No room for neutrality in this new world

Capture
Scott Morrison looks at Joe Biden on a video link - "China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power"

ADELAIDE - I think Phil Fitzpatrick, The US sets up Australia for war, has invested Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines with more significance than it deserves, at least as far as the prospect of war is concerned.

As I have written before, in Rationality & balance required for China, the 'dance of death' between a resurgent and increasingly nationalistic and belligerent China and the previously dominant USA began some time ago.

Continue reading "No room for neutrality in this new world" »


Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AFP)
Scott Morrison has placed Australia on the front line of any future war with China (AFP)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The editorial in this weekend’s ‘The Saturday Paper’ is interesting. It quotes Hugh White, former deputy-secretary of the Defence Department.

In an article elsewhere, White suggests that conventional submarines are perfectly suited if Australia is only interested in defending itself, whereas nuclear-powered submarines are perfectly suited to attacking another country.

Continue reading "Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice" »


Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism

James Bhagwan  general secretary  Pacific Council of Churches (Radio New Zealand  Jamie Tahana)
Rev James Bhagwan,  general secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches - "Australia is not acting in the best interests of  vuvale,  family" (Radio New Zealand Jamie Tahana)

JOHNNY BLADES
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Edited extracts

AUCKLAND - Australia's new security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom has touched a nerve at the core of Pacific regionalism.

The AUKUS alliance, announced by the leaders of the three countries late last week, finds them seeking strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region.

Continue reading "Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism" »


US sets up Australia for a China war

Johnson  Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight)
The Big Three Meet - Johnson Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight, Herald-Sun)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The United States of America is a warmonger but prefers to fight its wars in other people’s countries: Moro (Philippines), Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the list goes on and, as you can read here, it is very, very long.

War and the military industrial complex are inextricably entwined in the US economy and now it seems to be quite advanced in its planning for the next war – another one in our backyard, the Indo-Pacific.

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Some useful advice to a young person

Juffa
Gary Juffa (left) shares a joke with two constituents

GARY JUFFA MP

ORO - My dear young person, I have some thoughts formed from not a few experiences gained along the way in my last 49 years.

I decided to share them to mark the 46th Independence Day of our great young nation, Papua New Guinea.

I offer them to you in the hope that perhaps they will be of some use.

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ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May

Ron May
Ron May has provided an immense legacy of knowledge and scholarship in 5o years of research and writing about Papua New Guinea

ANTHONY REGAN, NICOLE HALEY
& THIAGO OPPERMANN

CANBERRA - Emeritus Fellow Ron May is being honoured by a conference and Festschrift (collection of writings) to celebrate his 50-year contribution to research, writing and thinking, especially about Papua New Guinea.

The celebration is hosted by the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.

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Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’

Marape toroama
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama - bold statements from Bougainville on independence seem to have given way to a more nuanced approach

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Discussions about Bougainville inside Papua New Guinea’s parliament have had a significant and disgruntled repercussion in the autonomous province itself, NBC Bougainville has reported.

Prime minister James Marape presented a statement on the Bougainville peace process to the national parliament and opened the topic for debate amongst MPs.

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Can renewables save the planet?

Morrison
Scott Morrison's government keeps promoting coal (cartoon by Paul Dorin @DorinToons)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia’s daft prime minister and climate change laggard says he wants to solve the problem of global warming using technology.

What he means by technology are dodgy developments such as carbon sequestration.

Until that happens he plans to open new gas fields to provide feedstock for new gas-fired power stations, which he thinks produce less pollution.

Continue reading "Can renewables save the planet?" »


A nation in denial

PNG_flagERIC MOLONG

UKARUMPA - We are a nation that is drowning in its own oil. We are a nation that is being dragged under – submerged by the weight of our gold.

We suffocate as our natural gases get sucked out of our lungs by the barrel. Our large timber exports continue to land us in cardboard shelters. Every ship that sails away with our tuna leaves us staring at an empty plate.

