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92 posts from August 2019

Wild Cat: A fraud uncovered & in dire need of investigation

Eric Schering
Eric Schering - time for something to be done about a K30 millon fraud


WEWAK - By April 2019 prime minister Peter O’Neill was clueless about the depth of opposition to his leadership of Papua New Guinea.

He genuinely believed he would win a vote of no confidence hands down.

In the 3 May 2019 issue of The National newspaper, the title of one of the leading articles had O’Neill saying, “I’m Safe”.

The article quoted him saying that the opposition had “no hope of being successful with a vote of no confidence.” One month later he was out of office and sitting on the back bench.

O’Neill had badly miscalculated the level of support within his own party as well as the backing of his broader coalition.

One of the earliest MP’s to abandon O’Neill was Governor Philip Undialu. In the 28 April 2019 issue of PNG Attitude, Undialu says, “Since the first shipment of gas [LNG] in 2014, over K70 billion has been earned but O’Neill is not telling the country where the money was parked.” K70 billion!

Continue reading "Wild Cat: A fraud uncovered & in dire need of investigation" »

The Territory typewriter mechanic: a man with key skills

Keith Jackson's Corona, a century old this year and still in working order


LOW HEAD, TAS - Everyone working in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, as it was in the 1960s and 1970s, visited an office at some stage, if only to pick up their pay.

Some people actually worked in them. And at this time, before the advent of repetitive strain injury, RSI, which none of us had ever heard of, those who worked in offices would spend most of their time pounding keys on noisy old typewriters.

From time to time, at regular intervals that never seemed to be announced, these offices, all of them, would be disrupted for an hour or so by an unlikely visitor: the typewriter mechanic.

Imagine people’s relief at the arrival of this man. They could sit back, wring their fingers, relax and watch as his skilled hands went to work refurbishing their machines.

As someone who was daunted by these noisy old apparatuses and who never really conquered them or learnt anything other than to write correspondence by hand, I admired this man.

And it was “this man” because it was always a man and always the same man.

Continue reading "The Territory typewriter mechanic: a man with key skills" »

A Smiling Baby

Porap Gai and his nephew Jonathan AsaPORAP GAI

When a baby smiles, it puts the world on pause and we forget all our troubles. We feel at ease and enjoy life. The picture shows me with my older brother’s son, Jonathan Asa. When I feel hopeless, Jonathan gives me hope with his smile - PG

I see it now, baby
That grin from cheek to cheek
The natural way you show yourself
Your smiling face - you meek

A bundle full of love
A bundle soft to touch
An unwritten page of purity
Your heart is shown outside

Your smile is that of beauty
showing you inward to the world
Never lose your precious gift from God
The essence what you’re about

Continue reading "A Smiling Baby" »

Plans for a coup against Marape led me to join the government

Bird Juffa
Governor Allan Bird and Governor Gary Juffa - two eminent independent politicians join the Marape government


WEWAK - To my beloved Sepik people, I make this explanation because I am accountable to you all.

When the [political] events of 2011 came about, I was outspoken against it. Since 2011, the economic climate in Papua New Guinea has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

The East Sepik Provincial Government was particularly punished from 2011–17 because of the position taken by Sir Michael Somare.

Our grants were cut consistently by more than 80% during that period. This was unjust, uncalled for and vicious way to treat the Sepik people.

I stood against People’s National Congress [the part of Peter O’Neill] and it’s vindictive and punitive practice and policies in 2017 and won elections on that basis.

Over the past two years we fought the PNC government. During the vote of no confidence, we tried to depose PNC with the help of the Marape splinter group.

We worked hard to remove PNC. Things didn’t work out well but we kept pushing.

Continue reading "Plans for a coup against Marape led me to join the government" »

Roads of Scars


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Like words on a blank white page
They stretch across my once clean pad
Extending upward, sideways and in random arrays
Some large, others so tiny you cannot trace
Intersecting at certain junctions
Avoiding corners and mere dead ends
Junctions of betrayal
Cross roads of pain
Drains of hurt
Potholes of depression.
Scars, people call them.

Continue reading "Roads of Scars" »

Can two of PNG's most depressed regions converge & prosper?

Fly River port  Kiunga  Western Province (Adrian Mathias)
Western District's upriver port on the Fly River at Kiunga - what happens when the copper, gold and silver run out?


PORT MORESBY – On the first Thursday in June, soon after Oil Search chief executive Peter Botten addressed the 244th Sydney Mining Club forum over luncheon in Australia, a mother and her two sons drowned in the remote South Fly District of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province.

