Australia updates Travel Advice to Indonesia ahead of proposed laws criminalising sex outside marriage

  • September 22, 2019

An aerial view of the island of Bali, Indonesia.

The Australian Government updated its travel advice for tourists heading to Indonesia, warning that they could soon be charged for offences.

Under the draft laws, there would be a ban on sex outside of marriage – which could result in a one-year prison term.  Living together outside marriage could also lead to a six-month prison sentence. Criminal charges would only go ahead after a complaint by a spouse, child or parent.

The controversial laws, which was supposed to be presented in the Indonesian House of Representatives this week however has been delayed after President Joko Widodo intervened.  He said ‘the new laws need more consideration and has delayed this week’s vote.”

Indonesia, especially its touristic island of Bali attracts millions of tourists every year – the laws would have affected several unmarried and same-sex couples travelling to the country.

There was criticism over the planned changes, with more than 500,000 people signing a petition urging the president to intervene.

The House of Representatives commission – which oversees legal matters in Indonesia – agreed on a final draft this week.

The proposed laws is also being criticised by several rights groups – claiming it would adversely affect minorities, women, and same-sex couples.

The law proposes a maximum four-year prison term for women who have an abortion – if there were no circumstances of a medical emergency or rape.