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131 posts from March 2013

New adventure novel: Mossad hunts Nazis in PNG


Twixt Semites‘Twixt Semites and swastikas: Temlett Conibeer’s greatest challenge’ by A C T Marke, Frogmouth Press, 2012, 278 pp, ISBN: 978-0-646-57700-5.  Buy direct from the author at for $30 including postage and handling

TAKE AN EX-TPNG Malaria Control officer with a penchant for Victorian age literature, train him as a librarian and then retire him in idyllic Tasmania. Chances are, sooner or later, he’ll start writing novels.

That’s exactly what seems to have happened with Andrew Marke. This is his third book and judging by the way it ends it is the last of a trilogy featuring his intrepid bachelor hero, Temlett Conibeer.

Continue reading "New adventure novel: Mossad hunts Nazis in PNG" »

God and man at the table of the wedding banquet


A ballad of the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords

God the Father and the Son, one fine morning,
opened the window of heaven and looked down
to see the man they had created, how he was doing.
Alas! Their hearts were broken – broken into pieces.
They gasped – holding their breath in deep anguish for the man,
the apple of their eyes, was ensnared by the Devil in his net of sin
In order to eventually boil him in his kitchen – the lake of fire.

Continue reading "God and man at the table of the wedding banquet" »

New PNG species discovery excites conservationists


Hindenburg Wall, Western ProvinceSHROUDED IN MIST and covered by dense canopy, the hot, steamy depths of Papua New Guinea’s remote western interior can offer an unforgiving domain.

Despite this, concealed in the dark and humid undergrowth, a pioneering biological survey along the spectacular Hindenburg Wall – possibly one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth – has revealed dozens of plant and animal varieties new to science.

Led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and sponsored by the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program, this region's impressive and largely unknown geological formations provide a setting for one of the greatest assemblages of tropical species.

Continue reading "New PNG species discovery excites conservationists " »

PNG - China sign controversial marine agreement

PACIFIC BEAT | Radio Australia

PMIZ protest bannerWORK IS SET TO BEGIN on the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang after five years of delays.

There has been long-standing community opposition to the scheme on Madang Lagoon which it has been claimed will threaten people's way of life and put in jeopardy at least six endangered species.

The PMIZ is being built by the Papua New Guinea government and is expected to house up to 10 tuna canneries and a fleet base that will rival anything in Asia.

Continue reading "PNG - China sign controversial marine agreement" »

Despite LNG, tough times lie ahead for PNG citizens

MARTYN MAMORONG | The Namorong Report

Port Moresby street vendors (Image - Martyn Namorong)THE LATEST OXFORD BUSINESS GROUP report on Papua New Guinea has highlighted a rather bleak prospect for ordinary Papua New Guineans.

According to the report, the biggest losers during the current resources boom are PNG’s rural majority. The reason is the sharp decline in the key economic sectors that support these people.

“Having grown 8% in 2011, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries grew just 0.8% in 2012, a drop brought about by declining global commodity prices,” states the report. It goes on to say that agriculture still supports an estimated 80% of the population, and accounting for one-third of GDP.

Continue reading "Despite LNG, tough times lie ahead for PNG citizens" »

Plus ça change – Whistling on the tink with Attitude


PNG Attitude main pageTHERE IS A BIT OF THE tinkerer in me – and it manifests itself when I tink with this blog. I am therefore I tink, as the great philosopher Wayne Descartes put it.

People know when I’m on the tink. I whistle cheerfully if tunelessly and am incapable of distraction, except by the nearby presence of a good chardonnay.

I can’t recall exactly how many iterations this main page of the blog has been wrangled through; perhaps as many as tinksty-plaw.

Thankfully, in 2009, the National Library of Australia selected PNG Attitude for preservation and it re-archives the site each September-October.

Hence past layouts remain available for an awestruck posterity to wonder at and, more importantly, every article and comment we’ve ever published is retained. Check the NLA archive for yourself here and bow to the weight of our legacy.

Continue reading "Plus ça change – Whistling on the tink with Attitude" »

Bright Australian cricket future for PNG T20 talent

BEN HOOK | Sunday Mail (SA)

Jamie Cox with Chris Amini and Rarua DingaraSOUTH AUSTRALIA cricket boss Jamie Cox says a fact-finding mission to Papua New Guinea has him convinced the PNG national team will shock South Australian cricket this year.

And he has boldly predicted members of the Hebou Barramundis, who will play in Adelaide's new six-team Premier League from September, will make state and Big Bash League teams within three years.

Cox spent a hectic two days at Cricket PNG's base in Port Moresby working with its leading players and officials, and also took in a visit to the cricket-mad village of Hanuabada.

