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CAUSINDY 2017 – Day 2 Wrap-up

After a refreshing night’s sleep at the Sofitel, delegates were up bright and early to have their first CAUSINDY Review session. The CAUSINDY Review is one of the main events of the conference, where delegates teams of five or six are mentored by an experienced leader in the bilateral relationship. The delegate groups, who have been brainstorming ideas for a month before the conference, sat down with their mentors for the first time to settle on a key idea for something they can create to make a tangible contribution to the relationship, especially by connecting Australians and Indonesians on an everyday, people-to-people level. Today’s session was held in the offices of Invest Victoria, with its breathtaking 360-degree views of Melbourne; an ideal environment to fire the imaginations of the delegates.

 

Over the three hours, delegates and their mentors took the first steps in identifying a specific challenge to the relationship and framing a strategy for addressing it throughout the review process.

Just before the lunchbreak, CAUSINDY was privileged to be visited by the Consul-General of Indonesia in Melbourne, Ibu Dewi Wahab. She gave a diplomat’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities of the bilateral relationship, arguing that Australia and Indonesia have a shared interest in the region due to their common democratic character. One of Ibu Dewi’s most memorable quote went up on the Consulate-General’s twitter feed:

The afternoon events were generously hosted by Asialink at the University of Melbourne, and consisted of two in-depth panels: one on politics in the early afternoon and on security in the late afternoon. These sessions allowed delegates to analyse the state of play in these prominent fields of the relationship. The politics panel was moderated by Associate Professor Kate McGregor, a historian of Indonesia at the University of Melbourne. The speakers were the Herb Feith Professor of the Study of Indonesian at Monash University, Professor Ariel Heryanto, senior ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr. Dave McRae. The panel was conducted under Chatham House rules, which means that the content discussed isn’t made public, so that the discussions remain frank. The talk to circled around the bilateral relationship, but included in their scope issues of governance, culture and identity, complex roles of media, and religion.

 

The second panel dealt with defence and security. Moderated by The Lowy Institute‘s Aaron Connelly, the panel featured experts Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller of the International Development Unit (UQID) at The University of Queensland – UQ and Dr Philips Vermonte of CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies. This panel session got into the nitty-gritty of the intersections between geopolitics, economics, security studies and diplomacy. Delegates asked detailed questions about the major controversies of the region’s security situation and gained some revealing insights from the panel members. A serious but highly fruitful discussion as delegates pondered how the two countries can navigate the complexities of the military, political and strategic relationship into the future.

Here are some choice quotes from the session:

After a quick freshen-up, the day ended with a business networking event and debate, hosted by CAUSINDY 2017 sponsor Denton Corker Marshall at their Collins Street offices. The major focus of this event was building networks between delegates past and present, so several locally-based CAUSINDY alumni were invited to meet this year’s crop. Now in its fifth year, CAUSINDY thrives not only on the experiences of the 4-day conference, but the lasting relationships that develop between delegates within and across different cohorts.

This was followed by a business debate between CAUSINDY sponsor Corrs Chambers Westgarth CEO John Denton and Kejora Ventures’ Managing Director Andy Zain, moderated by Helen Brown. The debate started with some provocations: Denton suggesting that the fundamentals of the bilateral relationship might not be so solid, and Zain argued that every risk of doing business in Indonesia can be an opportunity. The debate meandered though all manner of topics to do with the economic and financial landscape. But perhaps the most valuable experiences for the delegates were the discussions that ensued over fresh veggies and canapé, a chance for them to speak one on one with these top business leaders and think about the challenges and opportunities for the future!

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CAUSINDY 2017 Day 1 Wrap-up

CAUSINDY 2017 kicked off with a welcome reception at the offices of the architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall (DCM). Delegates, mentors and team members were welcomed by CAUSINDY COO Edgar Myer, who acknowledged the Wurundjeri nation on whose land the conference is taking place. We are reminded that Indigenous peoples and their custodianship of the land is the foundation on which the bilateral relationship between our two nations is built.

Edgar then introduced John Denton, Founding Director of DCM and welcomed CAUSINDY to his offices. He related his firm’s long history with Indonesian architecture, which DCM’s Jakarta director Budiman Hendropurnomo showcased in the next talk. Buildings and landscapes designed by the firm include the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the Alila Hotel in Solo, and the University of Indonesia’s Central Library.

