Tony Abbott plans to visit the Indonesian capital Jakarta before the end of the month.
Mr Abbott is due to visit Indonesia for the APEC summit in Bali in early October but incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop says he will also make an earlier, separate visit to Jakarta in the coming fortnight.
‘That’s what’s being planned at present. That’s subject to everybody’s travel and other arrangements,’ Ms Bishop told Sky News on Monday.
Mr Abbott is expected to raise the coalition’s asylum seeker policies with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Jakarta has repeatedly raised concerns about elements of Mr Abbott’s policies, most notably his plan to turn boats back to Indonesia.
Ms Bishop says the coalition’s policies will be implemented.
‘I’m not asking for Indonesia’s permission, we’re asking for their understanding,’ she said.
‘I am in absolutely no doubt that we will be able to implement our policies.’
But Ms Bishop says the Abbott government will not make the mistake of viewing Australia’s relationship with Indonesia purely through the prism of asylum seekers.
Ms Bishop will also hold talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa when she travels to New York for a United Nations gathering next week.
Abbot and Bishop… Hmmm ? God help us… and protect us from men (and women) of the cloth…