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127 posts from March 2014

Seeking nominees for lifetime achievement in PNG literature

More than a mineKEITH JACKSON

READERS of PNG Attitude are being asked to nominate writers of substance for the Ok Tedi Mining Award Lifetime Achievement in PNG Literature, a section of The Crocodile Prize national literary contest.

The only previous winner of this K5,000 award was Russell Soaba, whose prose and poetry first graced PNG around the years of Independence.

So far three nominations have been made for the Award: Dr Steven Winduo, Sir Paulias Matane and Dr Bernard Minol.

Continue reading "Seeking nominees for lifetime achievement in PNG literature" »

Task Force Sweep chairman says Tiensten’s sentencing is a victory

Paul TienstenEM TV

CHAIRMAN of Taskforce Sweep, Sam Koim, says Paul Tiensten’s sentencing on Friday was a victory for Papua New Guinea.

Tiensten (pictured) was sentenced to nine years hard labour for misappropriating a $4 million grant to controversial businessman Eremas Wartoto.

This was the first investigation conducted by the Sweep team after it was established in August 2011.

Continue reading "Task Force Sweep chairman says Tiensten’s sentencing is a victory" »

Land of the Black

Land of the BlackISHMAEL PALIPAL

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

The sun rises up on this land
yet the land is still dark
with the beautiful black colour
but you will be sweating in this land
though you will be walking between dark
among the dark black skin color

I been out to other places
but never found  one like mind
where your eyes is always dark
this is really beautiful in these places
because you walk like “never mine”
for we are as everyone “dark”

Continue reading "Land of the Black" »

Caving in Papua New Guinea: between fantasy and reality


THE WORD ‘expedition’ is often squandered and overused (or rather misused) for just about anything.

For us, it means exploring truly uncharted wilderness, meeting local populations and total immersion into a challenging natural environment where humans are simply not meant to travel.

The Papua New Guinean people know little to nothing about the gigantic caverns within their mountains and the current generation had never ventured as far or as high into the range. They were taken aback by our perceived recklessness and the colossal effort we undertook searching for caves, building trails, setting up camps, and pushing ever deeper into the earth.

Continue reading "Caving in Papua New Guinea: between fantasy and reality" »

Resolution! Albert Schram back to work as soon as tomorrow

Schram is the remedySALLY POKITON | PNG Edge

STUDENT leaders at the PNG University of Technology have expressed relief and excitement over the announcement of the new Unitech Council headed by Sir Nagora Bogan as well as the approved work visa for vice chancellor Dr Albert Schram.

SRC president Eddie Nagual said that at a university council meeting on Friday “the entire council members resorted to Sir Nagora as chancellor.”

A decision to re-validate the contract of Albert Schram was later announced.

Continue reading "Resolution! Albert Schram back to work as soon as tomorrow" »

Manus Island 'mission impossible', says former Salvationist

Manus Island Lions Club 'welcome' sign greets arrivals at the airport (Alex Ellinghausen)SARAH WHYTE | Sydney Morning Herald

THE Salvation Army was a poor cultural fit and ill-equipped to manage the difficult situation on the Manus Island detention centre, a former worker has alleged.

The worker, who has spoken on condition of anonymity, has described a ''systematic failure'' of the Salvation Army's work on the offshore processing centre in Papua New Guinea, including the way it handled allegations of rape among detainees and incompetent psychological care provided to asylum seekers.

Continue reading "Manus Island 'mission impossible', says former Salvationist" »

Pabaa-bere – the house warming ritual of the Nasioi people


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

THE dancers gather at the fringes of the hamlet where the new house is located. They’re not far from the new and still unoccupied home.

The suddenly charge at the house hysterically singing the Nasioi songs known as the uuva and the whole world comes to life as everyone around cheers, laughs, sings and dances around the new house to officially declare it open for use by the owner.

All of these practices of the Nasioi people are is connected to the spiritual realm of a life that has existed since time immemorial. And pabaa-bere (sometimes referred to as pabaa-kenaa) is the ceremony that declares a newly completed home open for use by its owner.

Continue reading "Pabaa-bere – the house warming ritual of the Nasioi people" »

The sorry story of conflict in Indonesia’s Papua Region

Papua is Indonesia's poorest region ( Jefri Aries, IRIN)IRIN

THE clearing of forests inhabited by indigenous people in Indonesia's Papua Region by agribusinesses is fuelling conflict in the southern Merauke Regency, say campaigners.

