Incensed Indonesian citizens have begun a campaign to return tsunami aid donated by Australia after Tony Abbott attempted to use it as a bargaining chip in the case of two convicted drug smugglers.
The hashtag “KoinUntukAustralia” or "coins for Australia" is being used on social media sites to offer to repay the $1bn of foreign aid pledged to Indonesia after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.
It is a response to Tony Abbott’s apparent attempt to ask for “reciprocity,” by linking the aid with the case of Australian drug dealers Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, who are due to executed by firing squad.
Individuals have posted pictures to Twitter of Indonesian money with mocking messages to Mr Abbot, one user wrote: “Money is returned. The law is still running.” And another said: “Shame on you Mr Abbott for your stupid statement.”
At a protest against Mr Abbott's statement in Jakarta one banner read: "Australians need a prime minister, not a Shylock," a reference to the moneylender in The Merchant of Venice, who demanded a pound of flesh if a borrower defaulted on their loan.
Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, was forced to contact Indonesia’s vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, on Thursday to smooth relations, after Mr Abbott’s comments were construed as a threat by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Ms Bishop had been leading diplomatic efforts to persuade Indonesia to stay the executions, which have now been derailed by the Australian premier’s comments.
Chan and Sukumaran, who were charged with smuggling 8.3kg of heroin in 2005, had been scheduled to move to an island where they will be executed, but this was delayed due to “technical issues”.
Nevertheless, the Indonesian attorney general, Muhammad Prasetyo, said there will be “no delay” in the executions, despite pressure from Australia to spare their lives.
Australia is not the only country involved in a spat with Indonesia over its citizens being executed for drug offences.
Both the Netherlands and Brazil temporarily recalled their ambassadors to the country after Indonesia executed a citizen from each country in January.
Brazil’s ambassador to Jakarta was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a dressing down following a perceived snub by the Brazilian president to the Indonesian ambassador-designate after the execution.
The ministry later released a statement, which read: “As a democratic sovereign state with its own sovereign, independent and impartial justice system, no foreign country nor party can and may interfere with the implementation of Indonesia’s prevailing laws within its jurisdiction, including in the enforcement of laws to address drug trafficking.”Reuse content