« Go back

From dictatorship to democracy in Indonesia (1996-2000)

Tuesday 23rd August 2016 6:00pm AEST

Presented by Michael Day

Australian journalist Michael Day will take you behind the headlines as he describes covering Indonesia during the time of turmoil as it struggled towards democracy.

Michael will tell you about how he obtained and missed good stories, and how a foreign correspondent has to deal with the newspaper office back home as well as with a suspicious regime. You will hear about the dangers, the warm Indonesian hospitality, the enjoyment, the fog of events, the hassles, the humour, the satisfaction.

Michael will describe attending a show trial of dissidents in Jakarta, running from tear gas and batons in Yogyakarta, watching buildings burn as the military withdrew from Aceh, and the tearful rejoicing after the dictator fell. Michael was one of the only Western correspondents to interview Megawati Sukarnoputri, later to become president. He interviewed future president Abdurrahman Wahid, prominent politician Amien Rais, and novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. He saw President Suharto face-to-face in his Menteng living room. With Walkley-award winning photographer Tony Ashby — some of whose photographs he will display– Michael climbed up a mountain in East Timor to the jungle camp of a Falantil guerrilla commander Lu-Olo to hear his message to Australia ahead of the independence referendum.


Michael V. Day reported dramatic events in Indonesia while Asia Desk chief at The West Australian newspaper 1996-2000. After falling in love with Indonesia when he first visited in 1972, Michael went on to improve his Indonesian language skills by studying at two universities in Java. He has travelled extensively throughout the archipelago. For his coverage of Indonesia he was awarded the Arthur Lovekin Prize, presented by the University of WA for the best contribution to a Western Australian newspaper or periodical. Most of his stories were published before the extensive use by his newspaper of the Internet, but his travel stories on Indonesia can be found at his Daybeat website: https://michaelvday.wordpress.com/category/indonesia/

In 2003, Michael moved to Israel to take up the post of editor of the Baha’i World News Service. Now based in Brisbane, Michael has written a three volume history of the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, the first of which will be published this year.

More Info

Event Details

Queensland Multicultural Centre, 102 Main St, Kangaroo Point

Date / Time
Tuesday 23rd August 2016 6:00pm AEST

Australian Institute of International Affairs Queensland Branch

Registration Open
Monday 8th August 2016 4:00pm AEST

Registration Close
Tuesday 23rd August 2016 3:00pm AEST

Event registration has closed, on Tuesday 23rd August 2016 3:00pm AEST.