Widodo’s bizarre Avengers link to Australia
Collaborative ties in the Indonesian-Australia partnership have been referred to being like the movie Avengers: Endgame, where national superheroes come together to fight against intolerance, protectionism and climate change.
That is the viewpoint of Marvel fan and Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who on Monday addressed federal parliament while visiting the nation to sign a historic trade deal.
"When the forces of good unite, the Avengers assemble and the common enemy can be defeated," he said.
"When Indonesia and Australia continue to collaborate and work together, then intolerance and protectionism and the fear of poverty and the threat of climate change can be overcome."
Mr Widodo, who addressed members and senators in parliament, kicked off his speech with Australia's beloved colloquialism "g'day mate".
He then received a colourful mosaic bowl from bushfire-ravaged Mogo in NSW - a gift to remind him of the nation's support to communities after bushfires, according to Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
The trade agreement, passed by the Indonesian parliament last week, aims to boost multi-billion dollar links between Australia and Indonesia.
After flying into Canberra with his wife Iriana, Mr Widodo was given a ceremonial welcome on Sunday at Government House - the official residence of the Governor-General David Hurley - where he was also greeted by foreign secretary Marise Payne.
In a joint press conference today, Mr Morrison said the deal was "mutually beneficial".
"Indonesia will be one of the star economies of the world over the next 10 to 20 years, and this arrangement, this mutually beneficial arrangement, will ensure that our economy is linked for this exciting period of growth in the years ahead. Today we have agreed to include new elements as part of this implementation," he said.
The prime minister announced Monash University will establish a campus in Indonesia under the deal - a first for an Australian tertiary institution.
"Monash University will establish its first foreign campus in Indonesia under this agreement, and that is an indication of how this is a two-way street," he said.
Mr Widodo said his visit marks "a new beginning of a new relationship with Australia".
"This means going forward economic relations between the two countries will grow and bring more tangible benefits for the people," he said through a translator.
With regards to Monash University's planned new campus, Mr Widodo said "Indonesia hopes Australia can become an important partner in infrastructure investment as well as education."
Monash University president and vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said Monash had a long history of engagement with Indonesia.
"The opening of Monash Indonesia, the first Australian university based in Indonesia, will enable us to work in and with Indonesian people and their organisations to realise their future opportunities. The physical establishment also serves as a symbol of Monash's commitment to Indonesia and the wider Asian region, as well as stronger research and education links between Indonesia and Australia," she said in a statement.
Based in Jakarta, Monash Indonesia will be a postgraduate campus, offering Master and PhD degrees, as well as executive programs and micro-credentials. It will be research intensive and industry engaged and operate with the full support of both the Indonesian and Australian governments.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the agreement with one of the world's fastest-growing economies would be a major boost for Australian farmers through lower tariffs and improved access.
Indonesian goods will be subject to zero tariffs when entering Australia, while tariffs on 94 per cent of Australian goods imported to Indonesia will be eliminated gradually.
Indonesia and Australia already enjoy bilateral trade worth $17.8 billion.
The deal's signing was delayed after Mr Morrison said in late 2018 that Australia was considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is a strong supporter of Palestine and warned against the move.
WIDODO VISIT PROMPTS BALI NINE CALL
Meanwhile, convicted drug mule Renae Lawrence has pleaded with the PM to urge the Indonesian president to show leniency on five members of the Bali Nine who are still behind bars.
She wants reduced sentences for the remaining five members of the Bali Nine imprisoned in Indonesia, or a prisoner exchange with Australia.
"These humane actions will in some small part bring our nations closer together," she told reporters yesterday, in her first public comments since her release in 2018.
In the unlikely event she could meet Mr Widodo during his visit she said she would say "sorry".
"We all did something stupid, we all regret it, but everybody deserves a second chance," Ms Lawrence said.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said any representations made on behalf of the Bali Nine would be done quietly.
"Our tried and tested method is that it works far better to engage quietly, privately with governments than to do so with a loud hailer across the airwaves," he told ABC radio.