“Indigenous peoples rely on their land for their survival and therefore any incursion onto their land creates serious problems for any community,” Sophie Grig, a senior campaigner for Survival International, a UK-based indigenous rights advocacy organization, told IRIN.

"These incursions in West Papua generally also involve the presence of the military to protect the project [which] leads to human rights violations.” 

Continue reading "The sorry story of conflict in Indonesia’s Papua Region" »

HIV education & prevention in PNG: A case of too much pessimism?

DevPolicy Blog

THE Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) released an evaluation of AusAID’s HIV program in Papua New Guinea in 2012.

The report assessed the program between 2006 and 2010 and it painted a rather gloomy picture. What was particularly worrying was the finding that HIV education and prevention activities were largely ineffective.

These efforts constituted the largest proportion (20%) of AusAID funding to the PNG HIV response.

The evaluation concluded that the overall effectiveness of AusAID’s $174 million intervention was “less than satisfactory” and that, while there was an effective contribution to counselling and testing, other areas, such as education and prevention, were “mostly ineffective.”

Continue reading "HIV education & prevention in PNG: A case of too much pessimism?" »

Governor Juffa cracks down on rampant public service fraud in Oro


ORO Governor Gary Juffa’s efforts to clean up corruption from the province continue with ongoing investigations into fraud.

There have been more arrests of public servants working for the Provincial Administration and Ijivitari Treasury. Police charged Ijivitari district accountant Penny Jiregari with false accounting and Treasury examiner Foster Dira with misappropriation.

The charges flow from allegations that the officers had intentionally made false entries into public documents and dishonestly applied to their own use various amounts of public money.

Police also charged former National Housing Corporation officer Jack Nunisa who is alleged to have fraudulently obtained K13,500 from the Popondetta Urban Local Level Government and Deputy Administrator Kila Sibolo for misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption.

Continue reading "Governor Juffa cracks down on rampant public service fraud in Oro" »

There’s much more to diarrhoea than meets the eye

Wakpi decision tree blackboardEMMA WAKPI

An entry in The Crocodile Prize

SHE stood by the blackboard beside a picture of a crude tree that she had quickly sketched. In the middle of the trunk was the word ‘diarrhoea’ and underneath it was written the word ‘problem’.

Seated around her were health professionals; nurses and community health workers experienced in remote and urban clinical work.

The question seemed very basic, almost an insult, but they were there to learn how to facilitate a community training so took it in good faith- after all they were pretending to be community members for this lesson.

Continue reading "There’s much more to diarrhoea than meets the eye" »

The background & implications of that Oil Search loan deal

Paul BarkerPAUL BARKER | Business Advantage PNG

THE proposed Sovereign Wealth Fund(SWF) is somewhat jokingly referred to by some as the Sovereign Wealth Vacuum, as we await the government to release its revised legislation setting up the fund.

The original idea was to put income from resource projects into the fund (held largely in safe offshore securities) and use those investments to stabilise the currency and provide some core development expenditure, whilst providing confidence for investors etc in PNG’s economic management.

But the government’s planto borrow K1.7 billion for a stake in Oil Search, and by extension invest in PNG’s potential second LNG project, means it is effectively pre-borrowing from the fund.

Continue reading "The background & implications of that Oil Search loan deal" »

Exiled vice-chancellor fights to return to his PNG campus

DAVID MATTHEWS | Times Education Supplement (UK)

Students protest in support Albert Schram (Ronnie Noan)ALBERT Schram is a university leader in exile. He is the vice-chancellor of Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech), but in February 2013 he was deported and has been forced to live in Australia ever since.

Schram has even been declared a “threat to national security” by the country’s former higher education minister.

His bizarre tale sheds an extraordinary light on the parlous state of higher education in Papua New Guinea, where, according to Schram, tribal fights erupt on campus, support staff live in slums and scholars are cut off from the wider scholarly community and current research.

Continue reading "Exiled vice-chancellor fights to return to his PNG campus" »

Mateship on refugees no substitute for good policy, decent conditions

Tony Abbott has been keen to show off the positives of his trip to PNG (Alan Porritt)MICHELLE GRATTAN | The Conversation

TONY Abbott was desperate to paint his just-completed trip to Papua New Guinea in highly positive terms but as far as asylum seeker policy is concerned, it has just thrown up more problems and questions and exposed what a shambles the “PNG solution” is.

Where some of the people who come out of the process as genuine refugees will then go is now one of those “known unknowns”.

