Our Chief has gone: The Michael Somare I knew

Michael Somare talks to Cr Chris Gryllis of Orange and me (Ingrid Jackson)
Michael Somare talks to Cr Chris Gryllis of Orange and me at the PNG high commission in Canberra, 2009 (Ingrid Jackson)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The great nation of Papua New Guinea is in shock and in mourning following the death just after midnight yesterday of its founding father, Sir Michael Somare, long known as The Chief.

Somare was 84, a considerable age in PNG, but his mark on the nation he brought to creation seemed so indelible that he, like it, might last forever.

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Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare dies at 84

Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam on Independence Day  1975 (Whitlam Institute)
Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam on Independence Day,  1975 (Whitlam Institute)

RONALD J MAY
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA – With the death of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare – the man who led Papua New Guinea to independence in 1975 and became Papua New Guinea’s longest-serving member of parliament – the Pacific has lost one of its most prominent and respected leaders.

Somare was born in 1936 in Rabaul, where his father was serving as a policeman in the colonial administration, but returned to his father’s home province of East Sepik at an early age.

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Parking your wife, or 'marit antap long marit’

Png sceneKELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY – While Papua New Guinea has a couple of matrilineal societies, the majority of our many cultures are patrilineal, meaning the heirs to the land are male.

If a woman gives birth to sons, she is respected by her husband’s family, although this does not mean she is always safe.

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An important video: From extraction to inclusion

Tanago imageEDDIE TANAGO
| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - A new doodle-style video has been launched that explains how Papua New Guinea’s reliance on large-scale mining and export logging has failed to improve the lives of most people.

Over the last 50 years, the quality of health, education and infrastructure have declined and it also explains why PNG now ranks below its Pacific neighbours on most development indicators.

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Writing just for the sake of writing

Phil
Phil Fitzpatrick - "It’s not axiomatic or necessary to seek validation for anything you’ve written through publication"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - People are motivated to write for all sorts of reasons. At the crudest, to make money.

Some write in the hope of influencing readers to adopt or consider their ideas and opinions. Others because they see a need to record important events.

Of the many reasons, a favourite author of mine, Barbara Kingsolver, summed it up when she said: “Writers will go to stupefying lengths to get the infernal roar of words out of their skulls and onto paper”.

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PNG’s Covid control runs into trouble

Mask wearing in Port Moresby (ABC News  Natalie Whiting)
Photo: Natalie Whiting, ABC News

NATALIE WHITING
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - An internal Papua New Guinean ministerial briefing obtained by the ABC shows that unnamed government ministers are trying to exempt some passengers from quarantine, which they don't have the authority to do.

It says international passengers arriving at Jackson's Airport in Port Moresby are "frequently showing letters issued by government ministers claiming to authorise the passengers to be exempted from quarantine.

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Working to build in remote Western Province

Materials for remote Western Province
One of five container loads of materials for schools and health centres in remote areas of Western Province - more is on the way but much more is needed

GOVERNOR TABOI AWI YOTO

DARU - The shipping containers shown here are all loaded and ready for shipment to some of the most remote communities in Western Province.

They include materials for the Banisato village community health post.

The Baniso tribe is small, and comprises just one village of less than 200 people in the foothills of Mt Bosavi.

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PNG: Import less consumables & create jobs

ShipKEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – A discussion paper just released by the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute proposes that PNG create more jobs by discouraging imports of consumables, or goods for immediate consumption, and expanding exports.

Consumables are goods used by individuals and businesses that need to be replaced regularly because they are used up or wear out.

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Marape should lead vaccine discussion

James Marape
"Through much of 2020, PM Marape communicated often and well about the progress of, and responses to, Covid-19 in PNG. Then he went quiet" - Peter Dwyer

PETER D DWYER PhD

MELBOURNE - In October last year a team of Papua New Guinea university scientists asserted that they had developed a package of already known drugs that would cure Covid-19.

There were no publications, there had been no tests but they had convinced prime minister James Marape that they were on to a good thing.

