AIYA Links: 24 June

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NIAPP: A Journey to the Outback

It was a sunny Friday morning when 20 Indonesian students arrived in the Top End to take part in the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Indonesia–Australia Pastoral Program (NIAPP), which was started in 2012. Students were from 14 universities across Indonesia. The selection process was extensive and highly competitive, with more than 120 students applying to participate this year.

Students began to learn about the Northern Territory’s beef cattle industry by visiting Berrimah export yards and Australian Agricultural Company’s Livingstone abattoir in Darwin. Berrimah export yards acts as holding pens for cattle before being exported through Darwin port. Cattle are quarantined for a minim of 24 hours at the site (but are usually spend three to four days there). While at the Livingstone abattoir, cattle are processed within 24 hours of arrival at the site. Meat products will generally be boxed beef for the export market (US and Asia including Indonesia, China and the Philippines).

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Fia walking cattle away. Photo: Julie Richter

Students then undertook a two-week training course at the Katherine Rural Campus (KRC). They learnt many things at KRC, such as how to handle livestock, about livestock nutrition, genetics and reproduction, how to care for livestock health and welfare, and they also learnt about Occupational Health and Safety processes. Students learnt more about riding horses, and operating quad bikes and motorbikes. All these activities were pivotal to adjusting to living on a cattle station.

This year’s host cattle stations comprised ten stations across the Northern Territory. There were Lakefield and Cave Creek Station (a family-owned station), Victoria River Downs, Pigeon Hole and Birrindudu Station (Heytesbury’s station), Manbulloo, Auvergne and Newcastle Waters Station (Consolidated Pastoral Company’s Station), and Helen Springs and Brunchilly Station (S. Kidman & Co’s Station). Each cattle station hosted two students who spent six weeks working and living in the outback.

Alifia Imtinatul Fajri was placed at Victoria River Downs (VRD) Station, which is often referred to as The Big Run. It was a warm place to live, and was surrounded by stunning views of the rural landscape. VRD Station is an iconic cattle station as it has been operating for over 100 years and was once the largest cattle station in the world. Now VRD Station is divided into four standalone stations: VRD, Pigeon Hole, Moolooloo, and Mount Sanford Station. Recently, Heytesbury purchased Humbert River Station, which is located next to VRD Station, to become VRD’s outstation. The station is managed by great people, Russell ‘Rusty’ Richter and Julie Richter.

Students arrived in the first round, which was one of the busiest times in the season. They had an opportunity to work like a ringer (a male or female stock worker on an Australian cattle station). Ringers start their activities early in the morning to avoid the heat. The yard work began with mustering (rounding up cattle), which was mostly performed with a helicopter and motorbike. For a rocky or muddy lot, however, horses are preferred.

Student performing the bang tail. Photo: Alifia Imtinatul Fajri
Student performing the bang tail. Photo: Alifia Imtinatul Fajri

Drafting (separating cattle into different categories) follows the mustering. For processing purpose, ringers draft cattle into four categories; calves, weaners, heifers, and cows. Cows are bang tailed (their tail is cut), vaccinated and tested for pregnancy right after drafting. Bulls also go through the same process (without the pregnancy test of course). Students at VRD performed all of these activities, but mostly they performed the bang tail and vaccinations.

Students also participated in the handling of calves (dehorning and castrating), identification of calves (ear tagging, ear marking and branding), tail weaners (educating weaners by slowly walking them into the mob of cattle), walking cattle away to the paddock, and trucking.

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Walking the cattle away. Photo: Alifia Imtinatul Fajri

“I find walking cattle away with horses the most memorable part of my days in the outback. This is because I could refine my horse riding skills and learn how to keep the mob whole, which is pretty hard. The part when we have to chase weaners makes me tense but the experience is superb!” Fia, one of the participants, said.

Before the program concluded, students made a presentation at KRC and the Indonesian embassy. “The program is important for maintaining a good relationship with Australia,” Mr Andre Omer Siregar, Indonesia’s Consul, said.

For more information about NIAPP, click here.

