If it really is just going to be a loan, then President Suharto could easily more than cover the billion or so our Prime Minister is so eager to hand over. Wouldn’t that be a simple and decent gesture to your own people, to lend your country some of the billions you have pocketed while in office - at a fair interest rate of course.
Indonesia receives nearly ninety million dollars a year in foreign aid from Australia, our commitment to the Indonesians is second only to the hundreds of millions we squander on New Guinea. This is more than enough from Australia, especially considering that although apparently needing our help each year, the Indonesians have managed to build offensive military forces vastly superior to our own defence forces who don’t even have enough ammunition for training purposes.
Whenever we mention human rights or the appalling invasion of East Timor and the treatment of the East Timorese, the Indonesians just fob us off - we are still waiting for adequate and believable explanation for the murder of Australian journalists in 1975.l It is time our government stopped being the soft touch of the region and concentrated on looking after Australians. Suharto should bail out his own people - he’s certainly good for a loan.
Ms Hanson - My question is to the Prime Minister. Would the Prime Minister please explain how this government can justify making available to Indonesia what may be as much as Au$1.7 billion when we already have approximately Au$90 million in foreign aid, Au$8 million of which is for their defence forces? Has the government considered that it is perhaps more appropriate for President Suharto to help bail out his own people with some of the billions he and his family have profited from during his time in office? Is it the policy of this government to prop up questionable and militaristic regimes with appalling human rights records?