This website will be progressively updated as the final outcome of the election of 2 July is known, and as the 45th Parliament meets.

Learning

Head of state

Parliament and MPR [PDF 2.97Mb, 18 pages]

The former President and former Vice President of Indonesia sign the oath of office in the MPR

The former President and former Vice President of Indonesia sign the oath of office in the MPR

courtesy of www.presidenri.go.id

There are fundamental differences between the Australian and Indonesian political systems in regard to the head of state. Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. Indonesia is a republic with a President as the head of state. The President is also the head of government, with a central role in the legislative process.

The following table provides an overview of the distinguishing features of both nations’ processes for the appointment of the head of state.

Head of state
AustraliaIndonesia

Title

  • The Queen is the head of state.
  • The Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in Australia.

Title

  • The President of the Republic of Indonesia is the head of state.

Appointment

  • The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister (who is the head of government).
  • The appointment is ‘at the Queen’s pleasure’. This is usually for five years, although the term can be extended or shortened on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Appointment

  • The President is elected for five years directly by the people.
  • The President can serve a maximum of two five-year terms.
  • Presidential and vice-presidential candidates (running as a team) must be nominated by a party or coalition of parties with at least 20% of seats in the DPR; or have received at least 25% of votes in the last DPR election.
  • To become President, a candidate must receive more than 50% of the national vote and more than 20% of the votes in more than half the provinces. If no candidate achieves this, the top two candidates contest a second (run-off) election.
  • Criteria for Presidential candidates include: Indonesian citizenship by birth; belief in one God; being a tax payer; being faithful to the Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution; and be over 35 years of age.

Role

  • The Governor-General of Australia:
    • is the Queen’s representative in Australia;
    • signs bills agreed to by both chambers of the Parliament into law by giving the Royal Assent;
    • commissions the Prime Minister and, on the advice of the Prime Minister, ministers;
    • dissolves Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister and starts the process of a federal (national) election;
    • is Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force, although the Governor-General only acts on the advice of the executive; and
    • represents Australia on the international stage.

Role

  • The President of the Republic of Indonesia:
    • has a central role in the legislative process. The President proposes bills to the DPR, appoints ministers to negotiate bills, jointly agrees with the DPR on bills and signs bills into law;
    • proclaims regulations which a law allows the President to make (delegated legislation);
    • appoints and removes ministers;
    • is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces;
    • appoints Supreme Court judges approved by the DPR; and 
    • represents Indonesia and the Indonesian government on the international stage.

Removal

  • The monarch’s position is hereditary. The monarch cannot be removed, though he or she may abdicate (step down from the position).
  • The Governor-General may resign or be removed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Removal

  • Article 7A of the 1945 Constitution describes how the President can be removed.
  • The President can be removed by a two-thirds vote of the MPR. Before a charge of treason, bribery, immorality or inability to fulfil the role of President is brought before the MPR, the Constitutional Court must find the charge/s valid.
  • If a President is removed, the Vice-President would then take on the role of the President.

Reform

  • A referendum to change the Australian Constitution to make Australia a republic (and therefore change the head of state) was defeated in 1999.

Reform

  • In the period 1966 to 1998 the Indonesian system of government was centralised in the President. Constitutional amendments have transferred some Presidential powers to the MPR.
  • Prior to 2004 the President was elected by the MPR.
Similarities

In both systems:

  • No significant similarities exist between the Australian and Indonesian heads of state.