Indonesia Project News no 18 July-December 2014


The major Indonesia Project activities for the second half of 2014 were the Indonesia Update Conference and the Update book launches in Canberra and Sydney; the first ANU Indonesia Project – SMERU Research Institute Research Grants Workshop in Canberra; the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) Economic Dialogues and Forum; the presentation of the recipients of the Research Travel Grant in Canberra and a farewell for Professor Hal Hill.

Other events included a one day workshop with DFAT; participation in the EAEA Convention in Bangkok; participation in another one-day workshop: Realizing Good Governance in Extractive Industry in Southeast Asia; a visit from the Indonesian Academy of Science (AIPI, Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan; and applications for Research Grants 2015/2016 (Indonesia) and for Travel Research Grants.



The 32nd Indonesia Update Conference was held on 19 and 20 September 2014 and the theme was The Yudhoyono Years: an Assessment. Edward Aspinall, Marcus Mietzner (both of ANU) and Dirk Tomsa (La Trobe University) convened more than 37 expert speakers from Indonesia, Australia, the United States and elsewhere for the Conference which drew more than 400 participants, the largest Update to date. The goal was to evaluate the legacy of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), the first directly-elected President of Indonesia who stepped down recently after 10 years in power.

The 2014 Update was opened by Michael Wesley, Director of ANU School of International Political and Strategic Studies.

The Political Update was the first session of the Conference.  Edward Aspinall (ANU) pointed to the KPK (Indonesia Corruption Eradication Commission) as a shining example of the SBY era. His presidency, however, resulted in many disappointments, namely corruption among the political elite; exploitation of Indonesia by foreigners; and a lack of strong leadership. Marcus Mietzner (ANU) focused on the presidential elections and the different strategies of coalition building of the two presidential candidates, Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo. Douglas Ramage (Bower Group Asia) also discussed the elections and the entrenched hostility to foreign direct investment and imports.

Professor Hal Hill (ANU Indonesia Project) and Haryo Aswicahyono (Centre for Strategic and International Studies) then presented the economic update. Hal observed that under SBY’s government, by and large macroeconomic management has been silently successful, driven by generally competent appointments and a new financial architecture in place (i.e. the 2003 Fiscal Law and an independent Bank of Indonesia). Fiscal consolidation was achieved, and the public debt declined from 90% of GDP to about 25%. However, several potential threats to Indonesia’s future economy still loom large, i.e. crippling subsidies, persistently high inflation, low infrastructure spending, proliferating non-tariff barriers, and rising economic nationalism as immediate threats to continuing growth and improvement in welfare. In fact, the future government should be extra cautious especially as it contemplates a reduction in fuel subsidies.

In her comments, Susan Olivia (Monash University) reminded us that Indonesia tends to form good policies during bad times. However, she stressed the lack of progress in manufacturing and industrial development, where Indonesia is lacking competitive products in the global market, and further that Indonesia is missing out on production networks.


Dewi Fortuna Anwar giving the Keynote Speech.


Following the political and economic updates, Dewi Fortuna Anwar (Office of the Vice-President) delivered the Conference keynote speech. She noted that Indonesia is now more democratic than at any other time in its history although there are still weaknesses such as religious strife and the on-going and uphill battle against corruption, with corruption itself unfortunately seen by many as an ‘excess’ of democracy. She also pointed out that there have been some active policies during the SBY years that are less visible in the public eye such as the strengthening of the database on poverty, which would also benefit future governments.

Greg Fealy (ANU) and John Sidel (London School of Economics and Political Science) provided a contrasting approach to evaluating the SBY leadership. Greg focused on the personality of SBY, pointing to his indecisiveness and excessive dithering as rooted in self doubt and insecurity, and noted his pandering to popular opinion and disapproval of dissenting opinions. John Sidel, on the other hand, warned against this approach, drawing parallels to elsewhere where post-authoritarian rule is replaced by a ‘constrained democracy’ where problems of inequality are distorted and suppressed, which later on can give rise to authoritarian figures. The SBY years are one such constrained democracy, and it remains to be seen whether we should thank or blame SBY for the rise of such figures as Prabowo Subianto.