The conference was then addressed by the Deputy Secretary of Trade Victoria, Jay Meek, who spoke about the importance of people-to-people links as the foundation of an effective trade relationship between the two nations. He explained the opportunities that still remain to develop the relationship, including encouraging delegates to apply for the Hamer Scholarship for Victorians to undertake intensive language study in Indonesia and other Asian countries.

The session became much more personal when Helen Brown, managing director of Bisnis Asia, a consultancy focussed on helping Australian business expand into Asia, took the reins and led the introduction session. The delegates were broken into groups based on their background (social, technology, business and politics), and were asked to identify one key issue in the bilateral relationship. The ensuing discussion were vibrant and many delegates couldn’t tear themselves away from the break-out groups to rejoin the session. Ms. Brown concluded the discussions with an important message: let’s determine what we can do to ensure that we aren’t raising these very same issues five years from now.

For the afternoon, CAUSINDY delegates took a walk to the world-famous Melbourne Cricket ground, seeing some highlights of Melbourne urban design on the way. For football and cricket tragics, present and future, the tour was an opportunity to walk in the shoes of some of the finest sportspeople of era. Highlights included exclusive access to all the members’ areas, portraits of Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar, and state-of-the-art bowling machines that can emulate the delivery of any of the best bowlers in the game. The atmosphere of the stadium gave all delegates a sense of the reverence and joy that these key sports bring to Australians in general, and Victorians in particular.

To cap off the day, CAUSINDY 2016 alumnus and Federal Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts MP, hosted the delegates for a private dinner (even the team weren’t invited!) to get to know each other better, and to talk about practical challenges and strategies for how young people can further the bilateral relationship. Delegate Nadia Atmaji took to curating the CAUSINDY Instagram account for the evening; here are some of her great snaps of the dinner. Don’t forget to read the captions!

 

 

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From B2B to P2P: Telstra, telkomtelstra & CAUSINDY partner to foster bilateral ties

Building on the partnership with CAUSINDY, Telstra and telkomtelstra will be supporting CAUSINDY 2017 and this year’s focus on fostering people-to-people links between young leaders from Australia and Indonesia.

Telkomtelstra is a joint venture between PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom Indonesia), Indonesia’s largest telecommunications operator, and Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra Australia), a regional leader in enterprise services.

Erik Meijer, Country Managing Director, Telstra Indonesia, said: “CAUSINDY provides some of the brightest talent from Australia and Indonesia with a platform to connect and collaborate on opportunities to better strengthen bilateral relationships between both countries. By supporting this year’s CAUSINDY theme of “technology and innovation”, Telstra and telkomtelstra are excited to play a role in enhancing that platform for the exchange of ideas to further business, government and socioeconomic opportunities.”

This is the second year Telstra and telkomtelstra have partnered with CAUSINDY. Last year, Telstra and telkomtelstra supported CAUSINDY’s ‘Engaging Future Leaders’ program, which connects university students across both countries.

One of the main events was a ‘bilateral debate’ among university students from the University of Indonesia and the University of Sydney which was held via a live video link between telkomtelstra offices in Jakarta and Telstra offices in Sydney.

This year, the Engaging Future Leaders program will see one Indonesian and one Australian delegates each visit a school in Melbourne to speak to students about Indonesia, the bilateral relationship, career paths and more.

“telkomtelstra is a great example of how real collaboration and strong people-to-people links between Australia and Indonesia can result in successful business ventures,” said Edgar Myer, Chief Operations Officer of CAUSINDY.

CAUSINDY 2017 will bring together the best minds and innovative thinkers in Australia and Indonesia to Melbourne with the aim of growing and strengthening bilateral relationships.

Aqmarina Andira, a telkomtelstra employee and alumni of CAUSINDY, said: “The bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Australia has always been interesting to me. I studied in Australia, and am currently working at telkomtelstra, a joint venture between an Indonesian and an Australian company.”

“From what I have been witnessing so far, the bilateral relationship between the two countries has so much potential. Not only between government to government, but also between corporates, professionals, as well as to build personal, people to people relationship. And I think CAUSINDY can be a great way to build a stronger bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Australia,” she adds.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Telstra and telkomtelstra this year as 30 of the brightest young leaders from Australia and Indonesia come together in Melbourne this October,” said Myer.

The Victorian Government fosters Indonesia engagement with CAUSINDY partnership

The Victorian government is strengthening its engagement with Indonesia by supporting the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY) conference which will be held in Melbourne this October.

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said the conference was a great chance to bring together future leaders from both countries to build cultural understanding and drive new collaborations.

