Author Archives: Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham

About Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham has been a journalist for more than 40 years in print, radio and TV. He is the author of People Next Door (UWA Press) and winner of the Walkley Award and Human Rights awards. He is now writing for the English language media in Indonesia from within Indonesia.

Protests against Indonesian economic reform: stability and a minimum wage have gone

Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants to snare foreign investors. They’re a wary lot. Though excited by big markets and the chance of bigger returns, they’re fearful of losing fortunes, and with good reason: Risk.

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Forgotten East Timor: Island, principles, people

Did Gough Whitlam greenlight Indonesia’s violent seizure of East Timor in 1975? The invasion and 24-year occupation took the lives of up to 300,000 people in a population of 650,000 living on a wretchedly poor leftover from European colonisation.

Posted in Asia, Politics | 2 Comments

The comeback kid heads to Washington

Champions of Donald Trump’s style of politics will warm to Prabowo Subianto. They’ll understand why Washington is forgetting Indonesia’s Defence Minister was once banned from the US and Australia for alleged human rights abuses, and get onside with another tough.

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Indonesia: keeping the communist myths flying

It’s that time of the year again when Indonesians look sideways at the neighbours, whisper about family histories, question loyalties.

Posted in Asia | 3 Comments

Oh dear, what will the neighbours say?

Widodo’s lacklustre leadership – compounded by going soft on corruption and nuzzling up to the army – is opening space to big business, the military and faith fanatics with no interest in reform. This is worrying indeed and should be … Continue reading

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Chinese workers the worry, not spies

Indonesia’s foreign policy seems divorced from reality. It’s called bebas-aktif (free and active) and supposed to mean no siding with world powers.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Six Ways Sacked Hacks Can Keep Keyboarding

If airline pilots grounded by Covid-19 can retrain as header drivers to reap this year’s harvest, sacked political journalists can keep supplying readers’ needs through a little retraining.

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Local lad’s strife pips looming crisis

It’s one of journalism’s nastier cynicisms: When judging news values 100 distant deaths equals ten closer to home and one in the suburb where the paper circulates.  If public contempt for the media is to be cured then The West Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

Coughing up a smokescreen

It isn’t accidental irony but a deliberate insult from Big Baccy – two fingers to the government, medicos and public health pros. Just above the small government warning on the ad banner’s bottom corner showing a tracheotomy is the latest … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

So much potential, so much let go

PM Scott Morrison wants the right to cancel agreements (there are reported to be 130) between foreign governments and authorities outside Canberra if deemed ‘contrary to Australia’s national interests’.The prime target is said to be Victoria jogging down China’s One … Continue reading

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Making the paranormal the new normal

Last Monday was going to be the most spectacular splash of all, a grand semi sesquicentennial commemoration of Indonesia’s independence. Then came Covid19. While the Jakarta government promised a vaccine, others were relying on ritual.

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Is Indonesia’s ‘dreamy idealist’ losing the plot?

Akhirnya! At last! Just in time for the 75th anniversary of the declaration of Indonesia’s independence next week (17 August) we’re starting to examine our big neighbour with some honesty.

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Killing slowly to show love

WARNING: This article contains observations which some may find disturbing.

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The dragon in the room next door

He’s one of China’s most high-ranking and experienced diplomats yet he was caught on TV squirming when confronted by video showing manacled men shunted onto trains. The prisoners were alleged to be Chinese Uyghur, a Muslim ethnic group.

Posted in China, Human Rights | Leave a comment

How academics are killing freelancers

Thou woldest han oure labour al for noght. The hye god, that al this world hath wrough Seith that the workman worthy is his hyre. Geoffrey Chaucer: The Summoner’s Tale.

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Let the flag follow the trade

It’s a curious cluster – Jamaica, Luxemburg, Costa Rica and Jordan. Squashed in the middle at 73 is Indonesia. It’s a lousy rank on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Register because it shouts at potential investors: Beware! Yet … Continue reading

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Scared of the same bogeyman? Let’s cooperate.

Was Indonesia alerted ahead of the PM’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announcement? The presumption is that key people were tipped off, largely because there’s been no blow-back.

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Indonesia’s President Widodo finally takes a firm stand, but will it matter?

Indonesia’s founding president Soekarno was a dazzling demagogue, feared and loathed by the West and admired by the East. Apart from Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), his successors’ performances at the podium have been pedestrian, but suddenly Joko Widodo, the epitome … Continue reading

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The ABC-Out of sight, out of care

This continues yesterday’s feature on ABC Australia, our underfunded and neglected TV presentation to the Asia Pacific. Look on, ye neighbours, and despair.

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ABC sending a strange message to the region.

The slashing and burning of ABC workers, their goodies and services seems to have missed the overseas TV service ABC Australia. That’s no reason to whoop. Further cuts will kill.

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Chinese ties put Indonesia in a bind.

Beijing has warned citizens against travel to Australia claiming ‘a significant increase’ in racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posted in Asia | 4 Comments

Back to the good ol’ ways in Jakarta

Cities can snap-back from the Corona-19 crisis – though not necessarily to a New Normal. Jakarta shows how.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. More Jakarta, Less Geneva!

It’s become a ritual for every Australian leader for the past half-century.

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM If Bali lets you in – will Oz let you back?

When is a pandemic suppression order not a lockdown? When it’s in Indonesia.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Blame – don’t shame

It’s warming to see Australians helping jobless Balinese felled by Covid-19 with tuckerbags as hotels shut and tourists flee. One donor called it her ‘moral obligation’, a commendable motive.

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM. When in doubt, think up a number

Indonesia’s second president General Soeharto had a fix-all to calm restless citizens demanding improvements. He’d pronounce a numbered plan.

Posted in Asia, Health | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM The year of living disastrously

Most days the ABC website publishes graphs showing the trajectory of Covid-19 cases. The charts feature nine countries including Taiwan, Japan and Australia. Though not Indonesia.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Not the Freshest Meat in The Australian.

The Australian has become very liberal with their use of the word ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM. A breakup’s unthinkable – so let’s give it another go

Australia and Indonesia are not the neighbours we ought to be. Many button lips for fear of arousing wrath, but here’s the truth: The neighbours aren’t part of the Anglosphere. They don’t understand or trust us, nor we them.

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM Don’t cry for us,, Indonesia

Some foreign correspondents in Jakarta have done a bunk, leaving their Indonesian fixers and colleagues to confront the catastrophes they fear to face.

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