Statement

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4 January 2017

Late last year concerns were raised by an Indonesian TNI officer about some teaching materials and remarks at an Army language training facility in Australia. 

The Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, wrote to his Indonesian counterpart, General Gatot Nurmantyo, giving an undertaking that this matter would be addressed seriously and we would inquire into issues raised. 

The Australian Army has looked into the serious concerns that were raised and the investigation into the incident is being finalised. 

Indonesia has informed Australia that defence cooperation would be suspended.  As a result, some interaction between the two Defence organisations has been postponed until the matter is resolved.  Cooperation in other areas is continuing. 

Australia is committed to building a strong Defence relationship with Indonesia, including through cooperation in training.  We will work with Indonesia to restore full cooperation as soon as possible. 

In October 2016, at the 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard and I had discussions about the issues that are important to both of our defence organisations and our future areas of cooperation. 

Further, following the release of the 2016 Defence White Paper, my first visit was to Indonesia to meet with Minister Ryamizard. 

Defence cooperation takes place within the broader context of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, which is in very good shape with extensive cooperation across a wide range of government agencies.

Media contacts:

Wade Laube (Senator Payne's office) 0409 193 057

Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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