The ABC's Expert on Indonesian Immigration matters, Living with Dreams
Thursday, 19 September 2013
UPDATE - for the avoidance of doubt - Tantowi YAHYA is a prominent member of Golkar, the ruling party in Indonesia from 1966 to 1999 when Soeharto ran the show. Golkar ruled then for a little while longer while President Habibi held the reins of state but it has not ruled Indonesia in its own right since then.
President Yudhoyono is a member of the Indonesian Demokrat party. Golkar is part of a coalition with the Demokrat Party, but President Yudhoyono runs the show.
When Julia Gillard was criticised last year by Tantowi Yahya, the ABC introduced him as you hear in the Audioboo below, with Matt Brown referring to his role on the Who Wants to Be A Millionaire show and his populist background. Now Mr Yahya is criticising a conservative government.........
Last night Tony Jones from the ABC's Lateline show interviewed him and the ABC introduced the segment like this:
Tantowi Yahya from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Commission discusses the government's policy on turning back boats asylum seekers, 'Operation Sovereign Borders' saying, Indonesia find the policy of turning back the boats offensive and won't accept it. He says the two countries need to co-operate and work together in order to find a solution.
It looked like Tony Jones was speaking with someone who was authorised to speak on behalf of Indonesia. The ABC intro said it, Tantowi Yahya says "Indonesia finds the policy of turning back the boats offensive and won't accept it".
Here's the link.
It couldn't have taken much for the ABC to find its own records of Matt Brown speaking with Bapak Yahya last June.
Here is the former host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He's not a Minister of the Republic, he's not a diplomatic spokesman, he's a popular entertainment figure with a very good eye for a Western Sucker and how things play in downtown Jakarta Mall.
There's one born every minute.
Thanks to reader Token and the many others who sent me emails.
When I worked in Jakarta I was very familiar with the Yahya family.
Fifi Yahya worked in the business I ran, she was also a newsreader on Indonesian television.
Here's a news story about Fifi and her children from last year in Bintang (Star) Online.
I'll see if Fifi can chat with us. Here she is reading the news.
I would rather my taxes be redirected from the ABC by Abbott to more worthy causes - that should not be hard to do
Posted by: Mike T (WA) | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:27 AM
With the offensive filthy graphics being passed off as comedy and media watch commentary accompanied by glaring mistakes like this one. It is time time government had a good clean out of our ABC Management. Clearly the time when our ABC set what were accepted as high standards has been abandoned by those running the place now! Edward James
Posted by: Edward James | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:35 AM
Back to the drawing board for the ABC's new 'Fact Checking' experts, but then it's indicative of everything else they choose to report ... or hide.
Posted by: Blackswan | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:38 AM
Oh and thanks to Australia for that $500 million in foreign aid this year, we spent it on some nice new Apache attack helicopters.
Posted by: underminder | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:39 AM
I'd keep my powder dry on this, he also appears to be both an mp and committee member..http://www.usindo.org/feature/u-s-house-foreign-affairs-committee-chairman-edward-royce-meets-with-indonesian-parliament-foreign-affairs-committee-chairman-mahfudz-siddiq
[John there's no doubt Bapak Yahya is a senior member of the Golkar Party and a member of the Indonesian Parliament. He's also a member of the foreign affairs committee. But it's a bit like putting CNN or someone interviewing Clive Palmer or Rob Oakeshott and saying that either of them speaks for Australia.]
Posted by: Doubtful John | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:39 AM
Joke is on Tony Jones! Could not have happened to a "nicer" Fella. Apparently he tried so hard - i did not watch - rarely do these days.
Posted by: Meg | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:45 AM
So Tony Jones is either corrupt or a fool, perhaps both! At best this was very misleading, at worst it could be bordering on sedition.
This matter must be taken up by the Government and exposed for what it was - this guy and others who authorised this should be immediately sacked.
Posted by: watto | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:51 AM
Does t.jones need to be questioned about this, I did not see the whole interview, turned off in anger,I'm afraid.please continue to check this out, and get it printed in whatever will print it. I might as well watch reruns of that Jack Little wrestling show to get information. you are not welcome in this house any more Mr.Jones,
Posted by: Nancy white | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 11:52 AM
So the ABC claims that there is no actual evidence that there is a police investigation into Ms Gillard's past and will not report under those circumstances. However it is OK to act irresponsibly and conduct a "fake" interview pushing their own agenda. If Malcolm Turnbull doesn't take action/axe to ABC he should be sacked.