"I'm pleasantly surprised," Cox said after overseeing the Barramundis two-hour training session in sapping heat.

Continue reading "Bright Australian cricket future for PNG T20 talent" »

Days of the kiap: How we built Baimuru’s biggest canoe


Chris in Eiwo, Kikori, 1971I WAS POSTED to Baimuru Patrol Post in early 1970. The officer-in-charge of the station was Assistant District Officer Peter Harrison, newly transferred from Milne Bay District.

Despite my junior status as a kiap, I found myself placed in the role of advisor to the Baimuru Local Government Council. 

While what I knew about local government could be written on the head of a pin, I had sufficient understanding of basic finance and accounting systems to rapidly ascertain that the council was perilously close to broke.

Continue reading "Days of the kiap: How we built Baimuru’s biggest canoe" »

What love is this?


Christ_on_the_crossYes, may you come to know his love - although it can never be fully known - and so be completely filled with the very nature of God… - Ephesians 3:19

See the Christ, Anointed of God
Glorified in Heaven, worshipped and adored
He’s Magnificent and Awesome, Majestic and Enthralling
Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Enduring…

But what love is this?
See Him rise from His throne
To lay aside His crown, His scepter and gown
But what love is this?
See Him descend from on high
To mingle with sinners...
Sinners such as you and I

Continue reading "What love is this?" »

Church with a view right through to heaven itself

DUNCAN WRIGHT | Guardian Weekly

Highland settlemen, Madang (Image - Alamy)IT HAD ALL STARTED with an innocuous conversation high up in the hills above Simbai village in Papua New Guinea.

A 70-year-old, extensively tattooed man called Sampson had described his village, while delicately peeling and eating the largest avocado I had ever seen.

This involved repetition of the word "church", gesticulation towards the far hillside and then, enigmatically the finger wandered towards the heavens. This cryptic message bugged me for the rest of the day and when Sampson returned I asked if it was possible to visit his village.

Continue reading "Church with a view right through to heaven itself " »

Commission into land leases sub-standard says A-G


Kerenga KuaPAPUA NEW GUINEA’s Attorney General, Kerenga Kua, has blasted the performance of the three senior lawyers who were commissioned to carry out an inquiry into the special agriculture business leases, or SABLs.

The inquiry, which cost the state K15 million and was supposed to run for three months, has only recently produced a draft report after 18 months.

Mr Kua described the work of former chief magistrate John Numapo and senior lawyers Alois Jerewai and Nicholas Mirou as well below standard, especially when the draft covered only three of the commission’s 16 terms of reference.

Mr Kua says these three only deal with legal and administrative issues.

“The commissioners, in my view, ought to have given it a lot more professional dilligence than what they have done,” he said.

“Quite frankly, unless they can publish the report within the next two months for the Prime Minister, it borders on gross negligence and gross professional.”


Johnny Blades of RNZI has an add to this story. He reports:

Alois Jerewai says he and his fellow commissioners take exception to the criticism, disputing Mr Kua’s claim about the cost and defending their efforts investigating under difficult conditions and with fragmented funding.

“As far as we’re concerned, there was no justification whatsoever for his criticism to be levelled in the manner he did, particularly before the tabling of the interim report and him having pre-empted and gone through the contents of the report and criticised us not only in relation to the report but also to the extent of undermining our professional integrities,” Mr Jerewai said

Down the Fly River, this time with a paddle

Martyn Namorong, March 2013MARTYN NAMORONG | The Namorong Report

ON TUESDAY I ARRIVED in Port Moresby after a six month stint at the Ok Tedi copper-gold mine in the Star Mountains of western Papua New Guinea.

The experience was overwhelmingly positive and gave me many insights into the political economy of the resources sector in PNG and Western Province in particular.

Towards the end of last year, I observed and participated in discussions that led to 156 communities signing up to extend the mine life at Ok Tedi beyond 2015.

What stunned me about the discussions was the amount of scientific information given to the village leaders. It was as if Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) had put itself on trial and gave the leaders evidence against itself.

Continue reading "Down the Fly River, this time with a paddle" »

A letter to my fellow poet, Leonard Fong Roka

Michael Dom hsMICHAEL DOM

LEONARD, I BELIEVE you will find the right way to refine your poetry without losing your original voice, which is 'raw and edgy' as Phil Fitzpatrick once described, and this is purely because of your experience as a Bougainvillean.

The rhetoric in my original question was for you to consider where you are going with your poetic vision.