AIYA Links: 17 June

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AIYA Supporting Future Generations at the Australia-Indonesia Leaders Program

AIYA’s Executive Partner, the Australia-Indonesia Centre hosted their third Australia-Indonesia Leaders Program in late May. The signature initiative brought together 28 leaders from both countries, representing government, business, media and academia. The ten-day program aims to engage a highly influential network of emerging leaders from both nations in a program that builds relationships, understandings and the skills to develop solutions to shared national challenges while exploring new partnership opportunities.

While in Sydney, the delegates participated in a day of leadership training at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), a strategic unit of the University of Sydney. Too often during bilateral dialogues there is a lack of input from youth, and little consideration of the youth perspective in Australia-Indonesia issues. SSEAC was very keen to address the youth perspective this year, and engaged AIYA to run the panel session Supporting Future Generations, which revolved around the theme of bilateral economic diplomacy.  

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AIYA President Nicholas Mark, Arjuna Dibley (Associate, Baker & McKenzie), Wendy Hartanti (Senior Tax Manager, PwC), and Amelia Lemondhi, translator. Photo: AIYA

AIYA’s panel, chaired by AIYA President Nicholas Mark, included Wendy Hartanti, Senior Tax Manager at PwC, Amelia Lemondhi, Indonesian Translator and Interpreter, and AIYA’s Founding President, Arjuna Dibley, Associate at Baker & McKenzie.

Following a presentation from Nicholas Mark about the work and progress of AIYA, the panel discussed their respective careers and their role in the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship. Participants were then tasked with analysing and reporting back on: 1. The perception of youth working in their industry, and 2. What advice or strategies would they give to young people who wish to work in their industry in the bilateral relationship.

One participant identified early in the discussion that many young Indonesians do not have access to tertiary education, and even more do not complete their high school certificate. Arjuna stated that while this is a long-term systemic issue facing Indonesia, various programs, such as the University of Sydney Business School’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program help people who do not have access to formal education.

Many innovative ideas were elicited, including strengthening collaboration between education and industry in the Australia-Indonesia domain, thus enabling students to have hands-on work in their industry prior to graduation. On the theme of education, another group suggested Australian and Indonesian tertiary institutions establish joint education and research centres, where students and academics can work collaboratively on common issues. The Australia-Indonesia Centre embodies many of these ideals, promoting research partnerships within defined clusters.

Participants also noted networking opportunities between Australian and Indonesian young professionals need to be bolstered to facilitate cross-cultural leadership. The group identified conferences, blogs and networking events as possible avenues to facilitate bilateral connections. AIYA’s chapters around Australia and Indonesia actively organise networking events, and their members contribute to the AIYA Blog and run the annual National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) program. The Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY), which organises a yearly conference for 30 emerging leaders from both countries, also contributes to this goal by aiming to create a platform for youth dialogue, shape new ideas about the bilateral relationship and act as a catalyst for change.

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AIYA Panel with Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Deputy Director, Elisabeth Kramer (second from right). Photo: AIYA

At the conclusion of the panel session, on the first of their ten-day tour of Australia, the AIC Leaders Program participants were given a chance to consider how they can support the future generations of the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship. We very much hope that they continue to support and work together with organisations such as AIYA, to ensure the youth voice is heard in this important international relationship. AIYA would also like to thank the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the Australia-Indonesia Centre for the opportunity to present this important panel session.

AIYA Links: 10 June

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Have you started your NAILA application yet? We’ve compiled a list of common mistakes to help with your application! Don’t forget to check the NAILA website for tips on how to write a speech and how to record a video.

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Next Door Land: Q&A with Asia Education Foundation

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Next Door Land, DFAT’s engaging and entertaining educational app traversing Indonesia and Australia, went live a fortnight ago. This article is the third in a series about the ground-breaking game, this time focusing on its educational content. AIYA caught up with Aaron O’Shannessy, Manager of International Programs at the Asia Education Foundation (AEF), to discover more about the digital diplomacy of Next Door Land.

Tell us about the Asia Education Foundation. What are some of the projects it focuses on?

