Australian Opposition Leader and Labor Party Chairman Anthony Albanese said it made sense that the strict Australian Visa rules that apply to Indonesians needed to be changed. This has made it difficult for Indonesian tourists to visit there.
Albanese mentioned it during his first official visit abroad, namely to Jakarta earlier this week (8/26/2019). Accompanied by Foreign Minister (shadow) Penny Wong and DPR member Luke Gosling, Albanese met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
As reported by the Australian Associated Press, after the meeting Albanese stated that he supported the simplification of the visa process for Indonesians who wanted to travel to Australia as tourists.
At present, Australians can travel to Indonesia without a visa and stay for one month (visa-free).
But instead, Indonesians have to go through a lengthy and time-consuming visa application process at a cost of 140 dollars per person or nearly Rp 1.5 million.
The applicant will also be asked a number of things such as whether he has committed genocide, been involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, slavery and a number of other stringent questions.
After going through a process like this, the visa application can also be refused and the money not returned.
"In this vast country, across the archipelago, a growing middle class has the potential to increase the number of tourists from Indonesia in Australia," he said.
Albanese added that Indonesia is currently the second highest destination for Australians after New Zealand. Around 1 million Australians come to Indonesia annually.
"The fact is the number who come here instead is around 200,000 per year, could increase even more," he said.
"There must be a reasonable solution to this problem, while acknowledging that we are in a competitive global environment," added Albanese who some time ago replaced the previous opposition leader, Bill Shorten.
Meanwhile regarding the free trade agreement between the two countries, Anthony Albanese asked PM Scott Morrison to make a "white paper" of Australia-Indonesia economic relations, when each parliament ratified the agreement.
"Regional involvement with Indonesia and all regions in the region is at the core of our (opposition) foreign policy," Albanese said.
He added that improving economic relations and human relations not only supports the creation of employment but will also create a "stable and peaceful environment" in the region.