The late afternoon sessions focused on institutional developments during the SBY years. Stephen Sherlock (ANU) focused on the makeup of the SBY cabinet; Session Chair Dave McRae  (The University of Melbourne) summarised essential points from Jacqui Baker’s (ANU) topic on the reform of TNI and POLRI in her absence. Dirk Tomsa (La Trobe University) focused on developments in regional autonomy, Simon Butt (The University of Sydney) on the ‘superbodies’ of rule of law and anti-corruption in Indonesia: the constitutional court (MK) and the Anti Corruption Body (KPK), which at the start of the SBY tenure were newly-formed institutions. Following the presentations, Session Chair Amrih Widodo (ANU) chaired a lively question and answer session.

The last session of the day covered the topics of gender equality (Melani Budianta, University of Indonesia) and social welfare policies (Faisal Basri, University of Indonesia).

Professor Melani Budianta from University of Indonesia during her presentation

Professor Melani Budianta from University of Indonesia during her presentation


The second day of the 2014 Update Conference drew attendance from more than 200 people. Sharon Bessell (ANU) chaired the first session of the day on security human rights and civil liberties. Sidney Jones (Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict) raised the issue of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency under SBY, focusing on the lack of effort to merge approaches to rebellion (makar) and terrorism.

Dominic Berger (ANU) argued that during his presidency, SBY was often target of both excessive praise and blame, and this is especially true with respect to human rights status in Indonesia.

Robin Bush (RTI International) focused on religious politics and minority rights, where during SBY’s watch, incidents of religious violence increased.

Aspects of foreign policy were discussed by Evi Fitriani (University of Indonesia).  SBY overcame some domestic problems and developed a more confident foreign policy over time. However, he merely put Indonesia back on the international foreign policy map, rather than elevating it to a position of substantial international influence.

Patrick Anderson (Forest People Programme) with Asep Firdaus and Avi Mahaningtyas (both of Climate and Land Use Alliance) focused on the SBY record on environmental governance, discussing forest management, the problem of forest fires, and climate change, where commitment at the global level is not on a par with commitment in domestic climate change policy, which involves complex governance issues from corruption to rent-seeking from extraction and carbon-intensive activities.

Indoneia Update 2014

Riyana Miranti from the University of Canberra, together with Chris Manning from ANU, giving the final presentation at the second day of the Update


The last session of the Conference and of the day probably delivered the most enthusiastic accolade of the SBY years.  Christopher Manning (Australian National University) and Riyana Miranti (University of Canberra) pointed out that almost ten million people (half of the Australian population) were lifted out of poverty during the SBY years, through a combination of effective policies and good program implementation.

Hall Hill (ANU) attributed the largely successful macroeconomic management to inheriting and maintaining a sound policy framework, and appointing largely competent people. However, many necessary reforms were not made, i.e. regarding subsidies, infrastructure, the labour market and economic nationalism. The SBY legacy to the next government poses a caveat for policy-making, i.e. a weak tax system, low debt, and a modest structural deficit with zero fiscal space for any new commitment.

Links to the complete Indonesia Update 2014 proceedings and video can be accessed from ANU Indonesia Project-Indonesia Update webpage.

The 2015 Indonesia Update will be on the topic of land, 18-19 September, to be convened by John McCarthy and Kathy Robinson. Until then!


Lowy Mini Update

Budy P Resosudarmo and audience during the Mini Update at the Lowy Institute


On 22 September 2014, the Lowy Institute for International Policy, in collaboration with the ANU Indonesia Project, held an Indonesia Mini Update which evaluated the latest developments in the Indonesian economy and political landscape, as well as other regional developments. It was the ninth occasion that the Mini Update was held in Sydney.

