Building ties between Indonesia and Australia: Andrew Leigh, MP

The Member for Fraser, Dr Andrew Leigh, welcomed attendees of the inaugural Conference of Australian and Indonesia Youth (CAUSINDY) to Canberra at the Australian National University (ANU) on Thursday 17 October.

“There’s no better place to introduce young Indonesians to Australian society than Canberra, which is home to our most important civic institutions and the nation’s premier universities”, Dr Leigh said.

CAUSINDY is a recently-founded initiative of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) which brings together 30 young leaders from Australia and Indonesia for a three-day conference.

Hosted by the ANU, participants had the opportunity to connect with experts in business, government and academia, as well as engage in an exchange of ideas with each other on how to build relationships across our two countries.

Dr Leigh featured on a panel discussion on Australia-Indonesia relations along with Professor Tim Lindsey, an Indonesia expert at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Santo Darmosumarto, a former Indonesian diplomat and current advisor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“What you are doing here today is enormously important,” Dr Leigh told CAUSINDY participants.

“What matters are the friendships you forge out of this, and the on-going ties which you can benefit from.”

Dr Leigh highlighted the importance of his own personal experiences spending time with his parents in Indonesia as a child, being the only westerner at the local school he attended.

“In the Australia in which my parents’ generation grew up, our relationship with Asia developed with the White Australia Policy as a background.

“Yet while the White Australia Policy has come and gone, the fact is that too few Australians work and study in Asia.”

Dr Leigh spoke about the role that the Australian Parliament can play in building the relationship. “We need to ensure that our parliament becomes more Asia-literate,” he urged.