The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme

AABUL RIZVI
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

Exploitation and abuse of Pacific Islands workers will be turbocharged as their numbers are being ramped up

CANBERRA - One of the symptoms of exploitation in the Pacific Access Labour Migration Scheme (PALMS) is the number of workers who abscond from their employer and apply for asylum.

Since late 2019, over 3,500 people from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste have applied for asylum.

The nations from which these workers come has shifted from mainly Fiji in 2019-20 to Vanuatu and Timor in most of 2021.

In more recent months, the Solomon Islands has provided a larger share.

The numbers from Tonga have remained relatively stable at around 30-40 per month. By comparison, few are from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The success rate of the asylum applications has been very low.

In 2022 (until the end of April) there were 22 successful applicants from PNG, one from Solomon Islands, two from Fiji, one or two from Samoa and one or two from Tonga.

Most applicants, other than those from PNG, would know they have little chance of success.

The ones who are successful from PNG are unlikely to be on a PALMS visa and more likely involved in politics in PNG.

But by lodging an asylum application, the workers are provided a bridging visa with which they can also apply for work rights.

That maintains their lawful status in Australia at least until their primary asylum application is decided which can take a year or more.

A further application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can secure another bridging visa. The backlog is so large (over 36,000 at the end of April), it may take another year or two to process.

Abul Rivzi
Dr Abul Rivzi - "Unsuccessful asylum seekers total about 66,000 at present and are at great risk of exploitation as they have no work rights, social support or Medicare

Because few PALM Scheme workers arrived in Australia during the pandemic, asylum applications from Pacific citizens declined to around 60-80 a month in 2021. In 2022 so far, this has increased to 100-150 a month.

Neither the Department of Home Affairs nor the Tribunal have the resources to cope with the current massive asylum backlogs let alone dealing with a further surge.

Both of Australia’s major parties have committed to significantly boost PALMS visa numbers to supply farm labour and meat workers.

The number of people in Australia on PALMS visas are from Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor, Tuvalu and Vanuatu and their numbers increased from 5,550 at the end of June 2020 to 16,330 at the end of March 2022.

Without action, the exploitation and abuse of PALMS workers will be turbocharged as their number is ramped up.

But what happens if asylum applications are refused? The answer is very little. The Australian Border Force simply does not have the resources.

In most months, around 10-15 unsuccessful asylum seekers are removed voluntarily but only one or two unsuccessful asylum seekers are removed involuntarily.

On average, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal makes around 500 decisions a month with around 90% of applications being refused.

The unsuccessful asylum seekers who remain in the Australian community (totalling about 66,000 at present) are at even greater risk of exploitation as they have no work rights, social support or Medicare.

Yet the government has no plans to address this. Not surprisingly, difficult problems just get pushed aside.

Dr Abul Rizvi was deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration until 2007. He was awarded the Public Service Medal and the Centenary Medal for services to developing and implementing immigration policy


Addressing the silence of Period Poverty

Manove - Marawaka airstrip
Unloading a plane at the remote Marawaka airstrip

PRISILLA MANOVE

The silent crisis facing women and girls in rural Papua New Guinea

GOROKA - Last year in May, from Queens Pads PNG here in Goroka, I picked up a large box covered in black tape. The contents of this box were 300 reusable sanitary pads.

Reusable sanitary pads are a big step up from the disposable one-time use sanitary pads currently dominating what is termed the feminine hygiene market.

Continue reading "Addressing the silence of Period Poverty" »


Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?

A MPs wait to receive a foreign leader. How many are corrupt
Members of Parliament wait to greet a foreign leader. How many are corrupt?

MICHAEL KABUNI
|Academia Nomad

It’s not just a few people doing the wrong thing. It’s most people doing the wrong thing

WAIGANI - The average turnover of Papua New Guinea’s elected politicians is 50%; at each national election about half of the incumbents lose their seats. 

This is one of the highest rates in the world and has been the case without exception since the first post-independence election in 1977.

