Category: Foreign Policy

To mark 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime, Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to a range of prominent figures about their views on the reform process. Today we speak to Alexander Downer, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1996-2007.

To mark 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime, Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to a range of prominent figures about their views on the reform process. Today we speak to John McCarthy AO, Australian ambassador to Indonesia from 1997-2000.

Indonesia has achieved remarkable change since Soeharto stepped down. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that where the country will head next is far from certain, and recent developments suggest its future may be less liberal and less welcoming of foreign engagement.

The Chinese state’s Confucius Institutes are often depicted as vehicles for expanding Chinese soft power. But as Rika Theo writes, the Indonesian experience demonstrates that the institutes are not simply unidirectional projects imposed on Indonesia from a wealthy partner seeking to expand its influence.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have developed a strong rapport with President Joko Widodo. But Professor Tim Lindsey and Dr Dave McRae write that this may not be enough to overcome the mutual misunderstandings and suspicions, and tensions over human rights issues, that complicate the bilateral relationship.

Indonesia’s growing middle class are travelling overseas in record numbers but the numbers holidaying in Australia are disappointing. Ross B. Taylor writes that unless something is done about the expensive and onerous visa process faced by Indonesians, Australia will continue to miss out.

Indonesia at Melbourne will again be taking a short break over Christmas and New Year. In this final post for 2017, we look back at the analysis and commentary featured on the blog and podcast throughout the year. Thanks again for your loyal readership and support, and we look forward to seeing you again mid-January.

Given that Australian leaders often describe the relationship with Indonesia as the country’s most important bilateral relationship, the newly released Foreign Policy White Paper is noticeably light on detail about Indonesia. The problem for Australia, writes Professor Tim Lindsey, is that Indonesia probably doesn’t care.

West Papuan independence activists surprised many in September when they delivered a petition to the UN signed by 1.8 million Papuans and Indonesian settlers. Dr Richard Chauvel writes that while this petition may not get far, so long as Indonesia fails to address rights abuses by the security forces, the issue will continue to be raised at the international level.

Hopes are high for Indonesia to play a greater role in responding to the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. But Diah Tricesaria and Randy Nandyatama write that if Indonesia is to be seen as a legitimate actor in brokering peace in Myanmar, it must show leadership in the management of refugees at the domestic and regional levels.

President Joko Widodo’s apparent lack of interest in ASEAN is a result of his short-term and pragmatic approach to policy making, writes Randy Nandyatama. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have an important role to play in explaining ASEAN’s relevance and its connection to his political agenda.

What is the state of US-Indonesia relations, amid rising geopolitical competition in Indonesia’s region, and following the election of Donald Trump as US president? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae speaks to Dr Dino Patti Djalal ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia on 20 April.