For reasons of geography and demography, Indonesia is no less important to Australia in Asia than China, India and Japan.

With almost 2 million square kilometers of area, Indonesia is the largest and most populous country in Australia's neighborhood, occupying a strategic position astride its northern approaches through which much of Australia's trade passes. It is also the world's 15th biggest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars with a GDP of $1.2 trillion. Indonesia's GDP has overtaken Australia's and its population (237 million) is now more than 10 times bigger.

Little wonder then that, in March, Australia's first ever national security strategy paper noted that a "positive relationship with Indonesia contributes profoundly to Australia's overall security"; therefore, maintaining "the positive trajectory of that relationship is a priority."