Continue reading "Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?" »


China v the West in great PNG electricity war

ElecRYAN MURDOCK
| Harvard International Review | Extracts

Compared with China, the West’s contributions to electrification are less tangible and far less financially robust

CAMBRIDGE MA USA - Amidst global discussion of the increasingly competitive dynamic emerging between China and the United States, Papua New Guinea represents a potential battlefield.

As the country works to establish a functional electricity network, Chinese and Western-allied involvement in the process has presented a point of competition.

Continue reading "China v the West in great PNG electricity war" »


Goods out, money in: developing rural PNG

Charteris - boys in canoeSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

Rethinking how primary healthcare services are funded & delivered in rural PNG

CAIRNS – It was nearing dusk when we happened upon the two boys.

Relieved though I was to have found human habitation, I couldn't help observing that a shirtless boy at the front of the canoe likely had tuberculosis.

Continue reading "Goods out, money in: developing rural PNG" »


Ethnic pressures versus white democracies

A white-australiaCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - While Phil Fitzpatrick's hypothesis in Dividing Not Blending: Multiculturalism in Oz, is broadly correct, I think it is wrong to say categorically that Australia is an unsuccessful multicultural society.

It would be more accurate to describe multiculturalism in Australia as emerging or evolving, presenting a society in which many of the institutional structures and arrangements have yet to adapt to emerging social and ethnographic realities.

Continue reading "Ethnic pressures versus white democracies" »


Basil: distrusted in life; praised at ‘belsori'

A
Sam Basil. The 'belsori' vote following his death increases the prospects of ULP candidates winning seats.

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI – Many tributes have been written about the late deputy prime minister Sam Basil MP, who died last week after a motor vehicle accident.

In this article, I will write about the impact of Basil’s death on the political party he formed in 2020 - the United Labour Party (ULP) - and its situation leading into the 2022 elections before the tragic accident that took his life.

Continue reading "Basil: distrusted in life; praised at ‘belsori'" »


Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz

Capture
Google 'typical Aussies' and this is what you get - a representation of the Anglo-Celtic constituency

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia certainly has a multicultural society with a wide range of different cultural and ethnic groups among its population – 278 in all.

However Australia has an unsuccessful multicultural society mainly because of the power imbalance between 277 of those groups and the old Anglo-Celtic establishment.

Continue reading "Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz" »


Pacific TB rates continue to climb

regional TB
A regional tuberculosis treatment centre in PNG (World Vision)

STEVEN TRASK
| SBS News

PNG has already seen the emergence and spread of highly-drug resistant TB strains

SYDNEY - While all eyes are on the Covid-19 crisis, one of the world's deadliest diseases continues to haunt the Pacific.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a highly-contagious airborne bacterial infection that attacks the lungs.

Continue reading "Pacific TB rates continue to climb" »


Anti-China racism as war talk stirs Oz

A Suspicion towards Chinese people has grown since the virus emerged (AFP)
Suspicion towards Chinese people has grown since the virus emerged in Wuhan (AFP)

SU-LIN TAN
| South China Morning Post

It's easy for some politicians to deny racism in Australia when they are not members of  targeted ethnic groups

SYDNEY – Another war is tearing through Australia’s civil society: a war of discrimination, racism and suspicion.

For three consecutive years, Australian politicians have commemorated Anzac Day, a time of remembrance of its war dead, with war-cries.

Continue reading "Anti-China racism as war talk stirs Oz" »


The day I met Daniel Kumbon

A
Daniel Kumbon with me and the beautiful staff member inside the Ribito Restaurant in Waigani

RICHARD NAPAM
| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - As he entered the Ribito Restaurant in Waigani, I recognised him instantly.

He had his bilum Enga hat and his long beard which I had seen on the cover of his books and in pictures.

Daniel and his friend placed their lunch orders and chatted away two tables from me.

Continue reading "The day I met Daniel Kumbon" »


‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie

A
Scott Morrison - political abuser reaches the bargaining stage of grief

NICK FEIK
| Editor | The Monthly

MELBOURNE - On Friday, prime minister Scott Morrison came as close as he’ll ever come to conceding that most people don’t like him.

