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Reform group to contest PNGAA election

A group of members of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia has been established to reform the Association and contest the annual elections due in April. The convenor of the group is Phil Ainsworth, formerly an economist with the Central Planning Office in PNG and now the managing director of Queensland industrial and commercial property company, King & Co. The group was established at a meeting of PNGAA members in Brisbane on Wednesday.

“We want the PNGAA to commit to necessary reform, to be a broad church and to operate in a harmonious way,” Mr Ainsworth said in Brisbane this morning. “It is imperative that the Association embrace the interests of all its members. These includes people who need support and who want to avail themselves of the fellowship and social networking functions as well as those who want to promote and encourage a close relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“I am also keen to see many more Papua New Guineans join the Association and this will be a major proposition that Reform Group candidates will put to the membership in the run-up to the April election.”

Mr Ainsworth said that many prominent PNGAA members had already offered their support to the group and he encouraged all members to indicate their interest by emailing him here.

“The Reform Group supports in full the new objectives proposed for the PNGAA and wants to make the national committee a body that is truly representative of all members,” he said.

The text of Mr Ainsworth’s letter to Ann Graham, PNGAA Secretary, is reproduced here:

Dear Ann,

I am writing to advise the Committee of the Association that I have been appointed to convene an informal group of PNGAA members from throughout Australia which is interested in reforming and stabilizing the Association and ensuring that the proposed new objectives are adopted and faithfully implemented by the incoming PNGAA Committee to be elected next April.

The aims of the Reform Group, as they were accepted by members on 29 January, are:

(1) To instill a spirit of reform in the PNGAA which will support the proposed objectives of the Association, especially the objective of strengthening the civil relationship between the people of  Australia and the people of Papua New Guinea.

(2) To nominate a panel of candidates who will agree to give effect to these objectives and who will seek election to the national committee of the PNGAA at the April 2009 election.

(3) To ensure that the panel of candidates is representative geographically, demographically and vocationally of the broad membership of the PNGAA.

(4) To include on the panel of candidates some PNG residents of Australia or, if this is not possible, to ensure that as soon as possible following the next election such people are included.

In advising the Committee of the establishment of the Reform Group, I would like to invite any current Committee member who feels comfortable in joining this group to contact me by email indicating this.

On behalf of the organizing members of the Reform Group, whose names will be disclosed in the near future, I also ask that the Committee, at its meeting on Sunday 1 February, resolve as follows: “That the 2009 election for PNGAA committee members be conducted by a postal ballot of all eligible PNGAA members and not by a proxy system”, or words to this effect.

As I understand there will be a timely pre-election issue of Una Voce, it is suggested the postal vote papers may accompany its issue to save postage. Incidentally, when are the future deadline dates for the Journal?

Could you please communicate to me by Monday 2 February whether the committee has seen fit to agree to a resolution along these lines.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Ainsworth
Member No. 2795

PNG ATTITUDE will provide more information about the policies, approach, membership and activities of the Reform Group over coming weeks.


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