Labor and coalition welcome joko widodo’s backing for australia to join asean american university ranking

Indonesian president joko widodo’s support for australia to join the association of south-east asian nations has received a warm response from the coalition and labor, with both sides trumpeting the importance of the regional body but making clear that membership was a decision for ASEAN leaders.

In an exclusive interview with fairfax media ahead of a special ASEAN summit in sydney this weekend, the indonesian president endorsed australia’s admission as a "good idea" that would would bolster political and economic stability in the region.

It’s more than a year until he seeks re-election for a second and final term, but indonesian president joko widodo is using the power of incumbency to reach deep into his opposition’s base.ASEAN states

While various australian prime ministers have contemplated seeking membership of the group, none have publicly pursued it while in office. The current indonesian president – widely known as "jokowi" – is the first to throw his support behind the move, which could transform australia’s strategic position.

Prime minister malcolm turnbull told fairfax media he looked forward to discussing the idea with jokowi "if he raises it with me" and said australia would wait to be invited.

Foreign minister julie bishop emphasised australia’s long association with the group and told the ABC that "it would be a matter for all 10 ASEAN states to consider the admission of new members and should such an honour be extended to australia, of course we would consider it very seriously".Indonesian president

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman penny wong said labor had prioritised ASEAN since the government of prime minister gough whitlam, who formalised relations with the group in 1974.

Previous leaders of ASEAN states have pushed back against australian attempts to boost participation and membership could only occur if there was consensus across all 10 members.

ASEAN’s other nine members are malaysia, the philippines, singapore, thailand, cambodia, brunei, vietnam, laos and myanmar. While some of these members might agree with jokowi’s position, others are close to china and have a rocky history with australia.Indonesian president

The sydney summit will be the first time ASEAN has met in australia. During his visit, jokowi will have a private dinner with mr turnbull at his point piper home. Ms bishop and defence minister marise payne will also hold a formal "2+2" dialogue with their indonesian counterparts on friday.

Former prime minister paul keating, a long-term advocate of ASEAN, told fairfax media he was gratified by jokowi’s comments, which he said "underlined and confirmed my faith in indonesia as one of our greatest friends, and so singularly important to us".

Professor michael wesley, dean of the college of asia and the pacific at the australian national university, said the new indonesian position was a "significant development".ASEAN states

Presented with china’s rise as a regional and global power and the uncertainty presented a donald trump-led united states, the turnbull government views ASEAN as increasingly important.

Ms bishop said earlier this week that ASEAN is "uniquely placed to continue to promote the international rules-based order within our region" and warned this order was being challenged by "states who cherry-pick what parts … They are prepared to adhere to the parts they are not".

"They see some short-term interest in challenging that rules-based order. But we believe that this must be protected because it dictates the behaviour of states, what is acceptable and what is not within states, between states.Indonesian president it regulates the competition between nation states and it protects the rights of states, large and small, how they behave towards each other," she said.