Whether the processing itself is being done with sufficient competence and integrity surely has to be a concern. And both countries appear to care less and less (if that’s possible) about the human rights of the people on Manus – their prime preoccupation being to limit information coming out that might be embarrassing or damaging.

Continue reading "Mateship on refugees no substitute for good policy, decent conditions" »

Manus asylum detainees suffer mental torture & humiliation

Manus (Canberra Times - David Pope)CATHOLIC REPORTER PNG

GENERAL Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of PNG & Solomon Islands, Fr Victor Roche, recently visited the Manus asylum seekers centre. FR GIORGIO LICINI interviewed him….

Fr Victor, what prompted your visit to Manus Island on 17-20 March?

I went as an observer of the Catholic Church to the hearings initiated by Justice David Cannings with the specific purpose of establishing if there was any violation of human rights in the refugee camp.

Continue reading "Manus asylum detainees suffer mental torture & humiliation" »

Bougainville Manifesto 12: Protectionism for Bougainville


THE lack of a powerful leadership that exerts influence over all Bougainvilleans is an issue that time has offered the island and its people, and that has resulted solely from the half-heartedness in the history of struggling for self determination since the 1960s.

Furthermore, post-crisis Bougainville should produce Bougainvilleans who are well aware of the long struggles of the island but adults and leaders tend to ignore the past as a tool to design the future. It is here that Bougainville should invest.

In history most Bougainvillean pro-self-determination organisations and independence movements, like the 1969 Napidakoe Navitu formed to foster unity across the island, failed because they did not strategically built themselves.

Continue reading "Bougainville Manifesto 12: Protectionism for Bougainville" »

The night club scene – another tale of Peter in Port Moresby

A few of the lovelies of Moresby's club scenePETER KRANZ

LIFE in Port Moresby for me and Rose and me wasn't all flowers and sweet talk. One weekend Rose went missing. Around midnight I got worried and (perhaps foolishly) decided to trawl the nightclubs and discos to try and find her.

I eventually ended up at the 21 Club, Boroko, not perhaps the best place for a single waitman on a Saturday night. But they let me in, and I got chatting to some local barflies and eventually learned that she had been seen earlier but had moved on.

A lovely young lady came up to me and said, "If you buy me a drink I can tell you more." Which I did, but something was not quite right. She was very friendly, but through the bar's rather dim illumination I realised she was not a she but one of the Gay Night entrants I had not voted for at the Shady Rest a few weeks before.

Continue reading "The night club scene – another tale of Peter in Port Moresby" »


Oro countrysideGARY JUFFA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays and Journalism

MY people have lived on this land for thousands of years. I grew up loving this land; learning from my father and forefathers to respect it, to appreciate it and at all times protect it from harm.

Our principles were based on respect, honour and honest work. There was no demarcation of sexes; elders were revered and loved and taken care of; widows and the weak were always considered; women were to be respected not beaten.

There was no class system and every one had an opportunity to rise and be someone.

Our political systems were superior to those that were introduced by those who entered our land, declaring superiority and ownership and demonstrating it with violence and disrespect.

My people are warriors, all of them. We defended what we believed in: our land and our way of life.

My people are a compassionate people who love their kin and their land and weep with heart wrenching grief at any loss of such.

Continue reading "Greed" »

I recall your virgin blossom

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry


I recall your virgin blossom:

How you thrilled me,

With your naked potential

Wrapped around me,

As I embedded all of me, in you,

In your sacred receptacle,

In the depth of you,

Gasping on the verge of inception,

At the very ache of it!

I had to behold you.

To possess you; I alone,

To draw back the raiment that closeted your perfection

And jealously guide you into the world of men.

Not yet for them. Not quite yet. Not then,

When there was only you and I,

When you were all of mine, my precious;

Until now, that you have become, my poetry.

Leonard Roka’s ‘Brokenville’ latest entry in PNG Book of the Year


Brokenville by Leonard Fong Roka, Pacifica Sene 2014, 248 pages. Available from Amazon in paperback, $9.50 here; Kindle edition, $3.00 here. ISBN-10: 0987132199. ISBN-13: 978-0987132192

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year

LEONARD Fong Roka, who is emerging as Papua New Guinea’s most prolific author, has submitted his Bougainville civil war memoir, Brokenville, for the recently-established Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year award.

