The Australian federal government of 2015-2021 aggressively promoted defence industries, hoping to become one of the top global suppliers of weapons. Between 2013 and 2016 the number of defence export licenses granted trebled, as did the financial value of the sales. Over ten years the Australian government plans to spend an additional $270 billion on ‘military and defence industries’ to boost Australia’s ‘sovereign capacity’. In real terms, this means giving grants of public money to weapons corporations so that those corporations can sell more weapons and increase their profits. Defence giants such as Boeing, Rheinmetall, Thales and Elbit have all received lucrative contracts and grants from Australian state and federal governments. Militarism is at the core of the Australian government’s spending strategy, and is the foundation of Australian-Indonesian diplomatic relations.
The Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Indonesia on the Framework for Security Cooperation, the “Lombok Treaty”, was signed by both countries in 2006. This treaty re-established defence deals between Australia and Indonesia after the diplomatic disruption caused by Australia’s acceptance of 43 refugees from Indonesian occupied West Papua. The Lombok Treaty underpins Australian training, material support and weapons transfer to Indonesia without regard to the human rights abuses committed by Indonesian security forces in West Papua. The Lombok Treaty affirms military cooperation while dispensing with any monitoring or scrutiny of how training or weapons are deployed, rejecting any such ‘threats’ to a nation’s ‘sovereignty’ or ‘territorial integrity’.
The Lombok Treaty’s significance has been highlighted by both governments over the years. In 2018 the treaty was referred to in the Joint Declaration on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and the Republic of Indonesia:
Australia and Indonesia reaffirm that, in accordance with the Lombok Treaty, consistent with our respective domestic laws and international obligations, we shall not in any manner support or participate in activities by any person or entity which constitutes a threat to the stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of the other.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda in 2006
On September 9 2021 Defence Ministers Peter Dutton (Australia) and Prabowo (Indonesia) signed a further MOU committing to an expanded ‘defence cooperation’ program, including the training of Indonesian cadets at Australian military academies such as Duntroon. As part of the deal, Dutton gifted 15 Thales Bushmasters (weaponised vehicles or APCs) to Prabowo’s army.
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton with Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo in 2021
Reece Kershaw, AFP Commissioner 2022
Edmund Barton Building,
Barton ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 5126 0000
Email: [email protected]
The AFP’s mission in Indonesia is the largest in the AFP’s international network, comprised of 30 personnel. The AFP provides capacity building support such as investigative support and forensic assistance to POLRI, including specialized counterterrorism police Densus 88 or D88. AFP engagement with D88 takes place in Jakarta with members of the executive and headquarters. In 2014 new ‘people-to-people’ capacity building activities were initiated between POLRI and AFP, including inviting junior POLRI officers to participate in long-term secondments with the AFP. It is unknown how much the AFP contributes financially to this capacity building support, or who is involved.
The Attorney General’s department confirmed that Australia supports POLRI, including D88, through training, education, equipment and technology. The type of ‘equipment and technology’ has not been clarified. Between 2010 – 2012 the AFP gave D88 motor vehicles, office and telecommunications supplies and computer equipment valued at AUD$314,500. In 2016 the AFP provided additional equipment to D88 ‘to increase their counter terrorism capacity’, including computer equipment, vehicles and office furniture. The Attorney General’s Department has denied supplying weapons to POLRI, including D88.
There is little publicly available information about the equipment the AFP provides to POLRI. The AFP report that they do not provide annual funding to POLRI but that the allocations they do provide are solely intended for use in counter-terrorism capacity. Since May of 2021, members of the West Papuan resistance known as Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM have been designated as ‘terrorists’ by Indonesian government decree. This designation would free up any 'counter-terrorist' AFP funding for use against West Papuans suspected of supporting independence.
Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Semarang
Australian institutions, particularly the AFP, have been central players in the establishment and funding of JCLEC. During the first five years of JCLEC’s development plan, the Australian Government spent $36 million on design and construction. The 2011-2012 audit stated that AUD $28.2 million would be provided to JCLEC for the forward estimates period, along with an annual funding of AUD $7.1 million in AFP funding to JCLEC.
Despite the significant investment of funds and personnel, neither the AFP nor the Australian government include human rights impacts in their monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
Serial human rights offenders BriMob (riot police) and Detachment 88 (D88) (counterterrorism force) train at JCLEC, with instruction offered by former Australian SAS soldiers, the CIA, the FBI, members of the US Secret Service and the AFP.
Counter-terrorism police, D88
The current AFP Executive Director of Programs at JCLEC is Greg Davis. There has been opposition from Australians to the AFP's involvement in this project.
Action at AFP HQ in Melbourne
Much of the above information was gathered from this report.
Commissioner: Michael Outram APM
Phone: (02) 6264 1111
Post: PO Box 25, Belconnen ACT 2616
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has a college at JCLEC where ABF personnel run programs on civil maritime enforcement training. On 25 August 2015, Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg opened the Planning and Conduct of Maritime Patrols program at JCLEC. This coincided with the formal introduction of the Maritime Enforcement stream at JCLEC. The Maritime Enforcement stream at JCLEC is a partnership between ABF and JCLEC and has a focus on delivering maritime law enforcement to officers from Indonesia and other regional authorities.
ABF Commissioner Outram and Indonesia National Police Superintendent Eko Yuswanto, and AFP Superintendent James Stokes, JCLEC Exec Director Programmes 2015
In 2015, ABF funded three maritime courses with a total of 57 participants.