AEFAEF is Australia’s premier organisation providing schools with interactive student programs, international school partnerships, teacher professional learning, curriculum resources, research and networks to educate a generation of globally-ready young Australians. Our programs focus on students, teachers, school leaders and school communities. Our goal is to develop a global mindset for all young Australians that includes intercultural understanding, language learning and an understanding of Australia’s place in the world and our region.

Is this the first digital diplomacy project AEF has been involved with?

The AEF worked on one other digital diplomacy project a few years ago called Travel BugsTravel Bugs is an interactive learning site that allows students to travel the world online and learn about other cultures through the words and photos of the children that live there. In addition to this, the work that the AEF leads for its school partnership project (BRIDGE), where teachers are supported to create their own global collaborations that support digital diplomacy through a range of student-to-student interactions.

The study guide has a particular focus on the game’s contribution to the theme of ‘intercultural understanding’. What are some key game components that assist with this?

Throughout the game students have the opportunity to explore their own culture and that of their neighbour (Australia/Indonesia). This is achieved through a range of activities and games that profile different aspects of Australia and Indonesia. Some examples include the kendang drum game of Indonesia, the quizzes on landmarks in Australia and Indonesia, the Indonesian transportation game and of course all of the bilingual comic strips. All of these activities support students to recognise culture and develop respect, interact and empathise with others; and reflect on intercultural experiences.

What are some of the school subjects that this game can be used for?

We take a cross-curriculum approach to learning about Australia’s place in the world and intercultural understanding and as a result, we believe this game could have relevant applications in a range of subjects including geography, history, civics and citizenship and languages to name a few.

What are some of the cross-curriculum themes that the game touches on?

Next Door Land focuses on addressing the Australian Curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia in all its activities. There are also aspects of the game that touch on the ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures’ and ‘Sustainability’ cross-curriculum priorities.

Outside of classes teaching Bahasa Indonesia, to what extent does the current curriculum provide opportunities for young Australians to learn about Indonesia?

The current curriculum provides opportunities to learn about Indonesia in almost every subject – the cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides schools with a framework for this to occur across learning areas. Whether it’s comparing texts about aspects of daily life and significant events across cultures in English, understanding the interactions between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Macassans in History, exploring the effects of sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions in Science, exploring the archipelago in Geography, understanding economic links with our greatest trade partner in Economics or understanding the impact of different political and religious systems in History, Indonesia has relevance in the context of almost any learning area.

Are Australian schools increasingly using educational apps such as this to learn about other countries and about other subjects more broadly?

Students today are digital natives, and find online platforms second-nature. As a result, it’s increasingly important for educators to embrace technology and digital platforms in the classroom. This game utilises online and communication technologies to achieve a range of teaching and learning objectives, in a more dynamic and engaging format than many more traditional mediums.

Do you think that Australian young people will become more knowledgeable about and familiar with Indonesia by playing this app, and vice versa for young Indonesians?

Absolutely! This is a really fun and engaging way to encourage students to develop their understanding of our nearest neighbour.

Read about Next Door Land‘s Jakarta launch here and the production process here, then click here to download it for free. Stay tuned to this series for AIYA President Nick Mark’s perspectives on the game, along with user experiences.

Wilibrodus Marianus: Little Village, Big Dreams

Wilibrodus Marianus, or Wili for short, is a young, upcoming social activist and television journalist with NET.TV. Now based in Jakarta, he grew up in the impoverished village of Mauponggo on the island of Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara. Wili has overcome immense disadvantages to achieve success as a student, an educator, activist and TV journalist. Wili opened up to Jane Ahlstrand on his life so far – a life built on big dreams, determination, and a passion for education, underpinned by a strong sense of empathy.

Wili shares his TV experience with school children. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus
Wili shares his TV experience with school children. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus

Wili, tell us about your background growing up in Flores.

Since losing our father at the age of 7, my brother, sister and I were raised by our mother. Growing up under these difficult circumstances, I always felt that I was a bit different. I had big dreams as a child that no one around me could really fathom. I felt that I was put on this earth for a reason. Looking back, I realise how strange it must have seemed that a child from a tiny village in NTT could dream of saving the world, a world that he had not yet even experienced.

I know now you are very passionate about education for young people. What about your own school days?

