John Lohberger OBE wrote many of Papua New Guinea's taxation laws in his 18 years serving as taxation commissioner in the Internal Revenue Commission
NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s former long-serving taxation commissioner, and spare time rally car enthusiast, John Lohberger, died in February aged 84 after a short illness.
John Wolfgang Lohberger OBE (1937-2022) spent his youth in Hobart before beginning his career with the Australian Tax Office in Victoria, where he became the youngest person to be appointed as a full taxation assessor.
Continue reading "Long-serving taxman John Lohberger dies, 84" »
History is the product of the often imperfect actions of imperfect people, some more so than others. Genuine evil is present too
Genghis Khan - the ruthless and feared 13th century Mongol warrior-ruler was feared because of his ruthlessness and passion for massacre, rapine, destruction and revenge. Genghis Khan statue in Mongolia (G Adventures Inc)
ADELAIDE - I am sure that the Australian takeover of German New Guinea during and in the years following World War I was a far from perfect venture.
But, a reader of The Awkward Takeover of German New Guinea is invited to infer that the German regime was some sort of model of how to apply colonial rule in an orderly, methodical and humane way.
Continue reading "Much of history a far from perfect venture" »
“The 'family' construct is inappropriate in a context where Australia should be seeking to forge mature, meaningful and equivalent relationships with Pacific Island nations. The whole theme is patronising, inane and quite weird” – Keith Jackson
| Pearls & Irritations
MELBOURNE - When will this nonsense on familial connection between Australia and the Pacific end?
In 2018, Australia’s then Pentecostal prime minister, Scott Morrison, drew upon a term that his predecessors had not.
Continue reading "Patronising the ‘Pacific family’ we never had" »
“The provision of timely, accurate and accessible information during the polling period will be critical to ensuring a democratically credible election” - Transparency International PNG chair, Peter Aitsi
NOOSA - Transparency International in Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) has deployed 300 volunteers throughout the country to observe and report on the conduct of the national elections which began yesterday.
The organisation said the delivery of the election had already faced multiple administrative, legal and logistical challenges.
Continue reading "300 election observers look out for breaches" »
Weeks was well settled as an educator when in 1974 he was appointed research professor and director of the educational research unit at the University of Papua New Guinea. And in PNG he was to marry for a third time
Dr Sheldon Griswald Weeks (1931-2022) - educator, traveller, writer and Quaker
EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
FROM DR WEEKS' OWN MEMOIR
NOOSA - Sheldon Griswold Weeks who spent 17 years as a university professor and educator in Papua New Guinea has died in Vermont, USA, aged 90.
Weeks was born on 18 November 1931 in New York, graduating from Brooklyn Friends High School in 1949 where he had been active in art, writing and sports as well as academic pursuits.
Continue reading "Dr Sheldon Weeks, UPNG educator, dies at 90" »
"Perhaps there was a lack of faith in Indigenous authority, a deficit arising from their own Australian attitudes towards native people both at home and in their territories"
The Australian fleet, headed by the flagship HMAS Australia, enters Simpson Harbour, Rabaul, 12 September 1914 (AWM)
| Tok Piksa | Edited extracts from an article
BIELEFELD, GERMANY - At the time of the Australian takeover, the capital of German New Guinea, Rabaul, was described by AL Epstein in his book Matupit as "not so much a town as a tropical garden, dotted about with government offices, business premises, and bungalows.
“The avenues were carefully laid out and planted with Poinciana and Casuarina trees, the latter creating the feeling, as one visitor many years later was to describe it, of looking down the nave of a cathedral half a mile long."
Continue reading "The awkward takeover of German New Guinea" »
"Who’s going to be the first to say, 'Oh, I’m going to give up that slot that I got through this little consideration'. People want an end to corruption. Getting there is hard and changing that whole philosophy is a lot harder. It’s the work of generations"
Marie Yovanovitch former United States ambassador to Ukraine prepares to address Congress (Erin Schaff New York Times)
NOOSA – The New York Times provides a first rate briefing each day on the Russia-Ukraine War.