Turnbull's body language yesterday was interesting. He is obviously not part of the bonding of the team. Also forgot to hold his bible while giving the oath and then stood before he should and promptly sat again!! Not so confident or sophisticated after all.
Posted by: Maggie 47 | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:04 PM
Well enough Australians voted for Peter Garret to get him into the government too.
Aren't we clever!
If the ABC get privatized perhaps Tony Jones will stand for parliament in a fit of self-righteous indignation.
I would love to see him voted in just so Bronwyn could cut him off & send him to the naughty corner. He sure as hell needs it.
Posted by: pattoh | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:12 PM
fully agree DJ
The impression given by the post is that Tony Jones misrepresented the current position of Bapak Yahya. He did not.
http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantowi_Yahya indicates Yahya has been in the Indonesian parliament since 2009. If Jones is correct in identifying Yahya as a current member of the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Commission (as he seems to be) then his opinion should not be treated lightly, because he is free to make statements that their Minister for Foreign Affairs would be constrained from making.
I was personally disgusted with the hectoring approach taken by Jones in this interview. It was strongly reminiscent of the shock jock methodology, so perhaps Jones has been listening to the other Jones.
[Max - that's the point, Mr Yahya's views are not the views of Indonesia, they're a party political view expressed by a partisan political figure. As I said to John, a foreign news service could have a field day with certain Australian MPs if they misrepresented those views as official views of our country.]
Posted by: Max | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:20 PM
This would seem to be total at odds with the interview given by Major General Jim Molan earlier this year that stated categorically that talks had been underway with Indonesian Government officials for at least six months prior to that interview. I guess we have to make a judgement as to who we believe ( I know which way I swing and it is not towards a game show host )
Posted by: KB worrier | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:21 PM
Where did Jones get his Diploma in Marxist Propaganda from?
IMO it was a disgusting program from the outset with the sole intent by Jones stirring up a very sensitive issue to cause major and deliberate damage to the Australian Government and should be seen as such.
Jones' questioning technique was one which deliberately led Yahya by the nose with the object of using him to get his own political/personal views across.
His efforts have been taken up by the leaning left with gusto particularly others within the ABC, as todays new war cry and I believe he and they should be taken to task immediately and at the very highest level and that is not the management of the ABC but the Government itself.
Enough is enough. Jones is not there to create news and certainly not to use the ABC to air his own political bent and his use and abuse of his position within the ABC has gone far enough.
Whilst Abbott seems to go softly softly on the ABC, he has to do something to bring this leftist labor propaganda machine back to within its own Charter.
The Government cannot simply continue to leave its head in the sand on this continual undermining by the ABC and this latest effort by Jones cannot be left unchallenged.
Maybe time for a few more heads huh?
Posted by: Jeff | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:36 PM
I watched it last night and couldn't understand the logic in Jones questions as Tony Abbott only got sworn in yesterday and he was asking if he had discussed the policies with Indonesia Umm!! he wasn't the Government till yesterday now he can go and discuss his plans with our neighbors if it concerns their interests..
How long are the ABC going to continue in pre-empting what the government are going to do, once they used to report the news as it happened not what their opinion is of what might happen.
Posted by: Michelle Two | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:41 PM
He is a politician. The following tidit is from an unvetted site.
"Berlin April 2012. 10 Members of Parliament of Indonesia came to Berlin to prove the purchase of German made Leopard tanks. But actually it wasnt their task to prove it. In Indonesia there is an Instiution called ‘BPK’ which responsible in this case. Further the 10 members of Parliament also brought their family to Berlin which is criticized by Association Indonesian Students in Berlin. To be seen are Vena Melinda and Tantowi Yahya, delegates from Democratic and Golkar party."
Mr Yahya spoke highly of Bob Carr. They both like to take their families with them on overseas parliamentary business jaunts.
Posted by: Bushranger | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:42 PM
I would be interested to know if the Labor government gave extra money to Indonesia on the understanding it was to make life very difficult for the Abbott government on its border policy. Nothing like a little bribery.
Posted by: lily | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:45 PM
Apparently though it's OK for Japan and other countries to send them back. The ALPBC now produces so much BS that they out to branch out into agricultural business enterprises.
Posted by: Old Rooster | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:58 PM
Interesting, because tantowi Yahya was just (in june 2012) very vocal about how seriously the then Aust. federal government was treating the problem of people smuggling. Hmmmmm, wonder what has changed for him?
