Tony Radford’s medical memoir straddles two worlds
UPNG students protest against asylum deal

"We don't want to come here," say asylum-seekers

BERNAMA | AAP

A SECOND GROUP OF asylum-seekers has landed on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island as part of Australia's tough border protection policy.

The 39 single Iranian men landed at Manus' Momote airport on Friday morning following an overnight flight from Christmas Island and a brief refuelling stop in Darwin, Australian Associated Press reports.

Two G4S security guards accompanied each man on the short walk between the plane and one of two small buses, which took them to the detention camp.

Each detainee was given a small meal on the bus and some held up their ID cards and waved to the press, AAP said.

One asylum-seeker, shouting over the noise of the plane, told journalists his family was in Brisbane.

"We don't want to come here," he said. "We want to go to Australia."

The men were to join 66 others being housed in the refugee processing facility on Manus' Lombrum naval base.

On Thursday, 40 men of mostly Iranian and Afghan origin were sent to the island, which sits just two degrees from the equator.

Friday's arrival of asylum-seekers marks the second intake since Australia and PNG announced its controversial regional processing scheme, under which all new boatpeople are sent to PNG.

Comments

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Peter Kranz

If you need a clearer contrast between the ways both major parties are reporting the PNG asylum-seeker deal, and the way the different factions of the Australian media report this, look no further than the headlines over the last 24 hours.

The Australian (and other Murdoch publications) run with...

"PNG suspends asylum talks...Papua New Guinea has suspended discussions with Australia on the resettlement of refugees, as its most senior immigration official warned that serious breaches of the asylum-seeker undertakings could "jeopardise implementation" of Kevin Rudd's offshore solution."

The ABC (and more-or-less the same in Fairfax) run with...

"Papua New Guinea migration chief agrees with Australian asylum seeker solution...Papua New Guinea's migration chief says he is now happy with the PNG solution after a critical private briefing was leaked to the Australian media."

Both are reporting the same story and both had access to the latest statements from both Governments.

Curious. The same data leads to polar opposite reporting.

To PNG friends - don't take at face value all you read or hear in the Australian media.

Steven Gimbo

Hey, if they say they dont wanna come here, then they must make a stand for demorcracy in their own homeland! What's all these hot air for?? Australia doesnt want them, and so do we!!!! So they must get the message straight! Go somewhere else! If not take up arms against the oppressor in your homeland than to desert it for a stange land!

Frank K Daosak

I agree Michael. It seems rather odd that we are accepting 'dirty' money to build our basic basic needs infrastructure such as Angau hospital.

I would have hoped that we build such from our very own money coming out of our very own land and resources, not with money from some rushed questionable deal forced on us at the eleventh hour by another country.

Michael Dom

If the Islamic world would read the Koran perhaps there would be no need for asylum seeking boat people. But then what are Christians to say? I think I'd rather sit outside the box and observe this collective stupidity innocently.

It is interesting how the boat people have a very specific choice of country for their final destination.

I would assume that real asylum seekers, i.e. people of a minority group who are being persecuted to point of death in their home country, would be glad to arrive in any country, so long as they know they are safe and have some chance of building a new life.

The underlying suspicion that Australia has is that many of these boat people are not bona fide refugees. That's why they aren't allowing them into the country. Instead PNG is going to take these people. Not very smart in my opinion.

Why not send them back to their home countries? I'm sure Quantas could use the business and perhaps Air Niugini too?

As for rebuilding Angau General Hospital, well pardon me, but I thought that was already planned for under PNG Vision 2050 and Medium Term Development Strategy? Why do we need more money for it?

If this is a political ploy to get Rudd back into power then I hope we're not being fooled into thinking that we've really gained anything.

Australia probably would have helped PNG to build a new hospital any way, because they can't afford to have a country with such a poor health system right on their door step.

No this deal serve only two people; Kevin Rudd and Peter O'Neill.

Steve W Labuan

I appreciate Kitchnoge's choice for the first of two options I had proposed for the O'N-KRudd A.S deal. I (and others like Gallagher) opt for the second. However, I am afraid both options are far from reflecting what is best for the issue.

I am sure Kitchnoge will agree with me, that others who are more considerate in thought, heavy in wisdom and sound in judgement will come up with a third (fourth, or fifth etc) option after considering all factors (CAFs) well for the best solution.

We will see this soon. Meanwhile let us all continue to contribute comments towards helping those responsible build-up this ultimatum for the good of all of us.

Steve Gallagher

Sometimes supreme state actors in democratic states do make decision by themself without consulting the parliament and people when they see that it for the best interest of the state.

I think O'Neill is not stupid enough to do that if he sees that the deal does not benefit PNG.

