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23 April 2014 4:27 PM
Rejected. That’s how they returned it.
"Application rejected" was stamped on a visa application to speak at a seminar in Jakarta. With this, I will now reach an arbitrary but quite substantial decade on Indonesia’s "black" list.
It has been widely assumed that Indonesia’s practice of black-listing people disappeared when president Suharto was pushed from power in 1998. But, despite its era of "reform" and relative democratisation, Indonesia’s draconian black list remains.
The black ban was placed on my entry to Indonesia not long after Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono became President in 2004. Along with another Australian academic, I was banned after making critical comments about the Indonesian army’s escalation of violence in the province of Aceh.
Along with a third academic, Dr Lesley McCulloch, and American journalist William Nessen, we comprised a small group deemed too troublesome to be allowed entry into Indonesia. Yet despite serving six months in Indonesian prisons for visa violations, within weeks of her release McCulloch’s ban was lifted and she was allowed to return.
By early 2005, I was advising the Free Aceh Movement in the Helsinki peace talks. Six months later, the talks ended three decades of separatist conflict and introduced democracy and a high degree of autonomy to that long-troubled province.
Despite the good outcome for Aceh and Indonesia, the Indonesian military (TNI) lost a substantial proportion of its illegal business interests in Aceh. The TNI was angry. It had two officers on the country’s immigration committee, who were ordered to ensure that I not return.
Visits to the Indonesian consul-general in Melbourne and embassy in Canberra to ask why I was banned produced the reply of either "I don’t know" or "visa violation". Yet no violation could be identified.
The other banned academic did what what some viewed as an about-face on the Indonesian military and had his ban lifted. The Indonesian consul-general in Melbourne said that if I also wrote positive articles about Indonesia my own case might be reviewed. I replied that my writing on Indonesia was often -- if not always -- positive.
Soon after, I learned that I had been banned anew for working on the problem of West Papua. It was like being executed, buried and then dug up to be shot again!
The purpose of a black ban used to be to cut off a researcher from his or her site of work. However, with the advent of email, Facebook and Skype, such bans have limited practical impact on the flow of information.
Some Indonesian friends regarded the black ban as misplaced. In 2008, then governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, flew to Melbourne to convey that Yudhoyono had lifted my black ban. I was, he said, free to return to Indonesia.
On this advice, a planned two-day stop-over in Indonesia en route to Singapore became a trip from Melbourne to Sydney via Jakarta. The TNI had overturned Yudhoyono’s listing of my ban. The game continued.
Having been more recently assured that the ban had expired, colleagues at the Islamic University of Indonesia invited me to present at a seminar and wrote a letter to the Indonesian embassy in Australia requesting a visa. Yet above the "application rejected" stamp was the hand-written words "masuk daftar cekal" ("banned entry list").
Indonesia’s democratisation process has been imperfect. Notably, reform of the TNI effectively ended around 2008, and it retains numerous "offline" business interests, along with entrenched coercive powers.
But the TNI seems to still be angry over the loss of some of its power and income that came as a consequence of the Aceh peace agreement. I assume it was also not happy with my writing about its involvement human rights abuses and corruption.
If that is the case, being banned from Indonesia is a small price to pay. That was so for the past decade. It now seems it will continue to be so.
15 April 2014 11:01 AM
How is a person to make sense of the conflicting nutrition messages they read and hear about each day? Despite a wide range of contradicting nutrition and diet messages, there are common themes that overlap across all of the popular diets - themes that give you the keys to long-term health in a simple-to-understand message.
Carbohydrates cause weight gain. Fat causes weight gain. We should eat like our caveman ancestors. Gluten and sugar are toxic. Saturated fat is bad for you…no wait…now it's good for you.
11 April 2014 10:14 AM
Half of all Australians will experience a legal problem this year. Most won’t get legal assistance or come into contact with our courts or other legal institutions. In part, this is because Australia’s legal system is “too slow, expensive and hard to understand”.
This was a key finding of the Productivity Commission’s draft report of its inquiry into access to justice, released this week.
The 891-page report seeks feedback on a number of findings and recommendations to improve access to justice. But why are they needed? And are the recommendations practical?
Sexuality Education Matters is a Deakin University series of videos showing footage of pre-service teachers and lecturers discussing their experiences and challenges, as well as some examples of teaching and learning activities in action.
The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP) seminar series aims to bring together academics and practitioners to discuss key issues facing cultural heritage and museums. The CHCAP is a leading research centre in the heritage and museum studies field, based in the Alfred Deakin Research Institute and the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University. Established in 2001, as part of an agreement signed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Deakin University, the aims of CHCAP are: - To develop a critical knowledge base in which to understand the diverse ways in which cultural heritage (embodied in places, collections and exhibitions as well as in intangible forms of cultural production) constitutes a medium to value and understand the relationship between past, present and future as well as the need to conserve, manage and interpret cultural heritage. - To advocate for an understanding of heritage that not only influences and shapes cultural identity, but fosters cross-cultural understanding within our increasingly globalised world. - To inform the development of policy and practice in the interrelated field of heritage and museum studies by undertaking research which is both nationally and internationally relevant and addresses the most pressing issues in this field.
Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) allows you contribute in a professional capacity to the study and management of wildlife populations both in Australia and overseas. Wildlife and Conservation Biology has a strong focus on hands-on fieldwork. Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) provides you with the skills and knowledge to manage the interaction between people and the environment, and to satisfy society's needs for clean water, fresh air and healthy soils through the sustainable use of natural resources, environments and ecosystem services.
Professor Noam Chomsky presented a lecture 'Changing Contours of Global Order', a look at our drastically changing world, and the implications for domestic and world order on 4 November 2011. This was a free public lecture and was Professor Chomsky's only public appearance in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Chomsky was an invited guest of Deakin University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Social media and mobile technologies have taken off in Australia. This collection of audio and video content looks at the various perspectives from business to sporting organisations to security and families.