A new poll by the Lowy Institute shows that the recent executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran for drug trafficking in Indonesia haven’t changed opinions about whether Australia should cut aid to the country in response.
Only 28% of respondents agreed that Australia should suspend aid projects in response to the execution of an Australian national overseas. The poll was conducted between May 1-3, and the response was unchanged from a poll conducted by Lowy in February/March this year, prior to the executions. On the same question, some 68% of respondents disagreed with suspending aid projects before the executions, with 69% disagreeing afterwards. There was stronger, yet still modest, support for other measures, such as making private diplomatic protests and recalling the ambassador.
For context, a poll by DFAT in 2013 showed that 45% of Australians believed aid to Indonesia ‘was probably at the right level’, 18% thought it should be increased, and only 29% thought it should be decreased–and that was well before the Chan and Sukumaran executions were in the headlines.
The Indonesian government also seems unfussed. Foreign affairs spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said that Indonesia would be unconcerned if aid was cut in the Australian Federal Budget next week, as is anticipated.
“Indonesia at the moment is no longer a country that needs aid for development,” he said, according to The Guardian.
“Nevertheless, any aid given by Australia is their effort to increase, to strengthen our partnership.
“And so, it’s their right to give, but Indonesia is not asking.”
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also told The Jakarta Globe that the aid cut had “long been planned across the board”.