The Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL) at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in partnership with The Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne, hosted the third mini-conference in the Australia-Indonesia in Conversation (AIC) series consisting of six round table panel discussions held over two half-day sessions on ‘Valuing Democracy and Diversity: Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice’. This event was held in hybrid mode: in-person and online, on 5-6 July 2023, at the FISIPOL UGM campus, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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Australia and Indonesia have long enjoyed a strong, stable bilateral relationship as close neighbours in the Asia Pacific, with many shared political, economic, and social interests. Across vast and varied geographies, each country is diverse in its socio-cultural make up, available economic resources, and local politics, which shapes its policies and efforts to address the needs of the diverse communities locally and nationally.

Indeed, both Australia and Indonesia have experienced significant change as each has transitioned away from stay-at-home orders and grappled with the impacts of the pandemic and global economic and political instability. In moving forward, both face challenges in responding to emerging political change and issues of equity and social justice, which are shaped by both historical and contemporary dynamics. Even so, there is significant innovation and leadership in efforts to build more equitable and inclusive societies in both countries.

The hosts of the conference have strong ties and an ongoing history of collaboration as well as being partners in the Australia- Indonesia centre and many other initiatives. This conference aims to highlight the ways policymakers, researchers, civil society and the private sector in Australia and Indonesia seek to value democracy and diversity, amidst ever changing global and local political and socio-economic dynamics. Following the opening session, six sequential panels will be held over two days.

Watch the conference recording

Panel discussions

  • Opening Panel - Valuing Democracy and Diversity: Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice

    The opening session will provide key insights from each country’s perspective on the conference theme outlined in the abstract above.


    • Professor Wening Udasmoro, Vice Rector for Education and Learning, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)
    • Professor Aaron Corn, Inaugural Director, Indigenous Studies Institute, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Wawan Mas'udi,  Dean, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)
    • Ms Astri Kusuma Mayasari, Director for Politics and Communication, Ministry of National Development Planning/ Bappenas, Republic of Indonesia
    • Ms Madeleine Moss, Minister Counsellor Governance and Human Development, Australian Embassy, Jakarta
  • Panel 1 - Leadership and Democratic Values: Addressing Inequality

    In recent years, both Australia and Indonesia have encountered significant challenges as each has transitioned away from stay-at-home orders and grappled with the impacts of the pandemic and global economic and political instability. Australia has also recently elected a new leadership following the 2022 parliamentary elections, and Indonesia is preparing for its own presidential and parliamentary elections in early 2024. In moving forward, there are both challenges and opportunities for each in promoting equity and social justice through political processes and related policies within changing politico-economic contexts.

    This panel will discuss efforts to promote social inclusion and address inequalities within such a dynamic environment, both in relation to programmatic politics in Indonesia’s forthcoming general elections and in relation to recent political changes and new policy platforms in Australia. It will explore to what extent the political parties and candidates will value issues on social inclusion and addressing inequality for Indonesia in the 2024 elections and how these issues are being addressed in the new political environment in Australia.

    To enrich the discussion this panel will also examine examples of subnational-level dynamics, policies and leadership on social inclusion and social inequality, and of stand-out efforts of national and local leaders to promote social inclusion and equity. This panel will invite speakers from academics, civil society and policymakers.


    • Associate Professor Andrew Dodd, Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Mada Sukmajati, Lecturer at Department of Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Professor Aaron Corn, Inaugural Director, Indigenous Studies Institute, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Sri Nuryanti, Researcher at Center for Political Studies, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN)
    • Professor John Murphy, Professor of Politics at School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS), Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Ms Titi Anggraini, Activist and Executive Director at Perkumpulan Pemilu Demokrasi (Perludem)
    • Mr Erwin Renaldi, Journalist at ABC Australia
  • Panel 2 - Youth driving change: Supporting Youth and Addressing Inequality

    Young people are often innovators and drivers of social change in Indonesia and Australia, but they also face increasing precarity with changes in the structures of the labour force, the growing gig economy, increasing socio-economic inequalities, and the impacts of the global pandemic, among others. These pressures are compounded for disadvantaged and marginalised youth in each country, particularly those with a longer-term history of poverty, exclusion, and trauma.

    This panel explores the challenges to, and innovations in, improving the wellbeing of young people. It looks at the hurdles encountered by young people in finding and maintaining employment, and the social and political implications of the various kinds of struggles they face. It also explores the precarity encountered by young people in prisons and other spaces, especially first nations youth in Australia and youth from marginalised groups in Indonesia.

    The panel will also discuss the ways that governments, employers, private sector and civil society are making efforts to improve policies and initiatives to support the future of young people in a range of ways.


    • Dr Oki Rahadianto Sutopo, Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Executive Director of the Youth Studies Center (YouSure), Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Associate Professor Diana Johns, Chair of Criminology at School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS), Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Mr Angki Purbandono, Visual Artist and Founder of PAP (Prison Art Program)
    • Mr Margianta Surahman Juhanda Dinata, Founder and Executive Director of Emancipate Indonesia
    • Ms Kirsty Ellem, Director of Artistic Merit and Acting Executive Director and Leadership Strategy for St. Martins Youth Arts Centre
    • Ms Kitty Andhora, Corporate Secretary, PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy Tbk.
  • Panel 3 - A Tale of Two Countries: Indonesia and Australia’s Experience of Incorporating a Human Rights Agenda in Business

    Aligning with the growing global push for ensuring business practices’ greater commitment for social justice, both Indonesia and Australia have declared their support of several UN’s initiatives, such as the UN guiding principles on business and human rights. Both Indonesia and Australia have made progress in this area, but at different rates and in different ways. In Indonesia, the government has recently launched initiatives aimed at improving the protection of human rights in the context of business operations, including the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. Meanwhile, in Australia, the government has implemented various measures to encourage businesses to respect human rights, including the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act of 2018.