He also said that “there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things”.

Continue reading "‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie" »


MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay

A Llew-OBrienKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The south-east coastal Queensland seat of Wide Bay comes up for grabs again next Saturday when Australia holds its federal election.

Given the wobbly state of my health, a couple of days ago I cast a postal vote at the very desk where I sit writing this. So I'm in for getting rid of the Morrison government.

Continue reading "MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay" »


Lydia's story: Surviving the pain of abuse

Gah is a Nakani woman from West New Britain
Lydia Gah is a Nakani woman from West New Britain

BRENDAN MOUNTER
| ABC Far North

Following her divorce, Lydia pursued her education and went on to become a counsellor and social worker

TOWNSVILLE – Born prematurely in a remote village in New Britain, Lydia Gah learnt to survive from her very first breath.

But it’s her story as the survivor of a 12-year abusive marriage that she’s determined to share with the world.

Continue reading "Lydia's story: Surviving the pain of abuse" »


Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s

Dorah Misirit  from Tufi
Dorah Misirit from Tufi in Oro shows the tapa face tattoos she got as a nine-year old (Godfree Kaptigau)

LEANNE JORARI
| Ples Singsing | The Guardian

“I remember the pain when my mother used the siporo thorn to tattoo my face”

PORT MORESBY - Tapa, a tattooed fabric, has been worn in Papua New Guinea for centuries but there are concerns it has been commercialised.

When Papua New Guinean fashion designer Yaku Ninich wanted to use tapa designs in her work that were inspired by those of her grandmother, she first had to ask her mother for permission.

Continue reading "Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s" »


Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors

Frank Jordan
Frank Jordan - "To invite New Zealanders to work in Australia but exclude Papua New Guineans shows a deep lack of respect"

FRANK JORDAN
| Reason Australia Party

Reason supports giving Papua New Guinea citizens the same rights to live and work in Australia as New Zealand citizens and offering them legislative protections for fair and safe working conditions

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is a nation of nine million people just 10 kilometres north of Australia.

Most Australians will have met someone from New Zealand which has a population two thirds that of PNG. How many can say they have met someone from PNG.

Continue reading "Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors" »


Australia must back PNG’s bid for an NRL team

Stanley Tepend
Stanley Tepend was today appointed coach of the PNG Kumuls rugby league team replacing long-time coach Michael Marum

STEPHEN BRANCATISANO
| Sydney Morning Herald

SYDNEY - In late March, the details of a security deal between the Solomon Islands and China were leaked, sending shockwaves through the Pacific region.

A month later, the Papua New Guinea government launched a bid to enter a team in the Australian national rugby league.

Continue reading "Australia must back PNG’s bid for an NRL team" »


PNG’s national election: Not so secure

Voting-in-2017 (Commonwealth-Secretariat)
Voting at the 2017  national election (Commonwealth Secretariat)

OKOLE MIDELIT
| DevPolicy Blog

WAIGANI - Papua New Guinea’s elections are often dangerous affairs.

In the past, elections have been accompanied by spikes in violence between rival groups, resulting in injury and death. In some areas fraud is rife, and voters face significant intimidation.

Continue reading "PNG’s national election: Not so secure" »


A most desperate need for good leadership

Democracy-problemsSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - In Abraham Lincoln’s time, messaging was limited to horse and rider and, as electronics became better understood, the telegraph.

News slowly developed as a commodity but, back then, it was largely confined to industrialised countries.

An event of significance happening in mid-19th century India might have appeared as a footnote in the London Times many weeks after the event.

Continue reading "A most desperate need for good leadership" »


Lies have power in age of political fiction

A FrankBruni
Frank Bruni

FRANK BRUNI
| The New York Times

DURHAM, USA - Imelda Marcos’s sandals lived better than I did. I just discovered that.

