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The Forum > Article Comments > The Australia-Indonesia relationship > Comments

The Australia-Indonesia relationship : Comments

By Richard Laidlaw, published 24/3/2010

The media mustn't confuse President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's public utterances for public policy when he visited to Australia.

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We, the ordinary people of Australia, seem to become aware of Indonesia only when some disaster occurs there... earthquake, tsunami, bombing or the like. Which is a shame, because it's an extremely interesting country with a population over ten times that of Australia, most of them friendly and helpful people. Those of us who have been to Bali on holiday already know that, but holidaying is about the limit of our involvement.

Australia's relationship with Indonesia could be far closer and more beneficial than it is if Australian citizens knew more about Indonesia. Instead of feeding an obsession with Europe and America half a planet away, we could be interacting more with our nearest big neighbour. But to do that, we might need to change a few things here.

At school, children could be studying Indonesian language, history, and geography, with the expectation that the knowledge learned would be of more practical use to them than the European and American stuff I was fed when I was at school. Australian mainstream media could replace the glut of trivia it now feeds us about American politics with articles about Indonesia. I for one would regard those changes as a vast improvement!
Posted by Forkes, Sunday, 4 April 2010 9:53:05 AM
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