There is much horror in the world; man is capable of good and evil. As a poet you are the voice of your people who suffered under such horrific times and came through. The world must be told their story. Your people must be reminded of what happened.

But never forget that your people have come through those darkest nights, whether it was fighting and standing in the fires of your foes destruction or fleeing in fear and panic and taking cover in the most convenient hideout.

Continue reading "A letter to my fellow poet, Leonard Fong Roka" »

Bougainville attacks beer & smokes tax evaders

STEPHANIE ELIZAH | New Bougainville Bulletin

Punghau_AlbertTHE AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE GOVERNMENT (ABG) and its Administration are closely monitoring business houses that are evading payment of beer and tobacco taxes and says it will respond accordingly.

Minister for Finance, Albert Punghau (pictured), was responding to concerns raised on the lack of effective tax collection that resulted in lower than expected internal revenue.

Mr Punghau said projections on tax collected from beer and tobacco sales last year was K9.9 million but non-compliance by most Bougainville businesses resulted in the government experiencing an internal revenue shortfall.

Continue reading "Bougainville attacks beer & smokes tax evaders" »

Assistant Commissioner Joe Bemu dies in Bougainville


A BOUGAINVILLEAN WHO BECAME ONE of PNG’s top police officers, Joseph Bemu, 62, died last Saturday at his village in the Lenoke area in Buin District of south Bougainville.

The retired Chief Superintendent Bemu was the first Bougainvillean to be appointed to the post of the Assistant Police Commissioner on Bougainville in 2004.

He lost a leg during the Bougainville conflict, but never let that interfere with his duty.

Joe was a good and honest man and worked hard for reconciliation in Bougainville. He was my wife Rose's adopted father and his wife Mary was 'best woman' at our wedding.

Continue reading "Assistant Commissioner Joe Bemu dies in Bougainville" »

My Story: A life that progresses & dreams that clarify

Bernard Yegiora11 - BERNARD YEGIORA

I WAS BORN IN KUNDIAWA general hospital on the 29 September 1983. I believe the night I was born was just an ordinary night: there was nothing significant, meaning no bright moving stars or fireworks.

At the time of my birth my father was working as a senior business development officer with the Commerce Department in the Simbu provincial government. My mother was a high school teacher who taught home economics and science.

My father was of mixed origin. His father was from Harua in the Kubalia district of East Sepik and his mother was from the Nimai tribe who lived in Koge in between the Tabare, Kere, Dinga, Dom, and Gunagi people in Sinasina, Simbu.

My grandfather joined the police force during the colonial days. He was able to see the evolution of the force from the Khaki to the Zulu era and beyond. Under the colonial administration, he was part of the team led by the Kiaps who brought civilisation to the highlands of PNG.

Continue reading "My Story: A life that progresses & dreams that clarify" »

Ben Jackson to meet Attituders in POM next month


Martyn and BenYESTERDAY AFTERNOON ON TWITTER we announced the visit of Ben Jackson to Port Moresby – and this morning it’s already clear that his first visit to Papua New Guinea will be crowded with gutpela bung, liklik dring, pusit blo niusman, toktok gris and other fashionable Melanostralian activities.

Ben’s 8-day mission in PNG is fourfold: to meet PNG Attitude’s Papua New Guinean friends face to face; to discuss the Crocodile Prize with Society of Writers’ (SWEP) committee members; to talk with potential clients about our Jackson PR Associates company; and to attend the annual general meeting of Bougainville Copper Ltd, which is a client of ours.

Oh yes, and fifthly, to sit down with journalists and talk about what journalists talk about – pay, stories, lack of good pay, lack of good stories.…

Continue reading "Ben Jackson to meet Attituders in POM next month" »

I sought the summit & arrived; now I think of the leopard


Kilimanjaro - Kibo 'a piece of cake with icing on top'“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai,’ the House of God.

Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude”

- The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway

I DON’T KNOW IF HEMINGWAY ever got to the top of Kilimanjaro but he immortalised the frozen carcass of the leopard and the eternal question of what this creature was doing at such an altitude in his wonderful work of fiction.

For me, since my ascent of the peak of Kibo, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro (or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze, the highest point of the old German Empire), some would say it has all been downhill.

Continue reading "I sought the summit & arrived; now I think of the leopard" »

O'Neill commits to Ok Tedi under new structure


THE GOVERNMENT OF Papua New Guinea is still considering extending the mining lease for Ok Tedi Mining Ltd under a new management structure, prime minister Peter O’Neill says.

Mr O’Neill said last week’s media reports quoting him as saying the lease would not be extended when it expired at the end of 2013 were wrong.

