Political strife stalls Bougainville talks

Marape Toroama
PNG prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama


NOOSA – Despite Papua New Guinea’s failure to convene a Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting last week Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has accepted reassurances from prime minister James Marape of his continuing support for the Bougainville peace process and post-referendum consultations.

JSB is the superior assembly established to facilitate effective policy-making and communications between the autonomous region of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, its importance heightened by last year’s overwhelming pro-independence referendum vote in Bougainville.

Continue reading "Political strife stalls Bougainville talks" »

Attenborough’s grim vision of our future

David Attenborough  Papua New Guinea  1971
David Attenborough in Papua New Guinea, 1971


CLEVELAND, QLD - David Attenborough’s latest book ‘A Life on Our Planet’ sounds an ominous warning of what will happen in the future of Planet Earth based on what has happened in the recent past.

Attenborough suggests that the Holocene period that started with the end of the last Ice Age may well now be over.

Continue reading "Attenborough’s grim vision of our future" »

Our soldiers need uniforms, food & more

PNG's shaggy soldiers - and it's all the fault of the politicians

| My Land, My Country

LAE - I write this on behalf of the many soldiers who can’t openly discuss the problems they face in the field as members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

I also write this as a Papua New Guinean who holds the PNGDF in high regard despite the many problems it faces.

Continue reading "Our soldiers need uniforms, food & more" »

Powerful debut from an accomplished poet

Thyatira Kaupa
Thyatira Kaupa - a first rate debut collection of poetry


‘Listen’ by Thyatira Kaupa, Hibiscus Three, 2020, 82 pages. ISBN B08KBGMG77, e-book, AU$5 from Amazon Australia

TUMBY BAY - One of the disconcerting elements of Papua New Guinea literature is that there is generally no fanfare when a new book appears.

Interested readers have no source to check out what’s on offer. At best, publicity and reviews of new works are confined to social media and require some diligence to locate.

Continue reading "Powerful debut from an accomplished poet" »

‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest

| Ples Singsing

“Literature provides growth and strengthens people’s minds giving them the ability to think outside the box” - Daniel Kumbon

LAE - At times when I need to think deeply about something that is important to me, it is with profound gratitude that I find the wisdom I need from others.

From those who are with me or who have gone before me and left their mark in the world through their writing.

Continue reading "‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest" »

Why I took the ABG to court


PORT MORESBY - In his judgement on Monday, Justice Nicholas Miviri of the national court held that my termination as chief secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) failed to adhere to the process prescribed in the Bougainville Constitution.

In doing so, His Honour provided a damning assessment of the actions of the defendant, in this case the Bougainville Executive Council, in failing to abide by the very laws they were elected to uphold.

Continue reading "Why I took the ABG to court" »

A remarkable journo calls it a day

Mungo MacCallum  1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mungo MacCallum, 1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)


NOOSA - Under the headline ‘That’s all she wrote’, one of my favourite journalists, Mungo MacCallum, announced today his inability to keep writing for the press. Very sad news.

“I never thought I’d say it,” Mungo wrote, “but I can no longer go on working. It takes all my effort to breathe and I’m not managing that too well. And now my mind is getting wobbly – hard to think, let alone concentrate.

Continue reading "A remarkable journo calls it a day" »

In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender

Rumginae arrival
Rumginae's twin arrival


RUGHAZ, WESTERN PROVINCE – Yesterday was my day off from Rumginae rural hospital but I had determined not to sleep in, which is my norm.

I had administrative issues to attend to with my resident Dr Polycarp. That being the case we planned to get the ward work done early and then travel to Kiunga to attend to these.

Continue reading "In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender" »

Realising the promise of the swamps

Anthony Uechtritz and Augustine Mano, managing director of the Mineral Resources Development Corporation


CAIRNS - I've read the book, ‘Too Close to Ignore: Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia, by Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb, and while I agree with its general drift I can't help thinking that the authors are being a little optimistic with their possible solutions.

I worked in the neighbouring Gulf Province in 2015-16. My younger brother Anthony has worked in Gulf (upper Purari) for nine years.

Continue reading "Realising the promise of the swamps" »

When the last old kiap dies….

Harry West OAM
Exploring the high hills in the early 1950s. The late Harry West OAM,  war veteran and kiap


They're all old now, their hair turned white as the years went rolling by,
And with every year that passes now, we see more kiaps die.
Their children scattered far and wide, grand-children further still,
And who will care when the last kiap dies, whose memory will he fill?