The other morning Marie Yovanovitch, who served as US ambassador to Ukraine from 2016 to 2019, spoke to Times journalist, Yana Dlugy.
Continue reading "Corruption: Hey PNG, hear Marie Yovanovitch" »
NOOSA - As Covid spreads its tentacles to embrace half the Australian population and 50 people die each day, Keith joins the plague-riddled crowd with a series of amazing tweets including this one that has accumulated 13,000 impressions so far: "I dedicate my maiden bout of Covid to the diabolical duo of Queensland premier Palaszczuk & Chief Health Officer Gerrard. Now I get to find out how it blends with my ME/CFS. Ah, what a time to be alive, however temporarily."
This blog will have an even more intermittent quality over coming days. But Keith will fire the odd shot on Twitter (which we also run in the right hand column). Like these three, written before Keith knew he was ill: "This truculent silence by the authorities is like something we have never seen. It's a form of denial; a group neurosis. The stunned silence rendered by a Covid crisis which should turn into shocked action but in this case has spawned a protracted cowardly muteness."
Or this: "The PNG government has given up on Covid. This is not understood by Australians yet, but so has their government given up. Many more people will die or succumb to chronic illness unless this insane denialism changes. Vaccinations were never enough."
And a demand for scalps: "Queensland Chief Health Officer should be fired & Premier Palaszczuk should step down. They have not only failed in their duty to keep the community safe, their policies have enabled the continuing unchecked spread of Covid leading to 1,200 deaths and uncountable lifelong chronic illnesses so far in Queensland alone."
“Every man has his good side,” Marape says of O'Neill. “But as time progressed, power got into his head, and his heart shifted away from the main goalpost"
Marape says of O'Neill: "Some of us reached the tolerance rate where we can’t be part of that sort of regime where you make a call and you expect everyone else to follow"
| The Saturday Paper
MELBOURNE - As Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape was working the tables at a hotel gathering of his Pangu Party in Goroka, a heavily drunk man was making a nuisance of himself.
Burly police bodyguards moved in for a rough eviction. But then Marape saw the man, walked closer, embraced him, and got him to sit quietly in a corner. The prime minister had recognised an old high school classmate.
Continue reading "The complex challenges of leadership in PNG" »
“But when they came they hid you in the Book / And said you weren’t from around this place / We searched 'til we had nowhere else to look…”
A young Mengen woman, Matanakaka, bringing food back from the garden to the village (Françoise Panoff)
ORO - I wrote this sonnet as I thought about some of the ideas arising from my interviews and other observations while conducting fieldwork amongst the Mengen (or Maenge) people of Jacquinot Bay in East New Britain.
The concept of God was a principle theme of most of my interlocutors. Nutu is one of the central characters in Maenge mythology.
Continue reading "God’s last stopping place. But what of Nutu?" »
Austal’s vessels have a chequered history, including bad cracking and delays due to the use of poor quality aluminium
| Schwartz Media
MELBOURNE - Major design flaws have been identified among a fleet of Australian patrol boats given to Pacific nations.
The flaws include cracks in the exhaust that allow carbon monoxide to enter a compartment, cracking in the coupling linking the engine and gearbox, and poor ventilation in sick bays.
Continue reading "Gift Pacific patrol boats have major defects" »
It's likely the government, particularly under Peter Dutton, acted illegally in limiting the number of partner visa places to an extraordinary degree
| Pearls & Irritations
CANBERRA - In 2018, I wrote about one of opposition leader Peter Dutton’s lesser known scandals – his action to egregiously limit the number of partner visas.
In 1989 and in 1996-97, parliament voted to ensure partner visa applications (more specifically spouse visa applications) were managed on a demand driven basis.
