President Joko Widodo of Indonesia had delayed a ban on extramarital consensual sex that could result in tourists being jailed for up to six months.
The ban was expected to be introduced and pass this coming week. Insulting the president, providing the abortion pill and contraception to minors under the age of 18, and living in the same house outside of wedlock will all be crimes that come with jail terms if the bill goes through.
However, president Widodo backpedaled on the move and suspended it until next month, so that parliament has time to consider the bill in detail.
1.2 million people from Australia visit Bali every year – and they would not be exempt if the bill passes. If it does pass, it could be implemented within two weeks.
Tim Lindsey, Director of the Centre for Indonesian Society and Law, told the Sydney Morning Herald that provisions like this are new to Indonesia. It could create big issues for foreigners if implemented.
Tim says that it also puts tourists at risk of being extorted. He believes that Australia would have to update their travel advice if the bill does pass.
The Department of Foreign Affairs explained on their website that the changes would affect tourists as well as foreign residents. However, Teuku Taufiqulhad, an Indonesian MP, believes that it would be difficult to enforce a law like this, saying that as long as people don’t know it wouldn’t be a problem.
Andreas Harsono, a Human Rights researcher, says that he believes the bill could pass.
Despite widespread apprehension around the idea of the bill, people traveling at Sydney Airport did not believe that a bill like this would affect their vacation.