So to be fair I would suggest what Steve WL has stated. They are already here so let them stay but the next one should be done based on collective assement and recommendations.

David Kitchnoge

Steve WL - I'd take the first option and send all the AS to Australia. Australia has the space and resources to take them in and settle them if found to be genuine refugees. No excuses!

Steve W Labuan

I agree that both KRudd & O'N were desperate on the AS deal in the first place. But dealing with third party human lives that are already located in Manus is not something to be pushed back and forth at will.

We must understand that even seeking asylum is a right that must be respected and treated with dignified processes.

Hopefully we also rightly assume, that no more similar stunts like the AS one will be expected in future by so-called leaders.

But for now, two options are available: one is to get rid of the deal through protests given its single-handed dealing between KRudd & O'N; the other is to think positive and control its existence and impact on our country since it's happened already.

Whichever path is taken, people's lives are in question, lives which require defending at all costs and by all means.

I for one would take the second option by beating the challenge in "blessing in disguise" kind of situation.

Francis Sina Nii

The asylum seeker matter was never brought before the PNG Cabinet. O'Neill as one man committed the entirety of PNG into shouldering Australia's domestic problem. Is this democratic?

Australia on the other hand suborned O'Neill with Aussie $ to sign the deal. This emasculates PNG's sovereignty and is a bad precedent.

The $ that comes with the deal is ethically dirty - bribery money regardless of the amount. More consultation is needed for a Asia-Pacific regional solution than shoving it down PNG's throat by KR .

Steve W Labuan

No arguments there Gallagher.

But still, can a clever policy be created that can cover all displaced people both domestic and international within PNG soil or not, in such a way where resources may be shared between these?

It is a give-&-take situation both ways but PNG leaders must begin to be more wise now, and that's where the need for an effective policy on the A.S issue comes in after "considering all factors" (CAFs).

If not, then we can either let outsiders completely dictate to our leaders with their money, or we can forget about everybody else and scramble for things, including all of us becoming MPs for up to 7 million individual parliaments.

David Kitchnoge

Steve - Manam is a PNG refugee issue. Carterets Islands is a PNG refugees issue. West Papua is a PNG refugees issue. And now PNG is made to shoulder Australia's refugee issue too.

Where is the equity of this deal on our own refugees? Where is the fairness? Has money now bought our basic human dignity so that we treat our own refugees in contempt relative to our "imported refugees"?

In terms of the financil gains that you speak about, don't be blinded by the million$$. Has anyone thought about the maintenance costs of these seemingly mega projects that these million$$ would deliver to PNG?

What would be the impact of that on our national budget in future? For starters, the Sir John Guise stadium built for us by the Chinese has been rorting away since 1991. And it is sitting right here in the heart of POM.

Steve Gallagher

Manam and West Papua are different issues and it dosen't concern Australia.

Resettlement of Manam islanders is PNG's national issue and it is the responsibility of PNG government so we cannot just relate it with Assylum seekeers deal.

In case of asylum seekers, Australia is responsible because refugees are coming to Australia and also Australia is a member of the UN and party to the all human rights treaty, therefore she needs to fulfil its obligation.

As I've said earlier, Australia will not directly reject assylum seekers, therefore coming up with Pacific Solution strategy.

The Pacific Solution strategy is indirectly telling Assylum seekers not to enter Australia because they will be send to PNG or other Pacific island nations.

PNG does not spend any money for that deal but will only benefit from it. The money is not given in thousands but in millions and these money could be used in PNG which we will benefit from.

Our diplomats play in Internation Relations to at least get some sort of benefit for PNG in such issues. The current one is an example of many others.

We don't have the ability to have leverage over developed nations so at least we negotiate and make a relative gain rather than nothing.

Moreover, this world we living today is a globalized world and anything happens on the other side of the globe affects the other, therefore, problems in the world can be solve collectively.

Steve W Labuan

Obviously, several factors play into the A.S deal, as mentioned by Nii, Flyn, Gallagher,Wakpy Cox and Kitchnoge in this publication.

When there are differences of opinions, it is called politicising the issue, or complicating the issue, isn't it? The issue must be complicated in order to attract the best solution. That is why we keep calling on politician's attention in our comments.

They need be wise to handle the A.S issue, and the best suggestion we can offer for the long-run is for the creation of a new and clever policy which must consider all the faces (CAFs) that are in play on the issue instead of operating ad-hoc or simply disposing of it.

Most importantly, this requires resources and prudent sustainability management, rather than requiring dollar-blindedness and isolation/individualistic policies.

Also, issues such as the A.S one, are global challenges which sooner or later, it seems, will have all nations dancing into it whether like it or not.