Marape recommended through the National Executive Council that their newly registered company, Niugini Biomed Ltd, be awarded K10.2 million.

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Ex chief justice stands for Moresby election

Sir Arnold Amet
Sir Arnold Amet - former chief justice and then attorney-general seeks to revive his political career at 68

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Allegiance Party, established by Papua New Guinean justice minister Bryan Kramer MP, has endorsed Sir Arnold Amet as its candidate in the forthcoming by-election for Moresby North West.

The by-election was triggered by the death of former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta last December.

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3 years since I got on a plane to NZ

Bee Duresi
Bee Duresi - brilliant scholar, great communicator, wonderful representative of PNG and, above all, a fantastic mum and family member

BEE DURESI
| Duresi's Odyssey

AUCKLAND - Time flies ae? I just realised I got on a plane around this time three years ago to come to New Zealand and start a journey of a lifetime.

It was a bittersweet trip – my marriage had just ended, I had been accepted to do a PhD at the University of Auckland, I had successfully secured a NZ scholarship for the entire PhD program, and I was leaving my beloved child behind.

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Namah challenges Marape: 'Where’s the miracle cure’

Opposition leader Belden Namah
Opposition leader Belden Namah says Covid may be killing scores of Papua New Guineans, “but that has yet to be proven”

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Belden Namah has called upon the Marape government to halt the use of any Covid-19 vaccines until a comprehensive report has been tabled in parliament.

Namah said Marape has a duty to present a report on the effects of Covid, the government's measures to protect the population, an accounting of funds allocated, and an update on the PNG-originated vaccine to which the prime minister granted K 10.2 million.

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Log tax increase must be defended

Unsustainable logging
The PNG Forest Authority has failed in its mandate to ensure the sustainable management of PNG’s forests and is pushing back against government reforms 

EDDIE TANAGO
| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY – The increase in duty on round log exports introduced in Papua New Guinea’s 2020 budget is already having a positive effect.

Analysis by community advocacy group Act Now! shows that the higher export duty has increased government revenue and driven down log exports in line with government policy.

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The interventionist powers of the PNG judiciary

Kama - PNG judges
"“It is the people’s court and let them come by the hundreds if they have the right to come” - the late Justice Mari Kapi

BAL KAMA

CANBERRA - The national court of Papua New Guinea made a landmark court decision on the last Saturday of January when it ordered the Madang Provincial Government, the District Development Authority, and the Urban Local-level Government to fix the roads in Madang town.

The orders prescribed the specific financial contributions and administrative responsibilities of each level of government, including the national government, and also applied to the Madang members of parliament.

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Marape to open Western Pacific University

Western-Pacific-University
A section of the new Western Pacific University in the Southern Highlands

NEWS DESK
| PNG Bulletin

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape will be in Ialibu, Southern Highlands Province on Monday 1 March to open the new Western Pacific University.

Mr Marape is expected to be accompanied by government ministers and opposition members.

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Hard working men & village folk yet to eat

HwmKELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

Introductory glossary: (1) Hard working men = those who claim to lead the MPs campaign; (2) Village folk yet to eat = those who may receive cash from the MP; (3) Men who are eating = those who do receive cash from the MP

PORT MORESBY - I occasionally travel to my tribal land for feasts and holidays to mingle with our village folk and talk to all and sundry.

After the 2017 general election I went home and the self-proclaimed hard working men bragged about their daring roles during that election that enabled our tribesman to win, which he did.

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I walked on bilums. I’m sorry

Marape - Feet of the chiefsJAMES MARAPE MP

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape recently visited Kainantu and, upon his arrival, walked along a prepared pathway of bilums, the woven string bags that are utilitarian, symbolic of the strength of women and culturally very meaningful. The prime minister’s action generated significant public rebuke, which he sought to address in this response - KJ

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Pacific journalism and PNG’s ‘Game of Thrones’

Leanne Jorari
Leanne Jorari - "I am a firm advocate of Indigenous people creating their own narratives"

NEWS DESK
| Judith Neilson Institute

SYDNEY - Leanne Jorari is a Papua New Guinean media and communications specialist, producer and writer, based in Port Moresby.