Continue reading "When the last old kiap dies…." »

Namah case a 'waste of money & court time'

Kramer - waste of money
Opposition leader Belden Namah - lost a bid to overturn James Marape's prime ministership

| The Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY – Last Friday, a bench of five judges of Papua New Guinea’s supreme court handed down a unanimous decision dismissing opposition leader Belden Namah’s challenge to the election of James Marape as prime minister on 30 May 2019.

Namah claimed Marape’s election was unconstitutional because the speaker failed to comply with section 114 of the constitution and section 7A of the parliamentary standing orders.

Continue reading "Namah case a 'waste of money & court time'" »

Panguna - we have not learnt enough

Hon Simon Pentanu
Hon Simon Pentanu is speaker of the Bougainville parliament and a former chief ombudsman of PNG

| Bougainville News

BUKA - Panguna and its landowners had a mix of these feelings during the time of mining but have not felt this way since the mine was forcibly shut at the end of 1989. That is 31 years ago now.

The ordinary folk up there still wake up to an altered landscape with their women – mothers of the land –still asking what they did to deserve this as they eke out their livelihood from their usable plots of land, mostly on hillsides.

Continue reading "Panguna - we have not learnt enough" »

Nobetau termination unlawful: National Court

Joseph Nobetau - "The case always meant more than a job to me"


BUKA - Today in the Papua New Guinea national court, Justice Nicholas Miviri ruled that my termination as chief secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government was unconstitutional

I stand vindicated.

It has taken a long time to reach this point: more than 12 months since initiating legal proceedings against the Bougainville executive council and government, who dragged the matter out and delayed proceedings at every opportunity.

Continue reading "Nobetau termination unlawful: National Court" »

Ageing kiaps worry about their legacy

Bob Cleland
Many ex-kiaps maintain a close relationship with PNG. Here Bob Cleland looks out over the Asaro Valley from the Daulo Pass. Bob was instrumental in building this challenging stretch of the Highlands Highway in the early 1950s


TUMBY BAY - It began about 10 years ago when a group of ex-kiaps sought to have their services in pre-independent Papua New Guinea formally recognised.

The end result was a reluctant awarding of a Police Overseas Service Medal by the Australian government for those interested in applying for it. It was a fancy piece of tin to keep the old chaps quiet.

The award failed to recognise the kiaps’ primary function as change and development agents and concentrated solely on their police role, which in many cases was minimal.

Continue reading "Ageing kiaps worry about their legacy" »

Reflections on the borderland dilemma

Boat harbour  Daru (The Guardian)
Boat harbour, Daru (The Guardian)


ADELAIDE – I’m reading the fascinating, ‘Too Close to Ignore: Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia’, by Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb, recently reviewed by Stephen Howes for DevPolicy Blog.

This whole subject of borderland relations is of increasing importance to both Papua New Guinea and Australia and Howes’ review was republished in PNG Attitude.

Continue reading "Reflections on the borderland dilemma" »

Bumps on the road in the push for equality


NOOSA – The local newspaper where we're staying, Noosa Today, last week ran a piece from someone pushing anachronistic, sexist, mansplaining propaganda which I could not let pass.

In a published response in the same newspaper, I pointed out that we can all agree that no one – man, woman or other – should face discrimination, emotional abuse or physical violence.

Continue reading "Bumps on the road in the push for equality" »

Sojourn in Balimo: beautiful people, culture & nature

Balimo lagoon
Balimo lagoon

| My Amazing Paradise | Edited extract

ON THE ROAD - Balimo is beautiful. The sun rises and sets on the most beautiful lagoon in Papua New Guinea.

It’s created by the floodwaters of the dark, freshwater Aramia River that winds its way down from the highlands of Western Province.

Continue reading "Sojourn in Balimo: beautiful people, culture & nature" »

Chinese fisheries project in Daru raises alarm

Chinese-flagged fishing boat ( Artyom Ivanov  Tass)
Chinese-flagged fishing boat ( Artyom Ivanov, Tass)

| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute
| Extract

Link to the full story here

SYDNEY - A $204 million (K527 million) Chinese-built fishery plant planned for a Papua New Guinean island could allow Chinese-backed commercial vessels to fish legally in the Torres Strait.

The plan has raised concerns about unregulated fishing in the same waters, potentially threatening the Australian industry and local PNG fishers.

