the terrorism.

JOURNALIST:  [Speaking Indonesian]

MINISTER PURNOMO:        [Speaking Indonesian]

He is also the Minister of Justice!

JASON CLARE:         Thank you for the question. It gives me an opportunity to mention that yesterday I passed on the condolences of the Australian Government to the Indonesian Police Force on the death of that officer in Solo in central Java; A terrible incident.

Australia and Indonesia work very closely in the area of counter terrorism. There is no country in the world that is more successful in arresting and prosecuting terrorists than Indonesia. Indonesia has arrested 700 and successfully prosecuted 500. No country has been more successful than that. And that success has involved Indonesia and Australia working very closely together. One example of that is the sentencing of Umar Patek only a couple of months ago. And that involved the Indonesian Attorney General’s office and Australia working very closely in making witnesses available for that trial.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to also meet with the Deputy Attorney General and we talked about areas where Australia and Indonesia can work more closely in the training of prosecutors for terrorism trials. We already provide that training and support and yesterday we talked about expanding that to training prosecutors in the area of transnational crime.  

STEPHEN SMITH:     The only thing I’d add is to reinforce the remarks that Minister Clare has made about the practical cooperation in the counter terrorism area. That’s of longstanding; it’s been at a very high level for 10 years that will continue. It’s a regrettable fact of the modern world that it’s an ever present threat. But as Minister Clare has said, and as I’ve said before, indeed as I said last night to the Vice President, and yesterday afternoon to Coordinating Minister Suyanto, there’s no country which has been more successful in the counter terrorism area in terms of arrests and successful prosecutions.

As a general proposition, the other point you’ve raised, in recent times, Australia has reduced the level of its travel advice to Australians wanting to travel to Indonesia. And it’s a measure of the strength of our relationship today that in any year, some 850,000 Australians come to Indonesia and some 150,000 Indonesians go to Australia, in addition the nearly 20,000 full time students that we find in Australia from Indonesia. So the strength of our defence-to-defence and our military-to-military and the strength of our practical cooperation in Minister Purnomo and my area of defence and national security, is reflected by the strength of the relationship which in my view has never been stronger.

And as the world moves in our direction, with strategic and political and economic influence moving to the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, the strength of that relationship becomes even more important in very many respects Indonesia is Australia’s most important partner in our part of the world.

JOURNALIST:  Jeff Hutton, Australian Financial Review. Just on next year’s US, Australia, Indonesia military exercises, I was wondering if there were any other details that have been decided on that, namely I believe China will eventually be included? Any other countries that might be invited? And with respect to Pak Purnomo, in what areas specifically would you feel most comfortable Indonesia participating? I have in mind training versus more aggressive tactics. Are there no-go areas for Indonesia when it comes to these exercises? Thank you.

STEPHEN SMITH:     What’s proposed to occur this year is a ‘desktop exercise’ or study before the end of this year—Australia, Indonesia, US in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief area. That will be followed next year by a practical exercise in Indonesia involving those three countries.

As President Yudhoyono has made clear, he sees potential in that exercise and other such exercises to be observed by East Asia Summit countries, including China, and I’ve welcomed that commitment. As a general proposition, either through the East Asia Summit or through the ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus, Australia’s very strongly supportive of collaboration in this area.

So for example, Brunei who chairs the ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus meeting next year, has already got agreement from East Asia Summit and ASEAN Defence Minister Plus partners to do a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise and a military medicine exercise, which will involve all the countries of the East Asia Summit, either participants or observers and that’s a very good thing. And we encourage that absolutely. Doing exercises, doing training, collaboration in this area is a very important way of building interoperability, a very important way of growing understanding and a very important way of reducing any prospect of misjudgement or miscalculation into the future.  

MINISTER PURNOMO:        Well in regard to the joint exercise, we have two types of that. The first one is bilateral, between Indonesia and Australia. We did it very well a couple of weeks ago in Darwin when we did the joint exercise, when we sent our Sukhoi and then Australian also joined under the Hornet, Super Hornet. And I think our pilots and their pilots enjoyed sharing knowledge and experience together to how they can work together between their Sukhoi and Hornet. That’s one of the examples of joint exercise. Last year, I got a report too of the Army Special Forces, you know, not in jungle warfare but in city warfare, there was an exercise like that.

But in the bilateral things, usually we also develop for the multilateral – like Minister Smith mentioned, there are joint exercises under the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus. Indonesia is going to invite 18 countries next year for a counter terrorism exercise. Either that, tabletop or a field exercise under the umbrella of ADMM Plus. When I say ten plus eight, it means consisting of the 18 countries – ASEAN has ten countries and then eight countries also including Australia.

So we’re going to have that in Sentul, one hour from here in Jakarta. We’re going to do the counter terrorism – the hosts will be Indonesia and the United States. And also in the scheme of East Asia Summit that was agreed last year in Bali during the East Asia Summit Chairmanship by Indonesia, we also planned to invite East Asia Summit members to the joint exercise. It’s open for the joint exercise – Indonesia, Australia and the US troops that you have now in Darwin. And also China, whatever country under the umbrella of East Asia Summit we do that under bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

JOURNALIST:  [Speaking Indonesian]

MINISTER PURNOMO:        [Speaking Indonesian]

STEPHEN SMITH:     Minister, before we close, can I again thank you and your Ministers for your hospitality. Can you also relay to the Vice President and the coordinating Minister our appreciation of the calls on them yesterday afternoon. And can I just indicate that Minister Purnomo has agreed that our Annual Defence Ministers meeting next year will be held in Perth, my hometown. And we’re at this stage planning on the first half of the year.

We look forward to welcoming Minister Purnomo and the Indonesian delegation to Perth for next year’s meeting. Minister, thank you for your hospitality and thank you for our productive meetings over the last two days. Thank you.

MINISTER PURNOMO:        I will not give a souvenir to my colleague, but I just want to present this picture. Look at that! That’s a good smile, you know!

Subscribe to our RSS Feed