Indonesian MP queries on people smuggling
An Indonesian politician says his country is concerned about how seriously Australia is treating the problem of people smuggling.
An ABC Four Corners investigation aired on Monday found at least six people-smuggling agents came to Australia on a boat in 2010 posing as genuine asylum seekers.
All were granted residency in Australia.
Tantowi Yahya, a member of an Indonesian parliamentary committee for foreign affairs and security, said Australia’s pledge to end people smuggling had to be queried.
“Our commitment is to find the mastermind behind all of this and we agree with the request from the Australian government to be co-operative with them,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
“But then we have got the news that Australian government is giving refugee status to the smugglers.”
He said Indonesia would like to discuss this situation with Australia’s ambassador, Greg Moriarty, in Jakarta soon.
“So we would like to express our disappointment and we would like to hear more about it.” ...
Posted by: newbposter | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:01 PM
Bronwyn could say "I take that as a comment", now SIT DOWN.
I'm so looking forward to Parliament. Perhaps I should get a life!!
I'm in Canberrra week October 21-27 and had hoped to attend question time. Checked yesterday and was told not sure when being recalled. I've got ALL fingers and toes crossed.
Posted by: Maggie 47 | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:01 PM
Very good point made.
No comment on Gillard but fake this story.
Posted by: Arch | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:02 PM
Tony Jones - Australian interests come a poor second to creating a headline. That ABC interview was offensive.
Posted by: Rosemary | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:04 PM
That sort of BS would kill off any agricultural business they attempted as it's very potent (very toxic) sort of BS from the ABC.
Posted by: Michelle Two | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:28 PM
'The Australian' is still writing that this guy is a parliamentarian. I think Tony Jones went too far. The asylum-seeker debacle should not be treated like an episode of 'Foreign Correspondent'.
Posted by: JennyF | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:38 PM
Apparently it's OK for Indonesia to turn them back also...
Posted by: underminder | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:43 PM
Its an utter disgrace tony jones miss representing him as an MP.... but who cares if Indonesians are angry, they are allowing this to happen, enter legally into Indonesia and then enter Illegally into Australia... is that how friends work? well excuse me Indonesia you dont make the international LAWS.
Cut there aid I dont give 2 shits if they dont like it.... why are they setting the rules??? Just a farce and Labor felt scared and bullied by them....
I would never go to Bali or Indonesia, heard many stories not sure why Aussies Holiday there.... cause its cheap? try Malaysia instead.
Posted by: D8 | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:47 PM
“Tantowi Yahya, who is a member of the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Commission, says Mr Abbott's plan to turn refugee boats back to his country could jeopardise Indonesia's good relations with Australia.”
Now this would be fine if Mr Yahya were speaking for the Indonesian Government Officially but he is not – he may be a part of a minority party in coalition with the Indonesian Government – but he was appearing on an ABC left biased programme (aren’t they all) and speaking with someone who does not represent the Australian Government.
Abbott has stated that he will not do diplomatic bargaining in the media – which is as it should be – he would be within his rights to call the Indonesian Ambassador in to ensure that Indonesia does the same. Abbott is well within his rights to start sharpening a dagger for Jones, but I don’t believe he is that sort of person.
Moylan and Bishop have both been negotiating with Indonesia for months – Jones and this loony could well turn things sour – however President Yudhoyono is no fool, unlike the two other players in this stunt.
Just another reason to overhaul the ABC – Michael Smith would be a good CEO for starters.
Posted by: Vet65 | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 01:51 PM
Michael - the Tony Jones "interview" on Lateline last night has to be one of the worst I have seen in a long time. It only goes to demonstrate that being a TV current affairs show host and being a professional journalist are not one and the same thing.
I have always found Tony Jones to be a somewhat supercilious, even mocking, interviewer. But his effort yesterday did him no credit. It was blindingly obvious that Jones had only one agenda item - to discredit Tony Abbott and the Coalition policy of "turning back the boats". Come hell or high water, Jones was determined to get the responses he wanted, and he certainly laid it on thick with a trowel! In court room jargon, Jones "led the witness" to a disgraceful extent. And he utterly failed to ask the probing questions that any self-respecting professional journalist would ask.