“There is no divorce with Ok Tedi. Ok Tedi is in PNG and we will continue our engagement with them,” he told reporters in Port Moresby on Sunday.

“I said the partnership between the owners of Ok Tedi – that is the PNG government and the PNGSDP [PNG Sustainable Development Project] – that partnership will not continue,” Mr O’Neill said.

Continue reading "O'Neill commits to Ok Tedi under new structure" »

PACMAS media report dodges elephant in the room

DAVID ROBIE | Café Pacific

A RECENT PACMAS (Pacific Media Assistance Scheme) report is a constructive diagnosis for the ailing state of the region’s media association, and a prescription for how things can get better. But it manages to dodge the elephant in the room – accountability.

For months, social media outlets and journalists have been asking about the fate of the Media Council of PNG, once one of the strongest in the region and an example to the rest. But it has been dogged in recent years because of allegations of fraud.

AusAID funding and the executive director, Nimo Kama, were suspended pending an inquiry.

But the outcome of this has been kept very quiet. AusAID reportedly funded the PNG Media Council to the tune of $500,000 in 2010.

Continue reading "PACMAS media report dodges elephant in the room" »

Dodgy security firms may be part of crime problem

MARTYN NAMORONG | Supported by the Chalapi Pomat Writing Fellowship

IN A MARKET ECONOMY, one has to compete effectively and sometimes desperately to sustain business, so it wasn’t surprising for me to hear of the rampage by Guard Dog Security personnel at the Lae Yacht Club

In 2011 I met a former manager of a security firm who gave me a lot of insights into the underbelly of the industry.

One of the scary things is that companies make their competitors lose business by undermining the security they provide.

The ex-manager said that some of the break-and-enters and killing of guards was linked to competing companies trying to take away business from a contracted firm.

Continue reading "Dodgy security firms may be part of crime problem" »

Goya Henry: One-legged flier & PNG trawler skipper


Henry Goya Henry in his famous Australian-made plane, Genairco, c 1935WAS GOYA HENRY (1901-74) the first person to fly a plane under the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

I strongly suspect that he was – but, for me, more than that he was a truly outstanding man and a friend.

The remarkable thing about the old Papua New Guinea was that you were given the opportunity to meet people like Goya.

The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia recalls him as a “particularly colourful litigant in the 1930s” and as “the first person with a wooden leg to be granted a flying licence - who delighted in stunt-flying under Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Continue reading "Goya Henry: One-legged flier & PNG trawler skipper" »


LEONARD FONG ROKA | Supported by the Jeff Febi Writing Fellowship

Black RoseHideout.
In the hideout,
the papa and the mama and the sick pikinini…
save the flowers:
the mister bougainvillea, the black roses
and orchids
of brilliant colours.
O plumage of your dreams
and blood streams.
The future clouds of rain
making to this barren land.
caressed by greed
of intruding savage storms
In repeated fire flight
of uneased raging fist and windy bushfires.
O infernos of uneasiness…
Mastering the rains, nights o floods.
Don’t ever snore nor scoff
but track on and on
like hunter dogs you’d dreamt of
sniffing in thought
and peeing around
for cool heartedness.
Your roaming sacrifice,
dearest papa creature.

Continue reading "Hideout" »

Sorcery & witchcraft conference to be held in Canberra

Sorcery Pot, PNGSorcery & Witchcraft-Related Killings in Melanesia: Culture, Law & Human Rights Perspectives Conference, 5–7 June 2013, University House, Australian National University, Canberra

SORCERY AND WITCHCRAFT BELIEFS and practices exist in many communities throughout the world, and are particularly associated with social stress and dislocation.

Although some aspects of sorcery and witchcraft beliefs and practices are, it is argued, functional or even beneficial for communities and individuals (e.g. in maintaining social norms) they can also lead to a range of negative consequences.

These include brutal attacks and even killings of alleged practitioners, civil unrest and warfare, criminal activity, and the fostering of a pervasive culture of insecurity, fear and envy in the context of uneven economic development.

Very little of the voluminous, largely anthropological, literature on sorcery and witchcraft considers how these negative consequences can be addressed in policy and practical terms.

Continue reading "Sorcery & witchcraft conference to be held in Canberra" »

Gillard appoints secretary with no PNG experience


Senator Matt ThistlewaiteSENATOR MATT THISTLETHWAITE, 40, the new Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, has a colourful background across a range of  interests – but not one of them has anything to do with Papua New Guinea or the Pacific.

He is the first parliamentary secretary in this portfolio not to have relevant experience in the region.

Thistlethwaite was general secretary of NSW Labor from 2008-2010, having spent 14 years in the trades union movement.