I was reacquainting myself with that whole sordid history — with the unfathomable extravagance that she and her dictator husband, Ferdinand, indulged in before they were run out of the Philippines in 1986 — and found an article on Medium that said that her hundreds upon hundreds of shoes occupied a closet of 1,500 square feet.

Continue reading "Lies have power in age of political fiction" »


Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?

A Democracy in Crisis (Kal  Freedom House)
Democracy & Human Rights in Crisis (Kal,  Freedom House)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – There has developed the most depressing reality that people can be seduced by falsehoods once they opt to suspend disbelief and accept as true that which has been fabricated.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln famously said, ““You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Continue reading "Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?" »


Many promises, but failure to curb log exports

A Log carrierNEWS DESK
| Act Now

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s tropical rainforests have enormous importance locally and internationally, but are under threat from a variety of sources including commercial logging.

The government has committed to drastically reduce the rate of commercial logging.

It has also committed to increase ‘downstream processing’ to increase financial returns by ending the export of unprocessed round logs by 2025.

Continue reading "Many promises, but failure to curb log exports" »


Bougainville to revive tourism after Covid

Bville siwai topNEWS DESK
| New Dawn FM

BUKA – Bougainville vice-president and commerce minister, Patrick Nisira, has said the number of tourists visiting the province has declined because of the continuing Covid pandemic.

He said most present visitors to Bougainville are business people whose work is connected to the development of the province.

Continue reading "Bougainville to revive tourism after Covid" »


Ex-kiap author shortlisted for UK award

A pic
Anthony (Tony) English - ex-kiap is “erudite in his exploration of unusually difficult issues and ideas"

KEITH JACKSON

Death of a Coast Watcher by Anthony English, Monsoon Books, Burrough on the Hill Leics UK, 2020, 479 pages. Kindle $9.56, paperback $22.75 from Amazon Books

NOOSA – A psychological thriller with a strong connection to wartime events in Papua New Guinea has been shortlisted by the London-based Society of Authors for an award for a first novel by a writer aged over 60.

Death of a Coast Watcher, by Australian author Anthony English, reviewed early last year in PNG Attitude, has made it to the top niche of entries for this year’s Paul Torday Memorial Prize which will be announced on 1 June.

Continue reading "Ex-kiap author shortlisted for UK award" »


Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes

A bongbong
Philippines new president Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr was an indulged youth whose excesses came at the expense of the ordinary people of the Philippines who suffered under his father's ruthless rule

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY, QLD -The result of this week's presidential election in the Philippines are a reminder of the adage that ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

With the son of the former dictator and looter of the nation’s resources, Ferdinand Marcos Sr, winning the presidency in a landslide this week, the wheel of history turns and brings to mind the worst excesses of the past.

Continue reading "Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes" »


Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour

A Port Moresby  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company  London)
Port Moresby,  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company London)

CHRIS WARRILLOW

MELBOURNE - Names often change with time but, after nearly 50 years of independence and 150 years after the arrival of Captain John Moresby, the name of Papua New Guinea’s remains Port Moresby.

Prior the arrival of the first British sailors in 1873, and still today, the traditional inhabitants lived in a few small villages on the harbour shores with many houses built over its waters.

Continue reading "Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour" »


Sea border closed between Qld & PNG

Border
Coastline near Papua New Guinea - Indonesia border (Johnny Blades, RNZ)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Border crossing arrangements between Papua New Guinea and Queensland through the Torres Strait have been suspended.

PNG's police commissioner and National Pandemic Response controller, David Manning, has declared the new measure under the National Pandemic Act.

Continue reading "Sea border closed between Qld & PNG" »


Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws

Scott Morrison (Mick Tsikas  AAP)
Scott Morrison's government has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for legal requirements and ethical norms (Mick Tsikas, AAP)

MICHAEL KEATING
| Pearls & Irritations

The establishment of an anti-corruption body has been long promised in both Papua New Guinea and Australia, but has never happened. Voters understandably explain this reluctance as an attempt to avoid scrutiny of how public money is spent and of other crucial decisions – KJ

CANBERRA - There is a legislated process prescribing how government grants should be administered, but it clearly is not being followed and we need an integrity commission to enforce it.