Continue reading "Capped partner visas: Another Dutton rort" »
I'll give you the world my little one / I'll raise you properly-even with father gone / So rock-a-bye baby / Don't you ever cry / Grow child grow, grow up and be a better man
(Photography by Nick Hedges)
Your father disowned you and I cried
Silently in my heart and swallowed my pride
Isolated from the village and gossip of men
Pain, oh such sweet-bitter pain
Continue reading "My Son" »
Only seven of Papua New Guinea’s 65 government agencies have reported how they have spent billions of public funds provided to them in the budget since 2016
The Money Tree (painting by Channell Arivai)
NOOSA - The delivery of a peaceful election is a shared responsibility that requires broad-based leadership, says Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG).
It says a free and fair election will require a concerted effort by the police, defence force, correctional service and some government agencies working alongside the electoral commission.
Continue reading "On election violence & unaccounted billions" »
Legislation will need to spell out the terms of Indigenous Treaties to ensure consistency with Australia's constitution and laws relating to land and access rights. This is not impossible but is bound to be complex and contentious
ADELAIDE - The history of Australian governments in dealing with Australia’s Indigenous peoples is very dismal indeed.
The now departed and unlamented Liberal-National Party government continued this tradition whereby weasel words were deemed an adequate substitute for meaningful action.
Continue reading "Indigenous treaties worth all the problems" »
The resplendent rugged terrain of Oro does not easily reveal the stories of those ragged bloody heroes, foreign and local alike, who trudged across this landscape 80 years ago
| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writer's Blog
GORARI ORO - I wrote this poem sitting in my house in the middle of Gorari village thinking about this beautiful land that is steeped in the history of World War II as well as its own traditional history.
The title of the poem, 'Oro to This Place of War and Peace', points to Oro as knowing war and continuing to know it through its lingering effects and consequent materiality even in this time of peace.
Continue reading "An elegy for an ended war & an uneasy peace" »
“Wanem kain mit?” I asked. What sort of meat?
“Bai you kisim sampla han, olsem.” Then you get an arm.
“Bai mi nap kisim displa han lo we a?” Where do I get an arm!
CLEVELAND QLD - When stationed at Sialum in Morobe Province many years ago, I asked Councillor Zorika from Gitua whether there were any crocodiles in his area.
I was intending to do some fly fishing for Jungle Perch along the local rivers and thought it prudent to do some background research.
Continue reading "How to catch a croc in five quite easy steps" »
A book does not lose value. Its colour may fade, pages may tear and the covers drop off, but the words, memories, emotions and story live on in those people who have held it and read it
Caroline Evari with some of her books. She is a prolific author, especially of children's books
| Ples Singsing
PORT MORESBY - A fellow Papua New Guinean author once told me about the incident that prompted him to take on a major lifestyle change.
“I gave up drinking,” he said, “when I was told by a man that my K50 book was too expensive.
Continue reading "Do PNG a favour: Go buy a home-grown book" »
The government's insensitivity to the widows and children continued long after the war until, in 2009, a small group from the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia formed a task force to do address the long official silence
Rabaul's main street as it was just before the Japanese invasion in 1942
NOOSA – The family of Philip (Hooky) Street, who died recently in Sydney aged 91, was among the small Australian population of Rabaul just before the Japanese invasion in January 1942.
Most of those families lost their husbands and fathers, who stayed behind while the women and children were hurriedly evacuated.
Continue reading "Rabaul-born Philip (Hooky) Street dies at 91" »
The ‘designed to fail’ policies that glisten with promises come to nought in delivery because the Whitefella wants to be able to control, constrain and interfere with the Blackfella’s interests
New South Wales Mounted Police attack Aboriginal people, Waterloo Creek, 1838
TUMBY BAY – I’m currently writing a history of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Branch, based in Adelaide, where I was employed between 1974 and 1994.
It’s tentatively called ‘Full Circle’ – the title describing a 20-year trajectory in which the Branch went from virtually nothing to journey through a period of high productivity and public recognition before finally looping back to irrelevance and obscurity, buried in a high rise city building.
