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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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'Reprioritising' Australia's aid budget

In 17 December 2012, Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that the government would report up to $375 million as support for asylum seekers waiting to have their claims heard in Australia. In effect this meant that $375.1 million would be diverted from the overall aid budget to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The reallocation represents an effective cut of 7.3 per cent to other elements of the aid budget. The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research also suffered cuts of 7.6 per cent to their respective aid budgets. Details of the revised Budget Estimate were released in the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2012-13 (p... Read more...

Schapelle Corby granted clemency by Indonesian President

In April 2012, Indonesia’s Justice and Human Rights Ministry recommended Schapelle Corby’s jail sentence be reduced by ten years, on humanitarian grounds. Corby, now 34, is said to be suffering from mental illness. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a letter on 15 May granting Corby clemency, cutting five years off her 20 year prison term. This is particularly significant as previously the Indonesian President has stated that he would not use his power of clemency in favour of drug offenders. This may have consequences for other Australians seeking clemency from the President, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran of the “Bali 9”. Two senior government officials in Indonesia have confirmed... Read more...

Indonesia is ready for a rich, contemporary relationship...

Indonesia has taken the spotlight over the last few months as people smugglers, terrorism, drug traffickers, live cattle exports and our neighbour’s complicated ‘komodo economy’ have held the media’s attention. A need to look at Indonesia, not through it to China, was signalled by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Marty Natalegawa, when he met the new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr: 'It's to the disadvantage of countries to put all their eggs into one basket'. Simultaneously, the recent Hill report on the state of Indonesian language studies in Australia, and last year’s Lowy Institute survey of community attitudes, indicate there is a need to look inwards, at how we think about... Read more...

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