It is the sixth book entered in this inaugural award and joins Michael Dom’s poetry collection At Another Crossroads, Sil Bolkin’s history The Flight of Galkope, Francis Nii’s novel Fitman, Raitman & Cooks, and two other collections – one of poetry, one of short stories – by Leonard Roka.

Judges Dame Carol Kidu, Trevor Freestone and Phil Fitzpatrick certainly have their hand full with three months still remaining before the closing date for entries.

Continue reading "Leonard Roka’s ‘Brokenville’ latest entry in PNG Book of the Year" »

Abbott commits to improve visa system to New Zealand status

Tony Abbott faces the press in Port MoresbyMELANIE VARI | PNG Edge

THE swift processing of entry visas into Australia will be executed as soon as information sharing capabilities between Australia and Papua New Guinea are improved, says Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The issue has been discussed on a number of occasions with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on his recent visit to Port Moresby.

PNG will have what New Zealand currently has for its citizens travelling to Australia – swift processing of visa applications.

Continue reading "Abbott commits to improve visa system to New Zealand status" »

Taking up the challenge of a culture once thought only for men


THE mining industry can be a dirty and rough environment to work in, but even this does not deter women from taking up the challenge of a work culture that at one time was considered suited only for their male counterparts.

At Ok Tedi Mining Limited’s (OTML) current Safety Week exhibition, a section is dedicated to the company’s female employees from various career streams to show young women that they too could be like these working women; whether driving a 793 haul truck at a mine pit operation or becoming a geologist and studying rocks for precious metals.

Continue reading "Taking up the challenge of a culture once thought only for men" »

Having tea for your country: lots to say; not much time to say it

Peter O'Neill and Tony Abbott (Emmanuel Narokobi)A number of guests at the 'emerging leaders’ afternoon tea for Tony Abbott in Port Moresby last Friday by way of preparation publicly canvassed issues they might raise with the Australian prime minister. Good intentions that were thwarted, as EMMANUEL NAROKOBI of the Masalai Blog explains. The event was managed tightly to be incident free, but what about the residual impressions left in the minds of those ‘emerging leaders’?

LAST week Friday I had the pleasure of attending afternoon tea with Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. Turned out also that our own PM, Peter O’Neill, was attending as well so we had both of them there at the Australian High Commissioner’s (Deborah Stokes') residence up on Paga Hill.

It was a sweltering 3pm afternoon and every single person that walked in strode past the delicately laid rows of tea cups and headed straight for the Esky to ask for a glass of water.

Continue reading "Having tea for your country: lots to say; not much time to say it" »

Beloved fatherland – a true story of trust & betrayal


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

In loving memory of my late father, Nehemiah Potoura. Rest in peace, beloved. God is our only judge

WE WERE all fugitives, hiding in the bushes and jungles, fleeing from both the rebels and the government soldiers.  

We crawled through the jungle like bush beings, not domesticated creatures. I was totally fed up with this kind of ‘forced and at your own will’ banishment. I was restless and dreamt of fish and chips, hamburgers and ice-cream.

I dreamt of civilization, where there were shopping malls, theatres and I wanted to watch television and see who was who on the red carpet.

I wished I was with my dad in Rabaul where he went to sort out logging royalties for the landowners. But, because of the blockade, we were separated from him. I was at my wits end and couldn’t stand being exiled in the jungles any more. That night, I had a big argument with my mother.

Continue reading "Beloved fatherland – a true story of trust & betrayal" »

Fatherland to the daughter

Fatherland Daughter (Ishmael Palipal)LEONARD FONG ROKA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Dear daughter,
Our land was condemned to the gallows
So we dabbled in pools of tears and blood
Behind their imperialistic curtain walls of the 90s;
The gaffer from the north-west beyond the Solomon Sea
Lost his heart to the opulent land
You were born on and into
So they cried and cried and fought us for it—and
They are weeping still.

The fatherland cries and moans
Looking back through misty weary eyes
That cruelty you were born and nurtured in
Politicians and warlords had lost the waging tail
Of the long road our land made through in tears and injustice
And are insanely warring for own power and prestige
But not the freedom of this land and you, my daughter.

Continue reading "Fatherland to the daughter" »

Historic Saiho Hospital receives a long overdue facelift

Saiho Hospital's beginning under canvas in 1951ORO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

SAIHO Hospital in the Sohe District of Oro Province during the colonial period was a first class hospital and training facility.

First constructed in 1951 as a tent hospital (picture) by Roger Claridge to cater for victims of the Mount Lamington eruption, it evolved into a premier facility under the colonial administration that trained many health workers and served the populous Central Kaiva area and surrounding areas.