An important issue for many voters in the current federal election – particularly the 'Teal Independents' – is government integrity and the need to establish a national integrity commission with teeth.

Continue reading "Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws" »


Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries

Benjamin Raue
Benjamin Raue - "PNG may want to take a page out of Australia’s book and reduce the power of parliament over redistribution"

BENJAMIN RAUE
| Asia & The Pacific Policy Society

Open electorates should cover similar numbers of people but this is not the case in practice

SYDNEY – Next month, voters in the Pacific’s largest country, Papua New Guinea, will be going to the polls to have their say on who should run their country.

In addition to voting for the country’s 22 provincial governors, Papua New Guineans will also be voting for 96 members representing ‘open’ electorates, which cover the whole country.

Continue reading "Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries" »


The huge damage of political managerialism

A managerialism topCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Right now, we have a complete overload of dumbness to contend with around the world.

Let me give an example from a field I know something about - hospitals and aged care.

In these health industry sectors, there are some functions that can be effectively outsourced but they are substantially fewer than you might assume.

Continue reading "The huge damage of political managerialism" »


China, Solomons & the Oz diplomatic omnishambles

Illustration - David Rowe
Illustration - David Rowe (AFR)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.”

An epigram usually attributed to Albert Einstein, although there’s no evidence he said it except that it is typical of the great man’s witticisms.

Last night Marise Payne met with Solomon Islands foreign minister Jeremiah Manele in Brisbane to discuss The Most Recent China Problem. Einstein would have understood.

Continue reading "China, Solomons & the Oz diplomatic omnishambles" »


Fired journos fight back with online service

A topKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The eminent journalist Scott Waide has accused the disgraced EMTV network of failing to provide a proper news service to Papua New Guinea after it sacked its entire news team in February.

The journalists had taken a stand against politically-inspired censorship triggered by coverage of the fraudulent misdeeds of a well-connected government crony.

Continue reading "Fired journos fight back with online service" »


When the Treasurer visited Noosa

ben ian keith ingrid stella paul
Ben Jackson, Ian Ling-Stuckey, Keith Jackson, Ingrid Jackson, Stella Paulus & Paul Flanagan - a pleasant afternoon in Noosa

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – My health is so capricious these days I knock back pretty much every request I get to do anything.

It’s like Nature said to me: 'Now it’s settlement time for never knocking back an invite'. It’s a long invoice.

On the rare occasions I accept, I make sure the timing is targeted precisely in a zone when I’m most likely to be alert enough to listen, understand and speak. ME/CFS can reduce a man to surly haplessness.

Continue reading "When the Treasurer visited Noosa" »


Never in PNG: Noosa's pignorant decision

A Daphne Clarkson and Lenny the pig
Daphne Clarkson and Lenny the blind pig

MEG BOLTON & JESSICA LAMB
| ABC Sunshine Coast

MAROOCHYDORE, QLD - Cooroy woman Daphne Clarkson has been given one more week to find a new home for her emotional support companion pig, Lenny.

Ms Clarkson, who has anxiety and a sensory processing disorder, said she did not know how she would cope without her companion animal.

"Being without him isn't really an option, to be truthful," Ms Clarkson said.

Continue reading "Never in PNG: Noosa's pignorant decision" »


A 50-year old tape takes me back

Dial of a Hallicrafters SX-99
Dial of a Hallicrafters SX-99 shortwave radio receiver

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It had dropped into my Twitter feed via @Laselki, the account of the Lebanon-based Arab Amateur Radio Network, and @Stret_Pasin, a valued supporter and one of my 8,700 Twitter followers.

It had originated in Ontario, Canada, from the historic village of Ancaster close by the US border and Niagara Falls.

It was a fleeting recording of a shortwave broadcast.

