Australia says spying 'for the benefit of our friends'
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday his government used intelligence material "for the benefit of our friends" and "to uphold our values" following fresh reports it spied on Indonesia.
Relations between the neighbours plunged to their lowest ebb in years in November after reports that Australia tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several top officials in 2009.
Jakarta responded furiously to the claims, which were based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, recalling its ambassador and suspending cooperation with Australia on key areas including people-smuggling.
Fresh claims published in the New York Times on Sunday alleged Australian agencies spied on Indonesian officials during a trade dispute with the United States and offered to share back-room information with the Americans.