For instance, when Tantowi Yahya claimed that turning back boats in international waters would compromise Indonesian sovereignty, Jones failed to counter with some rather obvious follow up questions of his own:
"Here we have Indonesian fishing boats, crewed by Indonesians, leaving from Indonesian ports, filled with passengers who previously arrived in Indonesia with proper travel documentation, who were given permission to remain in Indonesia, who paid people smugglers operating in Indonesia, who boarded the fishing boats in Indonesia, who destroyed or otherwise "lost" their travel documentation in Indonesia, who mostly likely departed Indonesia in breach of Indonesian law, and who, with the knowledge and assistance of Indonesian nationals, openly seek to enter Australia in an unauthorised fashion. In light of these facts, how is turning back the boats in international waters a "breach" of Indonesia's sovereignty? And what about Australia's sovereignty? Would the constant and increasing flow of unauthorised human cargo from Indonesian shores not constitute a possible breach of Australia's sovereignty? Are the Indonesians concerned with this, or are they only focussed on their own perceived interests?
And if the Indonesians are so concerned about breaches of their sovereignty, why do they not protest loudly when Australian warships travel huge distances to regularly "rescue" human cargo from Indonesian fishing boats "foundering" in Indonesian territorial waters?"
It is true that, belatedly, Tony Jones did mention that "some Australians" have raised the issue of Indonesian boats, crews and ports being prominent in the current people smuggling racket. However, Jones did not raise this point in the specific context of Indonesian sovereignty. And in failing to do so, and in failing to ask the hard questions, Tony Jones stands condemned in my eyes. In a democracy there is always room for contrary opinion and different views. But I think Jones crossed that line during yesterday's interview. Tony Jones gave me the impression that he was prepared to sacrifice any sense of loyalty to Australia in favour of momentary current affairs sensationalism. For someone who no doubt considers himself an Australian, and who no doubt calls Australia home, this was a despicable act.
Posted by: JohnL | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:01 PM
Diploma !? You do the man a disservice Jeff. Honours degree at least !
Posted by: W154 | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:23 PM
I watched the interview and couldn't figure out what was going on! I would be surprised if anyone from a government anywhere would be so open and candid about matters to do with foreign relations. I was going to email you Michael but thought it was just me who thought it was odd. Thanks for clearing it up - very dangerous behaviour. It appeared to me that Jones was working against Australia's interests or at least trying to lay land mines against the current government. How dare he!
Posted by: Account Deleted | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:31 PM
Sedition means disloyalty or treachery to one's country or its government.
Treason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government. Sedition is any act, writing, speech, etc., directed unlawfully against state authority, the government, or constitution, or calculated to bring it into contempt or to incite others to hostility, ill will or disaffection.
And then there is just plain disloyalty.
What I saw as I watched Tony Jones last night left me cold.
Posted by: Jane | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:33 PM
Michael - Actually the point is that Mr Yahya (in parliament) is not without influence in Indonesia even if not in government. You might as well say that the coalition mantra "turn back the boats" of the past six years should have been ignored by Indonesia because the coalition was not in government.
If Yahya says Indonesia is "offended" this means there are Indonesians with smoke coming out of their ears on this issue. This may well be a minority view and/or reflect the way the issue is reported locally in Indonesia rather than the reality ... news media are quite capable of distorting the reporting to sell copy ... this is not just a Murdoch penchant ... nonetheless the point is that there are sensitivities on both sides which neither side typically hears about.
Tony Jones' interview was particularly ill mannered (IMO) but this is no reason for dismissing out of hand the comments made by Yahya.
Posted by: Max | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:34 PM
The media are in my opinion wanting any policy to do with "refugees" to fail
they have really dug to the bottom of the barrel with last nights presentation on Lateline the Jakarta Post on Tuesday mentioned that at the end of Sept Tony Abbot will be meeting with the Indonesian President and the REAL Foreign Minister http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/09/17/ri-anticipates-aussie-boat-talks-upcoming-meeting.html
Tantowi Yahya is an attention seeker
Posted by: Lesf | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:40 PM
As I understand matters, Indonesia is at present gearing up for the 2014 national elections, which are held every 5 years, the last being in 2009.
Nominations for those elections are currently being accepted with the Golkar Party nominating 92 of their 106 incumbent members.
The nominations as I understand were called for April and closed during September.
Me thinks that Tantowi Yahya is doing a fine job of electioneering for re-election at the expense of the ABC...the ABC should know better than to be a pawn in the election ambitions of an Indonesian politician.
Posted by: Redress | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:53 PM
It's MSNews to the forefront , again.
