Prime Minister Tony Abbott has arrived in Indonesia for the presidential inauguration after a visit to PNG.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has arrived in Jakarta on a mission to get relations with Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo off to a flying start.
Ahead of his inauguration on Monday, Mr Joko has already signalled he will take a tougher approach on sovereignty, following the inadvertent breaches of Australia’s navy while turning back asylum seeker boats.
Mr Abbott’s attendance at the inauguration will be his fourth trip to Australia’s “hugely important neighbour” since becoming prime minister last year.
In a message before he left, Mr Abbott repeated his desire for Australia’s foreign policy to have more of a Jakarta focus rather than a Geneva one.
While he’d stated that as an aim with the previous administration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, it became difficult to achieve because of the spying row, which was only solved in August.
Mr Joko has meanwhile flagged that he would like to be closer to Australia, building security cooperation and business an people to people programs.
But he’s also warned he will be tough on Indonesian sovereignty.
Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says Mr Joko’s comments about Australia pushing boats back to Indonesia are telling.
“It is not a good start,” she told the ABC on Sunday.
“As we have said all along, it is a very big deal for Indonesia that the (Australian) government is making announcements about what’s happening on Indonesian waters and soil without talking to (that) government.”
Before arriving in Jakarta, the prime minister visited Papua New Guinea to meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
The leaders discussed the global response to Ebola and the importance of preparedness in the region, among other bilateral issues.