The Indonesian government has warned that cutting an Australian aid program to build schools in Indonesia could increase the threat of young people being radicalised.
I think most Australians appreciate Indonesia because it is our nearest neighbour and we have had good relations with Indonesians. I don't think we need a warning because most of us understand and appreciate that we are always there as friends. It's unfortunate the matter of funding to Indonesian schools was brought up by one person because it is something we, as a nation, care about. A lot of Australians have had an ongoing love affair with Bali and just love going there .We were all deeply moved and shocked by what happened in the tsunami, particulalry to Aceh, and so fund raising was not very hard for us to do and we did everything we could to help. Over a long time we have developed some good programmes and bonds with Indonesia and don't like the notion that would change or be disturbed. You see, most of us have friends or family members who have worked in countries like Indonesia or Africa to help the people with the ideas and initiatives they want to develop. It's not one sided , though. It benefits us all. Indonesia is important to us because it is right there off our coast and an valued neighbour. I often think if you go up in a straight line from Adelaide you are there in Indonesia. Education cuts do not heal and we know it.