Bougainville independence by 2025, declares Toroama

Ishmael Toroama
Ishmael Toroama - “Our position on the future political status of Bougainville is clear, and that is independence”


NOOSA – In a statement that will send shock waves through Papua New Guinea, Australia and beyond, Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama yesterday declared the autonomous province must achieve independence by June 2025.

Toroama revealed the position of the Autonomous Bougainville Government on its political future at a summit with PNG prime minister James Marape that began in Kokopo yesterday.

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Slow boats, banana boats & stopped buses

MV Ialibu
MV Ialibu - a slow boat to Lae now being replaced by an even slower boat

| Sipikriva Girl | Edited

FINSCHHAFEN - I live in Finschhafen, Morobe, where the only way to reach Lae is to travel the 80 kilometers east by watercraft.

Lutheran Shipping Services has scheduled boats which pass through Finschhafen once or twice a week.

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A left wing view of the Somare legacy

Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)
Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)

| International Committee of the Fourth International | Extract

Link here to the complete article

SYDNEY - The first years of Papua New Guinea’s independence coincided with the collapse of the nationalist program of economic regulation and import substitution based on tariff protection that had been widely promoted and adopted in former colonial countries.

From the late 1970s and 1980s, governments in the so-called Third World instead sought to integrate their economies into the capitalist world market by welcoming foreign investment on exploitative terms.

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Covid is a test I believe we'll pass

Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)
Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)


Gianluca Rampolla is resident coordinator of the United Nations in Papua New Guinea and says public health communications and health system strengthening undertaken during the Covid-19 outbreak, will help to put the PNG health system on a better platform to combat future pandemics

PORT MORESBY - On Friday, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is incredible to think that in a little over a year since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, a vaccine has been developed and is now being administered in PNG.

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Life with Covid: ‘Too many rumours’

Solange Dawana (Save The Children)
Solange Dawana - "Young people can promote safe health standards by leading by example"  (Save The Children)

| Global Citizen | Edited

Global Citizen spoke with Solange Dawana, a first-year mechanical engineering student in Papua New Guinea, about how the Covid-19 pandemic had changed her and others’ lives

Global Citizen: How was 2020 for you and your family?

Solange Dawana: The past year has been one of the most challenging for my family and me and many other families.

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Why our national integrity is suffering

Mathew Damaru - the honest cop with few friends and a lot of enemies in high places

| My Land, My Country

LAE - Mathew Damaru, Director of the Police National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFAC), didn’t mince words when he told a Transparency International PNG summit last week the directorate had been starved of funding.

From an annual budget of K1.2 million a few years ago, the directorate is now getting just K350,000 for its operations.

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The annoying habits of politicians


TUMBY BAY - Politicians have many annoying habits, perhaps more than ordinary people. Where they get them is a mystery. One can only assume they learn off each other.

At the top of the list is refusing to answer simple questions. How many times have you listened to a politician on television or the radio evading a simple yes or no by waffling until the interviewer gives up?

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Moses Tekwie honours his father’s legacy

Moses Muhwannah Tekwie
Moses Tekwie - honoured his father and family by graduating from Otago University yesterday

| University of Otago | Edited

DUNEDIN - Moses Muhwannah Tekwie yesterday graduated from the University of Otago with a Master of International Business with Distinction.

But he had gone through unimaginable heartbreak when both his father and cousin-brother died only a short time before he departed from Papua New Guinea for New Zealand.

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Journalism & art at PNGAA speaker series

ABC journalists attached to the PNG National Broadcasting Commission in 1975: Sean Dorney, Bruce Bertram, Albert Asbury and Bob Lawrence (Don Hook)


NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia continues its public Speaker Series on Sunday 6 June with two guests, journalist Bob Lawrence and artist Lesley Wengembo.

The event will be held at the Hornsby RSL Club in Sydney between 11am and 3pm and you can link to the details here.

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Bride price today: abuse & exploitation

bride price
The modern bride price system, corrupted by foreign influence and culture, has made the man the centre of attention


MADANG - Bride price is a notable Melanesian tradition passed from one generation to another; it is a form of payment or dowry to the bride’s family by the groom.

Traditionally, bride price was a gesture of appreciation towards the parents and relatives of the family who had raised a woman with traditional moral values.

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Q&A: The life of a woman in PNG politics

Dame Carol Kidu (SMH)
Dame Carol Kidu - "Some PNG male politicians would say to me, 'We don’t mind you being here but we don’t want our own women here'


Edited extracts of questions from a talk by Dame Carol Kidu at the University of Papua New Guinea on 23 April. Dame Carol was an MP for 15 years (1997-2012). The current PNG parliament  (2017-2022) has no women members in its 111 seats.

