Matthew Busch is a PhD candidate at Melbourne Law School, where his research focuses on the Indonesian state and political economy of economic management. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute.
The free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia was finally signed on 4 March. Matthew Busch writes that if successful, it could help stabilise economic, trade and investment cooperation in the face of future turmoil in the bilateral relationship.
Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno have said their campaign will focus on President Joko Widodo’s economic weaknesses. But Matthew Busch writes that Prabowo’s attacks have so far fallen short, even though he has plenty of material to work with.
President Joko Widodo’s economy-focused cabinet reshuffle on 27 July has been described as evidence of his growing talent for managing political relationships. But as Matthew Busch writes, while the reshuffle might be a political success, it should not be assumed the gloss extends to the economy.
Poor economic policy outcomes in Indonesia are often blamed on “vested interests” – elites who enjoy privileged access to political parties and government officials. But as Matthew Busch argues, this explanation tells only part of the story.