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Articles on Spy standoff

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott talks to Indonesian Finance Minister Chatib Basri during a business breakfast in Jakarta in October. Bagus Indahono/AAP

Australian trade with Indonesia: what’s really at stake?

Indonesia has a population ten times as big as that of Australia, but its per capita income is only one-tenth of Australia’s, so what’s really at risk if the trade relationship between the two countries…
Australian troops participated in the post-war occupation of Indonesian territories and is yet to formally apologise. EPA/Abror Riziki

Australian espionage and the history of foreign intervention in Indonesia

Indonesia’s response to the spying imbroglio last week – when president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recalled his ambassador and suspended security co-operation with Australia – reflects a political history…
Australia must develop a stable, close and mutually respectful relationship with Indonesia, its government, its leaders, and its people. EPA/Adi Weda

Our politicians have failed yet again – it’s time we fixed the mess with Indonesia

Every so often over the last 50 years, Australia’s relations with Indonesia have hit stormy waters. The present tensions over the spying scandal may not be the most serious, but they are serious enough…
It’s uncertain what effect Indonesia’s downgrading of diplomatic and military relations will have on Australia’s asylum seeker policies. EPA/Tubagus

Stopping people smuggling requires more than just Indonesia’s help

Australian-Indonesian military relations have been downgraded in recent days following Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s decision to reduce military co-operation until he receives an explanation…
What’s behind the public, media and political response in Indonesia to the revelations of the extent of Australia’s spying activities? AAP/Eka Nickmatulhuda

On the ground: the Indonesian response to the spying saga

Expressions of public outrage in Indonesia at allegations Australia had engaged in the phone tapping of Indonesian politicians – including president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and Cabinet members…
Tony Abbott has tried to ride out the pressure from Indonesia with repeated references to his commitment to the relationship. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Grattan on Friday: Abbott will need to make those words good

The most extraordinary intervention in a disastrous week for Australian-Indonesian relations came out of the blue. Who could have anticipated the provocative tweeting by Liberal party pollster Mark Textor…
Tony Abbott needs to learn a thing or two about Indonesian culture if he’s to have a successful working relationship with his Indonesian counterpart. EPA/Made Nagi

Saving face: lessons for Abbott on working with Indonesia

There’s a widespread perception in Australia that Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s reaction to Australia’s phone tapping is all about playing domestic politics in Yudhoyono’s home country…
Should Tony Abbott follow Barack Obama’s example and apologise personally to Indonesia leaders over the spying scandal, as Obama did to Angela Merkel? EPA/Andrew Harrer

Spying scandal: Obama, Abbott and why sorry is the hardest word to say

The contrast between Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s self-defeating response to spying allegations with Indonesia and US president Barack Obama’s reaction to smooth its similar row with Germany…
It is sensible to keep an eye on our friends in order to manage risk. Image from

I spy, you spy, we all spy – but is it legal?

The specifics of whose phone was tapped and when may be new to Indonesia but the fact that Australia monitored its close friend’s activities will not be a surprise. Governments have been watching each…
The Indonesian president, and his government, have experienced a serious loss of face at a time when they least wanted it. EPA/Abror Rizki

Diplomatic crisis: can the PM mend our relationship with Indonesia?

When The Guardian Australia and the ABC broke the news that Australian intelligence agencies had been monitoring the phones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and leading Cabinet…
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono greeted his recalled Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema at the Presidential office in Jakarta. EPA/Abror Rizki

SBY hits fight against people smuggling in retaliation over eavesdropping

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has dramatically escalated the crisis with Australia by suspending joint patrols to combat people smuggling and other military co-operation and intelligence…
For the Australian Signals Directorate – as with all organisations in the spying business – the secret of success is in keeping your success secret. AAP/Lukas Coch

Protecting secrets: inside Australia’s mysterious spy agency

Much like in the movie Casablanca, there is much huffing and shaking of heads about activities of the nation’s electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), after allegations emerged…
The Guardian and ABC’s case to publish information about Australia’s phone tapping is a defensible one. EPA/Adi Weda

To publish, or not to publish? The ethics of reporting spying

Were The Guardian Australia and the ABC ethically justified in publishing leaked classified material showing Australia tapped the telephones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife…
Reports from Jakarta suggest Indonesia may be moving to review all aspects of its relationship to Australia. EPA/Adi Weda

Australia-Indonesia spy standoff more than just ‘gestural’ politics

The revelations that Australia was spying on its “best friends” in Indonesia have rocked Indonesia-Australia relations. Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has withdrawn the country’s ambassador…

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