Continue reading "A 50-year old tape takes me back" »


Pacific water supply is in big trouble

Children drinking (Joseph Hing)
Image by Joseph Hing

ELEISHA FOON
| Radio New Zealand | Extract

More than two million people in Papua New Guinea have no access to clean drinking water

AUCKLAND - There's concern that addressing water and sanitation challenges in the Pacific has become an afterthought for regional politicians and international leaders.

The Pacific Community (SPC), which provides scientific and technical expertise to the island nations on issues like water and climate change, is reporting a decline in water hygiene initiatives in the region.

Continue reading "Pacific water supply is in big trouble" »


If mainstream media fails, social media saves

A Dr Shailendra Singh - There were appalling examples of disinformation in the 2018 elections. However  social media can be empowering and liberating (Dialogue Fiji)
Dr Shailendra Singh - "Social media can be empowering and liberating" (Dialogue Fiji)

SHAILENDRA SINGH
| Asia Pacific Review | Edited

SUVA - Social media is a mixed bag, with both democratic and undemocratic tendencies. But then few things in life are perfect.

And in that regard social media poses a major dilemma. Not just in Fiji, but many countries that are grappling with how best to tackle it.

This includes even developed countries like Australia.

Continue reading "If mainstream media fails, social media saves" »


Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace

Anzac - dawn service rabaul
The RSL Cenotaph, a clear sky and a calm morning provided the perfect setting for this year's Anzac Day dawn service in Rabaul 

SUSIE McGRADE

RABAUL – In a year that marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Rabaul, more than 80 people attended Rabaul’s Anzac Day dawn service this year, which was hosted by the Rabaul Historical Society at the RSL Cenotaph.

The battle saw a small Australian overwhelmed by Japanese forces in late 1942 and it became the as the main Japanese naval base for the Solomon Islands and New Guinea campaigns.

Continue reading "Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace" »


The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam

A my-aged-care Simon Kneebone
Illustration by Simon Kneebone

GARRY LUHRS

“I always like to firm up vinaigrettes with some facts” – Garry Luhrs

The email came with a tantalising opener, “Hi Keith - I would like this scandal to be advertised far and wide.” In my business, it doesn’t come more pulse-racing than that. The missive came from former kiap and forever humourist Garry Luhrs, but it had a serious message. “This misappropriation of aged care funds is right across the board. Every provider appears to have front trotters and snouts in the trough. They seem to be creaming up to 70% of the funds as administrative expenses. This requires a Royal Commission. Any assistance that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.” So folks, if after reading Garry’s revelations you find you’ve had a similar experience, just drop him an email or a note in the Comments section and make sure Garry adds your case to the growing list - KJ

WUNDOWIE, WA - Greetings and salutations, survivors of the great PNG experiment who are still on the perch!

Lend me your eyes and ears. I am in search of volunteers who would like to be recruited to accompany me on my last patrol.

Like Don Quixote I have picked up my drooping old lance and am setting out on this last epic patrol to tilt once more at the windmills of an uncaring bureaucracy.

Continue reading "The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam" »


My jobs scheme for Moresby has liftoff

Kanene mob
The Kanene mob - Joseph (centre back) is a whizz at developing useful apps and has put one into action to help create jobs for Port Moresby youth

JOSEPH KANENE

“We've 87 youths registered and expect 250 to join by the end of this week” – Joseph hopes his jobs scheme will promote an app to track illegal logging

PORT MORESBY - One beautiful rainy day, somewhere in the National Capital District of the largest island in the Pacific, I was having a cigarette under the cover of my car garage.

I was severely stressed out because a geographic information system I had designed and built to track illegal logging operations in Papua New Guinea was gaining no support.

Continue reading "My jobs scheme for Moresby has liftoff" »


Labor’s 7 point plan for the Pacific

ABC shortwave radio aerial system
The ABC's shortwave radio service was shut down by the Morrison government, enabling China to grab the frequencies. If elected, the Labor Party says it will fund a project to rescue this trashed capability

DANIEL HURST
| The Guardian | Extract

SYDNEY - Labor has vowed to increase foreign aid to Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste by $525 million over four years, as it makes an election pledge to ‘restore Australia’s place as first partner of choice for our Pacific family’.

