Private Diary of Geoff Forrester on Indonesia’s Turbulent Decade, 1996-2005: Writing History as It Happens

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This book is a collection of works by the late Geoffrey Forrester, an Australian analyst who spent over 40 years closely observing the end of Indonesia’s first presidency.


“…making his material available through this book will provide the basis for others to clarify their thoughts and continue his work of balanced analysis of Indonesian government and society. Without sentimentality or apology but with professionalism and informed judgement.”-Prof Emer. Virginia Hooker, Australian National University

“Prepared for a small group of informed readers, the reports are pungent and well-informed. They give a strong flavour of the atmosphere of the time and are a powerful corrective to the wisdom of historical insight.”-Prof. Robert Cribb, Australian National University

“One of the greatest strengths of this work is the utterly contemporary quality of Forrester’s writing and thinking about Indonesian politics. “-Prof. Emer. Jamie Mackie, Indonesia Project, ANU

Table of Contents

Foreword Virginia Hooker

Introduction John Monfries

The Nature of the Book

Major Themes

The Democratisation Process

What Happened Since

Relations with Australia

The Economic Crisis

Special Annex on East Timor

Editorial Conventions


Chapter 1 - The Fall of the New Order: ‘Neither New nor Orderly’
The Lead-up to the Economic Crisis
Rising Unrest
The Economic Crisis Hits
The May 1998 Disaster - Suharto Falls

Chapter 2 Habibie Succeeds, without Success
Armed Forces’ Reputation Damaged
Habibie Seeks to Retain Power
The Bank Bali Scandal
The Crucial MPR Session and Election of Gus Dur

Chapter 3 Gus Dur Fails as President
The Fall of Wiranto
The Bulog Funds Scandal
Moves to Dismiss Gus Dur
Gus Dur is Dismissed

Chapter 4 A Sukarno (Megawati) as President Again
Effects on Indonesia of the September 2001 Attacks
Successful Investigation of the Bali Bombing
Megawati Begins to Alienate her Supporters
Major Constitutional Amendments

Chapter 5 The Rise of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Lead-up to the 2004 Elections
The First Round Presidential Election
SBY Elected

Chapter 6 The First Phase of the SBY Presidency
Problems with Parliament
Kalla Captures Golkar
The Aceh Tsunami and the Xenophobes
Scandals and Investment Problems

Chapter 7 The Indonesian Economy
The Economic Crisis and its Causes
From Crisis to Calamity
Bad Debts, Budget Woes and Investment Paralysis
The Manulife Case

Chapter 8 Australian-Indonesian Relations
Good Neighbourliness In The Post-Suharto Era
Australia-Indonesia Relations: Facing the New Millennium
How Australia Should Respond to the East Timor Crisis
Developments in the Australia- Indonesia Relationship



- Confidential Indonesian Government Documents on East Timor
Secret Order by Wiranto of 19 August 1999
Transmigration Department Plans for Handling East Timor Refugees
Public Works Department Plans for Handling East Timor Refugees


Personalities List



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