Continue reading "Chinese fisheries project in Daru raises alarm" »

Scientists try to save bananas from climate change

Exotic red bananas (Sebastien Carpentier)
Exotic red bananas found only in PNG (Sebastien Carpentier)

| Australian Broadcasting Corporation

DARWIN - Scientists are racing to find and save the living ancestors of modern-day, cultivated bananas that grow in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea.

These wild bananas have genes capable of protecting one of the world's most popular fruits from climate change, pests and diseases.

Continue reading "Scientists try to save bananas from climate change" »

The power of writing

Man Bilong Buk arrival (Michael Dom)
A new book arrives. Man Bilong Buk unravelled the life and work of author Francis Nii (Michael Dom)


TUMBY BAY - The Man Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world and is conferred annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

Speaking at the 2020 Man Booker Prize ceremony in England, former USA president Barack Obama related how he had “always turned to writing to try and make sense of our world, both as a young man trying to navigate the different parts of my life, and as an elected official trying to bridge our divides and find a way for all of us to move forward.”

Continue reading "The power of writing" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 5

| Edited

BRISBANE - No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it and the sinister objective of every tyrant is to curtail free speech, crush rebellion and disenfranchise dissidents.

The vision or mission statement of most corporations, which even includes some not for profit organisations, mirrors shareholder theory and it is incongruous with the primary object of preventive occupational health and safety legislation.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 5" »

The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill

Marape Oneill
Are we about to see a second face-off between James Marape and Peter O'Neill?

| PNG News | Edited

PORT MORESBY – Why are so many people supporting prime minister James Marape?

It’s because he has revolutionary ideas that will propel this country into economic independence in years to come.

Let me highlight some achievements so far.

Continue reading "The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill" »

Drifters, dreamers and beachcombers

lagoon of the Aramia River at Balimo
Freshwater lagoon of the Aramia River at Balimo


Brown Girl by the Shore

Dirty old hulk caught in the tide
Sun beating down on her battered side
Remember the days when she ran free
Out through the reef and into the sea

I’ve been up and I’ve been down
Round and round the village and town
Rum in my coffee and sugar in my tea
Or cool, cool water from the coconut tree

Under a wide and green clad bough
Soft deep shade for then and now
Whispering waves lapping the sand
And sleek red fish so easy to hand

Brown girl lazing by the shore
Go to the reef and catch me a fish
A dollar or two, whatever you wish
And we’ll be one for ever more.

Continue reading "Drifters, dreamers and beachcombers" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 4

| Edited

BRISBANE - Australia’s track record covering human rights is rather abysmal and several notable and controversial struggles include the Home Children child migration scheme, Stolen Generations and Wave Hill pastoral workers.

More recently Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Pacific Solution involving the Manus Island and Nauru Island regional processing centres have attracted significant worldwide media attention.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 4" »

Marape responds to Pruaitch’s departure

James Marape - "Every MP is entitled to his freedom of opinion and choices"

| Facebook

PORT MORESBY - From the press I receive news of Hon Patrick Pruiatch’s resignation from my cabinet.

May I acknowledge the strong leadership he offered over the time he served with me in the 18 months we were together.

I thank him, his family and his people of Aitape Lumi for his support of me.

Continue reading "Marape responds to Pruaitch’s departure" »

80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’

Eugene Ezebilo
PNGRI deputy research director associate professor Eugene Ezebilo

|  PNG National Research Institute | Edited extracts

Link here to read the complete research paper

BOROKO – The paper, ‘Covid-19 pandemic as perceived by residents of informal-built areas segment of Port Moresby’, looks at the Covid-19 pandemic and the response by the Papua New Guinea government as perceived by settlement residents in the national capital.

The research covered settlements at Bush Wara, 8-Mile, Joyce Bay, Kipo, Mautana, Ogoniva, Ranuguri, Talai, Taurama and Vanagi.

Continue reading "80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’" »

Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context

Cartoon - polyp.org.uk


ADELAIDE - While I have a lot of sympathy with Bernard Corden’s characterisation of neo-liberal capitalism in his Through Immigrant Eyes series, it is wrong to conceive of this philosophy as some sort of malevolent conspiracy.

Neo-liberalism is, as the name suggests, simply a reconceptualisation of the classic liberalism that prevailed during most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Continue reading "Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 3

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)

| Edited

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour and during the World War II many of its humble natives were engaged under a military directive to provide assistance for embattled Australian troops along the infamous Kokoda Trail.