It was quite hard for me to attend school and my mother struggled to pay the fees. It is very common for students to drop out of school in my area, and very few go on to pursue higher education. Nevertheless, I maintained good grades and was always ranked first in my class. When the time came to think about tertiary education, I had my heart set on studying medicine at UGM. I was so thrilled when I discovered that I was finally admitted to the UGM faculty of medicine, however, due to financial constraints, I had to give up on this dream. Finally, my second chance came around when the Atma Jaya Jogjakarta University selection committee visited my school. I registered myself in the selection process and fortunately, I was granted admission with a four year scholarship.

Wili during his deployment as a volunteer teacher. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus
Wili during his deployment as a volunteer teacher. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus

That’s wonderful. What about your life after university?

After graduating from university, I gained seven years of professional experience in TV journalism, education and community development. Working as a journalist as well as an educational activist has given me opportunities to travel around Indonesia. I have seen firsthand how so many people are still struggling with limited access to essential services such as education and health. Those experiences opened my eyes and motivated me to become a part of the solution to our nation’s problems.

Please tell us more about your contribution to education in Indonesia.

In 2011, I joined the Indonesia Teaching Movement (Indonesia Mengajar), volunteering as a teacher for one year in Pulau Rupat, a secluded island on the border between Indonesia and Malaysia. For a year, I lived among the local people who were a community of practicing Buddhists. It was the most wonderful experience of my life so far. I felt Indonesia’s real tolerance and diversity. Although I am a Catholic, I was accepted like a member of their own family.

After completing my deployment with the Indonesia Teaching Movement, I was inspired to initiate a project named Buku Bagi Nusa Tenggara Timur (Books for NTT) which organises book donations for children in my region. Starting in 2014, together with my friends throughout Java, we have built this community to encompass seven cities in Indonesia, with more than 50 NTT community libraries involved. We have even received support from overseas sources such as Hong Kong, headed by NTT migrant workers. Through our project, we aim to encourage those in NTT to build more public libraries, to give access to those who need books. We hope to engage as many people as possible in or outside Java to join our movement.

Recipients of books from the Buku Bagi NTT Project. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus
Recipients of books from the Buku Bagi NTT Project. Photo: Wilibrodus Marianus

What are your hopes for the future, Wili?

In future, I hope to become a full-time social activist. I dream of pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work at a university abroad. I also want to start a scholarship program for Indonesian children, particularly for those from poor families in NTT. I also hope to lecture at university and establish a School of Social Work in Indonesia. My motivation comes from knowing that changing the world starts with helping the poor and being able to empathise with them. I believe that a strong and honourable nation begins with strong and caring citizens, with a culture of service based on peace and love.

If you would like to learn more about Wili head to his Indonesia Mengajar profile or read his blog.

AIYA Links: 3 June

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Next Door Land: Q&A with Agate Studio

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DFAT’s pioneering educational app, Next Door Land, officially went live last week. With this article, AIYA is continuing to share insights into the game’s background, this time with a focus on development. AIYA recently spoke to Shieny Aprilia, managing partner of Agate Studio, to delve deeper into the game production process.

duniaku-agate-1-600x423Tell us about Agate Studio. What is your company focus?

Agate is a leading Indonesian game company based in Bandung. We have two business units, one focusing on entertainment games, and the other focusing on serious games (that is, games with an educational or marketing purpose). We started in 2009 with 15 co-founders and have developed many games for multiple platforms since then. When we started the company, we found out that games are not only for fun, but also have huge potential for more serious purposes in fields such as education, healthcare, military, training, and many more. So, since then we have been actively promoting and educating people and organisations about games and how they can help.

Is this the first game about Australia in which you have been involved?

Yes, and we are super grateful we have been given this opportunity.

What are the main outcomes you want players to take from the in-game experience?

We want players to have a positive experience with this game. Also, we want them to understand more about both Indonesia and Australia, and make them curious enough to want to learn more after having finished playing the game.

Were there any challenges working on a project with a team based at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and a writer and illustrator based outside of Bandung?