Continue reading "A nation in denial" »


Women journalists win media awards

Russell top
Russell Hunter - a fearless and ethical journalist who always had time to mentor and train younger members of the profession

ROWAN CALLICK

NORTHCOTE, VIC - Women reporters with the National Broadcasting Corporation and EMTV have won the Russell Hunter Awards for Young Papua New Guinea Journalists of the Year.

When Scottish-Australian journalist Russell Hunter – who was living in Brisbane - died in July, a group of friends decided that the most appropriate way to memorialise him was through sponsoring an award for young journalists in PNG.

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Waka Poet Faumuina meets Blunt Bugger Dom

MICHAEL DOM
| Ples Singsing

Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i
Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i

My Grandfather is a Canoe by Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i, July 2021, Flying Geese Pro. Order here for $36.52 (post included)

LAE – Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i’s first poems appeared in print in ‘Fika – a fictional body of new writing by First Draft Pasefika Writers’ (2008), under the banner of Pacific Arts Creative New Zealand.

Faumuina’s poetry later featured in dried grass over rough-cut logs’, my own collection of 2020, published by the late PNG publisher, poet and essayist, Francis Nii.

Continue reading "Waka Poet Faumuina meets Blunt Bugger Dom" »


Can you trust a politician with high BMI?

“The Bosses of the Senate”
'The Bosses of the Senate', 1889 lithograph from the collection of the United States Senate

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - For Australians, and other people with a close interest and involvement in Papua New Guinea, there is a curious dilemma that revolves around trust.

This is the result of the rampant corruption and lawlessness that seems to permeate everything that happens in our near neighbour and good friend.

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Australia’s feeble ‘blame China’ narrative

China-v-AustraliaSOURABH GUPTA
| East Asia Forum

WASHINGTON - The Australia–China relationship has been in the deep doldrums for some time now.

Australian commentary pins the blame for the deterioration of bilateral ties on "China’s aggressive attempt to expand the domestic authoritarianism of [Chinese] President Xi Jinping into the Indo-Pacific region".

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Ignored report: Illegal logging major crime risk

Ship-waiting-to-load-logsNEWS DESK
| Act Now

PORT MORESBY – It has been revealed that a 2017 risk assessment by the Bank of Papua New Guinea found illegal logging in PNG to be a major money laundering threat but that there was a lack of will in the PNG Forest Authority to investigate and prosecute.

A money laundering and financing of terrorism risk assessment by the central bank said that illegal logging generated very large profits and also had a highly detrimental impact on the economy and natural environment.

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Sam Basil faces misconduct allegations

Sam Basil
Sam Basil leaves the tribunal accompanied by his lawyer Greg Sheppard

NEWS DESK
| PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil was suspended from leadership duties on Friday by a leadership tribunal hearing into misconduct allegations against him.

Basil, who is also commerce and industry minister, was suspended after his reference and statement of reasons were presented to the tribunal by public prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin.

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PNG offloads 30,000 vaccine shots to Vietnam

Vaccine from_papua_new_guineaNEWS DESK
| Voice of Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY – Last Friday Vietnam received 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine transferred from Papua New Guinea through the COVAX program, ostensibly to help combat Covid-19.

Nguyen Tat Thanh, Vietnam ambassador to Papua New Guinea, said the shipment was delivered to Vietnam on the basis of a government-level agreement on vaccine transfer recently signed between Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the vaccine alliance, GAVI.

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A very good morning for a Medevac

Medivac 1 aerial top
MAF Medevac - Piet and Marijke flew over some of the world's most rugged and beautiful terrain on their mercy mission

MARIJKE MUILWIJK
|MAF Telefomin

TELEFOMIN – On a Saturday in late August, I had the opportunity to join a Medevac flight with my pilot husband, Piet.

Piet was asked to Medevac a woman with a broken back and an MAF lady offered to babysit our boys so that I could join Piet on the operation. A golden opportunity.