His demise from the general secretary’s job was dramatic.

Continue reading "Gillard appoints secretary with no PNG experience" »

Is stupidity a virus? And is ‘public service’ an oxymoron?


AT DIFFERENT POINTS in my working life I’ve been part of both state and federal public service systems.

The latter involved the rather unique arm that was the pre-independence administration in Papua New Guinea.

I finally bailed out of public service in 1994 and struck out on my own and I’ve never regretted it.  Indeed, I often wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

The first thing I did was take a year off to recover.  The healing process was slow but when the nightmares stopped I figured I was on my way.

Continue reading "Is stupidity a virus? And is ‘public service’ an oxymoron?" »

Self-development: A new direction for Bougainville

LEONARD FONG ROKA | Supported by the Jeff Febi Writing Fellowship

Leonard Roka (right) explains his mini hydro-electric model to Ian KemishAS BOUGAINVILLEANS, WE HAD TO BE INNOVATIVE during the height of the Australia-backed Papua New Guinea blockade of our island.

During that time, I witnessed a range of discoveries: food processing, gunsmithing, electricity production, building and construction, engine mechanics, electronics, home economics, health care training, navigation.

Just some of the many skills that the crisis forced upon the illiterate people of Bougainville.

But since the peace process and the return of so-called Eurocentric services to the island, I’ve been saddened to see this innovation being shattered by the cash economy and a clear lack of vision and pragmatism at the political level.

There is also, unfortunately, corruption and self-interest in our midst.

Continue reading "Self-development: A new direction for Bougainville" »

Sonet 8: Dispela Nambawan Meri Tru


This translation is dedicated to Phil Fitzpatrick for re-inspiring
the arguments for the use of Tok Pisin in our literature

Hamaspela gutpela man isave bihainim tok win bilong yu?
Hamaspela lidaman na hamaspela bikman tu?
Hamaspela man isave harim poret stori bilong yu?
Hamaspela man bilong tok singsing na hamaspela man bilong Anutu?
Long wanem strong tru bai ol lusim naispela pasin bilong yu?
Ol ino inap abrusim graun taim ol istap long lek bilong yu.

Hamaspela gutpela meri isave poretim tok win bilong yu?
Hamaspela bosmeri na hamaspela yangpela meri tu?
Hamaspela isave gut tru long bikpela bagarap bilong yu?
Hamaspela matron long haus sik na hamaspela meri bilong Anutu?
Long wanem strong tru bai ol traim resis wantaim yu?
Ol ino inap abrusim dispela kalakala bilong yu.

Hamaspela meri na hamaspela man tru
Bai inapim mak bilong Dispela Nambawan Meri Tru?

Continue reading "Sonet 8: Dispela Nambawan Meri Tru" »

The light upon the far mountain glows at last


Sam Koim“Our communal existence imposes certain obligations that more often clashes with the demands of the law… The society is conditioned to protect even the worst criminal” – Sam Koim (pictured)

AT LAST, A LIGHT upon the mountain.

The nexus between the so called Melanesian Way and personal responsibility and accountability has been a stumbling block for Papua New Guinea for many years.

The problem may be divided into two main parts.

First, there was the dilemma of how to deal with the norms of modern society when the traditional culture is all you have to fall back on.

Secondly, to be told by foreigners that you must change may well be offensive and viewed as being lectured.

Continue reading "The light upon the far mountain glows at last" »

My Story: a creative life of teaching, singing & writing


Don &  Barbara with GrandmaI WAS BORN ON ANZAC DAY 1939, near the start of World War II, in the Poplars Private Hospital Epping, in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

If I had been a boy my father said he would have called me Digger. My mother was glad I was a girl!

I grew up in a nice old Federation house in Epping, with a big garden full of vegetables and flowers, surrounded by loving parents and relatives.

My Dad’s sister, Aunty Emm, looked after her mother, my Neasmith grandmother, and ran a Nursing Home in a fine old house with large gardens, some bush and near a creek, not far from us in Epping. We spent most weekends there.

We all belonged to the Epping Presbyterian Church and Mum’s brother was one of the elders. 

Mum’s mother, whom I called Nana, lived with us until she died, when I was about 12 years old. I had one brother, Donald who was born three years after me and we became the best of friends.

Continue reading "My Story: a creative life of teaching, singing & writing" »

Old Custard Cock – mastarot & bridge-building isolate


THERE HAS BEEN SOME CHAT in PNG Attitude on Ludwig Schmidt of New Guinea. Allow me to cast some additional light on the subject.

The Schmidts were father and son, both Ludwig. The first Ludwig came in the gold rush days to Wau-Bulolo and then followed the interest created by the first flyover of the Wahgi Valley in 1932.

