Roundtable with HE Siswo Pramono

The Perth USAsia Centre hosted His Excellency Dr Siswo Pramono, Ambassador of Indonesia to Australia, for a private roundtable on Tuesday, 31 May 2022.

The discussion focused on Indonesia’s evolving position in Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific, trends in the bilateral Australia-Indonesia relationship, and Indonesia’s priorities as host of this year’s G20 Summit.

The event occurred just a week before new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Indonesia – Australia’s nearest neighbour – and spoke of growing the relationship.

Indonesia is the largest Southeast Asia nation and is expected to be one of the world’s top four economies by 2050.

The recently ratified Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement has provided Australia with opportunities to maximise opportunities.

Indonesia and Australia’s partnership also extends beyond the economic, with links also spanning the political, security, development, and education spheres.

Roundtable participants noted how Indonesia was rising alongside the broader Southeast Asian region and entire Indo-Pacific. This incorporated trends such as a growing middle class and sense of regional integration and self-sufficiency. Indonesians previously inclined to travel to Europe or the United States for their higher education can, for example, now access opportunities domestically or in neighbouring countries.

There are also significant challenges Indonesia and others must continue managing to ensure continued growth and development, and broader regional stability. These include an ongoing need for infrastructure and economic connectivity, energy and climate security, improved health capacity, advances in science and technology, and management of growing security concerns.

Roundtable participants noted the potential for bilateral cooperation between Australia and Indonesia on a number of these fronts. They emphasised the need for realistic targets due to some likely limitations. These included the desire of Indonesia and the broader Association of Southeast Asian Nations to avoid being caught up in rising US-China great power competition.

Participants also discussed the ongoing utility of regional groupings involving Indonesia and Australia and opportunities for improving cooperation with others. The former category includes the MIKTA group of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, and Australia, as well as the Australia-India-Indonesia trilateral. The latter includes the Quad of Japan, India, Australia, and the US.

Roundtable participants included representatives of business, government, higher education, and civil society.

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