US travel ban: Malcolm Turnbull praises Indonesia when asked about ban
n Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, center, walks on sidelines of at Indian Ocean Rim Association summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.(Photo/Tatan Syuflana) . Photo: Tatan SyuflanaJakarta: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the most important allies in the war against terror are Muslim leaders like Indonesian President Joko Widodo and praised Indonesia when asked how it might react to the reinstated US travel ban.
US President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a ban on immigration from six Muslim-majority countries – Iraq has now been removed from the list of banned states – and suspended the US refugee program.
Those countries affected are Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya.
Mr Turnbull was in Jakarta to attend the 20th anniversary meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), an organisation comprising 21 countries that border the Indian Ocean.
On the sidelines of the summit he was asked what Indonesia would think of the reinstated US travel ban, given that it is a majority-Muslim country.
“Well, this is the largest majority-Muslim country and President Widodo, as he often says … Indonesia is proof that Islam, democracy and moderation are compatible,” Mr Turnbull said.
“A quarter of a billion Muslims live in Indonesia and it is a nation where democracy, Islam is the religion of the majority of its people and tolerance and mutual respect operate hand in hand and it is a great example to the world.”
Mr Turnbull stressed the reinstated travel ban would not affect ‘s deal with the US to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.
“No, the President has agreed to honour, continue with, the arrangements entered into with his predecessor,” he said.
Mr Turnbull deplored the sentiments of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who suggested on A Current Affair that it would be difficult to spot a good Muslim.
“I believe there are some that want to live a good life and a quiet life,” Senator Hanson said. “But you tell me – you line up a number of Muslims, who’s the good one?”
Mr Turnbull said he rejected those sentiments entirely. “In this country we see a country with whom we are building closer ties, we see that democracy, Islam, moderation and tolerance are compatible,” he said.
“I might say that in the war against terror ??? our best allies, our most important allies are Muslim leaders like Joko Widodo, the millions and billions of Muslims who are thoroughly committed to peace.”
Senator Hanson responded to the Prime Minister’s criticisms on Twitter, questioning Indonesia’s record on women’s rights. Does the PM know women in Indonesia can be publicly whipped for breaking Sharia Law or does he think that’s just moderate Islam? #auspol??? Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) March 7, 2017 Photo: NASA/Skytruth
He and Ms Bishop had also discussed the 2009 Montara oil spill, which fishermen and seaweed farmers from the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara say devastated their livelihoods.
More than 13,000 seaweed farmers have launched a $200 million class action in the Federal Court in Sydney against PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil company PTTEP.
The Indonesian government is also planning to file a lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia in the Central Jakarta District Court.
Rote Island seaweed farmer Nikodemus Manefa with his crop. Seaweed farmers say the Montara spill devastated their livelihoods. Photo: Jewel Topsfield
” as a very good partner can do something also to help the people of the area in eastern part of Indonesia especially in that Montara area,” Mr Pandjaitan said.
Mr Turnbull said in his speech to the IORA summit on Tuesday that a secure, stable and connected Indian Ocean was crucial for ‘s national security and prosperity.
“We have a fundamental national interest in fostering peace and security in this maritime domain, which straddles half the globe and accounts for approximately half the planet’s container traffic and carries two-thirds of its petroleum,” Mr Turnbull said.
He also welcomed a declaration on preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism which was issued by foreign ministers at the summit on Monday.
Follow Jewel Topsfield on Facebook