The event featured three sessions, i.e. 1) Political and Economic Update, 2) Religion and Security, and 3) Foreign Policy and the Bilateral Relationship. Speakers included Ed Aspinall (ANU), Hall Hill (ANU), Dirk Tomsa (La Trobe University), Robin Bush (NUS), Sidney Jones (IPAC), Evi Fitriani (UI) and Ken Ward.

For more information regarding the event, please see The Lowy Institute website.


Hal Hill during the 2013 Update Book Launch at

Hal Hill during the 2013 Update Book Launch at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, The University of Sydney


Two book launches were held in Canberra and Sydney on 31 July and 4 August for the 2013 Update book, Regional Dynamics in a Decentralised Indonesia, edited by Hal Hill.

The launch in Canberra was held in the Hedley Bull Centre, ANU. ANU Pro Vice Chancellor for International Outreach, Erik Lithander, gave the welcoming speech and introduced the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, to the audience. A speech by the Ambassador followed and he himself launched the book. Hal Hill then spoke and gave an outline of the contents of the book, followed by an end note by Budy Resosudarmo.

The book launch at the University of Sydney was opened by Michele Ford, Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, and Budy Resosudarmo. Hal Hill presented the book and Jeffrey Neilson, Senior Lecturer from the University of Sydney, discussed the contents. A lively Q&A session followed.


The first ANU Indonesia Project – SMERU Research Institute Research Grants Workshop was held in the Hedley Bull Centre on 5 November 2014. During this one day workshop the grants recipients presented their research findings that are currently underway.

The Research Grants are developed to stimulate research cooperation between Indonesian and Australian research institutes on four main themes: trade and industry, politics and governance, agriculture, resources and the environment, and social policy and human capital. Judging from the feedback from presenters and participants, this event was a success and was attended by over 40 people. 14 institutions and at least 20 researchers, including from Aceh, Bogor, Makassar, Adelaide, Queensland, were involved in this workshop. Participants admitted that they had gained new perspectives and knowledge on the subjects presented. Haryo Aswicahyono from CSIS, Professor Hal Hill from ANU, and Dr Dionisius Narjoko from ERIA, who have collaborated for several decades, endorse the grants, recognising that they are beneficial for collecting new data on new topics, building collaborative partnerships, and for setting up meetings and workshops involving the next generation of researchers.

“This is a great opportunity for Indonesian and Australian researchers to work together. It is a simple program without much conflict and bureaucracy involved. And you meet a lot of interesting people in this new research network when you come to Canberra for the presentations”, explained Professor Hal Hill.

Details of the workshop:


BIES Economic Dialogue in Bandung

BIES Economic Dialogue in Bandung


The Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) Economic Dialogues and Forums are designed to invite Indonesian academics, policy makers, practitioners and researchers to discuss a selected paper published in the BIES each year. This year’s selected BIES paper was Family Hardship and the Growth of Micro and Small Firms in Indonesia, written by Dr Rasyad Parinduri from Nottingham University.

The BIES Economic Dialogue was held on 1 December for the second year at Padjajaran University (Unpad). The theme was Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesian Society (Usaha Kecil dan Menengah di Indonesia), with speaker Dr Rasyad Parinduri and discussants Dr Asep Mulyana (Unpad), Dr Nining Susilo (SMEs expert from University of Indonesia), and Dr Dwi Larso (SMEs expert from Bandung Institute of Technology).

As well as attracting an audience of more than 100 people, Unpad livestreaming also broadcast the event worldwide, enabling the audience to send in questions for the panel regardless of location.

The series continued in Yogyakarta with the BIES Economic Forum on 2 December at Gadjah Mada University (UGM). The Forum discussed the BIES paper written by Dr Parinduri. The discussants were Dr Eny Sulistyanungrum (UGM) and Dr Firman Witoelar (SurveyMeter).  There was also a live broadcast through the Faculty of Economics and Business (UGM) website. It ended with lunch where participants were able to discuss possible collaboration between P2EB and the ANU Indonesia Project.