In 1933, a number of individuals or partnerships, all prospectors, applied for permission to enter what was then known as the Upper Purari.

As the only government presence then was the semi-permanent patrol camp established at present-day Kainantu, this was equivalent to that part of the Eastern Highlands east and south-east of the Benabena River.

Among the 33 applicants who received permission and who did enter the Upper Purari was Ludwig Smith Snr and his teenage son, known as Wiggy.

Continue reading "Old Custard Cock – mastarot & bridge-building isolate" »

PNGSDP - a clever deception on government & people


Mine tailings, river headwaters, Tabubil (Image - Peter Kranz)IN HIS STORY IN the Sydney Morning Herald, republished in PNG Attitude, Michael Pascoe forgets several key facts in his one-eyed and ill-willed article.

Such articles do not bode well for relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia. Indeed such stereotyping by ignorant and lazy journalists, who should know better, keep raising the ire of decent Australians and Papua New Guineans year in and year out.

Fact 1. All minerals in the ground belong to the Independent State of PNG. Once a license runs out, the State can do as it pleases. In the case of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) it is the Independent State of PNG's sovereign right to grant or not grant a renewal. That is the law of England that Australia instituted in PNG.

Continue reading "PNGSDP - a clever deception on government & people" »

A confused world. Can we be happy by playing God?

Ganjiki WayneGANJIKI D WAYNE | Supported by the Bea Amaya Writing Fellowship

You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” - Jesus

WE LIVE IN A MORALLY CONFUSED WORLD where philosophers tell us even the notion of morality is an irrelevant consideration in the make-up of society.

"What you believe in private doesn't matter in public,” they suggest. So keep your morality at home.

In the book of Genesis, in the Garden of Eden the Devil, through a serpent, tried to convince man he didn't need God to know good from bad, right from wrong. That we could be like God.

Nothing has changed except the form of the devil’s messenger.

Continue reading "A confused world. Can we be happy by playing God?" »

My story: No man could, but the Viva led me to PNG

Robin Lillicrapp and family 20129 - ROBIN LILLICRAPP

I WAS THE FIRST-BORN of dairy farming parents and my childhood years were spent in northern Victoria in a generation recovering from the rigours of World War II.

From an early age, we children were engaged with many workaday tasks.

Our district was populated with returned soldiers and their families eking out a living from former wheat and sheep lands adjacent to the Murray River.

This source of irrigation water eventually transformed the area into a virtual food-bowl.

Books were an outlet for me in those pre-TV times. I loved reading and entered readily into the world presented by each author.

I think I was a precocious child.

Continue reading "My story: No man could, but the Viva led me to PNG" »

Is TB Australia's problem? Maybe not long from now


TODAY, SUNDAY 24 MARCH, is World Tuberculosis Day. In Australia, tuberculosis (TB) has largely been eradicated and is at a negligible incidence of six cases for every 100,000 of population.

So, apart from humanitarian considerations for countries less fortunate, why should TB concern Australia?

It's said that one can walk from Australia to Papua New Guinea at low tide, and PNG has a staggeringly high incidence of 346 TB cases per 100,000, with numbers rising. (There has been a 42% increase in the last decade.)

Furthermore, 33% of new and retreatment cases in PNG are of the heinous drug-resistant variety.

So will PNGs problem become Australia's? Evidence suggests that it will.

Continue reading "Is TB Australia's problem? Maybe not long from now" »

World Vision PNG pushes fight against tuberculosis


Curt von BoguslawskiWORLD VISION SAYS EVERYONE in Papua New Guinea can do more to limit the spread of tuberculosis.

PNG country leader, Curt von Boguslawski (pictured), says World TB Day events will be held around PNG this weekend and people need to realise the disease is treatable and the treatment is free.

He says there will be events in Port Moresby, Madang, Morobe and Goroka as the National TB Program now covers all provinces.

Mr von Boguslawski says a persistent cough lasting more than three weeks is a key symptom of the infectious respiratory illness.

Continue reading "World Vision PNG pushes fight against tuberculosis" »

My Story: From greenhorn planter to a true man of PNG


Dave's mother's handwritten account of his birth“Ah, little woman, you little know the strain it puts upon a man to be an empire builder”
- W Somerset Maugham in ‘Before the Party’

THE ACCOUNT OF MY BIRTH in the accompanying image is in my mother’s handwriting. I was born at home in Melbourne, and the doctor looking after my mother was not present.

Not that it mattered much, as my father – also a doctor - stepped into the breach, as it were, and delivered me. According to Mum, he was joking with her throughout the process.

