Monday, 27 November 2017
Questions without Notice
Australia-Indonesia Minister Council on Law and Security
My question is to the Attorney-General, Senator Brandis. Can the Attorney inform the Senate of the importance and the outcomes of the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security held in Brisbane over the weekend?
A serious question for a change! Thank you, Senator Fawcett. On the weekend, together with the Minister for Justice, Mr Keenan, I hosted the fourth meeting of the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security in Brisbane. We were honoured to welcome the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, General Wiranto, the Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights, Dr Laoly, and their very senior delegation. Participants also included the leaders of our key national security agencies, including ASIO, the Australian Federal Police, AUSTRAC, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and others, along with their Indonesian counterparts. It was the most senior Indonesian delegation to visit Australia since President Widodo visited much earlier this year.
Since its establishment in December 2015 the ministerial council has become an integral component of the Australia-Indonesia relationship. It's the principal piece of bilateral architecture between Indonesia and Australia for cooperation on national security issues of mutual concern. With the rise of global terrorism—including its presence within our region and here at home, the threat of the return to our region of foreign fighters and such issues as international criminal syndicates—close practical cooperation between Australia and Indonesia is crucial to community safety in both countries and beyond. Our talks over the weekend focused on that practical cooperation in responding to current regional security threats, countering terrorism financing, countering violent extremism and preventing deradicalisation as well as such issues as cybersecurity, including encryption and broader law, justice and security cooperation.
Yes, I can. As General Wiranto stressed yesterday, the close partnership between Australia and Indonesia through the ministerial council has resulted in a further element of cooperation on security issues—namely, the subregional ministerial meetings on security issues, the genesis of which was our ministerial council and the first of which was inaugurated in Manado in Northern Sulawesi in July. The Manado subregional meeting, co-hosted by Australia and Indonesia, also brought together ministers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and New Zealand to focus on foreign terrorist fighter and cross-border terrorism issues, specifically in the context of the terrorist threat in the southern Philippines, evident most particularly in Marawi. As General Wiranto said, the Manado meeting resulted in concrete steps to address issues related to terrorism and deradicalisation to assist the Philippines in addressing the issues in Marawi.
Yes, I can. The subregional meeting in Manado, which was co-hosted by General Wiranto and me in July, has been credited with helping to bring about the major progress since then in Marawi and elsewhere. As well as a follow-up meeting on those issues to be held next year, future regional security meetings co-hosted by Indonesia and Australia will turn their attention to other issues of concern. As well, the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security, which is the ministerial council that met in Brisbane over the weekend, will meet again for its fifth meeting in mid-2018 in Indonesia, where we will continue to build on our bilateral partnership to keep our communities safe from threats of terrorism and transnational crime. As I said to General Wiranto, Australia regards Indonesia as our principal regional partner in addressing these issues. (Time expired)