by Alan Thornhill
Australian leaders have welcomed the election of Indonesia’s new President, Joko Widodo, and say they are looking forward to working with him.
In a statement this morning the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said: “I congratulate Joko Widodo on winning the Indonesian presidential election held on 9 July.
“The Australian Government is looking forward to working closely with him.
“The election is a significant milestone. Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy.
“Indonesia is to be congratulated on its remarkable transition to democracy and on the conduct of the election.
“The relationship with Indonesia is extraordinarily important to us. We share a long history of cooperation on a wide range of common interests and challenges,” Mr Abbott said.
The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, endorsed those remarks.
In a doorstop interview he said: “…I welcome this, the new President of Indonesia being elected.
“Indonesia is one of the world’s largest democracies; it is fantastic that they’ve had this process so unencumbered from controversy.
“And I believe Australia can have very constructive relations with the new President of Indonesia
by Alan Thornhill
Tony Abbott says there has been “absolutely no change” in his government’s policy on East Jerusalem.
But he told reporters in Houston that a “terminological clarification” has been necessary, after remarks his Attorney General, Georg Brandis, made on the subject last week, in exchanges with the Greens.
Senator Brandis had repeatedly refused to refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.
This led Palestinian diplomats in Canberra to seek a meeting with the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.
They spoke of possible trade retaliation against Australia.
However the Prime Minister, addressing reporters in Houston as his 12 day world tour was drawing to a close, said their worries were based on nothing more than “a terminological clarification.”
“We absolutely refuse to refer to ‘occupied’ East Jerusalem,” Mr Abbott said.
“That was what the argument between Senator Brandis and the Greens was all about.
“But there has been no change in policy – simply a terminological clarification.
“We strongly support a two-state solution,” Mr Abbott said.
“We continue to support resolutions 242 and 338.
“We are giving – I think -$56 million in aid this year to Palestine.
“No change in policy,” the Prime Minister said.
Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill
A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.
Available now on the iTunes store.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
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