Henry Murau, Student

As a female member of parliament what was the main challenge for you?

Dame Carol Kidu

As a female, the only female there, you’re kind of isolated. When you are in the NEC, the cabinet, and have a ministry, you are part of that.

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The rendering of change: there are means

Chris Overland - "The mantra of endless economic growth at all costs is deeply pernicious" (Banksy)


ADELAIDE – It is an especially fortunate state of affairs that the capacity for change lies with us as citizens given the manifest failings of our leaders, most of whom tend to fall short of our hopes and expectations.

History suggests that revolutionary change is impossible until the moment it is inevitable. There usually is a hinge point where this occurs and, right now, we seem to be at such a point.

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George Orwell, change & the future

George Orwell
George Orwell described '1984' with its dark vision of the future as a warning. “The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one. Don’t let it happen. It depends on you.”

| Edited extracts

LONDON – George Orwell’s writing was profoundly concerned with social change, the relationship between past, present and future, and what this means for the individual.

His most celebrated and revisited work Nineteen Eighty-Four presented a chilling dystopian vision of the future which still unsettles and provokes today.

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MAF’s PNG story started in tragedy

Auster & Harry Hartwig
Harry Hartwig, his Auster aircraft with the people MAF  was established to serve

| PNG Buzz

PORT MORESBY - In the early morning hours of Monday, 7 May 1951, a lone plane lifted off from Madang and set course inland.

At the controls was Harry Hartwig, a quietly spoken Australian, a veteran of World War II Liberator bomber anti-submarine operations.

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A new children’s storybook from PNG

Evari - When I grow up topCAROLINE EVARI

When I Grow Up by Caroline Evari, illustrated by Clarisa Alu. Independently published, May 2021. Paperback, 24 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8740768373. Available here from Amazon Australia $17.14 (shipped)

PORT MORESBY - My new children’s story book, ‘When I Grow Up’, has just been published and is available.

The book is a Papua New Guinean collaboration between me, artist Clarisa Alu and poet Bradley Gewa.

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Let’s talk about violence against women

Imelda Tupi (Gloria Dara)
Imelda Tupi (Gloria Dara)

| Academia Nomad | Edited

'Police have arrested a man who allegedly killed his wife, 10 years his junior. The man told police, “I killed my wife. I know I am in trouble”. Police found the body of the wife, Imelda Tupi, wrapped in blue canvas in the back of a vehicle belonging to the husband. Her father, Tupi Tiamanda, said Imelda had married a doctor' – The National

PORT MORESBY - I’m writing this from my heart… appealing to my brothers, uncles, students, male colleagues and men of Papua New Guinea to respect women, and value their lives.

I’m writing this piece after reading how a professional PNG man, a doctor, killed his wife, wrapped her in a canvas and was on his way to dump her remains when police, conducting routine checks, discovered her.

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The candidate: The Toroama story

Toroama and supporters
Ishmael Toroama and supporters. Fourth times a candidate and fourth time lucky - persistence can sometime seem like destiny

| Australian National University | Edited

CANBERRA – The new President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Ishmael Toroama, first stood for election in 2010 following the unexpected mid-2008 death of the first president, Joseph Kabui, who had been elected in mid-2005.

It was apparent that Toroama was attempting the move from his now-ended ‘military’ role into a political role, where he could support the pursuit of independence through political activities.

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Delisa & the young rape victim


FICTION - The Old Man knew only too well that people throughout Papua New Guinea desperately needed basic services like health and education.

He had done what he could through his charity for disadvantaged children, but it seemed no person could meet the problems were tearing apart urban settlements and just about every village in the country.

Continue reading "Delisa & the young rape victim" »

Wisdom needs to prevail in Alotau crisis

Armed guards at Giligili jail
Armed guards at Giligili jail in Alotau. Police have foiled two escape plots by the Tommy Baker gang and have information that a third is planned (PNG Post-Courier)

| My Land, My Country

An open letter to prime minister James Marape

Late yesterday the situation in Alotau was reported as stable but police were expecting another major assault on Giligili prison by the Tommy Baker gang to release 11 members facing charges of arson, piracy and armed robbery. Forty police have been deployed from Port Moresby to reinforce local personnel - KJ

LAE - Dear Prime Minister, I am writing this for your consideration so you might provide counsel and guidance to those in your charge.

The situation in Alotau is spiralling out of control. The trend is dangerous.

