Garuda Indonesia: A democratic success story

Originally published by Asian Correspondent. IN September, Indonesia’s state-run carrier Garuda Indonesia announced it would be expanding into the U.S. market with flights to begin in 2017. According to its spokesperson Benny S. Butarbutar, this is part of the airline’s strategic plan “to strengthen Garuda Indonesia’s position as a global aviation player.” Further towards this…

Past friends need to work on their future

Originally published by New Mandala. Indonesia has a long way to go. Australia should go with it. “As Indonesia celebrates its 71st anniversary … we also remember that Australia’s support was instrumental in the formation of our nation.” So wrote the Indonesian Ambassador to Canberra, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema in August as his nation marked more…

Out of sight, out of mind

Originally published by PolicyForum.net. The wall of censorship restricting access to information about the handling and treatment of asylum seekers effectively stopped immigration policy from becoming an issue during the 2016 federal election, but it may now be crumbling, Max Walden writes. Facing the media after a 5.6 per cent swing against him in the…

No filter: being honest about our mental health crisis

Originally published by Overland Literary Journal. My grandmother suffered from a rare, congenital kidney disease. An incredible woman blessed with intellect, fierce independence and a biting wit, she also suffered depression for much of her life. In the latter stages of her life, I have no doubt that both depression and her failing kidneys coalesced…

Australia’s ‘Boat People’: Then and Now

Originally published by The Diplomat. In late April 1976, a small fishing boat carrying five young Vietnamese refugees sailed into Darwin harbor. Although representing the arrival of Australia’s first “boat people,” the Kein Giang’s landing on Australian shores barely made the newspaper. Boat arrivals during 1976 and 1977 were largely met with similar indifference by…

The ‘Lucky Ones’: Refugees in Protracted Transit in Indonesia

Originally published by The Jakarta Globe, Asylum Insight and Right Now Magazine. It was a policy implemented to curb the movement of asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia. In November 2014, then immigration minister Scott Morrison announced that people who had registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia after June…

Australia is losing credibility to protect human rights abroad

Originally published by Right Now Magazine. April 29 marked one year since Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by Indonesia. The death penalty is always a violation of human rights, but this felt like an even greater injustice. These men – young and stupid when they committed a very serious crime – were testament to…

The forgotten victims of violence

Originally published by Overland Literary Journal. Since ISIS became a household name in 2014, the west has voiced universal outrage regarding the virulent persecution of Yazidis due to their ethnic and religious difference. The term ‘genocide’ has been used with increasing enthusiasm to characterise targeted atrocities against Christians, drawing potent analogies to Rwanda or Bosnia…

Time for Australia to Rethink Its Asylum Policy

Originally published by The Diplomat. This week has been a disaster for Australia’s Immigration Department. After five judges of Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was illegal, the country’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, made the incredible announcement that the regional processing center would be closed. He…

Australia’s Foreign Aid: Why We Need To Stop Being So Bloody Stingy

Australia has a widely held self-image of being the egalitarian land of the fair go. We’re well-travelled, widely-liked larrikins who punch above our weight on the world stage. We’ve always done the heavy lifting when it comes to refugees, and pump heaps of money into helping countries less fortunate. Hmm. Some of this is half…

Legacy of the Indonesian killings of 1965

Between October 1965 and the early months of 1966, more than 500,000 communists and alleged sympathisers were murdered across the Indonesian archipelago. Self-proclaimed hero of Indonesia’s revolution against the Dutch during the 1940s, President Sukarno had hitherto presided over so-called “guided democracy” by skilfully balancing the demands of right-wing Islamic groups and the military, as…