Doorstop Interview following meeting with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla

  • Transcript, E&OE
06 March 2017

MINISTER BISHOP: I'm delighted to be in Jakarta for the Indian Ocean Rim Ministers' meeting and I have just had a meeting with the Vice-President and it was very constructive.

We talked about our growing economic, trade and investment relationship. We have recently opened a new consulate in Makassar to focus on trade and investment and last week President Widodo and Prime Minister Turnbull announced that we will also be opening a new consulate in Surabaya.

So I spoke to the Vice-President about the opportunities that we believe exist for increasing the two-way trade and investment, the negotiations that are being undertaken for a comprehensive economic partnership which we hope will be concluded by the end of 2017, and we spoke about the tourism potential. Over 1 million Australians visit Indonesia each year and we want to see an increasing number of Indonesians visiting Australia. So it was a very positive, warm, engaged discussion with the Vice-President.

JOURNALIST: Regarding IORA, what kind of role does Australia expect from Indonesia as the chair?

MINISTER BISHOP: We congratulate Indonesia on its very ambitious agenda for IORA. Australia was the chair of IORA from 2013 to 2015, so we have been delighted to support Indonesia in its efforts to strengthen IORA. And the fact that we had such a significant meeting today and the fact that Indonesia came up with the idea of hosting the inaugural Leaders' Summit is of great credit to Indonesia, for putting more substance into the IORA group. In particular we were very pleased to support the adoption of the first ever declaration from IORA member states on Countering and Preventing Terrorism and Violent Extremism. So I think that shows that the organisation under Indonesia has reached a new level of maturity, that it can deal with such significant and sensitive regional and global issues.

JOURNALIST: How will Australia encourage IORA to work on their action plan?

MINISTER BISHOP: Indeed the action plan today is a list of practical outcomes. It's not just a shopping list of ideas, its actually things that the 21 member nations can do in the six priority areas, which include maritime, safety and security; fisheries management; about natural disaster risk management; trade and investment; academic , scientific and technology cooperation and then tourism and cultural exchanges. Plus the two broader issues that go across the whole IORA agenda of the blue economy, meaning how do we use our oceans to sustain our economies, and also women's economic empowerment, and that was an issue of considerable interest to all IORA countries.

JOURNALIST: Is there any specific discussion about border security? I mean what both countries are going to do in the future?

MINISTER BISHOP: We're working very closely with Indonesia. We respect each other's sovereignty, we respect we other's borders, and we're working very closely together to cooperate to ensure that we prevent people smuggling, human trafficking, and share information and we cooperate very closely with our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

JOURNALIST: Tomorrow is International Women's Day and as the troika, you and also the Foreign Minister of South Africa and our Minister are also women. What is the message you will convey to the women in Indonesia and the world?

MINISTER BISHOP: On International Women's Day we celebrate the achievements that women have made over many years but we also recognise the challenges that women still face in many countries. As three Foreign Ministers, Retno, Maite and I, we were delighted that we had the opportunity to promote the agenda of the economic empowerment of women across the 21 IORA countries.

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