The opposition is also vowing to reform Pacific worker schemes, ramp up patrols to fight illegal fishing, boost regional broadcasting, and ‘listen and act on Pacific island warnings of the existential threat of climate change’.

Continue reading "Labor’s 7 point plan for the Pacific" »


A look at Jason Clare – Labor’s coming man

Clare
Jason Clare in full flight

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA –  Jason Clare, the Labor Party member for Paul Keating’s former seat of Blaxland in Sydney’s west, has leaped to national prominence in Australia after stellar performances as party spokesman in the current election campaign.

Or that's how it may appear. But Clare became a minister  early in his political career, was mooted as a potential prime minister in 2013, and since then has occupied a firm position as both a shadow minister and a senior member of Labor’s shadow cabinet.

Continue reading "A look at Jason Clare – Labor’s coming man" »


Prime ministerial incumbency bias in PNG

Bias - Peter O'Neill speaking at ANU in 2010 (Development Policy Centre-Flickr)
Peter O'Neill speaking at ANU in 2010 (Development Policy Centre-Flickr)

MICHAEL KABUNI & STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Central to the selection of the prime minister in Papua New Guinea following a general election is Section 63 of PNG’s Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC), which was passed in 2001 (and then amended in 2003).

Section 63 requires that the Governor-General invites the party with the highest number of MPs following a general election to form the government.

Continue reading "Prime ministerial incumbency bias in PNG" »


Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up

dads army dionne gain
'Dad's Army' (Dionne Gain, Sydney Morning Herald)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In Australia the issue was characterised incorrectly by the media as an ‘agreement to allow Chinese armed forces to protect Solomons infrastructure, less than 2,000 kilometres off Australia’s east coast’.

This was a significant overstatement. Under most definitions, the role of police is hardly considered to be ‘armed forces protecting infrastructure’.

But, you know, journalisms.

Continue reading "Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up" »


Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend

A nam bish
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015,  before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister

MARTYN NAMORONG

"You were once our coloniser. You created institutions. All on our behalf. And yours too, let's be honest" - Martyn Namorong

In 2015, under the auspices of PNG Attitude (and, of course, our generous readers), the young Martyn Namorong – one of the most perceptive critics Papua New Guinea has produced - made his first visit to Australia.

Continue reading "Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend" »


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

A Immigration at Jackson Airport -
Immigration at Jackson Airport - "long lines of miners queueing ready to extract resources from the ground"

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose' (the more things change, the more they stay the same) - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1808–1890, French novelist and editor

CAIRNS - Clearly very little has changed since Martyn Namorong’s first visit to Australia in 2015.

When Martyn penned this, Papua New Guinea’s population was around seven million. In the 10 years since, it has increased by two million - a phenomenal rate of growth.

Continue reading "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" »


The writers who are forever more to write

A booksPHILIP FITZPATRICK

“I write a lot & always have plenty of ideas, drafts, storylines, even planned sequels.... I’ll be writing for evermore in the future, if I can find time” – Baka Barakove Bina

In 2015, when Baka Bina published his novel, ‘Man of Calibre’, Phil Fitzpatrick described it as “an instant classic” and “a landmark novel”. And this week Bina repaid Fitzpatrick’s prescience by becoming the first Papua New Guinean to make the shortlist of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story, ‘What must have happened to Ma?

Continue reading "The writers who are forever more to write" »


Home & away: fragments from an old photo

Turner scan0017
John J Murphy - district commissioner, war hero falsely accused, lexicographer and author

WARREN ‘WAZZA’ TURNER

PORT MACQUARIE, NSW - I was far from a star player when I ran out for Kone Tigers in the early sixties. I really just made up the numbers, so I don’t deserve a star billing.

When the Papua versus New Guinea rugby league teams were selected, I thought I might be an outside chance of maybe making the seconds.

Continue reading "Home & away: fragments from an old photo" »