Although this story has been cited elsewhere, the content of this blog far surpasses anything produced by the bill-yon-dollar media 'we' all own. Jones jnr needs a few lessons from Jones snr, and even then that'd be stretch to even get young Jones just to be polite, as he is an awful presenter, however which way he presents.
Posted by: Allan Cox | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 02:55 PM
When Abbott meets with the President, they will sort things out. Abbott will command respect, whereas Chicken Kev and Julia weren't respected at all, they were both weak.
Leaders respect strong leaders who show courage and the Indonesians witnessed that with John Howard
Posted by: Albert | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:03 PM
The follow up questions pretty much sum up Australia's case. Time for the navy to step in Australia. Doing nothing is the less likely way to succeed here.
The consequences of firm action will be more favorable than the do good, do nothing, lefties think.
Posted by: Arch | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:13 PM
The ABC must be stopped from running an anti-Government agenda. It is neither impartial or enlightening. Fix it or close it down.
Posted by: john greybeard | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:30 PM
Don't forget that Peter Garrett was once a Minister and spoke officially on behalf of our government. Asians are a rather colourful lot. [I've thought of him today a lot!]
Posted by: Doubtful John | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:31 PM
"I would never go to Bali or Indonesia, heard many stories not sure why Aussies Holiday there.... cause its cheap? try Malaysia instead."
Nooooooo!😱😭😰😨 I don't want the ockers that trash Bali etc to find out about Malaysia❗
Posted by: Old Rooster | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:44 PM
Nice catch! I'd forgotten that.CRAFT again!
Posted by: Old Rooster | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 03:58 PM
It was a despicable act, without doubt . Jones has no inclination to report fairly, nor has he displayed any real skills to justify holding his job. He is not fit to be in the job he currently earns a salary in from.
Abbot needs to close him down with his dangerous bias. Sell the ABC. Im sure that most Australians would agree. Its about time.
Posted by: tassielass | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 04:20 PM
As usual, your post has described the situation in a truthful and straightforward manner, with a generous dash of eloquence. Thank you JohnL for your contribution
Posted by: farmboy | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 05:02 PM
Jeff you are spot on. Jones was making the news by his leading of Yawya. An absolute disgrace and I hope that not too soon the axe is taken to the ABC and he (Jones) and quite a few more go for the chop. A hot bed of Marxists who tried and are still trying to bring down TA.
Posted by: Geoff | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 05:10 PM
As usual the ABC sets the agenda..
Posted by: Dallas Beaufort | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 05:11 PM
The Gardening Australia team could advise them on how to handle it maybe.
Posted by: Old Rooster | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 05:29 PM
Maggie, you could become our source inside Parliament....go for it.
Posted by: terminator | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 06:09 PM
Let me get this right - when Tantowi Yahya is interviewed on the ABC last year, and is critical of Gillard government policy, he is slightingly derided as a "game show host", but when he is critical of Abbott government policy he suddenly becomes a full government minister, with all the authority it gives him?
Personally, I would love it if the more prominent illegal boat people advocates in this country could be charged with treason, for acting against Australia's best interests.
Posted by: Not on the Left | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 06:15 PM
German made Leapard Tanks, courtesy of the Australian Taxpayer.....wake up Tony.
Posted by: terminator | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 06:15 PM
SBS News this evening referred to him as a "senior Indonesian politician".
Posted by: Jeff of FNQ | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 06:44 PM
Hi farmboy. I don't deserve them, but I thank you for your kind words. The angrier I get, the more eloquent I become. And Tony Jones annoyed me no end last night. I see him as nothing more than a sanctimonious and superficial buffoon masquerading as a journalist. He doesn't even begin to compare with real foreign policy journalists - people like Greg Sheridan of The Australian. I don't always agree with what Greg Sheridan has to say, but I always admire the professionalism and rationality that shine through his writing. Compared to someone like Sheridan, Tony Jones is an utter joke. :-)
Posted by: JohnL | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 06:50 PM
Perhaps we could get Indo-Aus relations back on track if we got Fifi Yahya (Indonesia) together with Fifi Box (Australia). Then we could look forward to some sort of congress on the important issues. The Chaser boys on the ABC might be able to make something of that.
Posted by: Rod W | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 07:52 PM
Stuff what Indonesia say's Just tell them all Aid will cease as from Today then watch the corrupt Bastards i have been there once and the corruption is unbelievable ,they are nothing but corrupt thief's send the boats back, Bali we will never go back,
Posted by: Robert Parker | Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 09:59 PM