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.

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.

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.

The recent visits of President Joko Widodo to Australia and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Indonesia came in the wake of another tense period in the bilateral relationship, caused mainly by concerns over Papua. Why does this issue remain so sensitive and what is its history in the relationship? Dr Jemma Purdey explores these issues and more with Dr Richard Chauvel in Talking Indonesia.

Early in the term of President Joko Widodo it seemed unlikely that Australia and Indonesia would continue to enjoy the amicable relations they experienced under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On the eve of Jokowi’s first bilateral visit to Australia, Dr Dave McRae writes that despite frequent tension, both countries share a strong belief that good relations must be maintained.

The exact details of what instigated the recent dispute between the Indonesian and Australian militaries remain unclear. But whatever the cause, Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the bilateral relationship is changing, and this kind of turbulence is likely to become more common.

The bizarre arrest of Perth teenager Jamie Murphy in Bali last month prompted another round of tabloid reporting about Australians whose dream Bali holiday had turned into a nightmare. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the image of Bali as a dangerous “Yobbo Paradise” is inaccurate. In fact, of the more than one million Australians who travelled to Bali last year, only 60 had direct contact with police over issues or charges.

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s contrasting approach to foreign policy compared to his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, stands to reshape Australia-Indonesia ties. In this public lecture, Dr Evi Fitriani charts President Joko Widodo’s distinct approach to foreign policy and outlines the implications for Indonesia’s relationship with Australia.

Will Australia see a return to warm relations with Indonesia after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s meeting with President Joko Widodo? Professor Tim Lindsey, director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, spoke to ABC’s The Drum, about the prospects for the bilateral relationship.