Indonesia at Melbourne Style Guide


  • The blog is intended for a general audience. Aim to write simply, in a clear and lucid style. Short sentences help. Long sentences, and long paragraphs can confuse the reader.
  • We use Australian English. This means: colour, not color; -ise, not -ize; levelled not leveled; metres, not meters; adviser, not advisor. We prefer program over programme.
  • Please translate all Indonesian terms. In some instances where there is no equivalent English term it may be acceptable to use an Indonesian word or phrase. Use the Indonesian phrase first, and then put the English in brackets. Please use italics for translated words.
  • Do not use italics, bold or underline for emphasis
  • Do not provide references in text or as footnotes. References should be provided as hyperlinks.
  • Use single spaces after sentences.


  • All positions are lower case: the prime minister, the president, the minister of foreign affairs, the vice-chancellor
  • Titles take caps when they come directly before a name, for example, President Joko Widodo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi (but the president, Joko Widodo, or Retno Marsudi, the minister of foreign affairs)
  • Indonesian government uses lower case. Not Indonesian Government or the Government of Indonesia. Do not use GoI.
  • Government ministries take all capitals when the full name is used, for example: Ministry of Law and Human Rights or the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology. Use lower case when abbreviated or paraphrased, for example, the fisheries ministry, the education ministry.
  • Use lower case when referring to bills. Once passed into law, use the full name and capitalise. For example, the bill on the protection of religious minorities, or Law No. 3 of 1999 on Human Rights. Providing the law number can assist the reader to search for the law if necessary.
  • Academic departments take lower case, for example, department of history, department of economics
  • Academic titles such as professor or associate professor should take a capital when they are part of a person’s title, for example, Professor Tim Lindsey
  • Joko Widodo’s Working Cabinet, although the cabinet is preferable
  • The west, the western world, does not take a capital
  • Titles of books, articles and films take capitals

Numbers, dates and times

  • Spell out numbers from one to nine. Numbers 10 and above should be written as numerals, except if they open a sentence
  • Dates take Australian style: 14 January 2012 (no commas)
  • The 21st century, the 19th century. The 400th time.
  • Use numbers for decades: the 1970s. Or the 70s.
  • Percentages should be written as 87%, not 87 per cent or 87 percent
  • Currencies are lower case when the whole word is used: rupiah, dollar. Please include the currency if you are referring to currencies other than the Australian dollar. The preferred format is US$, not USD; or AU$, not AUD. Indonesian currency should be written as Rp 10,000. Please note there is no full stop after the Rp.
  • If you are referring to several Indonesian amounts, please provide an Australian dollar conversion on the first mention
  • 10.30pm, 4.30am, 1am, noon, midnight (not 12pm or 12am)

Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Excessive use of acronyms can appear messy and distracting when scattered throughout a text. You should not need to use more than three different abbreviations in a standard blog post.
  • All capitals should be used if an abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters (for example, ABC, NGO)
  • If it is four letters or longer and pronounced as a word, then the first letter is capitalised, such as Unicef, Unesco and Walhi
  • If you are using an abbreviation or acronym several times through a piece, please put it in parentheses on first mention
  • Do not use full stops in abbreviations, or spaces in between initials
  • We prefer the longer form of the following terms: for example (not eg.), that is (not ie.), and so on (not etc.), namely (not vis), versus (not vs.)


  • Use double quotes at the start and end of a quote, with single quotes for quoted words within that section. Place full stops and commas inside the quotes for a complete quoted sentence. For example, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon said: “In many developing countries, corruption is the oil that keeps development going.”
  • Full stops and commas only appear outside the quotes when quoting a fragment of a sentence
  • If you are using parentheses inside quotation marks, use square brackets
  • If the quote begins mid-sentence, capitalise the first letter and place in square brackets, for example: “[T]he matter…”
  • With lengthy quotations, it will help the reader if you provide attribution before the quote
  • Please use colons to introduce quotes, not commas, as in the examples above
  • If you are using a quote from another source (newspapers, radio, television), you must provide attribution

Indonesian terms and translations

  • People’s Consultative Assembly for MPR
  • House of Representatives for DPR (not the Parliament)
  • Regional Representatives Council for DPD
  • Regional Legislative Council for DPRD
  • Use district for kabupaten, not regency. A bupati is a district head. Kecamatans are subdistricts.
  • When referring to political parties please use the English translation followed by the Indonesian abbreviation in brackets
    • For example: The Greater Indonesia Party (Gerindra), the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)
    • Exceptions include the Democratic Party (do not use the abbreviation PD), Golkar Party, Nasdem Party
  • Yogyakarta, not Jogjakarta
  • Solo, not Surakarta
  • Islamic terms: Qur’an, not Koran; shari’a, not syariah, sharia or shariah; Shi’a, not Syi’ah; Ahmadiyah, fiqh, hadith, mujahideen.

Indonesian Names

  • Please provide the full name on first reference. Then refer to the person by their first name in subsequent mentions.
  • There are many exceptions, for example, former President Yudhoyono. Jusuf Kalla is Kalla on second reference, not JK or Jusuf. If an Indonesian person has a commonly used name, then this should be used in preference to their first name.
  • We follow the spellings that Indonesians use for their own names. For this reason, we use Soeharto, not Suharto; and Soekarno, not Sukarno.

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