The tragedy which took the lives of the mother and her child and an infant occurred after a boat they were travelling in with relatives capsized in rough waters at the mouth of the Karu River. They left behind the father, a Port Moresby-based police officer, and three older siblings.

The family travelling in the ill-fated boat was on its way to the village of Sepe on the West Kiwai coast, escorting for burial the body of a deceased police officer from Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Can two of PNG's most depressed regions converge & prosper?" »

The afterlife as a political promise. Are you sure you want it?

Phil 2015
Phil Fitzpatrick - "I suspect this afterlife is another political fable"


TUMBY BAY - One of the important strategies politicians use is to identify the concerns and fears of society and then to exploit them to their advantage.

This strategy informs much of the divisiveness that plagues our daily lives.

Things like racism, gender inequality, domestic violence, immigration and homophobia are used by politicians to artificially create situations they can exploit.

About 2,000 years ago a very clever politician in Palestine called Jesus Christ used the same tactics to create opposition to the occupying Romans.

Monty Python reckons his outfit was called the Palestine Liberation Front, or was it the Liberation Front of Palestine…..

Anyway, whatever it was called, it quickly morphed into what we now call Christianity. Like all such movements, Christianity uses the concerns and fears of its followers to its advantage.

One of the things it created to this end was the concept of an afterlife and a set of rules governing progress to that elevated state.

Continue reading "The afterlife as a political promise. Are you sure you want it?" »

Words of the Night


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

In the dark of the night
My thoughts steal across the plains of my mind
As my eyes stare motionlessly
Into the valley of the dark night

My thoughts dances across the plains of my head
And so did the words that were so scared to
Come out and play during the day
For fear of all the negatives and what ifs
For fear of just speaking out
My piece of mind
For all this I hold back the most scared thoughts
Till night falls and I let loose
All that is within me

Continue reading "Words of the Night" »

PNG's real people: the antidote on which the future depends

Port Moresby - A Western city perched on the edge of Melanesia


TUMBY BAY - There are very many good people in Papua New Guinea. We often hear their stories on PNG Attitude. They are a welcome respite from all the doom and gloom that otherwise reaches our ears.

Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian society that is founded on the concept of community, as opposed to the concept of the individual, and one shouldn’t be surprised by these stories.

These good people exist in most communities. They are working quietly and without any expectation of reward in all sorts of ways and in a huge variety of different fields.

Teachers work in remote communities without resources and sometimes even without a salary. Aid Post orderlies and health clinic workers toil under similar conditions in many areas.

Continue reading "PNG's real people: the antidote on which the future depends" »

PNG schools now have greater access but lack quality, says NRI

Kilala Devette-Chee
Dr Kilala Devette-Chee


PORT MORESBY - Dr Kilala Devette-Chee of the National Research Institute's has told prime minister James Marape that despite the huge number of elementary and primary schools in Papua New Guinea, there is a scarcity of secondary and vocational schools.

Dr Devette-Chee said that while more students have an access to a basic education through 10,800 schools, there are only 330 available secondary and vocational schools.

She said the tuition fee free policy has greatly improved access to education but the quality is lacking and the government needs to immediately address this.

NBC News reports that Dr Kilala Devette-Chee revealed this after the latest of the NRI’s regular provincial and district education profiles.

Buin-born mining veteran David Osikore joins BCL board

David Osikore (second right) briefs colleagues about the Wafi gold deposit south of Lae (Mike Porter)
David Osikore (second right) briefs colleagues on the Wafi gold deposit near Lae (Mike Porter)


PORT MORESBY – Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has announced the appointment of David Osikore to the company’s board of directors.

Osikore, 57, was born in Buin and has spent 30 years in the exploration and mining industries in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

His career began with the PNG Department of Mines and has since traversed roles ranging from exploration geologist to managing director. He is currently also on the board of Pacific Niugini Minerals PNG.

Osikore nominates his involvement with the prefeasibility study associated with PNG’s Hidden Valley and Hamata gold projects among his career highlights.

BCL chairman Sir Mel Togolo said Osikore was well-respected and brought invaluable industry experience and a keen local perspective to the board.

“We are delighted that David has agreed to join given his breadth of experience, technical expertise and the industry knowledge he has garnered having worked for three decades in PNG, Bougainville and abroad on various gold, silver and copper mining projects,” Togolo said.

Marape sacks ‘negative influence’ O’Neill & PNC

O'Neill Marape
Happier Days! Peter O'Neill and James Marape were the closest political colleagues. No more.

| Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - It is after careful consideration that I announce the decommissioning of Hon Richard Maru as a Minister of State.