Oro Governor Gary Juffa’s mother trained and served at the hospital and the Governor spent a portion of his early childhood in its precincts.

Continue reading "Historic Saiho Hospital receives a long overdue facelift" »

Breakthrough in Schram crisis: vice chancellor to be invited back

Government delegation led by Minister for Higher Education Delilah Gore meets Unitech studentsFRANKIY KAPIN | PNG Edge

THE first step to solving the Unitech boycott has been reached with the agreement of a platform for two-party while students steadfastly maintain their ‘No Schram, No School’ policy.

A government delegation led by Minister for Higher Education Delilah Gore and consisting of Ministers Kerenga Kua, Ben Micah, Richard Maru and Robert Atiyafa (pictured) had a successful first dialogue with the Unitech students on campus in Lae.

Both sides agreed the court action involving Dr Schram must be dismissed to enable the exiled vice-chancellor to return, with a plan to get Cabinet approval this week.

Continue reading "Breakthrough in Schram crisis: vice chancellor to be invited back" »

Leak of Sevua investigation confirms Dr Schram’s innocence

Schram_AlbertKEITH JACKSON | PNG Blogs & PNG Edge

“WE therefore find that in all circumstances Dr Schram was wrongfully terminated from employment as Vice Chancellor of the University of Technology.”

This definitive statement represents the Sevua investigation’s headline conclusion into the former Unitech Council’s allegations against vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram.

“The 2012-13 campaign against Dr Schram is repulsive to any academic community and would not be tolerated in any civil society,” says an anonymous correspondent in PNG Blogs.

“The government’s tendency to fabricate charges to deport unwanted non-citizens extends well beyond Dr Schram (it was also used with SDP media adviser Mark Davis).

“The PNG government’s expulsion without a convincing reason of non-citizens who it views as being a threat violates the basic human rights guaranteed in the PNG constitution (which extends to non-citizens as well as citizens), is unbecoming of by nation and casts a shadow of shame upon the country.”

Continue reading "Leak of Sevua investigation confirms Dr Schram’s innocence" »

Thoughts on the court case against me brought by illegal loggers

John AiniJOHN AINI | President, Lovongai Local Level Government

I AM determined to fight on behalf of my people to get back our land, to stop the illegal harvest of our forest timbers and to bring to justice those who have badly manipulated our people through devious means to illegally acquire our land and our natural resources.

I will not bow down to anyone, however big, however mighty and powerful, or to anyone who thinks they can use the power of money and material goods to lead my people astray.

People of Lovongai should know that they have nothing in the current SABL [land lease] arrangements. They don’t have right to parcels of land they have registered under the ILG [Incorporated Land Group] provisions spearheaded by a selfish minority in collaboration with their foreign masters.

Continue reading "Thoughts on the court case against me brought by illegal loggers" »

PNG-LNG is another ExxonMobil milestone: but who will benefit?

Joe Wasia at the new Hides gas plantJOE FORMEX WASIA

THAT huge transformational enterprise, the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project operated by ExxonMobil, has reached another milestone when late last week it switched on its turbine at the Hide gas conditioning plant for testing and commissioning.

This marked another milestone after four years construction work at different sites. The US$19 billion PNG LNG project is now more than 95% complete and remains on track to deliver its first product in the second half of this year.

In the eyes of many, especially local communities, employees and contractors, it may mean something less than when they first saw the flames at the plant site, but it is quite an achievement.

Continue reading "PNG-LNG is another ExxonMobil milestone: but who will benefit?" »

The long journey to fix Papua New Guinea’s roads

Mendi–Kandep Road (Pearson Kolo)Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent in Papua New Guinea on road repairs & new roads. BUSINESS ADVANTAGE PNG surveys what PNG will get for its money, and considers what's still needed....

POOR road infrastructure is the bane of life not just for businesses, operators and farmers, but for all Papua New Guineans.

The cost of years of neglect was pointed out last year by Department of Works Secretary David Wereh, who saidwhile K1.5 billion is needed each year for maintenance, the backlog actually requires another K3 billion.

So, what’s actually happening to fix the problem?

Continue reading "The long journey to fix Papua New Guinea’s roads" »

‘Criminals in uniform’: Jiwaka police terror as Simbu villages raided

Simbu women after the police attackFR CHRISTIAN SIELAND

ON Saturday 8 March, we picked up eight women from the shabby cells of Minj police station in the central highlands province of Jiwaka. It was another case of police brutality.