Continue reading "The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs" »
Despite the setbacks and difficulties, sparkling embers still burn in the fireplace of Papua New Guinean literature. Rait ples, rait papagraun, rait pipol. Right place, right heritage, right people. In Tok Pisin rait is also 'write'
Earlier this year, prime minister Marape learned of the existence of a struggling but rich literature in PNG. He was impressed - and said he would offer a helping hand
LAE – Around the middle of June, Ples Singsing Writers & Associates held its first writers kivung, Kirapim Paia Long Ples Singsing - Create the Passion of Ples Singsing.
Ples Singsing is, of course, the Papua New Guinea writers’ blog, the spirited lovechild of me and a number of colleagues whose turn it was to seize the waning fire of PNG literature.
Continue reading "Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright" »
A Twitter thread examining the alarming, tragic and unfinished story of Covid in Australia: where the people are now; how we got here; and what we must do to extract ourselves from this shitshow
Image by The Age
BRISBANE - First, where are we right now? Some facts.
Around 50% of all Australians have had Covid, there have been 9,700 deaths from Covid and about half a million people are suffering from Long Covid.
To put that in perspective, the current death rate is around 50 people per day, and increasing.
Continue reading "Australia's Covid situation is out of control" »
Dr Scragg's commitment to public health extended for the entire post-war colonial period and the health system he fostered doubled the average life expectancy of Papua New Guineans from 32 to 64
Dr Roy Scragg outside his iconic home in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg just before he sold it in March following the death of his wife, Joy (Dean Martin)
Dr Scragg’s funeral will be held on Friday 1 July at the Prospect International
Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 7 Ballville Street, Prospect, at 1.30 pm.
The funeral service will be webcast and you can link here to the livestream
NOOSA –Dr Roy Scragg, who died of cancer in the early hours of last Thursday at the age of 98, was a most remarkable man.
The richly honoured and credentialled Dr Scragg AM OBE, DUniv MD MPH MBBS, spent 27 years from 1947 to 1974 developing the health system in Papua New Guinea both as a pioneering administrator and later as a ground-breaking university professor.
Continue reading "Death of PNG’s remarkable Dr Roy Scragg" »
Initially only four bookshops around the country stocked Grimmish, but Winkler also sent it to a few ‘influential readers’ who started enthusing about it on social media
Michael Winkler says his book was a difficult one to explain to publishers and bookshops (Justin McManus)
| Sydney Morning Herald
Link here to Michael Winkler’s Grimmish website
SYDNEY - Michael Winkler is a bit resigned about his writing career: “It has been one of defeat really, but it’s chop wood, carry water, isn’t it?”
When he finished his novel Grimmish, he and his agent offered it to publishers they thought might be interested.
Continue reading "Self-published book is top prize contender" »
One key test for PNG’s fragile democracy will be women’s political representation. PNG is one of only three countries to have no female legislators in its national parliament
Election and security officials plan the movement of supplies, 2017 (Commonwealth Secretariat)
| Griffith Asia Insights
TOWNSVILLE - Papua New Guineans will go to the polls on 2 July - the tenth time citizens have exercised their universal suffrage since the first post-independence election of 1977.
The process started with the issuing of writs on 12 May. Sadly, the country lost its deputy prime minister in a fatal car accident the day before, resulting in the deferral of nominations by a week.
Continue reading "Pre-poll incidents foretell election violence" »
The ABC has been told that dialogue partners meetings will not be held during the Forum, effectively locking out politicians and officials from countries outside the region
ABC News | Edited extracts
Link here for Stephen Dziedcic’s complete article
CANBERRA - The Pacific's peak diplomatic body looks set to exclude the United States, China and several other major countries from a crucial leaders meeting in Fiji next month.
The move has been analysed as helping to shelter the Pacific Islands from intensifying geostrategic competition in the region.
Continue reading "Pacific Forum to keep US & China on the outer" »
In Amazon’s early days there was a hint of a benevolent and philanthropic spirit in its business model, but the ogre of profit at all costs has overtaken all other considerations
TUMBY BAY - Michael Dom and I have just endured an incredibly dispiriting battle with Amazon Kindle over an extremely trivial matter of copyright involving the Ples Singsing anthology of student essays from the 2020 competition.
This issue has thankfully now been resolved and the anthology is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback.