“Victoria deeply values its strong relationship with Indonesia so we are proud to be supporting this event which will bring together young professionals from both countries,” he said.

“Indonesia is a key trading partner for Victoria, but more than that it is a close friend and the ties that we have across business, sports and the arts enrich our society and our economy.”

CAUSINDY recognises that Indonesia is becoming an increasingly important market for Victorian businesses and looks forward to facilitating a dialogue to strengthen ties.

“We’re deeply grateful for the Victorian Government’s support for CAUSINDY and we are very excited to host the conference in Melbourne” said Edgar Myer, Chief Operations Officer of CAUSINDY.

Indonesia is Victoria’s ninth largest merchandise export market and is the third largest export market for Victorian food products.

“As CAUSINDY enters its fifth year, we’re looking forward to introducing our delegates to Australia’s best food, arts and culture,” Myer said

Recruiting an AV volunteer for CAUSINDY 2017

Interested in working with the next generation of Australian and Indonesian leaders? We’re looking for an AV volunteer, based in Melbourne, to help us take photos and shoot video during this year’s conference.

This role requires experience with video and photography, and will involve involves working with the CAUSINDY communications team to take photos and shoot videos of this year’s conference. You’ll also be required to help out setting up things like live streaming and troubleshooting technical issues.

Download the position description for more information.

Volunteering with CAUSINDY is a great opportunity to experience the conference up close and meet our delegates and team — you’ll get to join in parts of the conference program normally closed to the general public. Working on the conference is also a great opportunity to get involved in the conference team — many past volunteers have gone on to join the organising committee.

To apply, send a copy of your resume, links to examples of previous work, if you have them, and a short email explaining why you’d be a great fit for the CAUSINDY team to volunteers@causindy.org.

Applications close on 29 September. Deadline extended to 30 September.

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Australia and Indonesia as regional middle powers in the Age of Trump

By Emirza Adi Syailendra

China’s rise has triggered a new era of power competition throughout the region that has threatened to tear apart the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from within. With the China threat looming and the US commitment to Southeast Asia waning, it is important for Indonesia and Australia as the middle powers in the region to cooperate in promoting peace and stability because it is everybody’s business. Southeast Asia, particularly in the South China Sea which, as a transit route, accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the world’s maritime trade in 2016, including about $1.2 trillion in ship-borne trade bound for the United States.

The reality is that Southeast Asia is increasingly unable to take a strong position against China due to economic dependence, not only for Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam (CMLV), but also other major Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. That being said, American presence in Southeast Asia is an indispensable strategic counterweight, given that the military and economic power gap between China and its neighbors is huge. However, with the power transition from President Barrack Obama to President Donald Trump in early 2017, the possibility of US retrenchment has caused concern among countries in Southeast Asia. This is particularly true for allies and partners, such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, who expect the US to play a more prominent role in overcoming the collective-action problem of local actors failing to balance against the likely hegemon: China.

Southeast Asia is vital for the US because it contributes to significant population growth with a new emerging middle class in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, which is a critical driver of the global economy. Aware of this significance, the Asia Pacific region became a geostrategic priority for the Obama administration, as shown by the signature “pivot to Asia” policy or the “Asia rebalance” strategy. However, as 45th president of the United States, Trump’s campaign narrative tended to focus on a domestic populist policy of “putting America first,” such as providing American jobs to American workers and halting mass immigration. The foreign policy field has also been targeted. This includes retrenching America’s commitment overseas, subsidising defense of allies, promoting democracy and intervening militarily in foreign conflict zones. While the US is likely to keep a limited presence of forward-deployed forces in Asia and lend support to its allies in the region during possible contingencies. Despite repeated reassurance from Washington over its commitment to Asia, many countries are not convinced the US will come to their aid in case of a confrontation with China. Furthermore, with the US abandoning its leading trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), some leaders doubt the credibility of Washington’s ability to walk the talk.

Against the backdrop of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) increasing activities in the South China Sea, such as deploying fighter jets and nuclear-capable long-range bombers to the Scarborough Shoal, combined with a growing number of naval vessels and fishermen in contested waters, many ASEAN countries have turned to policy of accommodation towards Beijing as there is doubt over whether Washington will provide support in the event of a conflict with China. With the election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, for example, he departed from former President Benigno Aquino’s confrontational approach with China by opting for direct engagement. In addition, Duterte is unsure of the strategic utility of the final Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling and lack of support from ASEAN and the international community’s call to comply.