The final leg of the BIES Economic Forum was held in Manado, North Sulawesi on 4 December, with discussants Dr Een Walewangko and Dr Vecky Masinambow (both of Sam Ratulangi University). The 2013 Update Book was also launched during this event. It appeared that most Sam Ratulangi faculty members were not aware of ANU Indonesia Project activities. We are currently working to enable Unsrat to have free access to the BIES online.


The Indonesia Project has been providing Research Travel Grants for Australian students to support their travel to Indonesia. On 15 October 2014, two recipients from the first round (Leighton Gallagher from the ANU and Elizabeth Roberts from the University of the Sunshine Coast) presented their accounts of their fieldwork at meetings of the Indonesia Study Group. They also shared their experience of how the small grant had contributed to their research. Scroll down to watch the short interviews of the grantees. In December 2014, the call for proposal for the next round of the travel grant was announced. It is expected that the winners will be announced on 15 January 2015. Australia Plus featured a story on the Grants that went viral on the web.



A send-off for Professor Hal Hill on his retirement was held on 28 November 2014 in the Great Hall, University House, ANU.

A book written by Hal Hill’s colleagues worldwide was launched during the send-off. Entitled Trade, Development and Political Economy in East Asia, the book was edited by Professor Prema-chandra Athukorala, Dr Arianto Patunru and Associate Professor Budy Resosudarmo and published by ISEAS Singapore in late 2014. Included in the book is also a chapter by Mari Pangestu, Indonesia’s former Minister of Trade and Minister for Creative Economy and Tourism, who is also a good friend of Professor Hill’s. The writing of this book had been a well-kept secret from Hal by the members of the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics, until Hal’s farewell party.

The Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) also launched a special December edition dedicated to Hal with a foreword by Dr M Chatib Basri, Hal’s former student and Indonesia’s former Minister of Finance. Many of the papers were written by Professor Hill’s friends, colleagues and former students.

Hal Hill's retirement

Book launch of Trade, Development and Political Economy in East Asia during Hal Hill’s farewell


The event started with an opening address by Budy Resosudarmo, Head of the Indonesia Project. Professor Raghbendra Jha, Head of the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics, read notes from Professor Veronica Taylor, Dean of ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and Professor Tom Kompas, Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy. Professor Prema-Chandra Athukorala then introduced the new book, and Professor Jenny Corbett, ANU Pro Vice-Chancellor, then launched it.

Several of Hal Hill’s friends and colleagues also spoke a few words, including Greg Fealy from the School of International Political and Strategic Studies,  Ross Garnaut from the University of Melbourne who flew in especially for the event, Ross McLeod, former editor of the BIES, and Eric Ramstetter from the Asian Growth Research Institute, Japan. Hal then reflected on his time at the ANU. This event was attended by Hal Hill’s family, friends and colleagues, including Professor Sisira Jayasuriya and his wife who flew in from Melbourne. The evening was a most enjoyable celebration of one of Arndt-Corden’s favourite professors.



Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies:  August 2014 (50.2) and December (50.3)

Volume 50 issue 2, August 2014

In the August 2014 issue, Stephen Howes and Robin Davies take stock of the achievements of outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Their ‘Survey of Recent Developments’ concludes that his government’s record is credible but incomplete. They suggest that the next government will have to make space in the budget for new expenditure obligations and it will need a strong resolve to reprioritise and cut expenditure items, particularly fuel subsidies, as well as to increase revenue in order to keep the deficit within the mandatory cap of 3% of GDP.

Since the early 1980s, the availability of Susenas microdata on household expenditure has inspired an accumulation of studies of inequality and poverty in Indonesia. Many of these have been published in BIES and this issue gathers some of the best of these submissions. Together they offer a comprehensive overview of current scholarship on these topics.

Jan Priebe contributes a thoughtful review of the National Socio-economic Survey (Susenas) data used by Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), Indonesia’s central statistics agency, and scholars, to analyse trends and patterns in poverty rates and income distribution.