Not long after, my family moved to the Riverina region of in New South Wales – first to Narrandera and, after a number of years, to Leeton. In both towns my father practised medicine until he died in 1965.

My full name is David Andrew de Bérigny Wall. After leaving St Ignatius’ College Riverview in 1954 I worked on plantations and for the Department of Health in Papua New Guinea for 18 years.

Continue reading "My Story: From greenhorn planter to a true man of PNG" »

PNG develops touch footie on the international stage

BEN HARRIS | Touch Football Australia

Touch football in actionTHERE WAS PLENTY OF FLAIR and lots of smiles when Papua New Guinea played recently in the 2013 Australian National Touch League at Coffs Harbour.

This was the first time PNG had played at the NTLs and they competed in the mixed open division.

Touch football has been played in PNG for nearly 20 years.

PNG junior vice-president John Aidaboe said there was one reason for playing at Coffs Harbour.

Continue reading "PNG develops touch footie on the international stage" »

O’Neill rejects Ok Tedi lease renewal: time for divorce?

Liam Fox h&sLIAM FOX | ABC

PAPUA NEW GUINEA's prime minister Peter O’Neill says he won't extend the lease for the Ok Tedi mine unless there is more government oversight of its major shareholder.

Mr O'Neill has long criticised Ok Tedi's major shareholder, the Singapore-based charitable trust PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGDSP).

He has accused the trust of failing to live up to its mandate to use the mine's dividends to promote development in PNG.

The mine's lease is due to expire later this year and Mr O'Neill has told parliament he won't agree to extend it to 2022 under the current arrangements.

"This partnership is not working. Like any marriage that is not working there must be a time for divorce," he said.

Mr O'Neill says the government should have more oversight of PNGSDP, and he wants to restructure its board to include more Papua New Guineans.

Case study: Big miners’ contribution to development

Callan_MargaretMARGARET CALLAN | Development Policy Blog | Extracts

THE LARGEST CONTRIBUTION to national development by the big four mining companies in Papua New Guinea (Lihir Gold, Oil Search, Ok Tedi Mining and Porgera Joint Venture) was taxes and other statutory payments paid to the national government, K1568.4m.

This represents an average of 17.2% of the PNG government’s total revenue and grants over the period and confirms that mining companies have a big stake in the national government’s capacity to use revenue well to provide development benefits to Papua New Guinean citizens.

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Attack at Numbaira: Don’t fight, we have rifles....


I HAD BEEN ON A ROUTINE census, health survey and general administration patrol in the Taiora Division south of Kainantu in 1956.

We progressed well from village to village and when close to the southern extremity of the area I heard reports of tribal fighting further to the south at a village called Numbaira.

Two policemen I’d sent to have a careful look were warned off with fearsome threats and derisive insults, so I decided I’d better take the whole patrol in to investigate.

The Numbaira people lived on the headwaters of the mighty Purari River in the same valley system as the fearsome Kukukuku peoples. They had a reputation as warriors who loved a fight and resented intruders onto their land. They had attacked a Government patrol some years earlier.

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Lapieh Landu and her mother, SusanLAPIEH LANDU

Dedicated to my better half, my mother, Susan

I couldn’t put words to describe you
I couldn’t compare you to anything in this world
The scent of the most beautiful flowers could not equate
The magnitude of the universe, could not measure

The womb from which I came from
Fabricated by unreserved love
Peerless to anything alive
You are mine

The bust of enrichment
From which I gained life
Merely entailing wholesomeness
You are mine

The hands that mould me
Healing every graze, every contusion
With pure heed and intention
You are mine

The mouth that guide me
Steering every option
Without judgement but a whisper
You are mine

The feet that walked grave miles
Gracing all roads to life and wisdom
To educate me, to protect me
You are mine

Why put words to describe you
Why compare you to anything in this world
Your scent is solitary
You are my Universe, You are mine

My Story: Just a peripatetic piece of a very lot more

Wedding Day - Rose, Peter and relatives7 - PETER KRANZ

I WAS BORN IN BRISBANE in 1953, at the Women's Hospital. Don't worry - I was a boy.

The next year, after a brief time at Strathfield, my Dad was asked to work in England, and off we went (I was too young to remember).

So I grew up in Blighty, settling first in Greenford, then Finchley.

My first memories are of watching the milkman arrive with his horse-drawn cart and Dad rushing outside with a shovel to collect the dung for the garden.

I always remember the garden, smelling of roses and germaniums and hearing the blackbirds singing. Dad paid me one penny for each snail I could collect (we waged wars against snails).