Continue reading "A very good morning for a Medevac" »


Partnership takes aim at better governance

Peter Aitsi at the OGP workshop top
Peter Aitsi speaks at the Open Government Partnership conference

MEDIA ROOM
| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY – The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is Papua New Guinea’s biggest multi-stakeholder initiative promoting good governance and a people-focused democracy.

Last week’s OGP national good governance conference in partnership with the European Union formally opened a conversation on these important issues.

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Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer

Denis O'Brien
Digicel's Denis O'Brien - Australia's China troubles is the tycoon's get rid of debt card

BUSINESS DESK
| The Irish Times | Extract

DUBLIN - The downward spiral in relations between China and Australia in the past year has played into the hands of businessman Denis O’Brien as he looks to further reduce the debt burden of his Digicel telecoms group.

Early last year O’Brien effectively forced bondholders to write off $1.6 billion (K5.6 billion) of what they were owed.

Continue reading "Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer" »


Undelivered contracts cost PNG billions

K2.7 million hole in the ground  Sohe district near Kokoda (Post-Courier)
The K2.7 million hole in the ground near Kokoda (PNG Post-Courier)

NEWSDESK
| Asia Pacific Report

AUCKLAND - A one meter-deep hole in the ground is all there is to show of an almost K2.7 million state contract project in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province.

The project was to design and build a community health building with support facilities for Kiorata in Sohe district.

Continue reading "Undelivered contracts cost PNG billions" »


The story of Marcus, the firewood man

Paul Wii and friend
Paul Wii and friend

PAUL WII

FICTION –The boy sat there under the perum tree, dusk’s fading light casting a grey shadow across a landscape now silent.

Marcus Yalgomia cried tears of pain, misery and heartache, it was if the floodgates of the gods had been thrown open.

There was no way he could hold back the tears. And there was no one around to see him cry.

Continue reading "The story of Marcus, the firewood man" »


Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom

Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)
Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY – Not long ago in PNG Attitude, this photograph was published alongside my article, ‘Taliban had time & are not so benign’.

It shows the Kabul Weekly newspaper being compiled by hand.

The newspaper was established by an extraordinary journalist, Fahim Dashty. And this is his story.

Continue reading "Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom" »


Martin Hadlow: The broadcaster who dared

Keith Phil Martin nr Subic Bay Philippines 1986
Keith, the late Phil Charley and Martin murder a burger & shake near Subic Bay, Philippines, 1986. We were between running media management courses in Manila and Baguio City

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I really need to expound here on Martin Hadlow, who wrote the article above, a great friend of mine for nearly 50 years.

It must be a good friendship because it survived Martin taking over two radio stations from me, Radio Bougainville in 1973 and 2ARM-FM Armidale in 1977.

Martin continued to an illustrious career with Unesco and later academia – in both jurisdictions his skills in organisation and expertise in media and communications put to profoundly good use.

Continue reading "Martin Hadlow: The broadcaster who dared" »


Can the daggy dad do it all again?

Morrison
Scott 'Beefy' Morrison attacking a dog's eye (aka maggot bag or rat's coffin)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – While I fully agree with Keith Jackson's comments, The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning’, I am pessimistic that the Morrison government will be ejected from office based upon the grievous failures Keith described so eloquently.

Basically, Scott Morrison can and will exploit the apathy, ignorance, credulity and fear of far too many Australians who will vote to ensure that government remains in what he will characterise as his 'safe hands'.

Continue reading "Can the daggy dad do it all again?" »


We'll ensure a 52% share for PNG: Marape

James Marape
James Marape - “We will not come below 52% in negotiating new resource projects"

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea will never allow the PNG share of resource projects to slip below 52%, prime minister James Marape has said as the nation stands on the threshold of a new resources boom.

Mr Marape said his government was pushing for more than a 50% stake in P’nyang, Pasca, Pandora and other future LNG projects as well as the Wafi-Golpu and Porgera mining projects.

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Images of New Guinea under the Japanese

Rabaul Hanabuki Park
Hanabuki Park, Rabaul (Mashita Hiroshi)

KEITH JACKSON

Link here to the website of Japanese Naval Landing
Forces Historical Preservation Association

NOOSA – During World War II, Mashita Hiroshi served with the Imperial Japanese Navy in Rabaul, Wewak, Hollandia and other parts along the north coast of New Guinea.

