Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Questions without Notice
Bali Democracy Forum
My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Payne. I refer to breaking reports in the Fairfax media that Senator Payne will be meeting with the Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, on the sidelines of the Bali Democracy Forum. The Indonesian foreign minister warned that Mr Morrison's decision to junk longstanding bipartisan foreign policy and review the location of Australia's embassy in Israel was 'a slap to Indonesia's face'. Can the minister confirm she will meet with Foreign Minister Marsudi? Will the minister seek to undo the damage done by Mr Morrison's decision to put domestic political interest before Australia's national interest?
I have seen some rather breathless reports of my attendance tomorrow at the Bali Democracy Forum. It is the 11th Bali Democracy Forum, and Australia has been engaged in it for some time with a range of representatives. It is an important opportunity for us to both protect and promote the benefits of democracy with a wide range of nations. We know that Indonesia is the world's third-largest democracy, and we welcome their international leadership in advocating those democratic principles that we hold dear and highlighting the importance of democracy as part of the strategic agenda of our regions. I will be addressing the forum tomorrow and participating in it. I reject the premise of the rest of Senator Wong's question. It is a matter of record that I have met recently with Minister Marsudi in Papua New Guinea, on the sidelines of the APEC forum, and I will be meeting with her again tomorrow.
In light of the delay in the finalisation of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, can the minister advise whether a date for the finalisation of the agreement has now been reached, and will this be a matter discussed with the Indonesian foreign minister?
I'm not going to go into the details of the subjects of my discussions with Indonesia's foreign minister tomorrow. As you know, the IA-CEPA is intended to strongly benefit both countries. It's an important next step in the partnership. This is not an issue which is conflated with the other matter that Senator Wong has raised. It will be signed when it is ready to be signed.