Regrettably, this comes as a result of ongoing collaboration with parliamentary leader of PNC Party Hon Peter O’Neill - as well as key leaders in opposition including Hon Patrick Pruaitch and Hon Belden Namah - to actively undermine the Marape-Steven government.

After 89 days in office, it has become clear to the Pangu Party I co-lead that we need to break free of the PNC Party and its negative influence.

The Take Back PNG agenda requires a unified team of like-minded leaders, and it is now clear that this requires freedom for Pangu to lead with its new and bold identity.

Continue reading "Marape sacks ‘negative influence’ O’Neill & PNC" »

The sadness of Basamuk: Ignorance & greed begat destruction

Basamuk Bay
Basamuk Bay, the once pristine water red from waste

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Ten years ago, a small group of Papua New Guineans made a decision to fight the construction of a multibillion kina Chinese-owned nickel mine in the Madang province.

The reasons were simple: land was going to be taken away from its traditional custodians in Kurumbukari in the Usino-Bundi electorate; and the sea, a vital resource for the people's survival, was going to be polluted by the dumping of tailings into Basamuk Bay.

I cannot mention the names of those who were strongly opposed to this because I do not have their permission. But they remained dedicated and were determined to stop the destruction from happening years before I got involved in the campaign.

It is one part of my life I never regretted.

Continue reading "The sadness of Basamuk: Ignorance & greed begat destruction" »

Without major reform, foreign loans won’t rescue PNG economy

Stephen Howes
Stephen Howes - Will yesterday's joint ministerial forum reveal detail of required economic reform in PNG?

STEPHEN HOWES | DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Media reporting of Papua New Guinea’s efforts to access foreign loans to finance the government’s budget has been far from accurate or complete.

But the efforts themselves are real. And they pose significant challenges for both the country’s suitors, China and Australia, and most importantly for PNG itself.

As reported in official PNG documents, PNG has been trying to obtain a loan from China since last year. The government is seeking K1 billion from China’s National Development Bank.

In principle agreement was reached at APEC last year, but the deal is still not yet done. The sticking points are the interest rate, and that China normally lends for projects, whereas PNG wants the money not be earmarked.

It needs the loan to pay salary bills and interest. Given the length of time the negotiations have taken, it is not clear when or indeed if China will come to PNG’s aid.

It’s not that China never provides non-earmarked budget support, but it is certainly the exception rather than the rule. Given the difficulties PNG is experiencing in obtaining K1 billion from China, talk of China refinancing PNG’s K27 billion of government debt is fanciful.

Continue reading "Without major reform, foreign loans won’t rescue PNG economy" »

Is Chinese support shaping Pacific’s stance on West Papua?

A West Papua rally in Samoa - Pacific islands are moving from a weak stance on West Papua to an action-oriented approach

MEAGHAN TOBIN | South China Morning Post | Extract

HONG KONG - Indonesia’s restive province of West Papua was gripped by violence last week as protesters clashed with police, leading Jakarta to cut internet access and send almost 1,000 additional officers to quell the unrest.

The latest demonstrations were against racist abuse suffered by West Papuan students, but a separatist movement in the region has also been simmering since 1969.

In recent years, Jakarta’s Pacific Island neighbours have become bolder in their disapproval of the [Indonesian] government’s handling of calls for independence, recently welcoming a United Nations investigation into human rights abuses in West Papua.

West Papua and the neighbouring Indonesian province of Papua share the same island as independent Papua New Guinea, which is one of 18 nations – including Australia and New Zealand – that make up the Pacific Islands Forum.

In their joint communique after the forum, the leaders called for the UN visit to be finalised and a report on the situation to be provided next year.

Continue reading "Is Chinese support shaping Pacific’s stance on West Papua?" »

Gong fever! Medals earned, unearned & that just turn up in the post


TUMBY BAY - Most mornings I check a range of websites including PNG Attitude, the ABC & BBC, the local Weather Zone, Amazon’s KDP, and the Ex Kiap website.

The last mentioned has lately been creating in me a distinct feeling of unease.

The major preoccupations of contributors seem to be centred around medals and gongs, the construction of memorials and reunions.

Underlying these preoccupations there appears to be great umbrage that Australia and the world at large have failed to recognise what wonderful people kiaps once were.

Continue reading "Gong fever! Medals earned, unearned & that just turn up in the post" »

Indonesian journalists are 'bought, broken & soul searching'

Andreas Harsono
Andreas Harsono - Many journalists work for military or intelligence agencies and write to a specific agenda

MICHAEL ANDREW | Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The Indonesian media is contributing to resentment and racism toward Papuans, according to a human rights researcher and former journalist.

