Australia won’t be walking away from its long-term relationship with Indonesia, its ninth largest trading partner.
That’s the response of business and economists to the execution of two Australians in Indonesia in the early hours of Wednesday.
Social media erupted with both outrage and sorrow after the execution of the two convicted drug-smuggling Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, calling for a boycott of its nearest neighbour.
Business Council of Australia president Catherine Livingstone refused to speculate what actions individual businesses might take but urged a cautious approach.
She said business plays an important role in the ties between two countries.
“Life goes on and business will go on,” she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
Twitter hosted tens of thousands of tweets in response to the deaths, with more than 5000 urging a boycott of both Indonesia and its island province Bali.
“Don’t agree with the death penalty? Don’t travel,” wrote @em_farrelly, while @krrabeckley said, “You gave them 10 years rehabilitation and took their lives away. I know 1 place I’ll never visit, condolences to the family.”
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline had not seen any evidence of customers boycotting Indonesia so far.
“It’s a personal decision what people decide to do and how people accept their views,” Mr Joyce said.
“But at the moment there are no signs of any impact and our expectation is there probably won’t be a significant impact on those operations.”
Market Economics managing director Stephen Koukoulas said trade between the two countries was not “insignificant” at about $11 billion a year.
Australia’s major import from Indonesia is oil and petroleum products, while Indonesia imports educational services, tourism and beef.
But Mr Koukoulas said a boycott could affect broader issues, such as wanting Indonesian support at international gatherings like G20 and APEC.
“It can’t help,” he told AAP.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott did immediately recall Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, but he indicated he wouldn’t be boycotting the country.
“We do not want to make a difficult situation worse and the relationship between Australia and Indonesia is important, remains important, will always be important, will become more important as time goes by,” Mr Abbott said.
It was a “dark moment” in the relationship, but Mr Abbott was confident that the relationship would be restored for the benefit of both countries.