Continue reading "Kindly Kindle became a greedy book monster" »
Research suggests that policy-makers now need to focus on the less politically popular aspects of education policy, such as improving teacher quality and oversight and monitoring
| Radio New Zealand | Pacific News
AUCKLAND - More than 10 years after it started, big changes are being called for in Papua New Guinea's tuition fee-free education system, introduced by the O'Neill government in 2011.
The National Research Institute (NRI) in PNG has conducted an assessment in East Sepik and Morobe provinces and found that, while fee-free education improved access for many students, the quality of education was undermined.
Continue reading "Fee-free education in PNG flawed, says NRI" »
'Three times a year from 1998 to 2013, I travelled from Mt Hagen to Madang for meetings of the University Council, where I associated with Sir Peter. Quite often several of us would be lodged at his Madang Resort. I only have good memories of those times'
Sir Peter Barter and Sir Michael Somare at a Divine Word University function in Madang (Garry Roche)
MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - Sir Peter Barter, 82, who passed away in Cairns after a short illness on Wednesday 22 June, was well known and respected as a politician and businessman.
It is widely acknowledged that he achieved much in his time especially for both Madang Town and Madang Province.
Continue reading "Sir Peter Barter, great figure in PNG, dies at 82" »
Do the people understand exactly what is happening – and how it is happening, and to the benefit of whom? No, too often they don’t. They are not told. These things are not explained to them
CLEVELAND QLD –There is an argument put forward that, if everyone knows their taxes and public resources are deployed in a transparent and ethical way, where then is the corruption?
And if people vote on issues that have been fully explained to them by their elected representatives, where then is the ignorance?
Continue reading "When your guardians become grand thieves" »
"Toss me in the sea, let it swallow me!" / They threw Jonah into this great tempest / "God! We're innocent and let us be free!" / And the sea grew calm amidst this great test
The voice of the Lord God came to Jonah
"Go now and tell Nineveh, the great city.
"Your wickedness, to Me, has climbed higher."
But Jonah fled to Tarshish, near the sea.
Continue reading "The Epic of Jonah and The Great Repentance" »
The 2022 election is shaping up to be the most violent ever despite the government purchasing armoured vehicles, imposing a ban on the 50,000 illegal firearms in the country and support from the Australian Defence Force
Men queue to vote at a Highlands election (Treva Braun)
NOOSA - The shooting of a returning officer, 30 other deaths in electoral violence, candidates’ supporters burning rivals’ vehicles and other violence have already marred Papua New Guinea’s upcoming general elections.
In a pointed article for the Asia & the Pacific Policy Society, academics Henry Ivarature and Michael Kabuni have expressed fears that the elections due to start on Tuesday 2 July are shaping up to be as bad as what was said to be “the worst one ever” in 2017
Continue reading "Violence, voting fraud to blight 2022 election" »
The Solomons both lost and found its way politically and economically. Part of its journey were mismanagement and corruption, and the ‘tension years’, when the nation came to the brink of anarchy
Honiara is a corruption of the Malaitan word, nahona`ara, meaning facing the place where the southeast winds meet the land (Jenny Scott)
| DevPolicy Blog
Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands by Clive Moore, ANU Press, May 2022. More information here. ISBN 9781760465070 (online). Download or read the book free online here
BRISBANE - Like most cities, Honiara is bound by its geography, history and culture. In my new book, I explore these relationships and how they have created the city we see today.
Military bases in the Solomon Islands are in the news, although most people seem to have forgotten that Honiara began as a World War II battle ground and military base, initially Japanese and then American.
Continue reading "Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story" »
The smart move would be to bribe the polling officials and security officers. Less people to bribe so much cheaper. But is it worth spending eight years in jail for that? Not so smart really.
Governor Allan Bird - " I don't believe our voters are stupid. Certainly not in Sepik"
GOVERNOR ALLAN BIRD
| Academia Nomad
WEWAK - I see some smart commentators who, observing transport, food and drink provided by candidates at rallies, say this is wrong and constitutes bribery.