A former journalist and producer at PNG’s national broadcaster, EMTV, she is now a freelance writer for The Guardian‘s Pacific Project, which is supported by the Institute.

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Why that Lowy incident will be remembered

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson - "Respect is taught and driven home in every aspect of our lives"

LAGIPOIVA CHERELLE JACKSON
| Medium

SAMOA - When the editor of the Lowy Institute’s, The Interpreter, called leaders of the Pacific Islands ‘toddlers’ and referred to the stance by Micronesian Leaders as ‘tantrums’, it could have easily been yet another condescending article by an Australian journalist who thought he knew better than all of us put together.

But this time, it was different.

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Views on sand mining must be heard

Sir Arnold Amet
Sir Arnold Amet - The people have a right to be heard and their views to be considered

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE – Papua New Guinea’s former chief justice Sir Arnold Amet and leaders from the north coast villages of Madang have written to the Justice Department and the Mineral Resources Authority urging them to allow further consultation in relation to the proposed sand mining project.

Sir Arnold has echoed sentiments by people in the Sumgilbar local level government area that their views against sand mining have not been adequately heard.

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New checkpoint brings benefits to villagers

Alfred Kembu (left) with landowners and police
Alfred Kembu (left) with Mano landowners and police

DAVID KASEI WAPAR

MADANG - The Tapo police and quarantine checkpoint in Madang Province has been relocated to Mano, 12 twelve kilometers away, with the construction of a new bridge to replace the well-known crossing.

The checkpoint is an important facility which assists the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority, the Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK), police and other organisations to monitor disease and pest control and illicit activities.

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Rationality & balance required for China

Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping rejected orthodox communist ideology in favour of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics' - but the West misread what this meant

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - As one of PNG Attitude’s more vociferous critics of the Chinese government (as distinct from its citizens generally) I would like to take up some readers’ comments about how China has risen so far and so fast.

In doing so, I reject any inference that criticisms of Chinese government policies and action reflect an inherent Sinophobia.

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West Papua: living in constant fear

Benny Wenda
Independence leader Benny Wenda - "In West Papua, the whole essence of our humanity is being reduced to nothing”

STUART REES
| John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations

SYDNEY - Not far from Australian shores, a colonial-type genocide prompts silence.

Commercial and military interests plus preoccupation with a global virus ensure that colonisation continues, and human rights are ignored. Who cares?

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Namarong: Australia 'overreacting' to China

Martyn Namarong
Martyn Namorong - "Foreign governments should refrain from interfering in PNG’s democratic processes. We know some countries have a tendency to do that”

AARON SMITH
| The Guardian

CAIRNS - Australia has dramatically overreacted to speculative announcements of possible Chinese-funded development on the Papua New Guinea island of Daru, a former adviser to the PNG government has said.

“I think the Chinese just wanted to ruffle a few feathers on the Australian side,” Martyn Awayang Namorong said of the leaked letter describing plans to build a $39 billion city on Daru, and last November’s memorandum of understanding signing to establish a “comprehensive multifunctional fishery industrial park” on the island.

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China: Strings implicit & designed to entrap

Muddy beach at Daru (AAP)
Clothes hanging over a muddy beach at Daru island, just four kilometers from the Australian border

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I think Michael Kabuni's analysis is basically correct. Australia's policy in relation to Papua New Guinea has indeed been deficient and reactive in some respects.

While I agree that the proposed Daru fisheries deal should bring economic benefits to PNG and the Western Province, I wonder how significant the benefits will be in the long term.

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Australia sleeps on job as China nears

OzchinJOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – Why are Australian taxpayers funding Papua New Guinea’s 111 parliamentarians with $2.9M (K8 million) each for District Services Improvement Fund, and other discretionary funds, with little accountability and proper procurement process?

When Charles Abel was Treasurer from 2017-19, he tried to wind back these funds in the budget, but was over-ruled by prime minister Peter O’Neill.