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch Jakarta told Pacific Media Watch many Indonesian journalists either view Papuans as enemy "separatists" or deviants and their reporting tends to convey these stereotypes.

Papuan anger has erupted in widespread riots and rallies across Indonesia over the last week, after a militia attacked West Papuan students in Surabaya, pelting them with stones and calling them “monkeys”.

Harsono, who is in New Zealand promoting his latest book ‘Race, Islam and Power’, says the manner in which the media reported the attacks has created further anti-Papuan resentment which in turn sparked a backlash from the West Papuans themselves.

“The attack was reported by the media, videoed by the media, but it raised anger back home, now almost 30 cities are having rallies protesting against the use of the word ‘monkey’ for this Papuan people."

Continue reading "Indonesian journalists are 'bought, broken & soul searching'" »

Peace came to the valley – and it all started at home

BRAD WATSON | Adventist Record | Edited

Recent literacy graduates from the Guna-Goreku people of Simbu, who seem to have found a sustainable peace

KUNDIAWA - The air is filled with smoke rising languidly above mounds of black ash. Women and children hide in the forest, terrified of those who have stripped their fields and herded away their pigs.

In the distance, a decrepit school stands idly, empty of laughter or the sounds of teachers scolding students. A small church, recently filled with sounds of song and praise, is the only building that is untouched.

Over a ridge, a widow watches a sweet potato roasting on a bed of glowing ash. She is worried. Her hands tremble. Recently a man in her clan died after a long illness. Some of the relatives are saying she is responsible.

They huddle together and whisper. A witch, one says. A sorcerer, says another. A Dracula. For that is the new word they use for the likes of her. She has done nothing but fears what will happen when the relatives of the deceased man return to her house.

Continue reading "Peace came to the valley – and it all started at home" »

Progress may be inevitable but human dignity should prevail

Irai and family
Francis Irai and his family stand forlornly before their makeshift home at 9 Mile in Port Moresby located between a rock ledge and a busy road


PORT MORESBY - The fate of about 100 families residing in 64 units of National Housing Commission flats at Gordon in Port Moresby hangs in precarious balance as they face eviction from their homes of 20-30 years by a private property developer.

The matter is the subject of a bitter and protracted legal battle that has taken up the better part of the last 12 years and is still awaiting a final court decision.

But the political leadership of the National Capital District (NCD) must be lauded, and loudly, for standing up for the families who are agitated and distressed about the future.

Governor Powes Parkop and the MPs of Moresby South and North-East have made considerable efforts to address the adverse effects of physical developments on affected communities in and around the city.

Continue reading "Progress may be inevitable but human dignity should prevail" »

Finschhafen mission prepares for modern communications

Logaweng telecoms tower
Logaweng telecommunications tower


LAE - It all started with a phone call from my superior the Thursday before last during a critical peak in my work at Nadzab airport.

“You’re assigned on a technical mission to do a site survey at Finschhafen tomorrow,” my superior said.

“You and Robert Waninara will be representing Bmobile and other state-owned ICT entities will be sending their reps with the media team.”

The mission was assigned by Papua New Guinea’s communications minister and MP for Finschaffen, Rainbo Paita.

I felt excited and a bit nervous as it would be my first experience of this kind. So I completed my work at Nadzab and got myself ready for Finschaffen.

I had only heard stories of this historic town. When Johann Flierl came to PNG in 1886 as the first Lutheran missionary, he set foot at Simbai at the mouth of Mape River (Bubui) in the Finschhaffen area.

Our telecommunications tower is located on Logaweng hill looking down on Gagidu station near where the Logaweng Lutheran Seminary was established in 1907.

Continue reading "Finschhafen mission prepares for modern communications" »

Is Papua New Guinea a safe place for travel in 2019?

Papua New Guinea - a beautiful and exciting place where, with some basic precautions, you can be quite safe

NEWS DESK | The Broke Backpacker | Edited extracts

LONDON - Papua New Guinea is virtually an untrodden destination. It’s got a ton of things to explore, from World War II era wrecks, adventurous hikes in the jungle and a lot of tropical islands to discover – over 600 of them.

But like many awesome places, it’s not exactly paradise. Combine a deep gang culture and rampant violence with natural threats from tropical cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and it’s no wonder you’re probably wondering “Is Papua New Guinea safe?”

This is one place that we’d say is definitely for the more adventurous travellers, and we want you to be able to travel smart and safe when you visit.