Southeast Asia, particularly in the South China Sea which, as a transit route, accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the world’s maritime trade in 2016, including about $1.2 trillion in ship-borne trade bound for the United States, promoting stability in Southeast Asia is everybody’s business.

Over the years, relations between the Australia and Indonesia have been confronted by numerous diplomatic hiccups. However, as strategic partners, both countries enjoy an extensive network of cooperation. The two are also part of high-profile international cooperation such as the G20 and cooperate in the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia) middle power grouping. Close cooperation between the two, therefore, can bring a positive impact to Southeast Asia, primarily by: promoting the importance of rules based order in the region.

In its own part, Australia, as a close ally to the US, needs to actively engage the Great Power to maintain its commitment in the region. Indonesia, in its own part as the first among equals in ASEAN, also has to be assertive in developing rules of engagement between the law enforcement as well as the military authorities, particularly in South China Sea. Cooperation between the Jakarta and Canberra in cooperative programs on technical, scientific and environment can be a good start to build confidence. Furthermore, developing common vision is also important so that tension in the region can be peacefully managed and the possibility of major powers complicating the situation that could lead to escalation of tensions in Southeast Asia can be avoided.

Emirza Adi Syailendra is a Senior Analyst at the Indonesia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU). A longer version of this article previously appeared in Fairobserver.

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Meet the 2017 CAUSINDY delegates!

The CAUSINDY team are thrilled to announce the 30 delegates who will be joining us for our fifth conference held in Melbourne this year.

This CAUSINDY is proud to be partnering with Corrs Chambers Westgarth, the Northern Territory Government, UTS:INSEARCH, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the Australian Indonesian Centre, Asialink and Denton Corker Marshall to bring the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth to Melbourne.

This year’s delegate group includes the best and brightest young leaders in fields from law, finance, communications and journalism to academia and public policy.

The large number and high quality of applications this year made the selection process a highly competitive and difficult one.
Meet this year’s delegates from Indonesia and Australia.In 2017, delegates will be engaging in discussions about Technology and Innovation between Australia and Indonesia as well as connecting with prominent leaders in this sector. The four day conference program will include panel discussions, networking events and cultural excursions in Melbourne.

Stay tuned for more news on the conference program.

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The University of Melbourne, the Australia-Indonesia Centre and CAUSINDY partner to transform Aus-Indo bilateral relationship

The University of Melbourne, the Australia-Indonesia Centreand CAUSINDY have joined forces tohelp transform the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship to one that will offer solid links to industry, government and academia.

“The University of Melbourne with the Australia-Indonesia Centre is very pleased to again partner with CAUSINDY to support dialogue and collaboration between emerging leaders in Indonesia and Australia,” said Professor Simon Evans, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) of the University of Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne is consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world. It is also home to a global centre of excellence for Indonesian law, governance and legal culture, while the Australia-Indonesia Centre is a multi-stakeholder initiative of the Australian and Indonesian governments to generate high-impact research and activities.

“The understanding and mutual regard that is developed through our shared collaborations have transformative potential – not only for the individuals involved, but for the bilateral relationship,” Professor Evans said.

Many of the University’s Indonesian alumni have gone on to become leaders in industry, government and academia in Indonesia and underpin the essential people-to-people links between Australia and Indonesia.

“CAUSINDY is thrilled to co-partner with the University of Melbourne and the Australia-Indonesia Centre again, particularly given their well-known expertise in Indonesian studies and proud history of Asian engagement,” said Edgar Myer, Chief Operating Officer of CAUSINDY

The University of Melbourne and the Australia-Indonesia Centre have been long-time partners of CAUSINDY and they have produced many delegates and speakers over the years.

“We look forward to bringing CAUSINDY to Melbourne in October this year,” said Myer.

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ANU and CAUSINDY drive collaborative Australia-Indonesia relations

Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific will look to drive more collaboration between Australia and Indonesia by partnering with CAUSINDY.

“ANU College of Asia & the Pacific is delighted to sponsor CAUSINDY, which is not just a student-led conference but also a community of passionate and motivated young people at the forefront of future Australia-Indonesia relations,” said Professor Blane Lewis, Head of the ANU Indonesia Project.

ANU’s Indonesia Project analyses recent economic developments in Indonesia, informs Australian governments, business, and the wider community about those developments; and stimulates research on Indonesia.

“Given the ANU’s reputation as a centre for excellence in Indonesian teaching and research – both domestically and abroad — we are excited to welcome ANU back as a partner for CAUSINDY 2017” said Edgar Myer, Chief Operating Officer of CAUSINDY

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is a centre for Australia’s intellectual engagement and scholarly dialogue with the societies, worlds of thought, economies and cultures of Asia and the Pacific, including Indonesia.