First of all, I don't believe our voters are stupid. Certainly not in Sepik.
Continue reading "Is it bribery to pay for campaign rallies?" »
“This is who we are, this is what we are. We are on the Jesus trail. We are Jesus’ followers, and we need you to stay with us because this is all new to us. So stay here and keep living with us” - People of Yifki
Yifki airstrip - "We hiked everywhere and finally located the perfect valley in the Yifki area"
| New Tribes Mission | MAF | Edited
The Hewa tribe of somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 people lives in little hamlets scattered over 100 km of rugged terrain in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. In 2000 the New Tribes Mission’s Jonathan Kopf, with his wife and family, began to live and work among these people. This is their story. Photos by Annelie Adsmyr
MT HAGEN -– When we arrived in Fiyawena village, the people were eager to have us there and excited to hear the message of the light.
“We’re in the darkness of the jungle, and we know you have the story of the light,” they said. “We want to hear that story.”
Continue reading "Life with the Hewas - the missionary's story" »
Almost no organisations and government agencies have an anti-corruption strategy - even those responsible for protecting integrity
NOOSA - With the help of the European Union, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is seeking to persuade Papua New Guinea’s government agencies to adopt and implement explicit anti-corruption and integrity strategies.
It says it is doing this in the knowledge that few government agencies, including those responsible for protecting integrity and fighting corruption, do not have an anti-corruption strategy.
Continue reading "New push to adopt anti-corruption strategies" »
My call alerted the authorities to my existence as a primary trained teacher in a secondary trained position. This triggered a rather drastic chain reaction
Tapini grass airstrip, c 1967 (Bob Grieve)
BRISBANE – The Tapini airstrip featured as an oddity during my service in Papua New Guinea.
This has begun in 1959 after I had completed the two-year Cadet Education Officer’s certificate course at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in 1958.
Continue reading "8 days of rain & a some bizarre musical chairs" »
It was Michael Somare’s Pangu that knew the way to independence. Now under James Marape, ‘Pangu ino save lo rot’. Pangu doesn't know the way
| Academia Nomad
WAIGANI – ‘Pangu save lo ro’ (Pangu knows the way) is a motto made popular by the late Sam Basil.
It refers to the Pangu Pati that attained independence for Papua New Guinea in 1975 led by the late Michael Somare.
Continue reading "PM Marape’s compromised & corrupted Pangu" »
The ABC’S international media development unit supports democratic governance by strengthening public interest journalism capable of holding Asia-Pacific institutions to account
NOOSA - Like so many people before him, Daniel Mee stumbled by accident upon PNG Attitude –and liked what he saw.
Not just a treasure trove of information but a network of many hundreds of people who maintain a close affiliation with Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "A fine project in which our readers can help " »
The legislation smacks of colonialism and will result in PNG becoming the only country in the world to manage its most popular tourism destination as an environmental resource
HON CHARLIE LYNN OL
Adventure Kokoda | The National
SYDNEY - The proposed Kokoda Track Management Authority Bill is based on a false premise.
It is not a Papua New Guinea bill. It was developed in secret by an Australian aid official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra.
Continue reading "Kokoda Trail fails when bureaucracy prevails" »
Being an agitator can come at a high cost. In many instances, society may not be ready for the solutions the media provides. The media itself may not be ready
Scott Waide - "The role of the media as a guardian of democracy comes to the fore when people go to the polls"
| My Land, My Country
LAE - It has been a hectic three months working around the clock running pre-election workshops for journalists in all four regions through the media development initiative of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The most important part of the training for many of those journalists who attended has been the discussion around the role of the media in Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "The vital roles of the media in our country" »
The chainsaws had finished their day’s work. Through the silence I heard birds chirping; and the faint sad cry of a bird of paradise
| Auna Melo Independent Blog
WEWAK - I looked down at my feet stuck in the red clay, then raised my head. Before me a machine was constructing a new road through the thick jungle.
I could see the shape of the mechanical caterpillar munching away the forest.
I took a step and slipped, quickly rebalanced and steadied on my feet.
