Over the fourteen years of the Lowy Institute Poll, we have asked Australians a number of questions about Indonesia, and their attitudes have illustrated a lack of awareness about aspects of Indonesian culture and politics. For example, when asked in 2015 whether they admired Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, 47% of Australians were unable to answer.
A persistent result in our polling has been Australians’ belief that Indonesia is not a democracy. In 2018, only 24% of Australians agree that Indonesia is a democracy – three points lower than in 2017 (although more Australians this year, 26%, were not able to answer this question).
Australians are also uncertain about Indonesia’s commitment to fighting terrorism: 44% agree (while 44% disagree) that ’Indonesia is a dangerous source of terrorism’, while 32% agree (41% disagreeing) that ‘The Indonesian government has worked hard to fight terrorism’.
Not all attitudes to Indonesia are characterised by uncertainty or negativity. A majority of Australians (58%) agree that Indonesia is an important economy to Australia.
After a difficult period in relations following Indonesia’s execution of two Australian citizens in 2015, a majority of Australians (52%) now say that ‘Australia is managing its relationship with Indonesia well’ (25% disagree).