Andy Sumner and Peter Edward analyse poverty trends in Indonesia since 1984 by using poverty lines that differ from those used by BPS.

Indunil De Silva and Sudarno Sumarto present a close analysis of the nexus of poverty, inequality, and economic growth between the benchmarked years 2002 and 2012.

Heeding some of Priebe’s cautions about inconsistencies in Susenas data over time, Arief Yusuf, Andy Sumner, and Irlan Adiyatma Rum survey and analyse annual trends in inequality in Indonesia over the past 20 years.

Eric Ramstetter and Dionisius Narjoko draw the reader’s attention to a very different issue: the energy efficiency of Indonesia’s manufacturing plants.

Hal Hill, Siwage Dharma Negara, and Maria Monica Wihardja offer an endearing assessment of the remarkable life of the late Thee Kian Wie. An economist, historian, and public intellectual, Kian Wie was also a cosmopolitan and a friend of many colleagues in Indonesia and around the world.

The August issue’s collection of thesis abstracts includes examinations of economic decolonisation and reconstruction in Indonesia and Vietnam since the Second World War, and of the rise of the managerial state in the early years of Indonesia’s independence. It also includes studies of whether the clustering of similar firms in one location increases firm-level efficiency and productivity growth, whether modern food-retail developments hurt or help actors in the retail value chain in West Java, and how a hypothetical 2009 bilateral trade liberalisation between Indonesia and China would have affected the welfare of Indonesian society and the competitiveness of Indonesia’s exports.

The book reviews section responds to a Harvard Kennedy School study of Indonesia’s growth prospects; a comprehensive examination of recent communal conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi; a comparison of the development performance of Indonesia and Nigeria; and a collection of articles about how ineffectual land reform and poor agriculture policy in Indonesia have hindered economic development.

Please see for the full editorial notes for this issue.


Volume 50 issue 3, December 2014

This issue of BIES reflects on the retirement from university employment of one of its former editors, Hal Hill. Hal has been associated with the Indonesia Project at ANU since 1983, and was editor of the journal during 1990–98 and briefly in 2012. As a prolific author, he was sought after as a supervisor by Indonesian PhD students. Several of them contribute to this issue as their salute to him—including M. Chatib Basri, who offers an homage to Hal, sharing his reflections on Hal’s career and on their long friendship.

Haryo Aswicahyono, another of Hal’s former PhD students, collaborated with Hal on this issue’s ‘Survey of Recent Developments’. In essence, their survey discusses several economic challenges that Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), and his cabinet face as the country’s economic growth continues to slow. The survey notes that Indonesia’s economic growth is actually respectable in an international context, but the authors point to some possible headwinds, such as the risk of global economic volatility, declining commodity prices, and microeconomic ‘policy drift’. In the light of tight fiscal and monetary policies, only economic reforms appear likely to turn this situation around.

Each December issue offers an update of political developments in Indonesia that co-determine the country’s business environment. Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner focus on Indonesia’s presidential elections in July, arguing that they were a ‘close call’ for Indonesia’s democracy.

Two more of Hal’s former PhD students demonstrate their craft here. Dionisius Narjoko buys into the public discussion in Indonesia about whether its manufacturing sector is losing its competitiveness and whether the country is heading for deindustrialisation.

Like Narjoko, Yogi Vidyattama addresses a very current issue: the potential consequences of Indonesia’s introducing universal health coverage in 2014.

Blane D. Lewis discusses another current issue, assessing the impact of two output-based regional performance grants that Indonesia’s government trialled during 2010–12.

Paul Castañeda Dower and Elizabeth Potamites address an aspect of yet another current issue in Indonesia: land titles

In the final article in this issue, Riyana MirantiAlan Duncan, and Rebecca Cassells continue this journal’s sustained interest in aspects of poverty and inequality in Indonesia, by contrasting the growth elasticity and inequality elasticity of poverty during 2002–10 and 1990–97, on the basis of provincial data.

