16 March 2015
To the President and people of Indonesia:
I write to draw your attention to the millions of Australians who are daily offended, humiliated and shamed by actions of our present Australian government, especially in international affairs. I do not want to dwell on details, but the people of Australia are offended by their government’s policies and actions, internal and external, possibly equally as much as you may be offended in Indonesia. Our Federal Government has very low electoral support in Australia.
Millions of us are aggrieved by offenses to Indonesia: in respect of asylum seekers, telephone-tapping, territorial integrity and law. Similarly, there are millions of Australians whose lives have been enriched through knowing Indonesians like yourselves, through the influence of your culture here, and through visiting your beloved country. Because of the warmth of our hearts towards your people, every offense of our government and people towards you is felt as an offense to our own hearts. When you are hurt, we hurt, too.
In thinking about Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two of our people who are sentenced for execution for drug offenses in Indonesia, I ask only that you think not too much of the crassness of our government, or of the bawdiness of the Australian revelers who profane your beaches, but think of those of us, in Australia who respect and love you. We are many. If nothing else comes from this letter, I want you to know that. Truth is, in the environment of one of your prisons for ten years, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran have undergone a personal and spiritual transformation that would benefit almost every member of our own government. It is a great credit to you that this has happened. I thank you for it. We need such examples and exemplars in the very fight against the evils of drugs that both our nations pursue.
I make no judgment in the matter: it is not my job, nor that of any other Australian. You have your judges: it is their job. I simply want to tell what I have told, and pray that, in whatever way justice may be done, our nations continue to grow both in love for, and in understanding of, one another.
La Trobe University,
also sent to the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia