The Age Essay example

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Could it have been a case of lost in translation when Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop met with her Indonesian counterpart Dr Marty Natalegawa in New York on Monday – or simply falling on deaf ears? As far as Ms Bishop is concerned her meeting earlier this week with Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister to discuss the Coalition's controversial asylum-seeker policy was "very cordial", "positive and very productive". Yet Dr Natalegawa clearly saw – and heard - it differently, and said he warned the Australian minister against implementing the policy, which he strongly rejects. Fairfax Media has previously confirmed that the Coalition's plans to turn around asylum boats was unpopular with the Indonesian government. Advertisement

"We have reiterated that Indonesia cannot accept any Australian policy that would, in nature, violate Indonesia's sovereignty," Dr Natalegawa told Indonesia news agency Antara News following the New York meeting. ''I think, the message has been conveyed loud and clear and has been understood well," Dr Natalegawa added. But the message it seems was not heard by Ms Bishop who told Australian media 24 hours after the meeting in New York that they were in agreeance to put an end to people smuggling. "I put to Foreign Minister Natalegawa that Australia will be making changes to the laws in Australia so that we take away the product that the people smugglers are currently selling and that is permanent residency in Australia." Asked on three occasions to respond to reports that Dr Natalegawa warned Australia not to introduce such a policy, Ms Bishop refused to answer, instead she repeatedly described the meeting as "positive and productive". "I'm not going into the operational details of our policy but I had a very broad ranging discussion with Mr Natalegawa and I'm confident we will be able to implement our policies." Asked to respond to media reports he was not happy with the outcome of the meeting, Ms Bishop said: "There can be some misunderstanding as to what our policy is and it is certainly not to in any way show disrespect for Indonesian sovereignty and for anyone to think that that was our policy that would be a mistake. "Our policy respects Indonesia's sovereignty, respects Indonesia's