20 Mar 2016

Indonesia's FM challenges Australia to settle more refugees

4:52 pm on 20 March 2016

Indonesia's foreign minister has challenged Australia and other countries to pull more weight in dealing with refugees.

PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato (right) talking to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.

Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi with her PNG counterpart, Rimbink Pato. Photo: Supplied

As Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, arrives in Indonesia today ahead of a people-smuggling, trafficking and transnational crime summit in Bali, Retno Marsudi told Fairfax's Indonesia correspondent that Australia should do more.

Ms Marsudi said Indonesia hosted more than 13,000 thousand refugees and asylum seekers that are waiting to be resettled and took on 2,000 more from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

She said she hopes Australia will be more receptive to these migrants.

Australia defends its efforts

Last September Australia announced it would take an extra 12,000 refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq, in addition to its commitment of 13,750 refugee places for 2015-2016.

Ms Bishop said at the time that the intake was the biggest effort from Australia since 1951, when it responded to the post-Second World War emigration from Europe.

Australia also currently houses over 1,500 asylum seekers and refugees in offshore processing centres in places such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Those people had attempted to reach the Australian mainland by boat but were picked up by the Australian authorities and sent to the controversial detention centres, at which riots, protests, hunger strikes and two deaths have occurred.

Third diplomatic post to open in Makassar

Julie Bishop's tour of Indonesia this week includes trade talks and the opening of Australia's third diplomatic post in the country.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visiting a monument last year to those killed in the Bali bombings.

Julie Bishop visited Bali last year to commemorate the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians. Photo: AFP

She says she will formally open the new emabssy in Jakarta and also visit the Eastern city of Makassar to open a consulate-general there.

She says Makassar, on Sulawesi Island, is a key commercial hub for Australians doing business in the east of Indonesia.

Ms Bishop will co-chair the meeting on people-smuggling, trafficking and transnational crime in Bali.