We believe that we can coordinate more easily on a particular project if the whole team is in the same city. But despite being in different locations, there were no major challenges on this project – we were still able to communicate very well. For example, we needed more time to explain certain things because we communicate using Skype. The most important thing is that we are really grateful all team members from each of the different parties had a very positive contribution and were each aligned with a universal vision to make this game a success, such that we could overcome various challenges in the project quite smoothly.

Were there any particular facts of Australian history or culture that surprised you when creating the game content?

Yes there were many! One of the most memorable is the fact that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest in the world, and it can even be seen from outer space.

Tell us about the experience of testing the game on Indonesian children and students. What reception did the game receive?

It was a wonderful experience, because we could witness ourselves that they really enjoyed playing the game. Even though it took several hours to play the entire game, they were very patient and were able to maintain a high level of excitement from start to finish. And when the testing was finished, they even asked when the game would be released, because they couldn’t wait to download and play it again! The reception was very positive.

Are educational apps becoming increasingly popular in Indonesia? What are the current trends?

Yes, educational apps and games are becoming increasingly popular in Indonesia. Some of the most popular are educational games with a local context, such as Islamic education games, and universal educational games such as the games in the Dr Panda series. And of course, the world-wide hit Minecraft is also a big phenomenon among Indonesian kids. But there are not many apps like this that are available for Indonesian students where they get to play puzzle games set throughout Indonesia.

Do you think that young Indonesians will become more familiar with Australia by using this app, and vice versa for Australians?

Yes, of course. As I mentioned before, we hope that this game can trigger an increased curiosity among Indonesian kids about Australia, and vice versa for Australian kids.

Click here to read about the official game launch in Jakarta. Then check out and download for free the Next Door Land app!

Semangat Kartini Lintas Benua: Penny Robertson dan Australia International School

Tiada awan di langit yang tetap selamanya. Tiada mungkin akan terusmenerus terang cuaca. Sehabis malam gelap gulita, lahir pagi membawa keindahan. Kehidupan manusia serupa alam. – Raden Ajeng Kartini

Kutipan tersebut di atas dikirimkan R.A. Kartini melalui sepucuk surat kepada salah satu sahabat penanya di negeri Belanda. Tidak semua surat Kartini terdengar familiar di telinga kita, namun semangat juang yang dimiliki oleh Kartini dapat tergambar jelas dari setiap kata yang tertulis di surat-suratnya.

Nama Kartini bukanlah sosok kemarin sore, terlebih lagi setelah surat-suratnya dibukukan oleh seorang Belanda bernama J.H. Abendanon yang kagum akan semangat juang dan kerinduan Kartini akan kebebasan dari pengekangan dan penindasan hak kaum perempuan untuk mengembangkan diri pada masa itu.

Penny Robertson. Foto: Australian International School
Penny Robertson. Foto: Australian International School

Peringatan Hari Kartini, yang jatuh pada tanggal 21 April, memang sudah berlalu, namun euforianya masih terasa sampai saat ini. Dari tahun ke tahun, beragam acara diadakan untuk mengenang perjuangan Kartini yang dianggap sebagai ikon kebebasan bagi perempuan-perempuan Indonesia masa kini. Selain itu, bermunculan pula para aktivis perempuan yang memiliki fokus dan perhatian terhadap isu-isu terkait perempuan. Namun sepertinya di era yang sudah modern ini, semangat Kartini tidak hanya bermakna dari perempuan untuk perempuan saja, tetapi juga bagaimana perempuan mampu menjadi agen perubahan bagi dunia. Maka, adalah Penny Robertson, seorang perempuan tangguh yang memiliki kontribusi besar di bidang pendidikan bagi anak-anak dengan keterbatasan fisik Down syndrome, yang kemudian juga berjasa bagi hubungan Indonesia-Australia.

Meskipun berbeda dalam konteks temporal dan spasialnya, terdapat kesamaan antara sosok Kartini dan Robertson. Ia berkontribusi besar dalam perkembangan dunia pendidikan, terutama pendidikan bagi anak-anak yang memiliki keterbatasan fisik dan mental. Hal ini membuat sosok Robertson memiliki pengaruh yang signifikan bagi terjalinnya hubungan Indonesia dan Australia. Selama 30 tahun terakhir, Robertson telah mengabdikan dirinya untuk mengembangkan pendidikan bagi anak-anak berkebutuhan khusus, mulai dari skala lokal, nasional, hingga internasional.

