Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan to create Indonesia-literate lawyers for better bilateral future

PERTH – 10 January 2018. This week saw the launch of the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (known as ACICIS)  new Law Professional Practicum, a program designed to introduce Australian law students to Indonesia’s legal system and to establish early career linkages between the Australian and Indonesian legal fraternities.

Forty-six students from law schools around Australia  have travelled to Jakarta to undertake a six-week course of study that includes a crash course in Indonesian language and in-depth seminars on Indonesian legal history, the country’s court system, human rights law, commercial law, and legal workplace culture in Indonesia. Students’ classroom studies are complemented by four-week internships undertaken at a range of law firms and non-government organisations operating within Indonesia’s legal sector.

With increasingly important commercial, trade and tourism links between Australia and Indonesia, understanding the legal system of Australia’s nearest Asian neighbour has never been more important. Moreover, with Indonesia and Australia sharing extensive maritime boundaries, matters of international law, national sovereignty, security and transnational law-enforcement remain key issues within the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship.

ACICIS Resident Director, Dr Adrian Budiman, is delighted to see the significant interest from Australian students in the Indonesian legal system. “Indonesia’s legal system is characterised by complexity and a remarkable level of pluralism. Understanding this complexity is crucial to building Indonesia-literate Australian lawyers”, Dr Budiman added. “This can only strengthen the bilateral relationship and build upon the already existing cooperation between Australia and Indonesia’s legal fraternities, justice systems, and law enforcements agencies”.

Students participating in ACICIS’ 2018 Law Professional Practicum are doing so with financial assistance from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan – an initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific among Australian undergraduates. ACICIS has secured $447,000 in New Colombo Plan funding to support 149 students from across the consortium’s 25 Australian member universities to undertake the Law Professional Practicum in Jakarta between 2018 and 2020.

Ingrid Olbrei from the Australian National University is one such student, participating in the Law Professional Practicum with the support of a New Colombo Plan grant. Ms Olbrei will be undertaking her professional placement with Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners – a leading international law firm in Indonesia, with strong connections to Australian firms.  “I am delighted and honoured to be participating in this program”, Ms Olbrei said. “As a law, international relations and Indonesian language student, this program presents me with the opportunity to enhance my academic skills in all three areas”, she added.

The 46 students participating in the 2018 pilot iteration of ACICIS’ Law Professional Practicum are drawn from thirteen Australian universities including: The Australian National University, Flinders University, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Murdoch University, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland, University of South Australia, University of Tasmania, The University of Western Australia, UNSW Australia, and Western Sydney University.

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The Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies known as ACICIS (pronounced “Ah-Chee-Chis” as an Indonesian would) has been opening doors to tertiary institutions throughout Indonesia since 1994. Today ACICIS is the longest running provider of in-country Indonesian study programs for Australian university students and the primary mechanism through which Australian students pursue study in Indonesia for academic credit. The ACICIS consortium currently counts among its membership twenty-five Australian universities (including all of Australia’s Group of Eight) as well as overseas centres-of-excellence in the field of Indonesian and Southeast Asian Studies such as SOAS University of London and Leiden University. The consortium’s activities are coordinated by a national secretariat hosted by The University of Western Australia. For more information, please visit:

For further media comment, please contact:

Mr John McMaster

ACICIS Secretariat Officer

+61 8 6488 6675