Thursday, 6 June 2013

Indonesian students meet the Australian Prime Minister

This post is extracted from a story by Deti Inayatun, student in the 2013 Indonesia—Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program

A group of Indonesian students are currently participating in a 10-week learning schedule in the north Australian cattle industry where they are studying animal husbandry. The program covers intensive pastoral industry training including animal welfare and handling and experiential learning through placements at selected corporate and family-run cattle stations across northern Australia.

ACIAR staff Rodd Dyer and Rebecca McBride with Deti Inayutun at Parliament House

Dreams do come true! I am on the plane heading back to Darwin after meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra.
Motorbike training
(image courtesy of NTCA)

This trip started when 16 students, including me, were selected for the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Indonesia—Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program.

We had been training at the Charles Darwin University rural campus in Katherine. Our training was about cattle handling, staying safe in the work place, first aid, and riding horses, quad bikes and motorbikes. After our training we spend six weeks living and working on a cattle station in the Northern Territory.

One day during training, the program coordinators told us that three students would be chosen to travel to Canberra to meet the Prime Minister! I so hoped and wished I would be one of those lucky students. And then it happened! Me, and my friends Yogi and Yudhis were the lucky ones!

Animal husbandry training
(image courtesy of NTCA)
We were told to pack some warm clothes and to start preparing, because tomorrow we would have to meet the Prime Minister Julia Gillard in... Canberra. Wow!!! We arrived in Canberra at night, had dinner, and then sleep. It was so very different to Darwin and Katherine, because Canberra was soooooo cold! Especially at midnight, two blankets, a coat and socks still aren’t enough to keep me warm.

The day finally came. We arrived at Parliament House. It’s amazing. I don’t want to close my eyes because I don’t want loose this amazing moment. I felt like me and my two friends Yogi and Yudhis are also important people, like some of the people we met there.

First, we were interviewed by ABC Radio Australia. I really felt like an actress! Then, we had a meeting with staff from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Department of Regional Australia (DRA), and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. ACIAR and DRA have given a lot of support and funding for the student program, and I am so glad to meet such friendly people.

Students and mentor (Stockman Alward Foster)
meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Unbelievably, we received special guest cards to watch Question Time. Again, we are totally surprised, because we’ve got seats in the front row! Question Time was good but honestly I didn’t know exactly what were they talking about and debating for. All I know is Julia Gillard is in front of me and facing everything calmly. And in a couple minutes, I’ll meet and talk to her!

We are in her private sitting room. I felt so nervous, but also so happy and still not quite believing it’s all happening when she greets us and holds our hands. She’s really beautiful; she is also really humble and friendly as well. I just can’t describe with words what I felt that day.

Even though it was only a short time, it was the best experience in my whole life. 

We talked about the student program, and about what we (the 16 students) have been doing in our two weeks of training. She looks very excited and is supportive of us as well. Then, we take a lot of photos together. I will print those pictures and put them in every corner of my house.
(L-R) Alward, Deti, Yudhis and Yogi with (centre) PM Julia Gillard

I don’t want go home yet. I like this building, I love the foods, I love the weather and I love the friendly, important people we have met here. Even though I don’t know how, I definitely have to come back here someday.

I’m too shy to say these words directly, but I really want to say thank you so much for everything our supporters have done for us. I am so glad and grateful for the student program.

(Extracted from a story by Deti Inayutan)

Editor: Incidentally, the Prime Minister also had the opportunity to witness a 'whip cracking' demonstration by the students' mentor. Deti is standing to the right of Julia Gillard in this video (courtesy of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association).

The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association acknowledges and is grateful for the support and funding from ACIAR, DRA (Office of Northern Australia), Meat and Livestock Australia and the Northern Territory Government to run the 2013 Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program.


  1. This is EXACTLY what out two counries need to do more of! Bring our youth together. Stop making it so hard for young Indonesians to holiday and work here. Stop making it impossible for young Australians to holiday and work there.

    Lovely story but let us all learn from this story...OPPORTUNITY.

    Ross Taylor

  2. Great to see young people from Indonesia experiencing Australia in such a positive way!

  3. Thank you Deti for sharing your story. It is real delight to hear a personal experience of regional engagement and to be a voice for effective ciitizen governance and educational investment. My concern is that we need to grow pathways - by focusing on precinct evaluations. Discovery programs and projects need to connect citizens to places.

    People to people relations are indeed a powerful catalyst for extending questions and strategies in regard to agricultural skills, innovation and intercultural exchange.
    I am inspired by this intiative to imagine future opportunities to build on our links within Asia and between Indonesia and Australia.

    We can together encourage goodwill and confidence through recognition of mutual interests. By investigating gaps in knowledge and different understandings, bridges are made to rethink systems and sense making practices. Australia and Indonesia share global problems such as how to govern equitable access for all to our cultural environments.

    Making platforms for women and men to face shared challenges - is a great support for identifying how collaborative activities. Navigating contemporary issues requires botj public and private research. Linking thinking on food, infrastructure services, policy facilitation and the character of communication for organization.

    If the work of creative leaders is to anchor and guide teams, then people like you, will impact the quality of enterprise and community wellbeing. You and all Indonesians are important people.

    We do enact meaning in distinctive environments and events. Engaging individuals in social and political development are passionate responses to the practical needs of everyday life.

  4. Thank you all for your comments on this post. Particular thanks to 'Meaning' for your encouraging and positive comprehensive comment. We shall certainly pass the feedback on to the guest author, Deti.

  5. Really not sure why Rebecca McBride is in the photo at the top - what does she have to do with anything?


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