Indonesians vote in Sydney | Asia Pacific

Indonesians vote in Sydney

Indonesians vote in Sydney

Updated 7 July 2014, 12:44 AEST

Here in Australia, experts say there's no way to forecast the winner, although Indonesia's expatriate voters are quite clear who they want to lead their nation.

In our largest city on Saturday, Indonesians have already cast their votes for the next President.

Karon Snowdon met some of them in Sydney.

Correspondent: Karon Snowdon

Speakers: Arief, Sydney resident and Indonesian voter; Greg Fealey, associate professor, Australian National University

SNOWDON: Joko Widodo has undertaken a minor Haj prior to each of his previous elections when running as a provincial city mayor or for the governorship of Jakarta. He says he uses the quiet time to pray but he might just feel some divine intervention would come in handy too.

The man who looked a certain winner in the early days of the campaign has now a lead of just 3 to 7 percent. At least ten per cent of voters are undecided.

Those voting in Sydney at the Indonesian consulate on Saturday however had made their choice between the successful local politician and Prabowo Subianto the former army special forces commander. Agus is a first time voter.

AGUS: Jokowi, of course Jokowi. From the civil like us (from a civilian point of view), I think, that's much better in the future, in term of the economics and in term of the human rights.

VOTER 2: I don't know yet, because to me all of the politician is a bullshit artist, simple as that. They can promise, but they're never delivering. The main thing is we become peace country, we work together with a lot of other countries towards the peace movement, that's all I want, you know?

VOTER 3: I have voted, because I am an Indonesian citizen for Indonesian future.

SNOWDON: Who did you choose?

VOTER 3: I can't say that.

SNOWDON: You can't say?

VOTER 3: Yeah.

SNOWDON: What sort of President would you like to see next in Indonesia?

VOTER 3: If the people are 'clean' that's it. The most important is corruption must first finish, and then the other things follow.

SNOWDON: In Indonesia, in the last of five televised debates on Saturday productivity, jobs and the environment were among the topics.

On agriculture and food both candidates said they'd like to move towards self-sufficiency in beef production, a long held ambition of the country.

It could disappoint Australia's live cattle traders if a new president doesn't lead to the relaxation of import quotas. Both candidates have made comments during the campaign that lean towards economic nationalism.

Australia National University Associate Professor Greg Fealey says while much of it is election rhetoric Indonesia's strong economy gives such sentiments more scope.

FEALEY: I think we could expect more protectionist policies and even people on the Foreign Investment Board. They're actually happy to have lower growth, if it means greater economic control nationally, less Indonesian enterprises owned by foreign companies and the like. They are happy to pay that price.

PHOEBE: I'm Phoebe, I'm voting, because as a good citizen I need to vote, yeah.

SNOWDON: Will you say who you voted for?

PHOEBE: Number 2.

SNOWDON: So you're a Jokowi supporter? Why is that?

PHOEBE: I don't know, I just feel that he's a lot better, and because he changed a lot for Jakarta, because he's now Jakarta's Governor, right. And I see a lot of changes in the city, yeah, so that's why I choosed him.

SNOWDON: There are around 2 million Indonesians registered to vote overseas. It won't be known for several days how many took the opportunity in Australia.

(Question posed to voter) What sort of president does Indonesia need now?

PHOEBE: Very kind, close with a few other people. I like that human being OK.

VOTER 5: There's a lot of people are going for Jokowi, they want a new face, they want a fresh start, so it's going to be exciting, yeah.

I don't know what the result would be, but I think it is going to be very, very exciting this year. So just stayed tuned.

SNOWDON: Thank you very much.

VOTER 5: All right.

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