Prime Minister Tony Abbott talks to Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a visit in Jakarta in September. (Credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it is «high time» Indonesia resumed cooperation with Australia to stop the flow of asylum seeker boats.
Indonesia suspended military cooperation on people smuggling operations following revelations that Australia attempted to spy on Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone and those of his wife and inner circle in 2009.
The revelations were uncovered in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and reported by The Guardian and the ABC.
During a press conference on his first 100 days in office, Mr Abbott described the decision to suspend military cooperation as «singularly unhelpful» and has urged Indonesia to reverse it.
«Given that people smuggling is a crime in Indonesia, just as it is a crime in Australia, I think it is high time that that cooperation was resumed,» he said.
«But I accept that in the end what Indonesia does is a matter for Indonesia.»
Last week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa over the spying scandal.
Both sides vowed to rebuild foreign relations but did not say how long it would take.
Mr Abbott also said he was «very satisfied» with the Government’s achievements during its first 100 days, despite opinion polls showing public support for the Coalition has slipped.
«There will always be critics. The question is: are the critics justified?» he said.
«If you look at what we’ve done – we have precisely delivered on our commitments and we have intelligently responded to the developments of the day.»
Mr Abbott has released a 28 page document, giving an update on what action has been taken to deliver on the Coalition’s election promises.
He says the Government has taken steps to get rid of the carbon and mining taxes, as well as to stop asylum seeker boats.
«I am very satisfied with what’s been achieved over 100 days. We’ve made a good start. Of course there’s much more to do,» he said.
But deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says the Coalition has not delivered what it said it would.
«They said they’d be a government of no surprises and no excuses and so far it’s been nasty surprises and pathetic excuses,» she said.
«In every area of government policy we’ve seen broken promises.»