In 2015, four maritime and border courses were held at JCLEC with 87 participants.
In 2016, one maritime and border course was held at JCLEC with 20 participants. It is unknown whether ABF provided this course.
In 2017, 10 maritime and border courses were held at JCLEC with 900 participants. ABF hosted three of the 10 maritime and border courses in Australia.
It is unknown who any of the participants have been but due to Australia-Indonesia bilateral cooperation on maritime security it is highly likely that Indonesian police are key participants in the ABF’s trainings.
Articles 13 and 14 of the Lombok Treaty enshrined the importance of bilateral maritime cooperation:
13: Strengthening bilateral cooperation to enhance maritime safety and to implement security measures, consistent with international law.
14: Enhancing existing Defence and other cooperation activities and capacity building in the area of aerial and naval security in accordance with international law.
In Sydney, Australia on 26 February 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Indonesian Coast Guard regarding joint maritime enforcement trainings: Civil Maritime Enforcement and Security Partnership (CMESP).
General Angus Campbell, Chief of the Defence Force 2022
Contact: R1-5-CDF Suite, Russell Drive, Russell, ACT 2601
PO BOX: 7900, Canberra BC, ACT 2610
The Department of Defence gifted 20 sets of language laboratory equipment including computers and office equipment to Kopassus Headquarters. These were provided to enhance the English language skills of Kopassus personnel. According to the Department of Defence these gifts were provided to units that are not located in Papua.
Between 2014 – 2019 at least 50 joint exercises have taken place between Indonesian and Australian defence forces.
The Department of Defence has stated that applications to export military goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis, including consultation with other government agencies, to ensure Australia’s international obligations are complied with, such as human rights standards. The end user, consignee and intended destination for use are all considered when exporting military goods. An export permit authorises the export of goods to a specified end user for a specific end use.
Yet, the Department of Defence has not provided any documentation proving that processes are in place to ensure that exported military goods are not used in conflict or to commit human rights violations.
Australia’s Special Air Services (SAS) and Kopassus, Indonesia’s special forces unit, commenced annual bilateral trainings in 2003. These were suspended after Australia granted asylum to 43 West Papuans in 2006. The SAS and Kopassus resumed joint counterterrorism efforts, including training, after the Lombok Treaty was signed in November of 2006. The training includes joint counter-hijack and hostage rescue exercises. SAS / Kopassus joint training takes place at their HQ in Swanbourne, Perth. The SAS also have a training facility on Swan Island, Victoria, near Queenscliff. In a report released in 2021, Australia’s SAS forces were found to have repeatedly committed war crimes while on mission in Afghanistan. The Brereton Report describes a ‘toxic’ culture, leading to sadistic, cruel and inhumane behaviours by SAS troops.
Kopassus troupes in West Papua, 2014
Director: Dylan Nagle
Location: Defence Export Controls – Located in Russel Offices Canberra.
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1800 662 066 or +61 2 6266 722
A whole new office was established in 2018 to help realise the Australian governments ambitions to become a world leader at making a killing: the Australian Defence Export Office.
The Australian Defence Export Office (ADEO) was established in 2018 under the Department of Defence portfolio and is key to the new defence export system, replacing the Australian Military Sales Office. They are the peak body delivering Australia’s ‘Defence Export Strategy’, coordinating with Austrade; the Centre for Defence Industry Capability; the Department of Defence; the Department of Home Affairs; the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and EFIC. The ADEO works closely with AusTrade to secure defence export contracts, including to Indonesia.
“Austrade is finalising recruitment of eight specialist Defence and Security Sector Directors in priority markets to enhance support for Australian Defence exporters. Directors have been appointed in France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and Singapore. A Director for the United Arab Emirates will be appointed shortly.” - Quoted from the Australian Defence Sales Catalogue 2020
Most Australian defence exports are technologies, components and specialised products produced by small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The 2016 Integrated Investment Program in Australia allocated $200 billion over a decade for investment in ‘new and enhanced defence capability’ for Australian Defence industry exports (This has since been increased to $270 billion). How much of Australia’s defence exports go to the Indonesian military or Indonesian civil markets is unknown, however between 2013 - 2016 the Indo-Pacific region was Australia's second largest destination market for defence exports. The Indo-Pacific region is a high priority market for Australian defence exports, due to Australia’s ‘strong strategic interests’ in the area. The Indo-Pacific region represents over a third of the projects and enquiries handled at the Australian Defence Export Office. The estimated total value of Australian defence exports is $1.5 - $2.5 billion per annum. This information was gathered from Australia's Defence Export Strategy.
Lockheed Martin Hercules delivering TNI troops to West Papua, 2021
In 2013 Australia donated four Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transport aircraft to Indonesia. In April 2013 Australia agreed to sell a further five of the aircraft on a discounted basis. These aircraft have been used to transport troops into the highlands, for instance into Intan Jaya in September 2020, areas where frequent human rights abuses by TNI and POLRI are reported. The Defence Export Strategy 2018 report noted the opportunities that arise in selling or gifting military equipment: “The transfer of surplus ADF equipment, whether gifted or sold, also creates opportunities for Australian industry in refurbishment and future sustainment. For example, the transfer of Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Indonesian armed forces resulted in a contract worth $52.7 million for Airbus Group Australia Pacific Limited to refurbish the aircraft and transfer a C-130H simulator and large quantity of spares”.
Peace In Papua is an international campaign to end foreign weapons supply and training for the Indonesian armed forces, both police and military.
Wage Peace action at Thales weapons factory in Bendigo, December 2021