The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (PNGAA) added nearly 70 new members in the three months to June this year to take overall membership to a record 1,700. As I remarked in a letter to Duncan Kerr - the Federal Government’s Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs – this rapid expansion indicates that Australians who served in PNG in the past are rekindling their interest in that country, its people and its affairs, which is a very positive development in PNG-Australia relations.
Over recent months, the PNGAA has initiated a number of major changes to strengthen its role in building better relationships between Australia and PNG. As part of a new approach, the Association has, for the first time, established a PNG Relations function on its national committee and begun to make representations on matters it believes will enhance the PNG-Australia partnership at a civil level.
There can be no better way for you to assist this process than to join the PNGAA or, if you’re already a member, to recruit other people as members. At just $20 a year for membership, which includes a subscription to the excellent quarterly journal Una Voce, it is a steal. So scour your email address list for family, friends and colleagues who might have an interest in Papua New Guinea and ask them to join. Today. The membership application form is available on-line here.
Strengthening the PNG Association through expanding its membership is a certain way to give all Australians with an interest in PNG a voice in how the relationship should be conducted in future.