Our abstracts of doctoral theses on the Indonesian economy summarise studies of the political economy of post-conflict violence, the determinants of women’s exiting from and returning to employment, and Islamic microfinance providers and their contribution to socio-economic development. Our book reviews respond to publications on colonial-era exploitation and production; the historical commercial relationship between the Dutch and Chinese in Java; political behaviour and public attitudes in four Asian states; the environmental performance of Indonesia’s industrial corporations and the competitiveness of its local governments; Islamic banking; the legal anthropology of West Sumatra; and Indonesia’s position in regional economic corridors, in ASEAN, and in its engagement with China.

Please see for the full editorial notes for this issue.



Forum Kajian Pembangunan

Forum Kajian Pembangunan, is organised jointly by the ANU Indonesia Project and various institutions in Indonesia. Forty one FKP events were held in 2014, including special events such as the FKP Road Show (in Aceh, Palembang, and West Kalimantan), the 8th Sadli Lecture, and the 2nd Hadi Soesastro Policy Forum.  In 2014, The FKP established two new initiatives to widen the reach of the presentations, namely arranging audio live streaming during events, accessible at and  introducing web summaries of the presentations (with the presentation file) which can be accessed here. As in previous years, video recordings of presentations are uploaded to YouTube. Currently there are 69 videos in total. The most watched 2014 presentation is by LPEM Head Kadek Dian Sutrina on Financial Crises and The Dismissal of Central Bank Governors, followed by the presentation by Bank Indonesia team on developments in the Indonesian balance of payments.

Between July and December 2014, twenty FKP events were held, involving at least 37 speakers. In July, the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF) of the Ministry of Finance hosted the FKP for the first time, and topics included the impacts of simplifying the electricity tariff and Indonesia’s leading economic indicators. In August, BAPPENAS hosted presentations on economic projections 2015-2019, fiscal policy and inequality, macroeconomic models, spatial regional economic analysis and decentralised healthcare. The Institute of Sciences (LIPI) hosted a wide array of topics in September, including on digital financial services, the development of science and technology policy in Indonesia, India-Indonesia investment cooperation, Islamic microfinance, and energy and poverty linkages. The SMERU Research Institute curated a program focused on poverty and social development in October, involving 9 speakers on topics including the rice for the poor program (RASKIN), the cash transfer program (BLSM), and jobs and inequality. The Faculty of Economics, Padjadjaran University was host in November and held two events in Bandung and one in Jakarta. One of the Bandung events was a collaboration with the Asian Development Bank on the 2015 Indonesian Economic Outlook. Finally, the Faculty of Economics of Gadjah Mada University hosted the FKP in December, holding one event each in Yogyakarta and Jakarta, and topics included the impact of the School Operational Assistance Program (BOS), infant health, and food prices.

Including the special events (FKP Roadshow, Sadli Lecture, etc ) almost 1,800 people attended the FKP series in 2014 compared to about 1,200 in 2013 (see figure below).

The FKP Organising Committee also held their annual meeting in October 2014, hosted by SMERU Research Institute, and attended by representatives from sixteen institutions, the largest to date. The institutions reiterated their commitment to strengthening the FKP program and outreach in 2015, including through another FKP Roadshow, planned for March 2015 in Banda Aceh, Padang and Makassar. If you would like to subscribe to the FKP mailing list, please send your contact details (including email address) to



July – December ISG seminars

Eleven Indonesia Study Group (ISG) seminars were held in the second half of 2014 with 14 speakers in total.

In July, Pierre van der Eng spoke on international food aid to Indonesia during the 1960s and 1970s. This was followed by a large ISG panel, attended by approximately 100 people, on the Indonesian presidential election by Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner.

Renate Hartwig from Erasmus University, Peter Kanowski, Master of University House, ANU and Bambang Purwanto from UGM spoke at the August ISG seminars. Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch talked about human rights in Indonesia and its challenges for Jokowi, while Chris Manning discussed employment problems in Aceh.

