Australia recently sent two naval ships to participate in a joint naval exercise with Indonesia. In an email interview, Fergus Hanson, director of polling and a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, discussed Australia-Indonesia relations.
WPR: What is the recent trajectory of Australia-Indonesia relations?
Fergus Hanson: Australia-Indonesia relations remain caught in a deep rut. At a people-to-people level there is entrenched distrust. Polling in both countries reveals widespread negative perceptions and suspicions of the other country. Each year since 2006, the Lowy Institute Poll has asked Australians to rate their feelings towards Indonesia on a zero to 100 scale, with zero meaning very cold and unfavorable and 100 meaning very warm and favorable. Indonesia has only twice scored above 50. And in 2006, when we asked Indonesians the same question about Australia they ranked their feelings toward Australia at 51.