News National New Indonesia code to cover spying: Bishop

New Indonesia code to cover spying: Bishop

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Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says a new code of conduct being negotiated between Australia and Indonesia will include a clause dealing with future spying activities.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since it was revealed in November that Australian spies targeted the Indonesian president’s phone and those of his inner circle.

In response, Indonesia broke off formal military cooperation and has demanded a new agreement be reached with Australia before cooperation resumes.

Ms Bishop says Australia has submitted its draft of the code of conduct, which she described as a “joint understanding”, but Indonesia is being delayed by its upcoming elections.

She says foreign minister Marty Natalegawa is preparing Indonesia’s draft, but she is expecting progress to slow in the lead-up to the election.

“I believe that this matter is now caught up in domestic politics in Indonesia in the sense that they have an election in April,” she told Lateline.

“I’m not expecting as much progress to be made now that their attention is turned to their domestic election. That’s not surprising.”

Ms Bishop confirmed the code of conduct would cover espionage.

“I made it quite clear that Australia would not use its resources – our intelligence resources – to the detriment of our friends and neighbours and that includes Indonesia,” she said.

“That will be part of the agreement, yes.”

Ms Bishop says although the relationship has stalled in some areas, it remains healthy in others.

“Yes, there has been a suspension of cooperation particularly in relation to people smuggling … [and] defence,” she said.

“But otherwise there are about 60 areas of cooperation between Australia and Indonesia, covering about 22 Australian Government departments and agencies and authorities and that is continuing.”