We might as well find solutions for them now. A clever policy for A.S/refugees etc cases may kill similar birds like the Manus, West Papua, and Manam quite effectively.

There is no better time to take up such challenges than now. It must be stressed that this needs money, resources, and that we must be thankful our chance to dish out humanitarian aid (via effective policy) is presently well aided with outside resources.

I would think best O'N and our leaders take advantage on this challenge and turn it into a plus.

Furthermore, we can not argue the A.S case along 'isolation' grounds anymore; we learn now that global happenings are affecting us more and more, and in most cases we find ourselves having little choice on what to do - we must be ready to make the best of such limitations when we are invaded by such happenings.

Yet most importantly, how ever we argue, the bottom-line remains, A.S refugees are humans - just like Christ in PNG and like all of us who are or who are not commenting; and human's are exposed to all conditions both advantages and disadvantages one time or another.

Natural principles of moral grounds still exist as the fabrics of which lives thread on. Remember the story of the lion and the mouse? There may come a time when you find yourself at the wrong end of the line and in need of forgiveness or simply food and water. Reciprocity, respect, kindness, sharing etc counts.

On the last point it would be interesting to relate our experiences today to the country's constitution to see if its guide can effectively still can stand up for us. I think it guides about: stop depending too much; stop living in isolation; and about offering a hand more to ourselves, and to our neighbours those Melanesian & biblical values we have and are good for all.

Final bottom line: We are all humans; but our governments are expendable on the CAFs.

David Kitchnoge

The resttlement of Manam Islanders at Bogia is already causing social strife there.

And I'm sure if they came across to KRX you would face a similar situation.

The point is mass resettlement of people on another person's land in PNG is not an easy exercise. It is not as simple as buying land and moving bodies into houses.

Our social system is already under enough pressure from within to cope with the demands of making the transition from our past to the present and into the future, let alone having to deal with effects of natural disasters.

And we don't need to load it with additional stress. That's unecessary.

Steve Gallagher

David - Manam islanders were evacuated and given land to settle in Bogia and NCR. If only KRX is big, we will provide home for our peles. We Karkar islanders have a heart for others.

You need to have heart for the people, imagine if you were in that situation!

David Kitchnoge

Steve your little island Karkar doesn't have space for your own cousins at Manam and now you find space for strangers.

That's pathetic mate.

Get off your moral high horse and stop being blinded by Australia's money bag. Since when did PNG and Australia worry about the welfare of our own Melanesian refugees from West Papua, Carterets Island and people literally right under your nose at Manam.

This deal just doesn't make sense on many fronts and must be opposed and deposed.

Stephen Cox

Sorry but 90% are not asylum seekers but illegals and worse. There are already many in gaol in Australia on terrorism charges, In one case they plotted to bomb the AFL Grand Final.

Steve W Labuan

If PNG is to benefit from the A.S deal, it must have a policy of sustainability in place.

Tony Flyn has commented well on the size and viability for an appropriate, systematic and sustaining A.S structure that must be beneficial to both PNG and the A/seekers, regardless of whether the beneficiaries be Steve's, Kiki's, Tony's or every PNGean- by-name's people.

I live at New Camp II, Bulolo. Mr Tony Flyn lives in Wau: and I am glad a local leader in his form has picked up on the idea propagating the necessity for positive views and subsequent efforts through which our PNG people can part-take as benefactors - as it seems now - from a negative situation we have no control over.

The intention is clear; comments people make so far especially on the A.S issue, stand as general public contributions for O'N and his pollie boys to carefully analyse, and take specific, comprehensive steps towards creating a clever government policy in response to that burden.

If Australia doesn't want unprocessed boat people on its landmass, then Manus Island is different, PNG is different. In its usual way PNG is still able to show great humanitarian act of kindness by taking in default strangers even if formalised as now. Not only is PNG fulfilling UN Refugee Conventions, but also its own principles on the Melanesian 'pasin' (way), as well as on the "good Samaritan" act of faith.

These active day-to-day humanitarian acts were often overshadowed by media rhetoric since colonial times. In a time such as now, these acts just shine by themselves; PNG is not rich or "classy" by whatever foreign views, but it can share with its 'neighbours' the basic freedoms of life against unhappiness and poverty. Such basic values seems to be missing in the world, but which countries like PNG can contribute towards its friend's problems.

However, the bodies of wisdom, together with refugee money and resources from PNG, Australia and elsewhere, should be executed in a systematically sustaining way, and that Leaders are elected to solve equations as such. They must be thinking right and big, as opposed to thinking left.

