Celebrating 70 years of Indonesia-Australia bilateral relations, Department of International Relations Universitas Gadjah Mada (DIHI UGM) in collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, Ministry of Education and Culture Indonesia, Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, and Australian Embassy in Jakarta held AUSTRALIA UPDATE 2019 with the topic of “Recent Situation and Dynamics in Australia: Opportunities and Challenges towards Bilateral Relations with Indonesia” on Tuesday (12/3).
The event held in Postgraduate Auditorium Universitas Gadjah Mada brought forward Indonesian Ambassador for Australia H.E.Y. Kristiarto Legowo, Australian Ambassador for Indonesia H.E. Gary Quinlan, and Rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada Prof. Ir. Panut Mulyono M.Eng D.Eng.
Moreover, to provide an understanding in regards of the recent condition in Australia’s politics, economics, and sociocultural sectors, this event also presented experts from various institutions, both domestic and international, who possess expertise in Australian studies.
Historically, state relations—known as G2G (government to government)—between Indonesia and Australia has been well tied even prior to Indonesian independence. In the contemporary era, this does not change, proven by many cooperation in various sectors between the two countries. Bilateral relation between the two continues to strengthen due to the change of cooperation status from comprehensive partnership into comprehensive strategic partnership, officially in place through the signing of Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IACEPA) last week.
“Indonesia and Australia often cooperate since the two understand their own needs, and cooperations are executed really well.” stated Gary Quinlan in his opening speech. Gary then added, in facing an everchanging environment, a good neighboring state needs to help each other. Unfortunately, although government to government relation is well-intertwined, people to people cooperation still needs improvement.
Kristiarto S. Legowo expressed that the ‘gravel’ between two countries is often caused by lack of knowledge by each society regarding the other. Thus, relations between people and society from Indonesia and Australia need to be improved. “We believe that the more people understand this relationship, the closer we can get with one another,” stated Kristiarto.
Gary Quinlan also emphasized this by saying how the lack of familiarity between two states needs to be eradicated by providing understanding for the people as a foundation to build a more comprehensive relations. One of the efforts was realized by this conduct of Australia Update forum that provides a platform of information for the people.
This event also presented Nick Butterly, “The West Australia” Senior Journalist and Dr. Dafri Agussalim, Lecturer in the Department of International Relations Universitas Gadjah Mada to expose the current political situation in Australia; Dr. John Hewson, Crawford School of Public Policy Australia National University, Alison Duncan, Australian Embassy Minister-Counsellor for Economic Affairs, and Della Temenggung, Prospera Vice Director to layout economic conditions in Australia; as well as Ben Bland, Director of Lowy Institute’s South East Asia Project, Dave Pebbles, Australian Embassy Minister-Counsellor for Politics and Strategic Communication Affairs, and Endy Bayuni, “The Jakarta Post” Senior Editor who delivered an exposure of contemporary sociocultural issues in Australia.
Writer: Sonya Teresa Debora
Editor: Novi Dwi Asrianti
Translator: Heidira Witri Hadayani