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Indonesia Poll 2012: Shattering stereotypes: public opinon and foreign policy

20 March 2012   |   Polling   |   By Fergus Hanson

The Lowy Institute Indonesia Poll reports the results of the Institute’s second opinion poll in Indonesia. The findings challenge many assumptions about Indonesia on issues like attitudes towards Australia and the United States, openness to foreign investment, democracy, trust in other countries, and China’s rise.

The 2012 Poll found that Indonesians have dramatically warmed towards Australia, want a much broader government-to-government relationship and are more concerned about China than Australians.

Of 21 countries, Australia was the fourth most warmly regarded moving from a lukewarm 51° recorded in the Institute’s 2006 Indonesia Poll to a warm 62°. Of nine foreign countries, overall Australia was the second most trusted to act responsibly in the world.

'We are the biggest aid donor to Indonesia, and a recognition of that is reflected in the Lowy Institute poll, which I recommend members of the Senate read…'

            The Hon. Bob Carr

'Completely fascinating paper by @FergusHanson about how US State Dept uses social media'

           Annabel Crabb (@AnnabelCrabb)

Key Findings
Indonesians are concerned about China’s rise: 56% say it is likely that China will become a military threat to Indonesia in the next 20 years.
61% of Indonesians are in favour of a company, bank or investment fund controlled by the Australian government buying a controlling stake in a major Indonesian company
Of 21 countries, Australia was the fourth most warmly regarded moving from a lukewarm 51° recorded in the Institute’s 2006 Indonesia Poll to a warm 62

Full Text

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    SUMMARY

    While the government relationship has traditionally focused on threats and aid, large majorities of Indonesians want a much broader relationship working on education (95% in favour), health (92%) and trade (87%).

    The poll found a surprising 61% of Indonesians are in favour of a company, bank or investment fund controlled by the Australian government buying a controlling stake in a major Indonesian company.

    It was not all good news for Australia. Presented with a range of hypothetical policy options, 15% of Indonesians expressed support for a boycott of Australian products, and 12% were in favour of the Indonesian government encouraging militant groups to attack Australia.

    And even though Australia is by far the single largest bilateral donor to Indonesia (providing $US 324 million in 2010), only 14% of Indonesians actually think this is the case.

    Other key findings:

    • 88% of Indonesians say the suicide bombing attacks that have occurred in Indonesia are never justified, but 7% say they are sometimes justified, and 2% that they are always justified.
    • 62% of Indonesians say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government and there is near universal agreement on three core democratic values – the rights to a fair trial, freely express yourself and vote in national elections.
    • 58% of Indonesians back the United States to be the leading military power in Asia in 20 years compared with only a quarter (25%) who say it will be China.

    The Lowy Institute Indonesia Poll was a near-nationally representative survey of 1,289 Indonesian adults conducted using face-to-face interviews in Indonesia between 20 November and 13 December 2011.