Associate Professor, Acting Head of Department, HDR Convenor
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The President’s trip had been billed as the high point of a turnaround in ties — 19 months after Australia recalled its ambassador over the executions of Bali Nine leaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran.
Jokowi — as the President is known — cancelled his Australian trip hours ahead of his flight on Saturday after violence at a mass demonstration in Jakarta by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the city’s Governor be jailed for blasphemy.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said Jokowi had called Malcolm Turnbull personally on Saturday to advise him of the postponement, reassuring him relations were in the “best shape” and that the visit would be rescheduled.
The Prime Minister said he “entirely understood the need for (Jokowi) to remain in Indonesia at this time”, adding: “We agreed the postponement will not affect the need for continued and enhanced co-operation across a range of shared interests and challenges, including the threat of terrorism.’’
Indonesia watchers are predicting a tough few months for Jokowi, with the ANU’s Marcus Mietzner saying the President had painted himself into a corner by allowing Friday’s protest in the hope it would defuse anger.
“He has emboldened the radicals. They will now accept nothing less than (Jakarta Governor) Ahok’s arrest and, because the government is not going to grant that, more protests are certain. Thus, more instability is on the cards,” Professor Mietzner told The Australian.
Read the full article Joko Widodo’s Australia trip may be rescheduled in The Australian.