A group of visiting Indonesian law students and lecturers will be met by familiar faces when they arrive at the University of Wollongong (UOW) for the second leg of a two-way exchange program on 2 June.
The group, comprising two students and two lecturers from Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, will spend two weeks in Wollongong picking the brains of UOW experts and learning about the Australian legal system, just as a delegation from UOW did during a recent visit to the School of Law at the Indonesian university.
In April, students Rhys Wood and Madeline Bow travelled to Indonesia with UOW Senior Lecturer Dr Nadir Hosen to participate in a two-day conference at Brawijaya University. The two students, who were selected for the event from a group of nine, delivered presentations on the Australian Judiciary and Federal Parliament.
“We were caught off guard by the depth of the critical analyses the Brawijaya students brought to what we thought was a simple presentation on the Australian legal system,” Madeline Bow said upon returning to Australia.
Dr Hosen has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining a productive relationship between UOW and Brawijaya and says the knowledge the students gained while in Indonesia will contribute greatly to their research papers for their Contemporary Issues in Southeast Asian Law studies.
“The academic staff at Brawijaya allowed the UOW team to grill them with questions about the ubiquity of religion, its influence in Indonesian culture and everyday societal life,” Dr Hosen said.
“The UOW team continued their comparative law exercise by visiting a State Court where they had the opportunity to speak to some Judges over morning tea, question them about their roles, the criteria for judicial appointment, and problems with corruption, as well as sit in on a court hearing.”
Australia and Indonesia’s social, cultural and legal systems are very different: “Election in Indonesia is not mandatory, there is no jury in the Indonesian court and Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world,” explains Dr Hosen.
Dr Hosen’s own presentation at the Brawijaya conference concentrated on Australia’s perspective of religious freedom in the Constitution. An Indonesian lecturer, Mr Muktiono, then delivered a presentation outlining Indonesia’s perspective on the subject.
During their two-week visit to UOW, the delegation from Brawijaya University will investigate ways for the two law schools to further collaborate on research and the facilitation of knowledge and cultural exchange programs so that the two universities can benefit from a valuable pool of expertise.