Two recipients of Research Travel Grants, Elisabeth Roberts from the University of the Sunshine Coast and Leighton Gallagher from the ANU presented their fascinating research findings from their travels to Indonesia during a special ISG session in October. In November,  Morgan Harrington from the University of Melbourne talked about industrialisation in decentralised Indonesia as seen from a Central Kalimantan village and Stephen Sherlock, an independent political consultant  spoke about Indonesia’s fragmenting parliament and implications of the April 2014 legislative elections.

One of the most notable ISG seminars was held at the end of November, presented by Ross McLeod, former editor of the BIES. He presented a very clear and concise seminar on rethinking economic policies in Indonesia. A podcast and presentation slides are available.

In summary, the 2014 ISG featured three speakers from Indonesia, seven from ANU, one from the Netherlands and one from interstate. On average, each seminar was attended by approximately 30 people, a third of whom were females. Most participants were academics, post graduate students studying Indonesia and government officials.


The Indonesia Project facilitated a three hour roundtable on ‘Expected Policies under Jokowi’ at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on 26 November 2014. Approximately 25 people participated. Presentations were given by Hal Hill, Greg Fealy, Blane Lewis, Robert Sparrow and Arianto Patunru from the ANU as well as Riyana Miranti from the University of Canberra.

The aim of the roundtable was to discuss potential policy under the new Indonesian government and thus help inform the Australian government’s four-year plan for the aid program in Indonesia. Topics included political and economic outlooks, poverty and inequality, health and social policy, government and decentralisation, and trade and investment. The roundtable provided DFAT staff with the opportunity to engage in frank discussions and ask specific questions about the new cabinet and future priorities of the Indonesian Government.

Future Roundtable discussions, tailored to DFAT’s needs, are planned for 2015


The East Asian Economic Association held its 14th convention in Bangkok on 1-2 November 2014. Several members and affiliates of the Indonesia Project participated in the conference, including Hal Hill (with a paper on Indonesian competitiveness), Budy Resosudarmo (on carbon tax in ASEAN), Chris Manning (on Indonesia’s labour market), and Arianto Patunru (on local governance in Indonesia). The organiser of the conference also held a special session on Southeast Asian Economies in honour of Hal Hill who retired from ANU in 2014. Professor Hal Hill is a long time member of and contributor to the Association.


The Indonesia Project has instituted a Research Travel Grant to Australian students to support their travel to Indonesia. On 15 October 2014, two grantees from the first round (Leighton Gallagher from ANU and Elizabeth Roberts from the University of the Sunshine Coast) presented their field work to the Indonesia Study Group. They also shared their experiences and explained in what way the small grant had contributed to their research. The short interviews of the grantees can be viewed on the Indonesia Project blog.

In December 2014, the call for proposals for the third round of the travel grant was announced. The winners were announced on 15 January 2015. They are Benjamin Djung (ANU, with his research on intra- and inter-ethnic communication in Javanese by Chinese Indonesian youth), Brigitta Scarfe (Monash University, with her research on the biola and the sarunai as leading melodic instruments in the theatre, martial arts and song ensembles of Kepulauan Riau, Indonesia), David Duncan (ANU, with his research on Indonesia’s fragmented labour market), and Jason Cromarty (ANU, with his research on Islamic radicalisation and local community resistance).


Visitors to the Indonesia Project, July – December

  • Haryo Aswicahyono from CSIS (September) visited the Indonesia Project to work on a research paper with Hal Hill on trade and development.
  • Saiful Mahdi from Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh visited in December to conduct research on poverty in Aceh.
  • Renate Hartwig from Erasmus University/Passau University (July – August) worked with Robert Sparrow on a research paper concerning health care financing schemes in Indonesia. Renate also gave an ISG seminar on the same topic.
  • Lydia Napitupulu (September – October) from Indonesia was here to report on the Indonesia Update and to work with Budy Resosudarmo on a book concerning the environment
  • Daniel Suryadarma from CIFOR in Bogor was here to work on his ARC research project. (September – October)
  • Ditya Nurdianto from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, currently based in Geneva (July – August), visited the Project to work with Budy Resosudarmo on a research paper.