Continue reading "Where are you taking my trees?" »
'John Teosin was a complex personality and an enormously deep thinker. He was ahead of his time in many ways. Among the living dead, John Teosin shan’t be forgotten'
COMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With some useful references from Dr Robin Hide
NOOSA - The John Teosin Highway (aka the Buka ring road) connects villages along the east coast of Buka Island with Bougainville’s commercial and administrative centre, Buka Town.
The ring road plays a vital role in people’s lives as well as moving them from one place to another.
Continue reading "Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?" »
'Without you, I’m as a mirror so tarnished / pushed out of sight to the back of the room / awaiting a jeweler to give me my clarity / But, now you’re here, my radiance renewed'
Time passes swiftly each time we talk
The world disappears when I hear your voice
Even if we both say nothing, it still feels
like the best conversation, it’s never awkward
even a vacuum filled with prolonged silence
For just hearing you breathe keeps me alive
Now I’m wondering ‘what if ‘?
Continue reading "What if...." »
General Austin says the US is prepared to step up to be a leader and a guarantor of a free and open Indo-Pacific. "Big powers carry big responsibilities," he says
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin addresses the Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore on Saturday (CNN)
BRAD LENDON & OREN LIEBERMANN
| CNN | Edited extracts
SINGAPORE – On Saturday, United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin called out China and vowed the US would stand by partners after a series of coercive, aggressive and dangerous actions that he said threatened stability in Asia.
"Indo-Pacific countries shouldn't face political intimidation, economic coercion or harassment by maritime militias," Austin said in a keynote speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's premier defence conference.
Continue reading "China accuses US of garrisoning the Pacific" »
The identity of the remarkable Huli people of the PNG Highlands is expressed in a bewildering multitude of ways as they adapt to the pressures of change
Men of Huli (Trans NiuGini Tours)
| Extract from ‘Until Hela Becomes a City: The Western Encounter with Huli Modernity’
CANBERRA - Although the practice of wearing the everyday Huli wig has long since passed, and what is recognised as traditional Huli clothing has become a ceremonial uniform, the subtle and individual expressions of Huliness are a widespread feature of contemporary Huli life.
The existence of a self-consciously Huli ceremonial uniform was a feature of pre- contact Huli life, especially as worn by members of the haroli bachelor cult when they returned to social view after an extended period in isolation.
Continue reading "The multitudinous possibilities of being Huli" »
Most Pacific Island nations, including Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have not voiced opposition to the China-Solomons agreement and understand its context
National flags of Solomon Islands and China flutter in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (Reuters)
| East Asia Forum
SUVA - A draft security agreement between Solomon Islands and China was leaked on social media on 24 March 2022, sparking anxious reactions locally and internationally.
On 19 April, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the agreement had been signed, and this was confirmed by Solomon Islands foreign affairs minister Jeremiah Manele.
Continue reading "Solomons: a better understanding is needed" »
Out in the sea with his canoe
Wind and darkness came with no cue
And took him away suddenly
Away from land and family
Into the dusk his strength waned
Paddle and sail lost in the wind
Continue reading "A narrative poem: Man suddenly lost at sea" »
While the final few years of Coalition rule saw rapid growth in Pacific labour mobility, they were also years in which policy coherence began to suffer, if not fall apart
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme has staggered forward but now promises the prospect of both temporary and permanent migration to Australia
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited
CANBERRA - The Coalition government led by John Howard was disastrous for Pacific labour mobility.
By contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government was very good for it, though at the end the limits and contradictions of its approach were apparent.
Continue reading "Pacific labour mobility: staggering upward" »
From the outset ASPI was a highly politicised right wing think tank. It’s now reached its use-by date & should put down the megaphone
| Pearls & Irritations
ORANGE, NSW - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ASPI, was conceived as a body to provide the government with the advice it wanted to hear.
It was commissioned by prime minister John Howard in August 2001 to undertake ‘policy-relevant research and analysis to better inform government decisions and public understanding of strategic and defence issues'.
Continue reading "Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI" »