Monday, October 21, 2013
Please enjoy new articles: student viewpoint on Indo/ Aussie relations, tobacco WTO challenge, and the surprise of foreign executives to learn that Jakarta is not a war zone...
"A Challenge in Indonesian Australian Relations," By Devris Wijaya. October 2013
"Tobacco Trade Dilemmas as Significant as Beef and Boats," By Lauren Gumbs. October 2013
"Perception Versus Perversion of Reality," By Colin Singer. October 2013
Dimas Muhammad, Diska Putri and Devris Wijaya
Devris is a student at the University of Parayanghan. His essay was published in Strategic Review Magazine and he was invited to Jakarta by Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Australia’s and Indonesia’s relationship is as dynamic and provocative at the level of trade and policy as it is on social political regional issues, however even in Australia it took a concerted grassroots effort from the medical community and civil society organisations to push through the legislation that prevents some of the 200 000 new smokers a year from joining the death train. Tobacco kills a third to half of its users, in Indonesia this amounts to an incredible 200 000 people a year dying from smoking related diseases.
Lauren is a freelance journalist and human rights student based in East Java.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
By The Jakarta Post correspondentThe results of a poll by the Pusat Data Bersatu — United Data Center or PDB — announced here on Thursday shows Joko Widodo remained secure at the top of the electability list of potential presidential candidates.
PDB founder Didik Rachbini told a press briefing Joko was clear with 36 percent of the those polled choosing the incumbent Jakarta governor.
Coming second was Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) founder Prabowo Subianto with 6.6 percent while in third place is State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan with 5 percent.
Placing fourth and fifth were former Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former military chief Wiranto, with 4.6 and 4 percent of the votes respectively.
He said the survey also showed that the names put forward for the Democratic Party’s convention to select its presidential candidate had failed to strike a note with voters polled.
“It is difficult for the participants of the convention to catch up with Jokowi or the other potential candidates,” Didik said, referring to the Jakarta governor by his popular name.
“The Democratic Party candidates scored poorly.”
The survey showed many members or supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) had clearly shifted their favor to Joko, evidenced by the 2 percent vote obtained by PDI-P chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Joko is a PDI-P member.
“It looks like PDI-P voters are going towards Jokowi and want Megawati to just be a kingmaker,” Didik said.
The results of the survey, he added, also showed Prabowo was losing ground, saying that while his electability not long ago was not far behind Joko’s, latest numbers showed him to be trailing the governor by some distance.
The results of the electability survey, conducted by telephone on Sept. 21-24 and asking 500 people in 10 large Indonesian cities, showed that among those taking part in the Democrats’ convention, Dahlan Iskan topped the list with 71.2 percent of the vote in terms of electability and 48.4 percent of the votes in terms of popularity.
Marzuki Alie came second with 61.8 percent in electability and 24.8 percent in popularity and third was Pramono Edhie Wibowo, brother in law of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with 39.4 percent and 12.6 percent.
Placing fourth and fifth were Anis Baswedan with 39.2 percent and 18.8 percent, and Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan with 35 percent and 11 percent.
The Jakarta Post is Indonesia's main English newspaper
Friday, October 4, 2013
Evaluating the success of Tony
Abbott’s first prime ministerial visit to Indonesia depends, of course, on what
you saw as its objectives. Those with high hopes – that it would mark a
breakthrough in discussions on asylum seeker policies, for instance – were
always going to be disappointed. Meetings like these almost never produce
In the past, the Australia-Indonesia relations have been characterized as the “odd couple”. Australia is a western country with an advanced economy and a prosperous population of 23 million. By contrast, Indonesia is a country with ancient civilization roots, an emerging economy with 240 million people, with a middle class of about 45 million.
But are we that different? If we are, does it damage the relationship more than benefit it?
Browsing through the headlines in the Australian and the Indonesian media over the past few weeks, the news coverage in the former has been much more intense than in the latter and it seems the bilateral relationship is abysmal. But on the contrary, Australia and Indonesia are enjoying a level of cooperation that is deeper and closer than ever before.
Imagine the progression of the relationship on a chart, with the horizontal x-axis as years, and the vertical y-axis denoting elements such as cooperation on trade, investment, security, borders and development.
From the 1940s until today, the graph will show an upward trend, with ever growing two-way trade and investment, more Indonesians studying in Australia, many more Australian tourists coming to Indonesia, and a much closer and more intense military and police cooperation. Indonesia and Australia have built strong people, business, education, community and government links.
The graph will also show sharp spikes that explain the many ups and downs of a normal relationship. But, over the years, the governments of both countries from all political persuasions have done a great deal to build the bilateral architecture up brick by brick.
Australia was among the first countries to back Indonesia’s independence movement, at a time when colonial powers were conspiring to hold on to their colonies. And in the present era, Australia’s response to assist Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami touched the hearts of ordinary Indonesians and was nothing less than exceptional.
Tim Lindsey from the University of Melbourne also pointed out that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s strong support was crucial for Australia in gaining a place at the ASEAN table. Then there was the significant joint role of the governments of former prime minister Keating and former president Soeharto in Bogor 19 years ago to open the Asia Pacific region for trade and investment.
This is the APEC legacy that is again proving its worth by providing the framework to sustain economic growth in the region despite a weakened global economy. In the security field, a solid police collaboration between the two countries helped Indonesia prosecute hundreds of terrorists.
In light of the most recent boat disaster that left 36 asylum seekers dead, including women and children, and more than 20 people missing presumed drowned off the coast of Java, both countries are aware of the need to quickly resolve the issue. During Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s first overseas visit and first state visit to Indonesia, he agreed with Yudhoyono that both countries were victims of people smuggling.
At the heart of it is the humanitarian tragedy that is forcing men, women and children to take desperate measures to escape dire circumstances. The Australian and Indonesian government agencies are working hard both bilaterally and regionally, through the Bali Process initiative, to end this.
For Australians, people smuggling consistently remains high on the news agenda. For Indonesians human trafficking often dominates the media.
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) estimates that 43 to 50 percent (3 - 4.5 million) of Indonesia’s expatriate workforce are victims of trafficking, living in conditions of forced labor and debt bondage. To a lesser degree, Indonesia is also a destination country for trafficking.
How Australia, Indonesia and other countries in the region and the countries of origin deal with these challenges will be remembered much longer than the hype surrounding an election cycle or a 24-hour news round.
Although Australia and Indonesia enjoy good relations across a wide spectrum of sectors, recently Bali, boats and beef (“three Bs”) are dominating the news in Australia.
Ross Taylor, the chairman of the Indonesia Institute based in Western Australia, commented that those three issues, coined on ABC’s recent program in Jakarta, “suck the oxygen out of larger and more significant issues facing our two countries”.
Despite the “three Bs” getting all the attention and the differences between the two neighbors being overblown by the media, mutual interests will keep supplying the bricks and mortar for the bilateral structure.
According to Michael Wesley, professor of international relations at the Australian National University, Australia’s and Indonesia’s core interests are mostly aligned. Both seek stability and sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific Peninsula, as well as economic development with an open trade and investment regime.
Though some still see the two countries as the “odd couple”, Australia’s and Indonesia’s common interests, vibrant democracies and free press are bringing us closer together. At the end of the movie, Oscar and Felix make amends, and recognize that positive traits of each have rubbed off on the other. They realize that each is a better person now and their relationship has evolved into a true friendship.
Made Bimantara is assistant special staff to the President on international affairs. The views expressed are personal.
By Ross B. Taylor AM
Ross B. Taylor is the chairman of the Indonesia Institute (Inc). This article appeared in 'The Weekend Australian' newspaper on 12-13 October 2013.