This involved supply of ancillary equipment to the frontline offensive and first aid treatment and pastoral care for many sick and wounded Australian soldiers.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 3" »

Law-makers need to understand their role

PNG's parliament. "Elections are not simply about voting people to parliament to deliver goods and services," writes Patrick Kaiku. "Elected representatives are law-makers"


WAIGANI - The events that transpired on the floor of Papua New Guinea’s parliament on Friday 13 November again exposed the deep-seated defects in our politics.

These defects have little to do with the constitution and the system of government.

The instability in PNG’s parliament is behavioural, not institutional.

Continue reading "Law-makers need to understand their role" »

Explainer: Political crisis heads to the courts

James Marape
James Marape. The global coronavirus pandemic has deepened PNG's economic woes (Ekarvilla Keapu)

| Australian Broadcasting Corporation
| PNG Correspondents

PORT MORESBY - A week ago, it looked like Papua New Guinea's prime minister was about to lose his job after a mass revolt — but in a surprise twist, he managed to take control of parliament and suspend it for five months.

A week is a long time in politics, especially in Papua New Guinea. But things are not over yet.

Continue reading "Explainer: Political crisis heads to the courts" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 2

| Edited

BRISBANE - During the first quarter of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic reached Australian shores and its devastating consequences spread across the continent like a catastrophic bushfire.

After many decades of rampant unfettered free market fundamentalism, it soon became evident that preventive legislation, superficial social protection mechanisms and deteriorating public health and privatised aged care facilities were disproportionately inadequate and often ineffective.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 2" »

My work goes on; the judiciary will decide

James Marape - "I am doing my best in one of the toughest times of our nation’s history"

| Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Our country is built on democratic foundations that no politician must break. Our parliament, our executive and our judiciary are three separate arms of governance that operate within its legal mandate, processes and procedures.

What happened on Friday 13 November 2020, in haste and lust for power, broke section 2(1)(a) of the organic law on calling of meetings of parliament.

Continue reading "My work goes on; the judiciary will decide" »

We are marching to a better future

Gary Juffa - "I am seeing a more intelligent and brilliant young generation rising up"

| Governor of Oro Province

PORT MORESBY - I have to marvel at what seems to be an amazing phenomenon taking shape largely due to the internet and the rapidly evolving technology that makes global education possible almost instantaneously.

People are learning, becoming wiser and more careful about their choices.

Not fast enough, but for sure. It gives me much hope for our country.

Continue reading "We are marching to a better future" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 1

| Edited

‘In recognising the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute’ - Thurgood Marshall

BRISBANE - Much like most superficial western democracies, the Australian economy is underpinned by a ruthless feudal system of indentured servitude, peonage or serfdom.

More recently, it is fashionably and somewhat deviously referred to as a gig economy, which disguises many sinister neoliberal features that secure and protect the interests of the powerful over the powerless.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 1" »

Is the 2021 budget legal?

| The Kramer Report | Edited

PORT MORESBY - During the sitting of parliament on Tuesday 17 November, the Marape government tabled and passed the K19.6 billion 2021 budget.

Unlike the usual convention where the treasurer presents the budget and parliament is adjourned for a week to allow the opposition to reply, the 2021 budget was tabled and passed on the same day.

Continue reading "Is the 2021 budget legal?" »

I was there in parliament, let me explain

Gary Juffa - "I remained with Marape. There were not enough compelling reasons to change the government"

| Governor of Oro Province

PORT MORESBY - We the elected officials of Papua New Guinea owe it to our people to explain our decisions in parliament where we are mandated to speak for the people and on behalf of their interests.

This is our fundamental responsibility, along with making laws.

Continue reading "I was there in parliament, let me explain" »

Marape stands firm amid political crisis

Sam Basil (Johnny Blades)
Sam Basil - the deputy prime minister, known for setting loyalty aside to seize the main chance, flipped once too often last Friday, and flopped (Photo - Johnny Blades)

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's prime minister has urged the public to not get caught up in the country's political crisis which has ended up in the courts.

Marape's government appears to have staved off a vote of no confidence by quickly passing the budget on Tuesday and adjourning parliament to April.

Continue reading "Marape stands firm amid political crisis" »

Dear citizen, there’s a bit going on….

Bassim Blazey
Bassim Blazey - "Quite a bit going on in Australia -Papua New Guinea relations"


TUMBY BAY - Towards the end of October I sent an email to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) asking whether it was possible to get some background on its Papua New Guinea Branch.

The request was mere curiosity on my part but I thought it might be a useful topic for a PNG Attitude article and in particularly its PNG readers.