Continue reading "Wisdom needs to prevail in Alotau crisis" »

The futility of protest, and a footnote

Philip Fitzpatrick - "By all means read, listen and complain if it makes you feel good. Just don’t expect anything to change"


TUMBY BAY - You’re reasonably astute and a follower of what’s going on in your country and the rest of the world.

What you see is a horrible combination of ignorance, greed, corruption and incompetence.

What you feel is impending disaster.

Continue reading "The futility of protest, and a footnote" »

The businessman: The Toroama story

After the civil war, Panguna mine became a lucrative source of scrap metal. Ishmael Toroama organised a role for himself in the industry that ensued

| Australian National University | Edited

CANBERRA - The foundations of Ishmael Toroama’s success in a range of business activities almost certainly flowed from his lucrative involvement in an ‘industry’ that developed after the Bougainville crisis.

From about 2007–08 there was an intensive extraction of scrap metal from the ruins of the derelict Panguna copper mine that had closed in 1989.

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Women MPs? Marape has the power

Dame Carol Kidu - "Any prime minister could use the PNG constitution to bring women on to the floor of parliament if there was real commitment to have women there"

| Academia Nomad

Edited extracts of a recent talk by Dame Carol Kidu to students of the University of Papua New Guinea. Dame Carol was MP for Moresby South in the PNG parliament from 1997 to 2012. There are presently no women in PNG's 111 member parliament

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea constitution is very clear that women need to participate in all forms of political life.

If you go to section 50 of our constitution it declares firmly that there must be equal opportunity for women.

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My PhD journey, Covid notwithstanding

Angoro - Barbara Angoro
Barbara Angoro - the real pressure is on now

| Duresi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - Time sure has flown. I’ve completed two years and two months of my PhD. I still have a fair way to go but that this journey is halfway through amazes me. Seems like yesterday I was attending doctoral induction day.

The real pressure is on now – no thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns (the first very long one began in March last year and there have been short ones since, including twice early this year).

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The peacemaker: The Toroama story

Ishmael toroama portrait
Ishmael Toroama. A brave and effective fighter in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army who became recognised as a peacemaker

| Australian National University | Edited

CANBERRA – Ishmael Toroama, who was elected president of Bougainville in September 2020, is little known outside Papua New Guinea’s only autonomous province.

He was born in 1969 in Roreinang village in the rugged and remote Kongara area of central Bougainville, southeast and not far from the Panguna copper and gold mine and part of the Nasioi language and culture area.

Continue reading "The peacemaker: The Toroama story" »

Kakistocracy finds it hard to go the distance


ADELAIDE - I think that the phenomenon that Phil Fitzpatrick describes in ‘The Biggest Threat is real and was indeed epitomised by the appalling Trump and his enablers in the USA.

And, as Phil writes, that is “the global problem of politicians of dubious merit and intent, totally not worthy of election, who are nevertheless populating governments everywhere.”

Continue reading "Kakistocracy finds it hard to go the distance" »

Chan hit by official corruption allegations

Sir Julius Chan - "“They can do whatever they like. I don’t have anything to hide"

| Source: PNG Bulletin Online

PORT MORESBY - The New Ireland governor and former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Julius Chan has been referred to the Ombudsman Commission, Police Fraud Squad and other official bodies for alleged official corruption.

In a joint media release, the members of parliament for Namatanai, Walter Schnaubelt, and Kavieng, Ian Ling-Stuckey, who is also PNG finance minister, said Chan, 82, had been referred by the presidents of five local level governments in the Namatanai electorate.

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Another PNG book publisher emerges

Baiva  publisher  author and speaker
Shane Baiva - trying to get inspirational books to market

| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - Young Papua New Guinean authors like Glen Burua, Edward E Isouve, Gerard William Ivalaoa and Nigel V Sine are rising to leave a mark for this generation & generations to come.

I am excited, blessed and so humbled to see these young people doing what they love doing – writing and getting published.

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Death of another PNG independence great

Sir jerry nalau
Sir Jerry Nalau was part the small group that accelerated PNG independence and provided the political skills the country required


NOOSA - Sir Jerry Kasip Nalau has died in Lae aged 83 just two months after the death of his great friend and Bully Beef Club comrade, Sir Michael Somare.

Nalau and Somare met while attending Dregerhafen High School in Finschhafen in the early 1950s. Somare was in the year ahead of him.

The friendship they forged eventually brought them together again in an important moment in Papua New Guinea’s journey to independence.

