Politics and Governance in Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Program

Politics and Governance in Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Program

This program’s courses primarily deal with questions of governance but also consider the many issues that can challenge good governance in Asia, the Pacific Islands Region, and Indonesia. At the broad level of governance, individual courses will variously address (a) domestic political systems and reform, (b) policies for economic development (e.g. aid and investment, the ease of doing business, developmental pathways, and transparency and corruption), and/or (c) security (e.g. the reform of the police and/or the military, ethnic and/or religious fault-lines, and organised crime).

Professional Development Course (PDC) List  Length

Politics and Governance in Indonesia

Indonesian democracy has travelled a massive distance since the days of the Suharto dictatorship. But politics and governance in the country today are still marked by major problems and some scholars are suggesting that stagnation or even democratic regression has set in. The course will examine the process of change that has occurred since 1998, consider the potential for future progress, and draw comparisons with neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia and the rest of the developing world. It will provide an introduction to the country’s presidential system, its parliament, electoral system and other institutions of governance, including the courts and the civil service. It will argue that while the “hardware” of governance institutions are place, the “software” of effective political parties and political consciousness amongst the population are still under development. Highlighted issues will include the growing use of religion as a political weapon in a society where outward displays of religion and the commercialisation of piety are booming. Other topics will include the role of the military and Indonesia’s attempts to play a more prominent role in ASEAN and in the international global arena. Participants in the course will receive a comprehensive introduction to the nature of politics and governance in Australia’s largest near neighbour.

5 Days

Understanding Indonesia’s Contemporary Strategic Thinking

The course is innovatively designed to capture complexity in understanding Indonesia as a country with mixture of a cultural orthodoxy due to a long history of struggle, well-regarded foreign policy activism, decentralized democracy, and as a vibrant emerging Middle Power. Indonesia – with its virtues of size, resources, and history – is one of a few countries in the world that has the potential to become a regional hegemon. It has always aspired to be the leader of ASEAN. However, Indonesia’s ambitions remain constrained by a variety of domestic conundrums as examined throughout the course. Moreover, the course selectively addresses various aspects of Indonesian history, politics, culture in the context of its influence on foreign policy and defence. This is important to help participants develop a comprehensive picture of Indonesia and is also accomplished by incorporating scholarly research with sound policy-orientated insights.
5 Days

Liberal democracy in Asia

This course examines the issues that challenge the liberal democratic model in general and the Indo-Pacific region in particular. There is increasing evidence that people in many liberal democracies have become disenchanted with the political class and are feeling disenfranchised. The course will set out the different constitutional forms and characteristics of the liberal democratic model and outline some of the challenges to this model, such as populism and nationalism. The course will also examine cases of identity and culture, to test the potential for the future of liberal democracy in the Indo-Pacific.
2 Days

Populism and Democracy in Asia

The current refugee crisis has been framed by populist movements in a manner which threatens the democratic model. This course will examine the way this threat is compounded by issues of religion, security, and even personal ambition. It will also address the relationship between populism as a form of identity politics which rejects pluralism as a tool of elites and champions the people as morally superior. The course will also explore the way the democratic model has been manipulated, and at times, undermined, by populist leaders to achieve specific goals.
1 Day

Asian Conflict Drivers: The Socio-Cultural and Human Security Domains

Conflict occurs in many forms across the region, between different communities and for assorted reasons. Conflict can arise between different ethnic and cultural groups such as past riots in Vanuatu against Asian shop keepers, in Papua New Guinea against Manus Island detainees, anti-Chinese riots in the Solomon Islands, and tensions in New Caledonia about the referendum for independence from France. Conflict can also arise when people seek food, water and other resources, safety and security in areas geographically different from their own. This course will explore the different forms conflict can take and the effect on communities and nation states in the Region.
2 Days