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Blood on floor in Canberra as Gillard reigns supreme


TONIGHT I OFFERED my resignation as the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister.

This is a job I have loved and so it was a difficult decision. But in the circumstances of today's events I believed this to be the appropriate course. The Prime Minister has accepted my resignation.

Serving as Parliamentary Secretary has been the great honour of my professional life and I thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity.

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My Story: I am Simbu. I am Mosbi mero. Read, son, read

Michael Dom and PNG6 - MICHAEL DOM

I AM A SIMBU. My parents were born in the foothills of Yoba Kogul, at Ninal Village, Sinesine.

Yoba Kogul is part of the massive limestone structure that dominates the entrance into the Simbu from its Eastern Highlands border all the way to Kundiawa town where it falls steeply before the mighty Wara Simbu.

The modern Okuk highway has tried for decades to wind its way around this massive geological formation, but so far has had poor success in straddling the cliffs. The earth slides and shifts beneath the machinations of man. Strangely enough, I am proud of this.

My ancestors harvested the great trees that towered above those white topped cliffs and hauled them down from the rugged slopes to serve as the massive centre posts for our hausman. Our fathers have for centuries planted karuka trees (Pandanus jejunum) in its foothills for their sons to harvest.

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Once more PNG Attitude readers come to the party


YOU’VE GOT TO HAND IT to our readers – they have done it again.

With donations ranging from $20 to $250, in a little over 24 hours they raised $1,000 to make sure Martyn Namorong could deliver a paper on leadership to a Melbourne conference - Leadership for the next generation: 2013 Papua New Guinea Symposium.

As I’ve mentioned more than once previously, Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Research Institute keeps inviting Papua New Guineans to its annual PNG talk fest (sponsored by AusAID and apparently an initiative of Labor politician Richard Marles) without providing travel or accommodation.

OK if you’re an academic or public servant whose institution picks up the tab, but tough for a Melanesian trying to rub two toea together.

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Life of a young PO: case of the Baimuru patrol post


Baimuru Patrol Post, 1962 (Image - John Fowke)THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS OF Baimuru Patrol Post in the days when patrols were done and justice, dispute resolution, sanitary maintenance instruction and all sorts of other advice physically taken to the villages four times a year.

At the patrol post, government services including a branch of the Commonwealth Savings Bank and the Post Office were managed by me in addition to daily courts, public works, maintenance of airstrip and station surrounds.

These were provided under my own occasionally wrathful oversight. We spoke Motu to each other on the station, and we considered ourselves a team with a reputation to keep and with a job to be done.

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Sexual violence in Lae: impunity and resistance


LAE, ON PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s northern coast, is the country’s second city and industrial hub. It is also the capital of PNG’s largest province, Morobe.

Its main government hospital, the Angau Hospital, is home to PNG’s most successful Family Support Centre (FSC), which provides medical support and psychosocial care to survivors of family and sexual violence.

Supported by Medecins san Frontieres (MSF) since 2008, in the last five years the FSC has provided care to over 11,500 patients.

Many of those cases involve women being beaten or knifed. But many are also cases of sexual violence. In 2010, the Centre attended to 530 survivors of sexual violence. Of these, 338 were adults (above 16) and the other 192 were children. Of the 338 adult cases, 322 were cases of rape. Of the 192 child cases, 149 were of rape.

These are, by any standards, depressingly high levels of reported sexual violence and rape. But our interest is in how many of these cases make it through the legal system and result in convictions.

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My Story: Sketches from the empty and hopeful years

Robert (Bob) Jackson
Robert (Bob) Jackson - Twice led the Besses o’ th’ Barn Band on Empire tours of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada


THE EARLY MORNING sun creeps across the brown room, eventually arriving at a bed upon which slumps a skinny 10-year old boy with a weak chest and bad eyes.

He is staring glumly at a sprung mousetrap on the floor, which he himself has set off thinking in the gloom it might have been a gift unexpected.

He had hoped it was something more than the contents of the pillowcase hanging at bed’s end.

Striped handkerchiefs, grey school shorts, a book by Robert Louis Stevenson and a packet of raisins and muscatels, already consumed.

Another Australian Christmas Day had dawned in Nowra.

My first decade of life was a time of bemusement and disappointment, whereas my second was a time of growing hope followed by a triumphal awakening in what was then the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

The 1950s world, the contradictions of which I did not understand in the least, seemed to promise a lot but deliver so little.

My life story began at the beginning of 1945 in the second floor flat of a mean building near the centre of the struggling but once-flourishing silk town of Macclesfield in northern England. My mother was in labour and my father was at war.

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