Emma Wakpi

If the aid money being poured into PNG currently is not being effectively used to implement real change at the ground level due to a despicably corrupt beauracratic system, how in the world will the money now being offered bring real benefit? What steps are being taken to correct the problem so that aid can benefit those it was intended for? The idea is good and we do really want to assist as best we can our fellow human who are in need of help but the package is impulsive and very crude. We can build big hospitals in major towns and fix our major highways but what about the rural majority? How will they travel out of their bushes, swamps and mountains? Where will they find accomodation and food whilst trying to be treated at the hospital whose workforce is aging and being stressed as it is? How are we planning to cater to the stress in the education system now with free education on offer? We need to look at developing our rural sectors and building links for our people not alienating them further. The simple economics of such changes is that when the poor see the rich getting richer uprisings ensue. The benefits that will come with being re-settled and the head start that the refugees will get through Australian administration, will create ill feeling among the majority of the population being administered by an ill functioning PNG counter part. This is a very basic human reaction. Without the proper awareness, education and control systems things could quickly spiral out of control. Francis Nii and Tony Flynn are correct in their statments. I really do hope that this is all a political gimmick that will be rescinded after the Australian elections and a more thorough plan beneficial to all is hashed out. If not we are headed toward anarchy in the near future. History shows us many examples Zimbabwe,Rawanda,Cambodia etc)...

Steve Gallagher

PNG is benefiting from AusAID and currently the Rudd government is pumping more money to the O'Neill government which is beneficial to PNG.

Sending asylum seekers to PNG is a strategy that Australia is now using which indirectly tells refugees not to enter Australia.

PNG comes in to play here to get benefit and which I personally thinks its good.

Moreover, we have to have some sympathy for these refugees. Their life is under threat so they look for a better place to settle. And if PNG can provide them, they will in return give back to PNG.

Also PNGians can exchange marriage with the refugees so we have a diverse society that ideas and knowledge will flow and, in the long run, PNG will become a better nation.

In the first place I went against the deal but by going throughthe arguments, I now realise that it has lots of benefits for PNG.

I now totally support the PM for striking the deal because the money will be used to support the PNG budget in its development priority areas.

We all must understand that PNG is a developing nation and we need money and someting we can just give in our sovereignty when we see that we will benefit for it.

Assallam Allaikum. Allah akubar!

Tony Flynn

If the refugees have to be resettled in PNG; I trust that Steve and Kiki's people will be able to obtain the full benefit from the joint resettlement action.

I personally believe that our economy is so small that it is possible for few over stayers or selected refugees to be absorbed: but not in the thousands or the hundreds.

They should be accepted in occupations where PNG is lacking. We could of course use farmers who or able to pass their skills by example. There are no small +/- 2ha. agricultural blocks for sale in PNG, unlike other countries.

However we have allowed foreigners to grab the odd several thousand ha. blocks quite easily. Maybe our leaders can convince the land grabbers to allow some accessible sections to be subdivided and small nucleus estates built around each refugee farmer to give our own farmers a boost.

Our village farmers do appear to need something more than the government is offering at this point in time. I feel that this will be their new life and no foreign marriages or importation of family members should be allowed.

They should be as asteroids come to rest in the orbit of PNG; not as comets circling our Parliament with their train of followers. No doubt casting a beneficient light onto our leaders.

Kiki Titus

The asylum seekers are victims of a illegal people trade. They have paid a lot of money to gain illegal access to Australia.

The Australian Government has a duty to protect the country and phase out the illegal activity.

PNG is part of the Asia Pacific region has an obligation to contribute positively, and not be a spectator and recipient. Yes we have internal issues.

The Rudd government will meet all the expenses; we provide the land.

This is a temporary solution. There will problems and we will learn from it.

PNG is the biggest recipient of Australian aid (via AusAID).The reconstruction of Angau Hospital is long overdue. It will serve thousands of people.

A small gesture to like to the Asia Pacific Region is the best we can do.

Steve W Labuan

The rally against "Labour's Racist PNG solution" was held yesterday in Canberra's Garema Place where activists marched to Multicultural Affairs Minister Sen Kate Lundy's office.

The Canberra Refugee Action Committee advocates a policy similar to the Greens were refugees should live, work and school in Australia while their applications are being processed; and that Australian Maritime respond quickly to boat disasters and bring refugees to Australia, rather than elsewhere in the pacific.

I think in all, eventually things will be better finalised in joint effort.

For one thing, PNG is gaining on the double: Aussie refugee money, and human resource input by refugees to the community.

I hope the O'N government take maximum advantage of the situation for PNG.

Francis Sina Nii

What the asylum seeker told the journalists is nothing surprising. Everybody knows that the asylum seekers want to be detained and processed in Australia and not forcefully dumped in the shithole. It's only a matter of time and Kevin Rudd and Peter O'Neill will harvest the fruits of their sinister deal.

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