Indonesia, Australia should focus on similarities: Ambassador

People from Indonesia and Australia need to be encouraged to think about the things they have in common rather than their differences, Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson said.

“What is interesting about Indonesia and Australia is how much we have in common, very often we talk about the differences between us. I think it is very important that when we think about each other, we understand that in our everyday lives, we are actually very similar,” Ambassador Grigson said in Jakarta Friday.

One of the examples mentioned was drugs, which he pointed out was one of the biggest issues in both Indonesia and Australia.

Last year, Indonesian authorities sentenced to death a couple of Australian nationals, along with six other members of so-called Bali Nine group, who were found guilty of smuggling drugs into the countrys Bali Island.

Views over the death penalty from both Indonesian and Australian citizens were widely divided and the same applies for governments of both countries.

“When it comes to the death penalty, Australia and Indonesia have different views. Australia is opposing the death penalty, has been for many years, and will continue to do so, and Indonesia has a different view,” he stated.

Ambassador Grigson, however, put a strong emphasis on focusing less on disagreements that both countries might have.

“We do not hear much about our cooperation, about how we both work to fight drug problems in our communities and what we can do together to combat that serious issue, which frankly is a challenge for both of us,” he reiterated.

It is imperative for Indonesians and Australians to find the middle ground and common interest in certain issues rather than focusing on disagreements as they can get in the way of resolving the issue itself, he further stated.

Rather, they should focus on the ways they can work together to address the issue.

“When we have differences, either admit it and move past it or find a way to resolve it. Do not get hung up on it. It is very important to look for common interest in these issues, and well get much further than having arguments about where we disagree,” he said.

Similarities between Indonesians and Australians are shared even in their daily lives, from their daily activities to soap operas which are known as Sinetron in Indonesia and Soapy in Australia, Ambassador Grigson admitted.

Source: Antara News