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Indonesia And Australia Relations Essay

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The bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia has a long but fluctuating history as ‘strange neighbours’, based on a traditional stance from Australian parties of Indonesia as the weaker state (Robert and Hadir 2015: 195). The discourse on Australia’s role in East Timor, particularly the intervention as the head of the UN sanctioned INTERFET team, has been praised or criticized depending on the narrative constructed of the events (Maley 2000: 151). Australia’s role in the East Timor crisis began through complicity in its causes, followed by a change in foreign policy which caused a deterioration of the Indonesia-Australia relationship at a time when Indonesia’s new democratic governance should have deepened relations (Sulistiyanto 2010: 125). While Australia and Indonesia have been steadily rebuilding their relationship, especially in regard to security, the…show more content…
A brief civil war in East Timor followed the power vacuum, but ended with a declaration of an independent East Timor in November. However, when Indonesia invaded East Timor on the 7th of December 1975, it did so with essentially the acceptance of Australia extended by Gough Whitlam, based on a policy of appeasement (Cotton 2004: 31) Richard Woolcott, the Ambassador to Indonesia, concluded that a policy of ‘disengagement’ was best for Australia’s interests (Gorjão 2001: 108). The Whitlam government made it clear that it would not oppose Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor (Gorjão 2001: 108). Australia saw the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia as eliminating a source of tension (Dunn 2006: 106). Because East Timor is geographically North of Australia, it could have been a potential spot for invasion had a communist government been elected. This was not an issue if East Timor was incorporated into the Suharto authoritarian regime (Dunn 2006:
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