Covid-19 and the significant changes it presents are forcing new ways of working, including for humanitarian responders. In Indonesia, the government response to the crisis has been criticised internally and internationally as slow and lacking transparency. Senior government figures downplayed the
When the world is grappling with the kind of calamity few of us have experienced before, it can be easy to forget other crises. Climate change springs to mind. So, too, does the record level of human displacement around the world, a problem largely driven by conflict.
That brings us to the long-
The Covid-19 outbreak has hit hard for Southeast Asian economies. Anticipating more shocks to come, several countries have already moved to cut defence spending, seeing the military as a budget line that can be readily reduced. Indonesia, for example, has announced it will slash its defence budget
The Covid-19 outbreak has once again exposed Indonesia’s lack of preparedness to handle disasters and emergencies. After weeks of denying the severity of the pandemic, the Indonesian government’s response to the climbing numbers of confirmed cases has been confusing. A lack of coordination
West Papuans continue to fight for independence with the support of many Pacific nations. Despite Indonesia’s opposition and the recent impact of COVID-19 on the region, the resolution of West Papuan grievances may have stalled but nationalist sentiment has not been quelled.
The Morrison government needs to urgently consider how it might best help Indonesia manage the economic risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia faces a perilous outlook. The government is struggling badly to control the virus. Making matters far worse, Indonesia has also been among
The spread of Covid-19 throughout Indonesia is more than a health and economic crisis but a direct challenge to national unity. What began as a problem of resources and hospital capacity has developed into one of policy, driven not by expertise but instead by political considerations about how to
Indonesia troubles are mounting fast. The country continues to see an increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases since discovering its first two on 2 March. In the weeks since, the number has risen to 1,677 cases, including 157 deaths, and 103 recoveries. Predictions suggest there may be as
Indonesians are brilliant in a crisis. In many ways, they have to be, in a country that unfortunately experiences more than its fair share of tragedy. Sitting on the “Ring of Fire”, Indonesia is no stranger to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and floods. Its transportation safety
People collapsing in the street with respiratory problems. Doctors forced to use raincoats in place of proper protective equipment. And one of the world’s highest reported death rates from COVID-19. Indonesia is facing a looming crisis as the government’s tardy and piecemeal response to the
To date Indonesia has 514 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and growing. This may not sound particularly alarming, given Australia had 1396 according to the most recent figures, but this week Indonesia’s death rate rose to 48, the highest in Southeast Asia. A massive public health disaster in Indonesia
As he rose rapidly from furniture businessman to mayor of Solo and governor of Jakarta to president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo stuck to the same approach to politics: build things, cut some red tape, improve access to basic services (though not necessarily their quality), and lean on civil servants
We were 45 metres up, precariously perched on a platform in the rainforest canopy, looking north towards West Papua as the early morning mist cleared to reveal the shimmering coastline. “They arrested him near the waterfall, just on the other side of the valley over there,” said Pak Johan. He
The visit by Indonesia President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) to Canberra this month brought fresh hope of cooperation between the two nations. With Jokowi bringing the freshly ratified Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) as a “gift” for Australia, most of
It is notable that while the three old Cs (curry, cricket, and the Commonwealth) still reappear at Australia-India gatherings, this week’s Indonesian summitry occurred with little reference to the parallel three Bs (boats, beef, and Bali).
These two strange neighbours seem
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi highlighted the importance of developing what she called “strategic trust” in Australia-Indonesia relations, just ahead of the visit to Canberra this week by President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”). Retno declared a more trusting Australia-Indonesia
In any relationship, it’s never a great sign when both parties have to reassure each other constantly about the strength of their bond. The more you feel the need to say it, the less true it tends to be. So it was revealing that both Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian
On 10 February, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) will address Australia’s parliament. Indonesia is often referred to as the democratic success story of Southeast Asia and a model of Muslim democracy, yet it has been responsible for significant backsliding on human rights in recent
Indonesia’s former ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan, recently characterised Indonesia and Australia as “like-minded” countries, speaking in the context of economic priorities ahead of President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo’s three-day visit to Australia. However, for many in the Australia media
Indonesia’s booming economy has been growing between 5% and 6% for years and its GDP (PPP) is well ahead of Australia’s. A G20 member, it is proud of its new status as an emerging middle-class country, with PricewaterhouseCoopers predicting it will be among the world’s top five economies by
Jakarta welcomed the new year with a new record — the heaviest rains in decades. The deluge left parts of the Indonesian capital under 5 metres of water, which triggered landslides and cut off whole neighbourhoods. Before the water finally receded this week, at least 60 people were dead and
Sadly, for both Australia and Indonesia the New Year has wrought death and destruction with the worst flooding in Jakarta in a decade and an Australian bushfire crisis unprecedented in its scale and intensity. Given such calamities, regional maritime disputes are not at the forefront of most minds
India is the most capable resident power in the Indian Ocean, but its expanding military footprint is uneven and reliant on partnerships with likeminded states.
India’s military posture and activities have been largely weighted to the western Indian Ocean. A recently published Asia Maritime
After winning a second and final term, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced, “I have no burden now. I’m not thinking about next elections… so I will do whatever it takes for the country’s sake.” Just a month later, Jokowi, as Widodo is known, declared that Indonesia’s capital city
Indonesia won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council this month, elected for a 2020–22 term, having received the backing of 174 countries in a secret ballot, the most votes in the Asia-Pacific region. This is not Indonesia’s first time on the council – indeed, it will be its fifth
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo this week announced his new cabinet – most notably appointing his rival at both the 2014 and 2019 elections and former military general Prabowo Subianto as Defence Minister. This is despite the fact that Prabowo has been implicated in human rights
The latest set piece showdown between the Labor Party leadership and its union base over a trade deal – this time with Indonesia – comes with some overlooked historic irony.
