About a month ago the ABC launched a new international television service, the Australia Network, which broadcasts to 10 million homes across Asia and the Pacific with news, sport, documentaries, drama and lifestyle programs.
Long-time ABC Papua New Guinea and Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney has just taken up a new role as Pacific correspondent for the Australia Network. His boss is former PNG broadcaster David Ransom, who's in charge of news and current affairs for the service.
For the first time in about five years I met up with Sean over dinner last night – and am pleased to report he’s very enthusiastic about his new assignment. We shared a great evening with veteran broadcaster Phil Charley and artist and sculptor Hal Holman, just returned from Port Moresby where his most recent sculpture - of former PNG Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu, with whom I shared a politics honours class in 1976 - was unveiled.
Sean is one of the ABC’s most experienced and respected correspondents, an acknowledged authority on Papua New Guinea and author of two books on PNG affairs. He lived and worked in PNG for almost 20 years and, in a roller coaster career, was both deported and awarded honours by the PNG Government. The first of his three postings to Papua New Guinea began in 1974, just before PNG independence, when I first met him.
Sean was captain of the PNG Rugby League national team, the Kumuls, and played representative football for two years. In 1991 the PNG Government awarded him an MBE for services to broadcasting and sport. He won a Walkley Award for radio news reporting after his coverage of the tsunami that struck PNG in July 1998. He returned to Australia in 1999 with wife Pauline, also a journalist. Apart from that impressive cv, Sean Dorney’s also a bloody good bloke.