The women had been detained three days earlier together with 21 men during a raid conducted between Koronigle and Waingar in Simbu, along the Highlands Highway. They were randomly picked up and detained by Jiwaka police in Minj.

Most of those arrested were mourning the death of one of their local leaders who was assaulted at Molka Lodge in Minj and died some weeks later due to the injuries he had sustained.

Continue reading "‘Criminals in uniform’: Jiwaka police terror as Simbu villages raided" »

Opisa Pokep – a career tracking the modern history of PNG


Opisa Pokep, OBE: Laip bilong wanpela polisman by Bernard Minol, UniBooks, Port Moresby, 2011, 110 pages, ISBN 9789980945310.  I bought my copy from Masalai Press via Abe Books for US$24 plus postage.

THIS delightful book is probably the first Tok Pisin book-length text published by UPNG Press (UniBooks). But I’m not sure about that and neither is the author, Bernard Minol.

Opisa Pokep is the author’s tubuna and the book celebrates his life, and in doing so, the lives of all the past members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

It begins in 1957 when Pokep left school after completing grade six and joins the police force.  He trained at the Sogeri Police Depot and then spent six months at Tufi Patrol Post before being transferred to his first long-time posting at Mumeng in Kukukuku country.  In those days Mumeng had one kiap and ten policemen.

Continue reading "Opisa Pokep – a career tracking the modern history of PNG" »

Is it possible to live an ethical life?


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

Imagine a world in which everybody
Is treated with equal respect;
Whose worth is valued the same,
And whose dreams and pursuits are upheld;
And who can go as far as their dreams can take them.

Is there such a place?
And if the human heart and mind are capable
Of creating such a place,
What is stopping us from going there? - J K Kamasua

Be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Ghandi

IS it possible to live an ethical life? What is an ethical life? And why should we strive to lead an ethical life?

Such questions do not seem to be worth asking because the reality in our society is far from what can be termed as the ideal.

Continue reading "Is it possible to live an ethical life?" »

Cannings persists as Australia dives into PNG's domestic affairs

Justice Cannings at the Manus detention centre (ABC)PETER KRANZ

"Any Judge or officer of the Court or any member of the Court staff or any other person, body or authority, including any member of the public, may bring any instance of alleged or suspected breach of human rights or freedoms to the attention of the Court by delivering to the Registrar a completed statement of Alleged or Suspected Breach of Human Rights, in Form 127."

DAVID Cannings [pictured at the Manus detention centre] is no stranger to controversy. In an interesting twist of constitutional law, in Papua New Guinea any legal officer can institute an inquiry into alleged breaches of human rights. Cannings has done just that: into the state of the Manus Island detention centre.

This has embarrassed both PNG and Australia, where the Manus riots and subsequent murder and injuries are big news.

The Abbott government would like to hush things up and not reveal information about what Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says are "operational matters". So Cannings starting his own inquiry really set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Continue reading "Cannings persists as Australia dives into PNG's domestic affairs" »

How those top level talks between Abbott & O’Neill really went

Tones shows Pete where to buy budgy smugglersPrime ministers Tony Abbott and Peter O’Neill met for a confidential discussion in Port Moresby on Friday. GARY JUFFA used his considerable mystical powers to attend the meeting as a fly on the wall….

Tones -Hi, how’s it going with Manus?

Pete – Well, fine, until this effort by pesky judges!

T - Hmmm, maybe more money will help?

P -Yes!!!

T - But tell me, is Cannings going to be a problem?

P - To be honest, he’s the least of my worries. I’ve other distractions. Like the economy.

Continue reading "How those top level talks between Abbott & O’Neill really went" »

For Rose….


It is the tenth anniversary of when we first met

Since I have known Salome, I have little heed
For care or pain or fear. While Rose and I do live
Present or absent, we can richly give. Peace to each other.

Other hearts may run to weed
Like ruined gardens, scant of love's seed.
Not ours: there's sun and rain, restorative,

Awake the flowers; there heavenly smiles forgive
The errors of the rankest growth they breed.

Ah love me ever: pardon every wrong
That makes thy garden look less beautiful,

Even our love my soul should free of weeds
A slothful husband, whose idle song
Alas too often leaves the rich soil dull,
Stealing its dues of toil:

....but love forbears.