It is now more seven decades since the industrial and political wings of the labour movement
The stabbing attack last Thursday by an ISIS supporter on Wiranto, Indonesia’s top security minister, was a shock for several reasons. Attacks on senior officials in Indonesia are very rare, though terrorist attacks on police are common. Protection proved to be disturbingly lax – the stabber got
Violence has swept across Indonesian Papua in the last six weeks, starting with racist taunts against Papuan students in East Java, and moving back to Papua where protests against racism turned into larger pro-independence demonstrations.
On 28 August, police opened fire on demonstrators in Deiyai
Book review: Common enemies: crime, policy and politics in Australia–Indonesia relations, by Michael McKenzie (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Next month marks the 17th anniversary of the Bali Bombing, which on 12 October 2002 claimed the lives of 202 people and injured 209 others. The attack
Paying the piper
Last Thursday as Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne was talking up the role of values in foreign policy to a business audience in Canberra, Indonesia was promoting its tourism investment opportunities to a different business gathering in Sydney.
It will probably never be
Bacharuddin Jusuf “BJ” Habibie, third president of the Republic of Indonesia, passed away on 11 September in Jakarta. After serving as vice president under Suharto, Habibie succeeded him when political and economic crisis forced the president of three decades to resign in May 1998.
Bacharuddin Jusuf “BJ” Habibie, Indonesia’s third president, died last week at age 83. Habibie was an unexpected president. He hesitantly took over the reins of government from the second president of the Republic, Suharto, in an event televised worldwide on 21 May 1998. Unlike his predecessor
A rare image on social media of Indonesian paratroopers dropping into the troubled West Papua province this month was a stark reminder that, even in the age of 24/7 news, governments are good at keeping the cameras, and the world’s attention, away from persecuted communities.
West Papua – the
Indonesia’s dry season has never been easy. Dry winds blow from Australia and rainfall is almost nonexistent, which leads to major forest fires, choking air pollution, and searing heat, along with the energy-sapping effect the season has on residents.
For many parts of Indonesia, one problem has
Terrorist attacks inevitably generate frenetic global media coverage, with pundits examining motives, ascertaining network links, and theorising new developments or political repercussions. Numbers of deceased and injured are central to initial reports, but eventually victims are reduced largely to
Air pollution is worsening in Jakarta and West Java, while tens of millions of people experienced a day-long blackout earlier this month after gas-powered electricity generators failed and significant proportions of eastern Indonesia have do not have reliable power supplies. So why does Indonesia
It has been a rough few months for Indonesia’s already beleaguered legal system: two cases, alike yet different, highlighting how minority groups continue to be disenfranchised across the archipelago nation.
In May, Meliana, a Chinese-Indonesian Buddhist was released on parole, having
One of the criticisms of the Pacific Islands Forum over the years relates to the regional grouping’s limited ability to advance its agenda in the face of the interests of Australia and New Zealand. The power imbalance hasn’t always made for a cohesive regionalism.
Yet it’s worth noting a
It has been an unusually intense time for elections across Southeast Asia in the past year with both a stunning upset and more predictable returns of incumbents.
But the striking thing from a quick tour of some of the main battlefields is how the general absence of clear policy reform debate in
President Joko Widodo, best known as Jokowi, just won the presidential election and will officially start his second term in October. Much of his economic homework is still outstanding, one of the most significant how to deal with the impact of trade war between the US and China.
When I was a correspondent for the Financial Times in Jakarta, I often commiserated with my Australian media peers. While they worked hard to carve out time to shed light on the complexities, depth and wonder of Indonesia, they would inevitably be sucked into covering the latest high-pitched row
The end of the Ramadan fasting period is marked by a week-long holiday in Indonesia. In Jakarta, this means that almost half the population leave the city to travel back to their hometowns and villages to celebrate Idul Fitri with their families.
Usually, this exodus is marked by a noticeable
The re-election of India’s Narendra Modi and Indonesia’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo saw India-Indonesia relations take another step forward after both leaders congratulated each other on social media. The results put both leaders in a strong position to advance a comprehensive strategic
Images of rioting by supporters of defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta have been beamed around the world this week, tainting what was otherwise a free, fair and peaceful election in the world’s third biggest democracy.
At least eight people were reported killed and
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong’s efforts to set out a vision for Australia’s foreign policy on Asia, embodied in Labor’s “FutureAsia” plans, are admirable. The specific focus of fostering knowledge of and engagement with Southeast Asia is welcome.
A key part of
The Australia Indonesia free trade agreement presents an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries, but is Australia ready?
Talks about a free trade agreement with Indonesia have been long standing, and the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was
Indonesia’s national leaders and politicians have mostly paid more attention to domestic issues for the country’s upcoming general elections compared to regional and global challenges. Yet after the voters cast their ballots on Wednesday, whomever is elected president, vice president and the
As Indonesians go to the polls on Wednesday, questions have arisen around the business interests of the man who could be their next vice president.
The youngest among the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, charismatic political newcomer Sandiaga “Sandi” Uno has undoubtedly injected