Continue reading "Dear citizen, there’s a bit going on…." »

ICAC is important but too many loopholes

Eddie Tanago
Eddie Tanago - "ICAC should be set up as a truly independent constitutional body but we are concerned about the loopholes"

| Campaign Manager | Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - The passage of the law allowing for the creation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption is an important step forward for Papua New Guinea, but it is too early for any celebrations.

An independent commission is urgently needed to tackle the rampant corruption that is holding back our economy and stopping the delivery of vital health and other services to the people.

Continue reading "ICAC is important but too many loopholes" »

The Covid reality versus death & denial


ADELAIDE - I think that most of you will agree that 2020 has been the most strange, disruptive and, in many respects, disturbing year of our lives.

This has certainly been the case for me, where two major medical events have occurred leaving me seriously frightened and, for some time, in considerable pain.

Of course, in the wider world, what has happened in my life is of no consequence.

Continue reading "The Covid reality versus death & denial" »

Clever footwork saves the day for Marape

Empty opposition benches
Empty opposition benches tell the story of a terrible political miscalculation


NOOSA - Contrary to what Belden Namah’s opposition planned when it rushed to  remote Vanimo to plot the downfall of prime minister Marape last Friday, its failure to grasp the nuances of parliamentary procedure were disastrous.

The opposition and defectors sat stranded in Vanimo unaware that Papua New Guinea’s parliament had not been effectively adjourned.

So when parliament resumed yesterday under Marape's control, it passed the budget and adjourned to 20 April next year - five months away - with the opposition benches largely vacant.

Continue reading "Clever footwork saves the day for Marape" »

Midway report on Toroama’s first 100 days

Ishmael Toroama and Erin Elizabeth McKee
Ishmael Toroama and United States ambassador to PNG, Erin Elizabeth McKee

| Office of the Bougainville President

BUKA - The Autonomous Bougainville Government says it is making headway part way in its first 100 days in office with progress in the economic and development sectors as well as in its relations with the Marape government.

President Ishmael Toroama’s overarching theme over this period has been ‘Innovation and Change’ with a strong focus on raising revenue and steadying the government’s course ready for post-referendum consultations with the national government.

Continue reading "Midway report on Toroama’s first 100 days" »

Marape: 'I'm in control & won't bow to greed’

James Marape - "I’m surrounded by a group of leaders who want to do the right thing for the country"

| FM100 | PNG Post-Courier | Edited

AUCKLAND - Prime Minister James Marape says his executive is still in control for the next three weeks for doing state business, passing the budget and to serve the people of Papua New Guinea.

In spite of the defection by rebel members of his majority last Friday and a vote to suspend parliament until next month, Speaker Job Pomat says the motion by opposition leader Belden Namah is “not right”, reports FM100 News.

Continue reading "Marape: 'I'm in control & won't bow to greed’" »

Amazon’s PNG book ban – too many ‘go missing’

Shipments of many books to PNG, including some of great importance, are being delayed because of thefts from the postal service


TUMBY BAY - Amazon in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom and Amazon’s other international outlets say they won't ship to Papua New Guinea because too many orders go missing.

PNG is among a number of countries that Amazon won't ship to because of this problem.

Publicly Amazon says this is related to Covid-19, but when you question the company about individual shipments it admits the real problem is the loss or theft of shipments.

Continue reading "Amazon’s PNG book ban – too many ‘go missing’" »

Ples Singsing welcomes PNG writers & poets

| Ples Singsing Masterminds

“The Ples Singsing blog is created to encourage and facilitate this process to “re-thing and reclaim” our own stories, poetry and drama. Here we may interact with each other through our writing, in literature which expresses what it means to us to be Papua Niuginian” – Michael Dom in 'Re-thing and reclaim our own approaches to express our story'

LAE - As part of our aim for Ples Singsing to be a place for Papua Niuginian creativity we want to welcome all writers to participate in presenting their thoughts and opinions about aspects of our society, economy, politics and culture.

We encourage open expression provided that this is done in a constructive spirit and displays respect and due consideration.

Continue reading "Ples Singsing welcomes PNG writers & poets" »

Fierce words from Marape to ‘political scumbag’

James Marape - "A Huli doesn’t surrender in a fight, you have to kill me on the battlefield and I will die with dignity"


NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has arisen with fire in his belly this Monday morning.

A short time ago he issued a short and pugnacious Facebook message to members of parliament who are plotting to overthrow his government.

The plotters are reportedly led by former prime minister Peter O’Neill and his former deputy Belden Namah.

Continue reading "Fierce words from Marape to ‘political scumbag’" »