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Madang women seek to contribute to economy

Madang province women
Women of Madang Province

DAVID KASEI WAPAR

MADANG – A women’s group from Ward 6 in the Ambenob area have become the first women group to formally seek answers from the district’s ward development office.

It took hard work and commitment for the group to prepare a formal document requesting assistance from the Madang District Development Authority.

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Reacting to China: The cost of intervention

 

Daru
Daru, capital of impoverished Western Province, is the planned site of a major Chinese fishery. It will generate many jobs. But Australia opposes the idea

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Asia & the Pacific Policy Society

WAIGANI - Last November, Chinese company Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Limited signed a memorandum of understanding with the Papua New Guinea government to set up a K700 million multi-functional fisheries industrial park in Daru, Western Province.

Unfortunately, debate in Australia surrounding this proposal has not extended beyond Australia’s security concerns as to what this project means for Western Province people.

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Where is the ‘mana’ in our Pacific Way?

Maureen Penjueli top
Maureen Penjueli - Australia and New Zealand's absence at the recent crucial Pacific Islands Forum meeting challenges their commitment to the region

MAUREEN PENJUELI
| Pacific Islands News Association

SUVA - The decision by Micronesian leaders to withdraw from the region’s premier political body, the Pacific Islands Forum, is a move of tectonic scale whose impact will reverberate across the region.

The withdrawal comes on the back of a bruising leadership contest for Secretary-General of the Forum.

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Torres Strait Treaty is back in the spotlight

Treaty zoneAARON SMITH
| Griffith Asia Insights

CAIRNS - “We are happy to share what we have in the Torres Strait, but we will not give – not a teaspoon of water, not a grain of sand.”

This was the war cry of Torres Strait Islander Getano Lui Snr in 1976, one of the leading political agitators that pressured the Australian government to form the Torres Strait Treaty.

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Marape’s fine balance of ministerial numbers

Marape
James Marape - only thing known for sure is that the political numbers game will continue

HENRY IVARATURE
| Asia & the Pacific Policy Society

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea politics is not a game for the faint-hearted.

On 14 December 2020, parliamentary speaker Job Pomat hijacked proceedings and forced an adjournment to 16 December so that the court could determine the status of an opposition member of parliament.

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Bik bus long maunten

Awagl mountain forestMICHAEL DOM

Tok Pisin translation of Mountain Forest by Jimmy Awagl, whose original English poem follows

Bikpela bus emi tutak tumas
I silip antap long nus bilong maunten
Klaut i pasim het bilong em
Na i ron namel insait long bus
Antap long lip na han bilong diwai

Lait bilong san emi pundaun ikam
Na i traim long sutim pinga igo insait
Long simuk iron antap long bik bus
Em nau ikirapim paialait olsem gol
Na kainkain kalakala i mekim ai long pas

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Lowy feels heat over ‘tone-deaf comments’

Lowy Institute building
Lowy Institute building in Sydney

HERVEY FORSYTHE

CANBERRA - An Australian government supported think tank has been accused of racism and infantilising Pacific islanders following commentary on the departure of five Micronesian nations from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Sydney-based Lowy Institute has faced a barrage of criticism over views expressed by the managing editor of its online The Interpreter magazine, Daniel Flitton, who compared a major regional dispute to a “toddler’s tantrum” and said Pacific island nations have “some growing up to do”.

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34 years of flying & plenty of stories

Boga - pilots top
Paul Boga and fellow army pilots pose in front of a PNGDF Nomad

PAUL BOGA
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Marching into the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron in Lae as a young military pilot was beginning of an exciting flying career and lasting camaraderie with other airmen.

With no experience but full of energy, we were assigned to B Flight with Nomad aircraft.

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Bousimae, the chief who resisted colonisation

Waide - Bousimae  the Binandere chief
Bousimae, the Binandere chief

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guinea is a collection of nations, each with its own rich history.

Much of that history has been lost and much needs to be told.

The stories need to be told not in the context of the 200 years of colonialism, but from the perspective of our elders and based on 60,000 years of unwritten precolonial history.

