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On Tuesday night, Professor Tim Lindsey, director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, spoke to Emma Alberici, from the ABC’s Lateline program, about Indonesia’s announcement that it will issue import permits for just 50,000 head of cattle between July and September.
Professor Lindsey explained that Indonesia’s decision to slash its quota for beef cattle imports probably has a lot more to do with difficulties in Indonesian domestic economic policy than it has to do with the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
“Indonesia’s long had a struggle between protectionism and deregulation. And the economic performance to date of the government of President Joko Widodo has been fairly lacklustre,” Lindsey said. “[S]udden reversals of policy – lifting import bans, suddenly imposing price controls, ordering one-off importations to deal with food price spikes created by this protectionist policy – is not unusual, has not been unusual this year.”
The interview also covered the overall state of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, examining the damaging impact of allegations that Australian officials paid people smugglers to return to Indonesia, and the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Professor Lindsey said that: “this issue about beef cattle shows that, whatever the rights and wrongs of any situation in the bilateral relationship – and it’s not always our fault, nor is it always Indonesia’s fault when the relationship is disturbed – there are always unexpected consequences for us.”
Watch the full interview on the Lateline website.