Australia must agree to spy 'code of ethics'

18:18, Nov 26 2013
Tony Abbott and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Indonesia's cooperation with Australia on people smuggling, trade, police and military exercises will stay on hold until after Tony Abbott has agreed to a "code of ethics" for the use of intelligence.

The insistence by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after a special cabinet meeting yesterday indicates his fury over "illegal surveillance" remains fresh despite Abbott's attempts at calming the situation, and he is prepared to indefinitely extend the Australian Prime Minister's pain on the issue.

The protocol must be developed by negotiation between a "special envoy," or Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, and his Australian counterpart, and signed by both country's leaders and implemented before normal relations can resume, the President said.

Yudhoyono revealed at a press briefing last night that Mr Abbott's letter did not include an apology, but rather a pledge to "not take any action in future that may damage or interfere with Indonesia".

Yudhoyono would not release the letter, but spoke approvingly its contents before saying there were "a number of matters that still require to be clarified by the Government of Australia".

Firstly, he tasked his foreign minister, or an unnamed "special envoy" to discuss "in depth the serious matters and issues ... including bilateral relations with Australia" raised by the phone tapping revelation. 

These meetings would be the first step in developing a "protocol or code of ethics" governing bilateral relations between the countreis, "including intelligence cooperation" that was "clear, just, and is abided by".

He insisted the protocol be implemented, adopted formally at a meeting between the leaders of both countries and tested to make sure it was workable and both sides would stand by it.

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Sydney Morning Herald