“Understanding and connecting with our nearest neighbour is critical for countless economic, political, social and cultural reasons,” said Myer.

CAUSINDY has had ongoing support of ANU since its first conference in 2013, which was held at the University’s campus in Canberra.

“CAUSINDY greatly appreciates the support of ANU we look forward to working with ANU in the lead up to a successful CAUSINDY 2017 conference in Melbourne,” said Myer.

 

 

 

Indonesia and Australia: Improving perceptions and creating opportunities

By Agung Wasono

In 1994, Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating once said, during his visit to Jakarta, “No country is more important to Australia than Indonesia. If we fail to get this relationship right, and nurture and develop it, the whole web of our foreign relations is incomplete.”

Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing more than 50 candidates – shortlisted from hundreds of applicants – for CAUSINDY 2017.

I was amazed by the passion of the selected candidates, as they all want to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Australia.

When I asked them to elaborate more about current situation of bilateral relationship, most of them argued that public perception plays important role in shaping relationship between the two countries.

They also argued that getting to know each other better as a first step is crucial to strengthening business-to-business and people-to-people relationship, which will in turn, boost culture, education, security, and economic cooperation. 

The state of the relationship 

Despite distracting incidents, such as the recent suspension of military cooperation earlier this year, it can be said that the relationship between Australia and Indonesia is somewhat on the right track. The 2017 Lowy Institute Poll reveals that 52 per cent of Australians trust in Indonesia as one of the global powers compared with the United States (20 per cent) and Russia (38 per cent).

However, only 27 per cent of Australians agree overall that Indonesia is a democracy. One explanation for this may be Australians’ continuing lack of awareness about Indonesia. Notwithstanding this lack of familiarity, a large majority of Australians (91 per cent) said that Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is important.

Current data show that Indonesians attitude to Australia is very good. A comprehensive Australia-Indonesia Perception Report 2016 by The Australia-Indonesia Centre found that 87 per cent of Indonesians had a favourable perception of Australia, including 22 per cent very favourable. On the other hand, only 43 per cent of Australians had a favourable impression of Indonesia including 6 per cent very favourable.

H.E Paul Grigson, Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia gives the easiest example of a huge impact from the cooperation between two countries which people sometimes do not realise: Indomie. Every time we eat Indomie we are eating Australian product because the biggest Australian export to Indonesia is wheat, $1.2billion a year worth, not cattle.

The recent data also show that around 8,500 Indonesians study in Australian universities each year – this makes up almost a quarter of all Indonesians studying overseas. There are also 50 per cent more Indonesians studying in Australia than in all of Europe combined.

It is also notable that Indonesian visitors spend more days in Australia staying on average for 16.3 days at a time compared to Australian visitors to Indonesia who stay for an average 9.2 days. The number of Indonesians visiting Australia in 2016 was about 156,000 and these visitors generated more than AU$600 million for Australia’s economy. However, the number is quite low compared to 1,128,000 Australians visitors to Indonesia in the same year.

Creating opportunities and better perceptions together

Some argue that very strict Australian visa policy contributed to a low number of Indonesian visitors. However, Australian Embassy in Indonesia has approved more than 95 per cent of visa applications for Indonesians every year. Also, the cost of Indonesians applying for visitor visa to Australia is at AUD163, lower than the cost of applications to other major developed countries, such as the United Kingdom (AUD167), New Zealand (AUD193), and the United States (AUD220). In addition, Australia has issued three-year multiple entry visas for Indonesian visitors since last year. This policy, therefore, signals Australia’s recognition of Indonesia as its closest and most important neighbor for tourism and business.

As next steps, spreading more good news from Indonesia to Australians and from Australia to Indonesians should be on the agenda of both countries. Australians’ view of Indonesia is often swayed by what is reported in the media, which usually taints Indonesia as one of sources of terrorism and radical Islamists. These stories often exaggerate the real situation and puts a stigma on Indonesia among Australians – we need to address and fix this problem.

Another intervention that we can make is through education. Basic education about Australia should be improved in Indonesian schools and basic education about Indonesia should also be improved in Australian schools.

If both countries can work together on this, Australia and Indonesia relations will be stronger in the future.

 

Agung is CAUSINDY Alumni 2015. He is currently working for Australian Embassy in Jakarta as Senior Program Manager Quality and Risk Unit. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta or the Australian Government.