With him, he carried a camera - but the photographs he took were not of war and the westward retreat of Japanese forces .

They were of the people and places he encountered along the way.

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Of matters malevolent - & a fiery stunt

CaptureBERNARD CORDEN

‘Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena’ - Wilhelm Reich

‘The most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory’ - Richard Dawkins

‘The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage’ - Mark Russell

Continue reading "Of matters malevolent - & a fiery stunt" »


The peerless, resilient Massey Ferguson

Tractor flambe
Paul Oates' Massey Ferguson after the fire

PAUL OATES

Phil Fitzpatrick recently paid tribute in these columns to the incomparable durability of the Massey Ferguson tractor.  In this piece, extracted from his memoir, ‘Phascogales and Other Tales’, former kiap Papua New Guinea kiap Paul Oates recalls his own experience with this wonderfully resilient machine. By the way, Paul's book available here from Amazon - KJ

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The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning

Inside out anger sadKEITH JACKSON

This is a revised, refined and augmented version of an earlier article in PNG Attitude. It’s far from the last word on the subject of Australia’s often wayward response to Covid, and I have no reason to think my views are particularly precious, but I need to say this, harsh as it is - KJ

NOOSA - Philip Fitzpatrick, author and provocateur, recently wrote for PNG Attitude a polemical commentary entitled, A government prepared to see its people die.

This piece drilled deeply into my own feelings about what Australia is being put through at this time of Covid.

Continue reading "The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning" »


It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid

DollarCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Commenting on Keith Jackson’s ‘The vandals who trashed our nation’ and other remarks on the Covid crisis, Andrew Brown wrote that “people in small business are going broke by the dozen, the number of empty shops in my local area is frightening”.

And he added, “That is real hardship for people losing everything they have and not having any hope.”

Continue reading "It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid" »


The saga of the mighty Fergie 135

Mf135
Not ours at Kiunga, but an old Massey Ferguson 135 put out to pasture

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It was 1969 at Kiunga on the Fly River and we were unloading MV Pipi Gari, named after Steamship Trading Company’s first Papuan skipper.

It was the dry season and the river was very low, but the skipper had been able to steer the vessel across the rock bar eight kilometres downstream and motor to the station.

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The decline of the West. What of PNG?

PNGCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Throughout history, civilisations have risen and fallen regularly. There are many reasons but the process of decay often starts within.

The first clear indicator that all is not well emerges, somewhat perversely, at the very height of the civilisation’s power and influence.

The ancient Greeks coined a term for this malady: hubris.

Continue reading "The decline of the West. What of PNG?" »


The idea of economy & a need for power

Plans
When plans turn to MASH (Illustration - John Shakespeare, Sydney Morning Herald)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Keith Jackson (‘The vandals who trashed our nation) expressed in clear terms the ugly truth of what has happened in the Australian government’s response to Covid-19.

This pandemic will not be over anytime soon. The much vaunted 70% vaccination level spruiked by Morrison, Berejiklian and others will not come close to ending it.

Continue reading "The idea of economy & a need for power" »


‘The Age’ undermines public health

The Age editor
Editor of The Age, Gay Alcorn. Jenny Hocking writes, "The Age failed even to mention that Australia is six months behind the rest of the world in (its) way out of this pandemic"

JENNY HOCKING
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations | Edited

MELBOURNE – Last Thursday, The Age newspaper published a provocative editorial, ‘Victoria cannot go on like this’, which many saw as undermining the Victorian government’s public health response to Covid.

Having done so in the middle of a pandemic, The Age should have expected, and indeed welcomed, a robust response.

Continue reading "‘The Age’ undermines public health" »


The vandals who trashed our nation

Morr Bere cartoonKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I set out to write this piece a couple of days ago, only to be confronted by Phil Fitzpatrick’s stirring polemic, ‘A government prepared to see its people die’.