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Cleaning up school funding could boost literature

Rural school (globalgiving.org)
Teachers and pupils at a PNG rural school (globalgiving.org)

AG SATORI

PORT MORESBY – I’ve been investigating the operation of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) process in Papua New Guinea and whether it is doing the best it can for schools.

And also whether it might be better structured to do more to support education and, in doing that, to support the development of literature and literacy in PNG.

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Poor corruption ratings really cost PNG

PNG most corrupt in region
Papua New Guinea is the most corrupt country in its region - a distinction nobody can be proud of (Corruption Perceptions Index)

EDDIE TANAGO
| ACT PNG!

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s international corruption rating has slipped a further one-point, from 28 to 27, in the latest figures released by Transparency International.

This is bad news for the economy and a sad reflection on the state of our democracy.

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Kitch’s brilliant career rocks Facebook

David Kitchnoge top
David 'Kitch' Kitchnoge - news of his appointment to a top PNG financial post brought joy to social media

NEWS DESK
| Nambawan Super

PORT MORESBY - Chairman of Nambawan Super, Reg Monagi, has announced that David Kitchnoge, a sometime contributor to PNG Attitude, has been appointed Chief Investment Officer, the fund’s top investment job.

‘Kitch’ Kitchnoge is a well-respected and experienced investment professional with nearly20 years’ experience in PNG’s financial sector.

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The amazing Fred Kaad OBE dies at 100

Fred - Bill Brown MBE and Fred Kaad OBE - outstanding figures in the late colonial history of Papua New Guinea  Sydney  2018 - KJ
Bill Brown MBE and Fred Kaad OBE - outstanding figures in the late colonial history of Papua New Guinea,  Sydney,  2018 - KJ

BILL BROWN MBE

SYDNEY - Fred Kaad, who died early this morning aged 100, was an inspiration. He experienced triumph and tragedy and served humanity in war and peace, in good times and bad. He has never failed or faded on this journey.

Frederick Peter Christian Kaad OBE was born in Sydney on 12 September 1920 and he was always a leader and a competitor.

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PM offers wise words. What's next?

Tingting bilong mi
The writers of PNG don't know the word 'quit'. Operating with little money they're now running a youth writing contest, Tingting Bilong Mi

AG SATORI

PORT MORESBY – The other day Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape offered the children – and adults – of our country some true words of wisdom.

They were true for the time when he was growing up. They were true for the time when his parents were poor but proud.

What the prime minister extolled in his message, however, is followed today by very few parents and their children.

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When I counted the authors, I gasped

Croc
Extract from the cover of the 2015 Crocodile Prize Anthology

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – PNG Attitude reader Susan Conroy has asked where in Australia may be found books by Papua New Guinean authors.

Unfortunately I, and others, had to inform Susan that no books by contemporary PNG authors are likely to be seen in Australia’s bookshops, and for that matter very few by some of the earlier celebrated authors.

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Mr Marape & the tenacity of PNG writers

BookshelfDANIEL KUMBON
MICHAEL DOM
AG SATORI
PHILIP FITZPATRICK
Edited by Keith Jackson

“To all my children across our beautiful and blessed country, have hope and faith that you too can make it in life and make use of your time and talents by working hard wherever God has placed you in our diverse and blessed land of PNG” – James Marape, ‘Advice for young people: You’re here for a purpose’

DANIEL KUMBON – THE HEARTBEAT OF PNG

WABAG - You know prime minister, your words are gold for children of this country. Your direct message can impact their lives at an early age.

Your words can get them off Facebook and get them into a library full of books.

Continue reading "Mr Marape & the tenacity of PNG writers" »


Bougainville: Was the regional election fair?

Michael_Kabuni top
Michael Kabuni - asks how Bougainville electoral processes, so capable in the referendum of 2019, could be so questionable in last month’s regional election

MICHAEL KABUNI

| Academia Nomad | Edited

WAIGANI - Let’s begin with a quick summary of what this article is about.

Llane Munau last month was the lone female candidate contesting Bougainville’s regional election for a seat in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament.

Continue reading "Bougainville: Was the regional election fair?" »