AIS-logo@2xMengawali karirnya sebagai seorang ahli geologi, Robertson kemudian aktif dalam dunia pendidikan sebelum terjun dan memprakarsai pendirian Australian International School (AIS) di Indonesia. Sebelumnya, ia berprofesi sebagai dosen bagi Adult Education di Adelaide University dan guru bagi South Australian Education Department ketika putrinya, Shona, lahir dengan Down syndrome di tahun 1981. Apa yang dialami oleh putrinya kemudian justru menginspirasi Robertson untuk membentuk South Australian Down Syndrome Association. Ia menjabat sebagai ketua umum organisasi tersebut dari tahun 1982-1994, serta memperluas cakupan organisasinya ke seluruh Australia, sehingga berganti nama menjadi Australian Down Syndrome Association. Pencapaiannya dihargai oleh Pemerintah Australia dengan diberikannya penghargaan Member of the Order of Australia kepada Robertson atas pengabdiannya di dunia pendidikan.

Organisasi ini memiliki visi untuk membuka kesadaran masyarakat terhadap para penderita Down syndrome bahwa mereka memiliki potensi yang sama dengan orang normal pada umumnya. Pada awal tahun 1994, Robertson berhasil memperluas cakupan oranisasinya menjadi Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federation, yang beranggotakan negara-negara di kawasan Asia Pasifik seperti diantaranya Australia, India, Vietnam, Hongkong, termasuk Indonesia.

Keberhasilannya dalam Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federation melandasi pembentukan AIS pada tahun 1994 di Jakarta dengan tujuan agar anak-anak yang memiliki keterbatasan, baik secara fisik maupun mental, dapat mengenyam pendidikan yang sama seperti pendidikan yang didapatkan oleh anak-anak pada umumnya. Minimnya institusi pendidikan lokal yang menyediakan pengajaran dengan kurikulum yang setara bagi para anak berkebutuhan khusus menginspirasi Robertson untuk membentuk AIS di Indonesia. AIS Jakarta adalah satu-satunya sekolah berstandar internasional di Indonesia yang mencantumkan keterbatasan fisik dan mental sebagai salah satu syarat utama bagi para muridnya. Kesuksesan AIS Jakarta mendorong Robertson untuk membuka AIS di beberapa kota lain di Indonesia, seperti Bali dan Balikpapan. Pada saat ini, tercatat sekitar 850 anak berkebutuhan khusus terdaftar dan bersekolah seperti anak-anak pada umumnya di AIS Indonesia.

Dalam pengembangan sekolah yang sudah didirikan sejak tahun 1994, Robertson tetap mengutamakan konsultasi dengan Pemerintah Indonesia terkait kurikulum yang digunakan dalam kegiatan belajar mengajar. Hal ini kemudian menjadi sumbangan terbesar Robertson bagi hubungan Indonesia dan Australia di bidang pendidikan.

Kepercayaan Pemerintah serta masyarakat Indonesia yang sempat terusik oleh beberapa isu, seperti permasalahan Timor Timur, tuduhan David Jenkins, jurnalis harian The Sydney Morning Herald terhadap Soeharto dan kerabatnya, serta beberapa issu lain menjadi semakin memulih. Kombinasi hubungan yang baik antara people to people dan government to government merupakan strategi yang tepat untuk menetralisir berbagai ketegangan diplomatik yang pernah muncul antara Indonesia dan Australia.

Robertson memahami bahwa dengan menjalin hubungan baik dengan Indonesia, sistem pendidikan antara kedua negara dapat saling melengkapi melalui pengadopsian sistem pendidikan Australia yang cukup unik untuk meningkatkan kemampuan berpikir yang kreatif dan independen. Memang di tahun 2016, Robertson dianugrahi Australia Indonesia Awards 2016 oleh Australia Indonesia Association (AIA) atas prakarsanya yang baik terhadap kemajuan hubungan bilateral kedua negara.

Informasi selanjutnya mengenai AIS dapat ditemukan di sini.