Sr Francois tells it straight & clear: Just do it!
Dear Minister: Ailsa's letter from a bitter heart

Dumbstruck media? Or a conspiracy of silence?

PAUL OATES looks at the Australian media’s failure to cover the current political crisis in PNG and contrasts it with a high-minded report on improving Australian understanding of the region

With a Parliamentary and Constitutional crisis raging in PNG over the last few days, can someone tell me why the Australian media hasn't picked up on it and at the very least, brought it to the attention of the Australian public?

Has a D Notice been served on the Australian media about the situation in PNG or is it business as usual?

Is the Australian government just sitting on its hands while PNG slides further into the abyss? Is there a conspiracy of silence or is the silence just deafening?

What use was it to have a high level Committee making the recommendations below when they are clearly not being followed?



Chapter 8 - Australian's knowledge of the region

The Committee sought to explore the extent to which the usual means of awareness raising primarily the media and education are failing to secure the sustained interest of most Australians in Pacific issues, or to convey an adequate account of the richness and diversity of Pacific island cultures, of their political and economic circumstances, and of their inhabitants views of Australia as a regional power.

The Committee found that the ignorance of otherwise globally aware Australians concerning Pacific affairs appears to stand in stark contrast to the relatively well informed views of Australia that are encountered amongst the educated sections of the Pacific population.

The Committee found there to be a complete absence of any pervasive, coherent practice of engagement which brings Australia and the Pacific countries together in a way that might enable each country and its citizens to fully represent themselves to each other…

The Committee also discerns a vicious circle in the way the media deals with the Pacific. With most journalists spectacularly ill informed about the region, any reports that they might make on a fleeting visit usually at a time of crisis are bound to be superficial and reinforce the very prejudices with which they arrive…

Recommendation 33

The Committee recommends that the government establish the Australia Pacific Council to advance the interests of Australia and the countries of the Pacific region by initiating and supporting activities designed to enhance awareness, understanding and interaction between the peoples and institutions of the region.

The functions of the Australia-Pacific Council (AustPaC) shall be:

-         to make recommendations to the Australian Government, through the Minister for Foreign Affairs, for the broadening and deepening of the relationship between Australia and the Pacific;

-         raising awareness of the Pacific in Australia and of Australia in the Pacific, and

-         promoting visits and exchanges between the two countries [sic] of individuals and groups for the purpose of broadening relations in a number of areas, including the arts, commerce, education, the news media, science and technology, and sport;

-         encouraging the development of Australia Pacific institutional links between universities, museums, libraries, technical colleges, research institutes, professional bodies and appropriate non government organizations; and

-         supporting Australian studies in the Pacific, and Pacific studies in Australia.


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