The Oceanic Viking asylum seeker issue has barely caused a ripple of interest in Indonesia, where all the eyes are focussed on the biggest government corruption scandal in years, says Professor Tim Lindsey. "It’s a little bit like America's Watergate scandal."
Professor Lindsey says the case threatens the anti-corruption platform that swept President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to a second term. "It's particularly important for Yudhoyono, as he won a spectacular landslide election for his second term just months ago, and he won by running on a strong anti-corruption platform, promising to wipe out corruption and deal with the 'legal mafia'."
"Some two hundred and seventy minutes of wire taps were revealed by the anti-corruption commission that were played in the constitutional court of Indonesia, which had the entire nation riveted to their TV screens."
And Professor Lindsey says the case highlights how inward looking Australia is when it comes to news at its back door. "We need to udnerstand that in the South East Asian context, not everything that happens is about Australia. While we have the biggest economy in the region, Indonesia domiantes the region strategically and has its own concerns.
"While Australia has been in a feeding frenzy over the asylum seeker issues, Australia needs to realise that the issue that is confronting us are part of an international problem. In Indonesia, another boat arriving is not news. They're much more concerned about whether their government will survive and whether its anti-corruption credentials have any meaning."
You can read more from Prof Lindsey in today's Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/indonesias-gecko-gate/story-e6frg6zo-1225799912887