Party system

Parliament and MPR [PDF 2.73Mb, 18 pages]

Political parties exist to represent the interests of different groups and individuals in society. Their ultimate goal is to have members elected to the legislature to represent these interests.

Two major parties compete in the Australian political system, with smaller representation by minor parties and independent members. The Australian Labor Party has been represented in the federal Parliament since 1901 and the Liberal Party of Australia since the 1940s.

Indonesian politics is contested by a large number of large and small parties. Some parties have strong historical, cultural and/or religious foundations; others are relatively new.

The fear of instability due to short-term coalitions and a striving for unity has led to restrictions on the size and number of parties permitted to contest Indonesian national elections. Only parties large enough to have branches in all provinces are able to contest national elections.

The following table provides an overview of the distinguishing features of both nations’ party systems.


Major parties

  • The two major parties are the Liberal Party of Australia (LP) and the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
  • Other parties include the Nationals, the Australian Greens, the Country Liberal Party and Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

Major parties

  • Party representation in the MPR can change substantially from election to election.
  • Parties are divided along religious and cultural lines.
  • Some of the largest national parties are:
    • Indonesia Democratic Party – Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia – Perjuangan – PDIP)
    • Functional Groups Party (Partai Golongan Karya – Golkar)
    • Great Indonesian Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya – Gerindra)
    • Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat –PD)
    • National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – PAN)
    • National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – PKB)
  • A candidate from a political party may win the presidency but have a minority in the DPR.

Party discipline

  • Party discipline is very strong and party members are expected to vote with their party.
  • The ALP is the only party that has formal party rules to discourage its members voting against the party, or ‘crossing the floor’.

Party discipline

  • Party discipline is weak. The President is the leader of their party but can have weak leadership of their party and in the DPR. Within the MPR party discipline is also weak.


  • Both houses may contain independent members of parliament.


  • Only candidates nominated by an approved party can contest the DPR.
  • Members of the DPD are elected as individuals. Political parties are banned from contesting DPD elections.

In both systems:

  • Parties must gain nationwide support in order to have strong representation in the parliament.
  • Independents are members of the parliament.