The Head of the Indonesia Project, Budy Resosudarmo, was invited to give a talk on the Political economy of mining in Southeast Asia during a one day workshop: Realizing Good Governance in Extractive Industry in Southeast Asia, held on 20 August 2014, at the JW Marriot Hotel, Jakarta.  The workshop was organised by the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) together with the ASEAN Study Center, University of Indonesia, and was supported by USAID and the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Around 40 participants from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Japan, Australia and the UK attended this workshop. Professor Kuntoro Mangkusubroto from the Presidential Office gave the Opening Speech. In this workshop, Budy explained the importance of mining activities to the economies of at least five Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Timor Leste.  He argued that the main issue so far was how to distribute the benefits from mining activities fairly among general society, including future generations.  He indicated that the countries mentioned above might suffer from what is known as an elite capture problem.


The Indonesia Project received a visit from the Indonesian Academy of Science (AIPI, Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia) on Tuesday 25 November 2014. The Academy has just launched its Indonesian Science Agenda involving eight topics. The representatives were Professor Mayling Oey-Gardiner from AIPI advisory board and members of AIPI’s Young Scientists Study Committee including Dr Teguh Dartanto, Dr Najib Burhani, Dr Sudirman Nasir and Dr Roby Muhamad.

The discussion with the Project focused on the 8th Agenda, namely economy, society and governance. Within this agenda, the Academy introduced three topics, i.e.

  • youth as a bridge to sustainable development
  • new forms of poverty and inequality in the future
  • effective and democratically legitimate public policies.

The Project and the Academy members discussed the issues and challenges of these topics. The Project stressed the importance of maintaining conducive research environment to foster critical thinking and was represented by Professor Hal Hill, Associate Professor Budy Resosudarmo, Associate Professor Pierre van der Eng, Associate Professor Blane Lewis, Dr Arianto Patunru and Dr Robert Sparrow.


In 7 November 2014, the Indonesia Project received a visit from our colleagues from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta. Six delegates from UGM, Professor Susetiawan, Professor Agus Pramushinto, Elly, Bahruddin, Gaffar and Danang Satrio, met with members and associates of the Project represented by Greg Fealy, Marcus Mietzner, Edward Aspinall, Ross Tapsell, Hal Hill, Arianto Patunru, Robert Sparrow, Pierre van der Eng, Blane Lewis, Ariane Utomo and John McCarthy.

The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each institution better and to make way for future cooperation, networking and joint activities. Both gave an introduction of each other’s activities and programs.


Research Grants 2015/2016

The Indonesia Project and SMERU Research Institute are happy to announce that applications for Research Grants 2015/2016 are now open.

The Research Grants are designed to stimulate research cooperation between Indonesia and Australia research institutes.

We would like to invite research proposals for funding collaborative research projects in any of the main research themes of ANU Indonesia Project:

  • trade and industry
  • politics and governance
  • agriculture, resources and the environment
  • social policy and human capital

The research grants will provide funding between AU$5000 to AU$15,000 for research projects of up to 12 months.

Who can apply?

Partnerships of Indonesian and Australian universities and research institutes are eligible to submit proposals. The main applicant should be a senior researcher based at the Indonesian partner institute; the co-applicant should be a researcher based at the Australian partner institute.

Applications close on 1 February 2015.

For more information see the Research Grants page.


ANU Indonesia Project 50th Anniversary

ANU Indonesia Project will celebrate our 50th Year Anniversary on 30 July 2015. A series of public seminars and events will be held between 28-30 July. More details will be announced at a later date.


Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

Photo credits: A Yusuf, P Burke, N Muliani, B Resosudarmo