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The biggest threat: leaders there for themselves


TUMBY BAY - An interesting phenomenon has been developing in politics over recent decades which seems to have accelerated in the last ten years or so.

It’s the global problem of politicians of dubious merit and intent, totally not worthy of election, who are nevertheless populating governments everywhere.

Continue reading "The biggest threat: leaders there for themselves" »

Into the backblocks with the sorcerers

| New English Review | Edited extract

Link here to read more of Bill Corden’s writing

VANCOUVER – It’s 1993. My older brother, Ron, had ended up in a remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

He was the manager of a town called Goroka. How he got there is a story that would take too long to tell, but suffice to say he's completely immersed in the culture.

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A record explained, or rationalised?

Julius Chan brought in the mercenaries, devalued the kina and hated the Ombudsman Commission

| Academia Nomad

Sir Julius Chan: Playing the Game: Life and Politics in Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY – As MP for Namatanai, Julius Chan was one of the founding fathers of Papua New Guinea, twice serving as prime minister (1980– 82 and 1994-97) and currently governor of New Ireland Province.

Unlike Michael Somare in ‘Sana’, who focused much on the principles and traditions that underpinned his statesmanship, ‘Playing the Game’ admits from the outset that it is a book about politics.

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After the gold rush, the funerals


‘Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armour coming sayin’ something about a Queen / Look at mother nature on the run in the 1970s’ - Neil Young, from After the Gold Rush

BRISBANE - Rio Tinto’s recent destruction of the Juukan Gorge indigenous rock shelters in the Pilbara region of Western Australia attracted extensive media attention and resulted in a federal senate inquiry.

It also led to several resignations of senior executives, humiliated but richly rewarded with golden handshakes.

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The long tradition of orators & wordsmiths

Road opening  Jimi  1970 (Tom Webster)
The Jimi people gather for a road opening in 1970. There will be many speeches. They will be long (Tom Webster)


TUMBY BAY - Older Papua New Guineans will recall the role of oratory or speech-making by clan and tribal leaders.

Many kiaps and other field staff will also remember those times when hundreds of people gathered to hear the words of these important people, not least because they were expected to take part and contribute.

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Indonesia is turning Papuans into terrorists

West Papua armed group
West Papua armed group -Indonesia now labelling freedom fighters as 'terrorists'


CANBERRA - The Indonesian government has officially labelled the OPM (Free Papua Movement) and the TPNPB (West Papua National Liberation Army) as terrorist groups.

This came at the height of a string of shootings and murders  in Papua's highlands in recent months that last week led to the killing of senior Indonesian intelligence officer, General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha.

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Let’s change our election culture

Jackson Kiakari - "Don’t vote for your wantok and expect our economy to be healthy. Elections concern our national welfare, not your haus lain agenda"


The Port Moresby North-West by-election – for the late Sir Mekere Morauta’s former seat – will be fought out between 39 candidates on Wednesday 2 June. In Papua New Guinea terms, it is an unusual electorate: 75% of the population is literate; people from all 22 provinces live there; and it covers most of the important government institutions in PNG, including parliament. Of course, PNG Attitude has no preferred candidate but I did find that this thoughtful article nailed one of the most critical problems in PNG politics and governance- KJ

PORT MORESBY - I am not against any candidate in this by-election or any future election. I’m not against any particular individual or group.

But I am against our election culture. The culture of buying votes and enticing support through materialism.

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Reading eclectically is good for the mind


SONOMA - Reading eclectically is to read books from diverse sources of knowledge - reading a bit of something from everything.

An eclectic reader reads some philosophy, some law, some accounting, and takes a dive into politics, economics, religion, poetry, computer science, political theory, rocket propulsion…. Yes, rocket propulsion.

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Sana: The making of a great man

Academia Nomad | Edited

Michael Somare: Sana, An Autobiography

PORT MORESBY - Sana was first published in 1975, the year of Papua New Guinea’s independence. It traces Sir Michael Somare life from childhood to politics and his leading PNG to nationhood.

Sana (peacemaker) is a metaphor for a life lived both in upholding and fulfilling traditional obligations and enabling the transformation to modernity.

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Can ATS repel the Chinese challenge?

The bulldozers move in on ATS. Marape says he wants them out - but is he being truthful?


NOOSA – I thought this was going to be a good news story, but now I'm  not too sure.

Late last week, Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape seemed to move with lightning speed  to stop a developer evicting residents and destroying homes at Port Moresby’s ATS settlement.

However, just as I was putting the story to bed last night, I got some disconcerting news. But first some background.

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