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Last week the Indonesia Institute was surprised to discover that the Western Australia government decided to close the WA Trade Office in Jakarta. This is a significant blow for Indonesia-Australia business relations and the hard work put in on by both sides to create strong links within industry and to support each other in future planning. Indonesia is one of our most important trading partners and instead of being able to cooee from the back fence we now have to get Austrade to ring the doorbell. Editor
Read what our members had to say about the news.
"WA's Jakarta trade office to close: Business community 'should have been consulted'," by David Weber.
"Scotland: Indonesia is watching," by Catriona Croft-Cusworth. Now that direct elections have been stymied, there is a slim to none chance of a vote for West Papuan self-determination.
"Indonesia needs social media strategy to counter militants, report says," by Ben Otto.
The threat of spreading militancy is an ever present danger in South East Asia.
Indonesia's legislature recently got rid of direct elections, ensuring another Joko Widodo is unlikely to appear again. Critics are understandably outraged and view the move as a painful kick in the teeth in the tug of war to establish a strong democracy. Even worse, observers say Prabowo's master plan will see this democratic regression extended into autocracy as he sets the stage for three years of obstacles and mud slinging to befoul Jokowi's term and force him out. The end game is of course - direct presidential elections.
Indonesians can no longer elect their local representatives after a bill was passed to abolish direct elections.
Attack on Jokowi leaves democracy on a precipice.
Elizabeth Pisani is rightly concerned that the big wigs chose to give themselves exclusive voting rights in local elections.
The Jakarta Globe has taken a stand once more, condeming the bill.