Keenan on Jakarta counter-terror mission

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan is seeking to boost co-operation with Indonesia against terrorism, building on the work already being done to tackle transnational crimes such as child sexual exploitation.


Mr Keenan, in his role as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism, will meet senior Indonesian government figures in Jakarta from Wednesday.

He wants to enhance co-operation with Indonesian agencies that have successfully uncovered terror plots as recently as last week, when Islamic State group paraphernalia and homemade bombs were seized in Solo, central Java.

“Together our countries have already undertaken significant work to tackle transnational crimes such as human trafficking, the illegal drug trade, and child sexual exploitation,” Mr Keenan said.

“Now we must bolster our partnership to combat the new complexities we face from terrorism.”

Since November 2014, 101 registered Australian child sex offenders have been refused entry to Indonesia.

The information shared with Indonesian authorities comes from the Australian National Child Offender Register, which requires offenders to register their overseas travel plans.

Indonesia has consistently been the top destination for Australian child sex offenders since 2010, with an average of 21 offenders travelling – mainly to Bali – every month in 2014.

Australian Federal Police agent Andrew Perkins believes the close co-operation with Indonesia will change this.

“The AFP and Indonesian authorities have the common goal of ensuring that every effort is made to prevent the abuse of children, before it occurs,” he told AAP.

“The action taken by the directorate general of immigration will send a strong message to those child sex offenders who intend to travel to Indonesia for the purpose of offending.”

Indonesia’s immigration officers say they are looking to the US and New Zealand to share information in the same way.

Mirza Iskandar of the Indonesian directorate general of immigration agrees the system is working to protect children.

“We are very grateful for that because, even though it benefits both parties, from our own side, this is for the benefit for Indonesia,” he told AAP.

“It’s very useful, very beneficial for us.”

Mr Keenan is the first Australian minister to visit Indonesia since the executions of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in April.