Talking Indonesia: 2019 elections – labour and politics

With the Indonesian presidential and legislative elections just over a month away on 17 April, Talking Indonesia is switching to a weekly format to cover the key themes, important groups and pivotal developments that will shape the outcome.


The first of our pre-election episodes focuses on labour and politics. Unlike many other countries, no labour party or party of the left represents Indonesia’s working class in parliament, increasing the challenge for Indonesia’s labour movement to secure favourable outcomes for workers. How will the 2019 elections matter to labour unions, and how can unions influence the result?


In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Professor Michele Ford, director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney and a leading expert on the labour movement in Asia. Professor Ford’s new book, From Migrant to Worker: The Global Unions and Labor Migration in Asia, has just been published by Cornell University Press. Her study of labour and politics in Indonesia has been jointly conducted with Professor Teri L. Caraway and will be published next year by Cambridge University Press.


The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast weekly until after the elections, an every fortnight thereafter.  Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Akbar Nugroho Gumay for Antara.


Dave McRae is a Senior Lecturer at the Asia Institute in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He is also an Associate at the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society.