Australia and the Indonesian Independence

  •  Sah-Hadiyatan Ismail    


Immediately after World War II, the Indonesian nationalists declared the independence of Indonesia and staunchly opposed the return of the Dutch to the Netherlands East Indies. The Australian Labor government took the position to support the Indonesian nationalist instead of the Dutch. This position was taken based on the rights of self-government for the dependent peoples enshrined in the United Nations Charter and championed by Australia. Besides Australia’s idealism on the colonial issue, the concern for political development in Indonesia was also based on the growing awareness of the consequences this issue might pose to Australian security. Australia’s support for Indonesia put Australia in a different position with the United States and Britain as both countries supported the Dutch. Australia worked hard to settle the ‘crisis’ in Indonesia and brought the Indonesian-Dutch disputes to the United Nations Security Council even it against the US advise. The period of August 1945 to October 1949 clearly showed that Australia’s independence in making decision on its foreign policy away from the influence of the American and British policy in Southeast Asia. The short-lived independence in foreign policy was overturned in late 1949 with the formation of the new Australian government by the Liberal-Country Party.

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