Category: Foreign Policy

What was Chinas role, if any, in the events of 1965? How did transnational ethnic ties and the daily practices of the ethnic Chinese influence state-to-state diplomacy at the time? Dr Charlotte Setijadi discusses these issues and more with Dr Taomo Zhou in Talking Indonesia.

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.

Will Connolly, the 17-year-old who egged racist Australian Senator Fraser Anning, has been celebrated in Indonesia for defending Islam. But former Australian resident Iqbal Aji Daryono writes that this interpretation is too simplistic.

The Indo-Pacific is slowly replacing the Asia-Pacific as the dominant security and economic concept in our region. Natalie Sambhi writes that the complex challenges of this vast region should be approached bit by bit, and Australia, India and Indonesia could start by strengthening trilateral cooperation in the region’s southwest sector, the “Indo-Australis”.

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.