Continue reading "For Rose…." »

Pioneering family: The story of the audacious Parers of New Guinea

Kevin Parer in New Guinea, 1936MARY MENNIS MBE

THE Parer family, originally from Alella in Spain, were the anchor of the Catalan community in Australia for 50 years.

The first brother to leave Spain was Josep, who decided to migrate to South America in 1851, following his sense of adventure and eye for business. He left Montevideo in Uruguay on board the Alabama and landed in Australia in 1855.

A year later, his half-brother Francisco joined him and they started breeding poultry in Petersham near Sydney, but the business was not successful. They decided to move to Bendigo looking for gold and finally settled on the banks of the Yarra River, a tent town to cope with the rapid expansion of Melbourne during the gold rush.

It was their entrepreneurial character and perseverance, and also a spark of luck, which triggered the start of the Parer Empire in Melbourne. In less than 40 years they invested in more than 30 hotels and restaurants. And they are believed to be the first people to commercialise meat pies in Australia.

Josep and Francisco were the pioneers of the Parer dynasty in Australia. Seven of their brothers and sisters, nephews and friends of the family joined them, which is where the family tree gets complicated.

Continue reading "Pioneering family: The story of the audacious Parers of New Guinea" »

Abbott & O’Neill: Soothsayers or able to see into the mind of God?


“MOST aren't genuine refugees,” so say prime ministers Tony Abbott and Peter O’Neill – voicing publicly their view that most asylum seekers detained in concentration camp conditions on Manus Island will not be found to be fair dinkum.

And how do they know this, since none of the asylum seekers (or transferees in the Orwellian language of the Australian government) has yet been processed?

How do they even presume this, since the vast majority of asylum seekers processed in the past have been found to be genuine refugees?

There can only be an other-worldly explanation.

Continue reading "Abbott & O’Neill: Soothsayers or able to see into the mind of God?" »

Leonard’s story - conflict, complexity, barbarity & courage

BrokenvilleKRISTIAN LASSLETT | Foreword to Brokenville

Brokenville by Leonard Fong Roka, Pacifica Sene, 248 pages. Available from Amazon in paperback for $9.50 here. Kindle edition for  $3.00, here

NEVER has a war, so unique in its geographical proximity and ferocity, attracted so little empirical attention.

Of course, much has been written in academic forums about the Bougainville conflict, but rarely are these works based on primary sources, or indeed rich lived experience. As a result, to this day, an epic event seared in the memory of the South Pacific remains obscure.  

Yet vivid memories and insightful analyses frequently circulate on Bougainville itself, insights in great need of formal recording, so that we can collectively participate in a process of learning and understanding.

But telling the history of this important Melanesian struggle is difficult, only those rare few with a deep reservoir of relevant cultural knowledge are astutely positioned to talk about the war on Bougainville and its foreboding human consequences.

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The root of selfishness

The root of selfishnessISHMAEL PALIPAL

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

These goods are not many
so they won’t be enough for all
I can only use them for myself
there are not enough for many

The resources are just limited
there is no abundance at all
I can make a good profit myself
because this stock is just limited

The demand is going very high
for there are many consumers
then I will be richer within a year
for the demand is growing high

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Mainstream press echoes government propaganda on Unitech saga

Patriotism means no questionsFORMER PNG JOURNALIST | PNG Blogs

PNG’s standard of journalism as practiced by our national newspapers has been on serious decline for at least the last 10 years

Probably their lowest point came in 2012 during the national election campaign when both newspapers investigated nothing and ran press releases by competing candidates that only created confusion.

This was pathetic and showed how sadly things had sunk since the heyday of PNG journalism in the 1980s and 1990s, the inspiring journalism program at UPNG headed by David Robie and the editorial leadership of Oseah Philemon at the Post-Courier.

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Days without you two


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

For my dear beloved parents, I miss you two every day

How often now, the photographs and the memories
Of the times we have together sadden my heart terribly,
From the simplest things we use to share and do together
To the great moments of our lives that brought much joy and happiness,

Mum your laughter and dad the funny things you do and say,
How I wish I hear them again,
Every day now when the thought of you two crosses my mind and its every often,
The pain comes from deep within me and I can’t help but silently shed a tear,

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Two views of Tony Abbott, PNG and the Manus question


AS PNG Attitude readers are well aware, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is visiting Papua New Guinea at present.

You might have expected him to bring leading tropical health experts, or aid representatives, or even a pastor or two. But no, it's wall-to-wall businessmen (men being the operative word).

