Relations with our neighbour remain as challenging as ever:
A recent poll has found that more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of NSW men between ages 40 to 49 felt that Australia did not stand up enough to Indonesia in its dealings.
And overall, the poll found that 58 per cent of Australians believe our government should stand up to Indonesia more often. In contrast, 31 per cent said we are strong enough.
Younger Australians are significantly more likely to perceive Indonesia positively, the poll found. 62 per cent of people aged 18 to 29 held a positive opinion of Indonesia and only 16 per cent negative.
Older Australians were more likely to hold negative perceptions of Indonesia; however, they still regarded the relationship as important.
A growing number of Australians have travelled to Indonesia and hold the country in high regard. After all, politicians are usually far behind public sentiment (as shown by flagging, public support for US foreign policy.)
Indonesia may be a complex country with contradictory aims (like any large nation), but Australia’s recent move to appease the Indonesians over refugee policy is misguided and not supported by the general population.
Once again, John Howard has been incapable of managing one of our most important relationships.