MINISTER MARSUDI Today I am happy that I was able to co-chair The Ministerial Conference of the Sixth Bali Process alongside with my dear colleague, my good friend Minister Julie Bishop. This was preceded by the senior officials meeting on the 22nd of March 2016. The ministerial meeting is both timely and important considering the migrant crisis currently being faced by Asia and the world. And during the meeting the delegation shared the common views on the importance of collective efforts between countries of origin, transit and destination as well as international organisations in addressing the challenges of irregular migration in the region. And the meeting has successfully adopted two documents; the first document is the co-chair statement which summarises the proceedings and discussions in the sixth ministerial conference of the Bali Process and then the second document is the Bali Declaration on People Smuggling Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

This reflects member countries’ commitment to effective and coordinated measures in addressing that for the first time IN the meeting in the Bali Process which is a ministerial declaration.  There are several important points on these two documents but most importantly in the documents it was mentioned and fully supported by the delegates of the commitment to establish a regional mechanism to communicate and respond to emergency situations. On the sidelines of the sixth Bali process I also had the pleasure to conduct a series of meetings and receive courtesy calls from ministers from other countries and international organisations and of course I had the pleasure of a bilateral meeting with Minister Bishop in Jakarta before leaving for Bali on the 21st of March.

And I would also like to share with you that the sixth Bali Process was attended by 303 delegates including 16 ministers from 54 countries. The meeting was also attended by 12 observer countries and eight international organisations. So I thank you very much and now I give the floor to my colleague, my good friend, Minister Bishop.

MINISTER BISHOP Thank you Minister Marsudi. I appreciate your leadership in co-hosting this meeting today. The Bali Process is our region’s pre-eminent forum for our engagement on the deeply challenging issues of irregular migration, people smuggling and trafficking, issues that are global in their impact. As co-chair of the Bali Process with Indonesia, Australia is working to deliver regional solutions to these profound policy challenges. We’re working towards collective action to compliment the efforts of member states. Today Bali Process members have signed an ambitious agenda for future cooperation. We’re adopted a landmark Declaration on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons and Transnational Crime. This Declaration is an important step towards reinvigorating our coordinated efforts to tackle the current regional challenge of irregular migration. The Declaration recognises the need for long-term solutions for refugees and irregular migrants and acknowledges the need to address the root causes that makes people vulnerable to irregular movement.

Regional governments have recognised that the safety and protection of migrants, trafficking victims, asylum seekers and refugees is paramount. States are being encouraged to criminalise people smuggling and trafficking in persons and engage with the private sector to combat trafficking and related exploitation. Australia also welcomes the recommendation that members review the region’s response to the Andaman Sea events of 2015. The review will consider options for improving contingency planning, preparedness for potential similar events, tragically, that will occur in the future. To make the region’s crisis response mechanisms more agile and timely, Australia and Indonesia as co-chairs will consult and if necessary convene further meetings to discuss urgent irregular migration issues in the effected countries. I look forward to working with my Bali Process colleagues to implement these important initiatives and again thank Ibu Retno for her hosting of the Bali Process here in Bali today.

JOURNALIST Minister can you tell us how the new mechanism might work in practice?

MINISTER BISHOP In terms of bringing together the members, there will be close consultation, officials will be given the authority to consult and convene meetings this was missing from the processes in 2015 and we were concerned that as the events of Andaman Sea unfolded there was no mechanism for the Bali Process to bring members together in a timely fashion and we believe that this will give us that opportunity to do so.

MINISTER MARSUDI Further to what Minister Bishop mentioned that when the emergency situation in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal happened, it seemed like we could not do more in the context of the Bali Process to respond to that emergency situation and therefore we are very glad that we go the support from the delegates in the Sixth Bali Process to have the regional consultation mechanism. Of course co-chairs will play a very significant role and one to contact, one to communicate and of course if necessary we will request the steering committee at the SOM level to meet to discuss about the situation and if necessary again it will also include the affected and interested countries. So that is more or less the mechanism, how the regional consultation mechanism will work.

JOURNALIST (inaudible)

MINISTER MARSUDI No, the Bali Process is the forum to generate cooperation between the country of origin, transit and destination. So once again, during the meeting it’s really obvious that every country wants to contribute whenever they can in responding and addressing the very important issue that is facing almost every country around the world, every region. That is the irregular movement of persons.

JOURNALIST (inaudible)

MINISTER BISHOP Foreign Minister Marsudi and I continually discuss challenges. We had a very long bilateral meeting in Jakarta the day before yesterday where these issues were addressed and of course we’ve spoken today about the events in the last few hours in Brussels. A number of foreign ministers have had these discussions.

JOURNALIST Were you surprised that Scott Morrison was kept out of the loop on the Budget timing?

MINISTER BISHOP These matters had been discussed at length in the leadership meetings in the lead up to the Prime Minister’s decision on Sunday night and the announcement on the Monday morning.

JOURNALIST Minister Marsudi, have you had a response yet from the Chinese about your concerns regarding the fishing boat?

MINISTER MARSUDI We will continue our communication with them.

JOURNALIST Did you receive a phone call from the Chinese asking you not to go the media about the fishing boat? This is a report today that’s being carried in Bloomberg.


Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555