Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for the federal government to shed light on an international political corruption case subject to an Australian court suppression order.
The whistleblower website Wikileaks on Wednesday published the full text of the Victorian Supreme Court court order made on June 19.
Australian media organisations cannot legally publish the contents of the order, which was made to prevent damage to the country's international relations.
It relates to an ongoing investigation into allegations that Asian officials and their families were bribed to secure contracts to print their currencies by a company -- Securency -- linked to Australia's central bank.
Dr Yudhoyono has now asked the Australian government to give an explanation of the case.
"We want to hear directly from Australia," he said in a statement on Thursday.
"I ask that Australia issue a statement that both [former president] Megawati [Sukarnoputri]] and my names are unstained, and so they do not defame other Indonesian officials. We want to hear directly from Australia," Dr Yudhoyono said.
The president later took to Twitter to reaffirm his views.
“The Government of Australia should be completely open and make transparent its law enforcement process and not cover it up”, the president tweeted.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, left, shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after a press conference following their meeting in Batam, Indonesia. Photo: AP.
On Thursday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs stated that the case “names a large number of individuals” but that “the naming of such figures in the orders does not imply wrongdoing on their part”.
“The Australian Government obtained suppression orders to prevent publication of information that could suggest the involvement in corruption of specific senior political figures in the region, whether in fact they were or not,” the Government said in a statement.
“The Government considers that the suppression orders remain the best means for protecting the senior political figures from the risk of unwarranted innuendo... The Government stresses that the Indonesian President and the former President are not the subject of the Securency proceedings.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called the suppression order the worst in "living memory", and argues the public has the right to know about the case. Photo: AAP.
Wikileaks claims the court order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.
The group's founder Julian Assange has called the suppression order the worst in "living memory", and argues the public has the right to know about the case.
"This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due.
"The concept of 'national security' is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere."
Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.
A statement from the Australian embassy in Jakarta said suppression orders were intended "to prevent publication of information that could suggest the involvement in corruption of specific senior political figures in the region, whether in fact they were or not"."The government considers that the suppression orders remain the best means for protecting the senior political figures from the risk of unwarranted innuendo," the statement said."The naming of such figures in the orders does not imply wrongdoing on their part."
Outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures as he delivers a speech during his visit at the presidential palace in Manila. Photo: Reuters.
In the statement, the government stressed that neither the president nor former president Megawati Sukarnoputri were the subject of the case in question.The breach of the order was being referred to police, the statement said.Relations between Australia and Indonesia are only just beginning to normalise after leaks in 2013 revealed Australian efforts to spy on Dr Yudhoyono.
Protesters burn a poster of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a demonstration outside Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2013. Photo: AP.
He has had friendly talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott as recently as last week, when the two spoke about the MH17 tragedy.Australia and Indonesia are working towards finalising in August a code of conduct to guide the future relationship, before SBY leaves office in October.The Australian government has not commented but Sydney-based lawyer Michael Bradley told the ABC that in the age of the Internet, such suppression orders were futile."I think they can only ever realistically have temporary effect and the degree of interest that they generate once they become known tends to enhance the amount of publicity that's attracted to the underlying issue, because it's a guessing game and it's entertaining and fun," he said."I think they're ultimately self-defeating."France-based Reporters Without Borders spokesman Benjamin Ismail said the order spoke "volumes about the current level of transparency in Australia"."The grounds given for this gagging order, which include national security, are unacceptable and cannot justify such complete censorship applying to all news and information providers, including both journalists and ordinary citizens," he said."We urge the authorities to put the public interest above national interest and to restore transparency in this case by rescinding this order at once."