Lepani Watson – a foundational figure in PNG’s national history

Ronny Knight MP lives to fight another day (& fight he will)


IT’S been a turbulent couple of weeks for Manus MP Ronny Knight, a long standing opponent of his province being a dumping place for the refugees he strongly believes are Australia’s responsibility and who have brought his usually placid island home a whole heap of trouble.

Most recently, since a bunch of drunken PNG Defence Force sailors took umbrage over whose turn it was to play soccer on a local park and, in an alcohol-fuelled rage, fired indiscriminate shots and threatened violence at whoever was in their way, especially refugees, Ronny has been up to his ears in trouble.

As if gunfire wasn’t enough, he’s also been defending a court case that would have seen him removed from parliament and then he's had to come to grips with Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton, who thought he could make some cheap political capital out of framing Manus refugees as paedophiles and Ronny as a criminal.

Yep, an Australian federal government minister – being bruited by some of his colleagues as the next prime minister - tried that on. Unbelievable.

Well, yesterday for Ronny was one of those down and up days that ended up when Papua New Guinea’s chief justice Sir Salamo Injia stayed the decision of an earlier Leadership Tribunal that had recommended Ronny’s dismissal from office over a finding made against him two years ago that Ronny reckons was a political set up.

The judge sort of agreed.

So today, Ronny Knight MP, will nominate to join the race to retain his Manus seat in PNG's national elections which kick off in June.

Sir Salamo said the allegations against Ronny contained defects, were duplicitous (important finding that) and were badly drafted by the Public Prosecutor.

“In my view, there are signals that the proceedings of the Leadership Tribunal and National Court were not properly conducted,” Sir Salamo said.

Ronny Knight in Port MoresbyThat ended a volatile day for Ronny which had at first left him reeling when Australian minister Dutton, straying well off his turf, had labelled the Manus MP a "discredited witness".

Dutton was helped somewhat by a specious story, presumably leaked by one of his staffers to the Sydney Morning Herald as an ‘exclusive’.

The minister also said, wrongly, that Ronny had been "convicted of fraud" and called upon media outlets — including the ABC — that had interviewed him to apologise for, for … enabling Ronny to tell the truth about what had happened on Manus.

So, with the decision of PNG’s chief justice, Ronny will nominate for the upcoming election today and, if he’s even half the fighter I think he, is, he will retain his seat.

"It gives me faith our judicial system is working properly and I'm very thankful to the chief justice for his outlook on things," Ronny commented.

And he trashed Dutton for saying he had been convicted of fraud, when the original case had not been about this at all.

"A tribunal is not a criminal court in any way whatsoever," Ronny said.

"I have never been convicted of anything in my life. He [Dutton] should stick to the facts that are on the ground.

"We are talking about something that is happening in my area amongst my people."

Late last night I asked Ronny whether Dutton's  intervention helped his  re-election campaign or set it back.

"He brought my people together to support me. It also [brought refugees] closer to locals. Same enemy," he replied.

We should all hope that very soon Ronny and his people – and the Manus police and the oppressed refugees – will be allowed by Dutton and the Australian government to get back to lead the lives they want and which they deserve.


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Harry Topham

Old habits die hard. It would seem that perhaps Peter Dutton has fallen back to some bad habits acquired in an earlier career, namely police verballing.

Someone should bring him to account before he bankrupts this country with litigation claims that will obviously ensue.

Peter Kranz

I think Ronny has a good case for a defamation action against Dutton.


Three refugees who gave a hungry child fruit inside the Manus Island detention centre have hit back at suggestions of wrongdoing, lodging a formal complaint with the Australian Border Force over “false allegations”, along with a plea to release the CCTV footage which they say will exonerate them.

The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said the men’s assistance of the boy inside the detention centre created “a lot of angst” on Manus, and alleged it was the trigger the Good Friday shooting rampage by Papua New Guinea defence force personnel on the centre, despite it occurring five days before the riot.

Police on Manus and the PNG defence force have repudiated the minister’s allegations, saying the rampage – which involved more than 100 shots being fired into the detention centre and a defence force vehicle ramming a gate – was sparked by a fight over a soccer pitch on Good Friday afternoon. The boy’s presence inside the centre was unrelated, police said, and attracted “no complaint”.


Philip Fitzpatrick

Scott Morrison (SchoMo) attracted a lot of personal approbation when he was the migration minister but it was always apparent that he was an ambitious politician using the position as a stepping stone and that his personal views were irrelevant. The asylum seekers were just unfortunate sacrifices to his ambition. Nasty character but a smart one.

The scary thing about Mutton is that he actually believes his own rhetoric. Very nasty character but a dumb one.

The English refer to their conservative party as the 'nasty' party. Quite a few observers are now using the same epithet for the Liberals in Australia.

I can think of a lot more epithets to describe them, including incompetent, bumbling and divorced from reality. Some of those also apply to Labor.

Peter Kranz

Every time Dutton opens his mouth the more ashamed I am to be Australian. The man is a despicable disgrace.

William Dunlop

Dutton. I believe formerly a Queensland policeman. Phil's Mutton Dutton.

Then we had at one time the minister for everything Russ Hinze, the Jo Show and the comissioner Terry Lewis.

And prior to that Ross Bischoff also an erstwhile Police Commissioner. Et al.

Lindsay F Bond

Deception at least, Dutton no less, Tribunal and trials tagged too.
Amazingly, clear air arrives for candidature, Ronny admirably resilient.

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