    This panel will explore the current state of business and human rights progress in Indonesia and Australia as well as consider the role of wider stakeholders in promoting human rights in the business context. Ultimately, this panel will bring together experts from academia, government officials, civil society, and the private sector to explore the challenges and opportunities for further progress in both countries.


    • Associate Professor Kate MacDonald, ARC Future Fellow, School of Social and Political Science (SSPS), Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Ms Sofia Alatas, Coordinator of International Cooperation - Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Republic of Indonesia
    • Associate Professor Shelley Marshall, Director of RMIT Business and Human Rights Centre
    • Dr Inaya Rakhmani, Director of the Asia Research Centre, Universitas Indonesia
    • Professor Teguh Kurniawan, Professor in Public Governance and Head of the Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Public Administration (FIA), Universitas Indonesia
    • Ms Caitlin Reiger, CEO, Human Rights Law Centre
  • Panel 4 - Improving Gender Equity

    Addressing issues of gender equity is a key priority for Indonesia and Australia. Both countries have made some progress over time but such progress, alongside global trends, has also been disrupted by the global pandemic.

    This panel explores both the contemporary challenges and innovations in improving gender equity in Indonesia and Australia, also drawing on insights from the Pacific. It discusses the efforts through popular media and other forms to promote gender equity issues as well as the response to such initiatives from different publics.

    The panel also reflects on how gender equity issues are more acute in conflict, trauma and violence-affected communities, the longer-term risks for early school leavers and female headed households and other related issues. The panel also discusses various efforts to respond to these pressures in Australia and Indonesia, including the localisation of aid and local policy and other domestic initiatives.


    • Professor Wening Udasmoro, Professor of Literature and Gender, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Ms Lian Gogali, Activist, Researcher and Founder of Institut Mosintuwu and the Women’s School
    • Professor Mohtar Mas'oed, Professor of International Relations, Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Professor Jennifer Balint, Head of School, Social And Political Sciences (SSPS), Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Ms Kalis Mardiasih, Opinion Writer and Youth Muslim Activist
    • Dr Liz Dean, Senior Lecturer in Sociology (Teaching Specialist), School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS), Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
  • Panel 5 - Socio-Cultural Activism and Arts for Change

    Indonesia and Australia have a rich history of social-cultural activism that utilises the arts as a means of social change, highlighting and addressing inequalities, and to support processes of connection, wellbeing and healing from trauma. From the visual arts, such as painting to the digital and performing arts, Indonesian and Australian artists have long used their creative expressions to engage with issues of social justice and political reform.

    Speakers in this panel will discuss diverse topics, from artists using their platform to advocate for human rights, environmental protection, minority rights and highlighting the experience of First Nations people to transnational collaboration by diasporic artists. The discussion will highlight both the challenges faced and the ways artists innovatively respond to drive social change.


    • Mr Robert Bundle, Singer-songwriter and CEO of the Songlines, Victoria’s peak Aboriginal music body
    • Mr I Gede Robi Supriyanto, Musician, Activist and Co-Founder of Akarumput.com and Ms Ewa Wojkowska, Co-Founder and COO of Kopernik
    • Dr Nicole Tse, Senior Lecturer, Grimwade Centre for Consevation of Cultural Material, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Professor Natalie King, OAM, Enterprise Professor of Visual Arts, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne
    • Mr Rangga Purbaya and Mr Sirin Farid Stevy, Visual Artists and Co-Founders of 1965 Setiap Hari
    • Associate Professor Edwin Jurriëns, Convenor of the Indonesian Studies program at the Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Ms Brigitta Isabella, Lecturer at Institut Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta and Member of Kunci Study Forum and Collective
  • Panel 6 - Policies and Practice to Promote Equity, Social Justice and Rights Recognition

    Promoting social justice, valuing and recognising diversity is an important aspect of ensuring full citizenship for all members of Indonesian and Australian society. Both countries have made some progress in advancing the rights of diverse communities and greater inclusivity in policy and practice. However, significant challenges remain in both countries in achieving social justice.

    The panel will explore the challenges encountered by a range of different communities in both countries and examples of work towards promoting social justice and addressing inequity.  The panel will also discuss issues from aged care, to disability, child marriage and non-violent gender activism.


    • Dr Fina Itriyati, Lecturer of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Mr Slamet Thohari, Lecturer of Sociology, Universitas Brawijaya and Founder Disability Service Center at Universitas Brawijaya
    • Professor Helen Dickinson, Professor of Public Service Research at the School of Business, UNSW Canberra
    • Dr Suharto, Director of Center for Inclusion and Disability Advocacy Movement (SIGAB) Indonesia
    • Dr Catherine Smith, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of Student Experience at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Santi Kusumaningrum, Director and Principal Investigator at Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing (PUSKAPA), Universitas Indonesia
    • Dr Diah Kusumaningrum, Lecturer at Department of International Relations, Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Ms Caitlin Reiger, CEO, Human Rights Law Centre


If you would like to promote this event on your social media channels, contact us for Facebook and Instagram content.

For any questions about the event, please contact:

Yosephine Elizabeth Dame
Email: geo.fisipol@ugm.ac.id


Widyana Perdhani 
Email: dyan.perdhani@unimelb.edu.au

Learn more about our past conferences