This drilled deeply into my own feelings at what my country is being put through as a result of mindless political ambition. So I decided to wait a short while before launching into this.

Continue reading "The vandals who trashed our nation" »


PNG & Oz ministers mull relationship

Dragon2KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The 28th Papua New Guinea–Australia Ministerial Forum on Thursday undertook a wide-ranging if shallow canter through the major issues facing both countries.

The agenda of the virtual conference, co-chaired by foreign ministers Soroi Marepo Eoe and Senator Marise Payne, covered Covid, defence cooperation, the PNG economy, business, agriculture and other aspects of what was flashily styled as a ”dynamic partnership”.

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A government prepared to see its people die

Morrison
Scott Morrison - "pious Christian hypocrisies"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - After an initial desperate foray into Keynesian economics at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia, the federal government is under increasing pressure from big corporations to revert to business as usual.

This is despite the rapid escalation in recent weeks of the crisis created by the Delta variant.

Continue reading "A government prepared to see its people die" »


Marape to open business conference

James Marape
James Marape to brief conference on PNG government's plans for improving investment climate

MEDIA RELEASE
| Business Advantage PNG

PORT MORESBY —Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape MP will open the 2021 Business Advantage Investment Conference in Port Moresby next Tuesday.

Mr Marape will outline his government’s strategy for improving the environment for business and investment in PNG to an audience of international and local investors, financiers and senior business executives.

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Asia (& PNG) are places you fly over

Phil Williams was a highly regarded foreign correspondent for the ABC
Phil Williams was a highly regarded foreign correspondent for the ABC

BRUCE DOVER & IAN MACINTOSH
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - By ignoring Asia and the Pacific, the Australian media is contributing towards the creation of a more insular and parochial and less understanding country.

Any examination of Australia’s media these days suggests the country’s news editors have adopted an adage attributed to former prime minister Paul Keating – that Asia (or Papua New Guinea) was a place you flew over on the way to Europe – or Washington in our case.

Continue reading "Asia (& PNG) are places you fly over" »


Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge

Capture
The Indian High Commission in Port Moresby

IAN LLOYD NEUBAUER
| Al Jazeera | Edited extract

SYDNEY - The Indian high commission in Papua New Guinea has denied claims by PNG police commissioner David Manning that it helped unauthorised passengers, including four who were infected with Covid-19, to arrive in Port Moresby.

The denial came after Mr Manning last week banned all flights from India, accusing the Indian government of deliberately participating in deception that compromised PNG’s safety and security.

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Crippled: Our most trusted news source

PowerPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The first hint that everything was not well at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) came when the seven o’clock evening television news began to include reports about car crashes and house fires in its line-up.

Not long after that stories about football began to appear in the main bulletin. Suddenly the impact of Covid-19 on the sport, and where the finals would be held, seemed of significant import.

Continue reading "Crippled: Our most trusted news source" »


Adviser’s arrest spells trouble all round

CarolynBlacklock
Carolyn Blacklock - senior woman adviser engaged on an Australian government funded program finds herself in hot water

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Carolyn Blacklock, former acting managing director of PNG Power, has been arrested by a police criminal investigation team and charged with conspiracy, forgery, false pretence and misappropriation.

The forensic team had been established by police commissioner David Manning to investigate high level financial crimes.

Continue reading "Adviser’s arrest spells trouble all round" »


Those were the days (just 40 years ago)

BureaucracyPHILIP FITZPATRICK

Bureaucracy and Democracy: A Political Dilemma by Eva Etzioni-Halevy, Routledge, 278 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0415555371. Paperback, $64.71. Available from Amazon - link here

TUMBY BAY - The only textbook I ever kept from my rather eclectic university studies was Eva Etzioni-Halevy’s ‘Bureaucracy and Democracy: A Political Dilemma’.

I came across it recently while rummaging through my bookshelves for something else and decided to dip into it again.

Continue reading "Those were the days (just 40 years ago)" »