And Rupert Murdoch's The Australian has suddenly rediscovered PNG. It's all about business and asylum-seekers - and both are about money.

"Deepening our economic ties will be a key focus of my visit," Mr Abbott said.

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There's a price to pay for our indebtedness to PNG

NeighboursSTEPHEN HOWES | The Australian

NOW Tony Abbott is in Papua New Guinea, we can expect a lot of talk in public about growing business relations between PNG and Australia, and to hear the old refrain of moving the relationship between the two countries from being focused on aid to being focused on trade and investment.

The sad reality, however, is that the bilateral relationship is now focused on asylum-seekers. The detention on Manus Island of those who arrive in Australia by boat is becoming increasingly controversial in both countries, and we have barely begun to grapple with the issue of where these individuals will be resettled if they are found to be refugees.

Abbott will be seeking assurances from Peter O'Neill that his government will stay the course on Manus. In return, O'Neill will be pushing to make it easier for Papua New Guineans to visit Australia, to involve PNG businesses more in the running of the Manus Island processing centre and to extract more aid funding for projects prioritised by his government.

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Do not be silent: A heartfelt note to the future leaders of PNG

Gary Juffa (Getty)Aware that the tentacles of corruption now reach far into the PNG body politic, GARY JUFFA often finds himself as a lone political voice crying out for change. His reward, as we at PNG Attitude have learned at first hand, is often to be accused and threatened himself. In this contribution to Comment yesterday, Gary addressed the people from whom the future leaders of PNG will emerge

IT IS indeed heartening to see the efforts being made by students. Students who have demonstrated far better leadership qualities than their elected leaders.

Be vigilant students, be aware. The enemy will not just give in, it will fight back, it will work within your camp and divide you so that you are weak and defeated.

Already an effort is under way to tarnish the image of those who are good and stand up for what is right on this issue. In fact, this happens whenever good people stand up.

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'If anything happens to me, I want you to look after your mother'

Warwick Parer as a boy
Young Warwick Parer wearing aviation helmet and goggles


A STATE funeral is being in Brisbane this morning for Hon Warwick Parer AM, whose obituary appeared in PNG Attitude earlier this week. Warwick was a Senator for Queensland from 1984-2000 and Federal Minister for Resources & Energy from 1996-98.

It was only last year that Warwick published his life story, Mine: A Memoir, that in part told of his family’s life in pre-war and wartime Papua New Guinea, where his father, Kevin, ran his own small airline company.

In this extract from the book, we learn something of the Parer family’s life in Wau, the tumult caused by the Japanese invasion and of Kevin’s tragic death in an air raid.


I was born in Wau, up in the highlands of New Guinea, right in the middle of the goldfields. April 1936. Dr Von de Borch and Sister McGuigan delivered me at the Wau District Hospital. My younger brother, Kevin Junior, was born a year later. My sister Mary-Pat was born two years after that in 1939.

Living in Wau, my parents, Kevin and Nance, owned a beautiful house at the top of the airstrip. They had happiness and prosperity, quite a wonderful lifestyle up there. My father had his little airline and he began expanding it.

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Abbott to meet ‘emerging leaders’ – for a corruption discussion?

Peter O'Neill and Tony Abbott (Ray Strange, News Ltd)KEITH JACKSON

AUSTRALIAN prime minister Tony Abbott arrived in Port Moresby last night on a three day visit to hold talks with prime minister Peter O’Neill.

“Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour,” Mr Abbott said. “We share historical links, democratic values and an interest in promoting a secure and prosperous region.

“Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is strong and wide-ranging. We cooperate closely on business, trade, aid, security and defence issues. Importantly, PNG is a vital partner in our determination to tackle people smuggling and stop the boats.

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Unitech dialogue with PNG govt reps fails to gain common ground

Student protest at UnitechThese wonderfully descriptive notes are from a UNITECH STUDENT FORUM held yesterday afternoon from 1 - 5.30 pm at the PNG University of Technology in Lae. They are reproduced here in full

STUDENT Representative Council arranged and orchestrated an impressively well-organised demonstration. Around 800 students plus or minus (difficult to gauge - the crowd ranged from Kofi Haus in the north-west, Admin car park in the south, and south-westwards across the road to the fields at Ramu Drive).

Two video cameras, a couple of stray dogs, hundreds of screeching bats and several pygmy eagles also in attendance, respectively focused on the presenters at Duncanson Hall steps, roaming about the crowd, roosting in the massive trees nearby, and wheeling overhead.

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