Papua New Guinea is pretty cool, we’re not going to lie. World War II relics, a super diverse culture (including over 800 languages!) and beautiful lush nature.

Continue reading "Is Papua New Guinea a safe place for travel in 2019?" »

Galkope (except 9 lepers) celebrate 70 years in the Catholic faith

Neragaima Catholic Mission
Neragaima Catholic Mission


PORT MORESBY - Galkope men’s houses (hausman), in what is now the Simbu Province, schooled young boys of the Dom, Yuri, Bari and Erula Nauro tribes, which had colonised their territories by migrating from different lands.

The Dom evolved out of Dlekopl while the Yuri walked east through the Wahgi valley. Erula 1-4 evolved out of Monguma, while the Bari arrived at Dukul Mormapir from the Gena-Nogar.

These four tribes, now referred to as Galkope, converged and settled on either sides of the Kola-Kawa River alongside an existing tribe, the Teklau-Baimane.

The Teklau-Baimane settled at Olkaipel, Mekul, Kaluvalu and the vicinity - but fled west after killing Yuri Alaibia before the coming of the Makruai, and settled at Kerual Apane in Jiwaka Province. To this day the older people still speak the Nauro-Bari language.

Against this backdrop, the Roman Catholic Church arrived unexpectedly and settled at Mingende just after the Makruai. The church extended its influence to new lands and built a new mission station at Yopar. The Gakwane and the Erula Nauro people were excited about the opportunities the church brought to their midst.

Continue reading "Galkope (except 9 lepers) celebrate 70 years in the Catholic faith" »

On Australian mission, Fr Giorgio says refugee crisis worsening

Fr Giorgio Licini
Fr Giorgio Licini - “You cannot keep people in those conditions indefinitely; you destroy them. And who allows you to destroy people?”

PETER BUGDEN | The Catholic Leader

BRISBANE - A senior priest in Papua New Guinea has turned to Australia seeking compassion for refugees and asylum seekers languishing in our nation’s off-shore detention system.

Fr Giorgio Licini, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands, has been in Australia in recent weeks pressing the case for an end to what he calls “a humanitarian crisis”.

Fr Licini has called for the Australian government to resolve the situation on humanitarian grounds.

Speaking as a missionary from PNG – a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions – and as a church man, Fr Licini said “we don’t necessarily question the policies of government in terms of border protection … but in this specific case I would say, see now the humanitarian crisis”.

Continue reading "On Australian mission, Fr Giorgio says refugee crisis worsening" »

Forget the Aussie rozzers & give the New Zealand police a go

RPNGC and AFP officers - Australian police are said to have problems bridging the cultural gap between themselves and PNG police


TUMBY BAY - There have been suggestions that Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer is thinking about seeking advice and assistance from the Australian Federal Police to bring the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary up to scratch so that it can effectively tackle a worsening law and order problem.

This has been tried before and the results were less than heartening, the reason for the failure having much to do with the inability of the Australian Federal Police to bridge the cultural gap between itself and RPNGC.

Most people in the know were not surprised. Bringing personnel from a largely peaceful urban working environment into the sort of conditions that prevail in PNG was a big ask at the best of times.

Added to that was the perception that the use of the AFP represented a neo-colonial approach. This didn’t go down well with the RPNGC itself or the general public.

But there is another option if the minister still thinks outside help is required.

Continue reading "Forget the Aussie rozzers & give the New Zealand police a go" »

Marape govt begins to address PNG’s grim cancer battle

Rebecca and Benona
Young Angau Hospital patients Rebecca and Benona later succumbed to cancer - Papua New Guinea has a desperate shortage of equipment and drugs to fight the disease


PORT MORESBY - We are all susceptible to cancer regardless of age, sex, race, health and socioeconomic situation.

Cancer strikes indiscriminately. It takes alike the old and young, weak and robust, eliminating a former common misconception- one of many myths of cancer - that it is mainly an ailment consigned to the older age bracket.

In recent years males are catching up to cancer’s prevalence amongst females - shattering another misconception that females are more prone to cancer.

Unlike death and its inevitability, cancer can be fatal, but is also avoidable and treatable, given the right drugs and equipment.

And it can be curable as well if diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage.

I was privileged to speak to the late Dr John Niblett about this in July 2013. At the time this great and selfless man was director of the Angau Memorial Hospital’s cancer treatment centre.

Continue reading "Marape govt begins to address PNG’s grim cancer battle" »

Journalists unite against ‘unacceptable’ EMTV sacking

Neville Choi
Neville Choi - regarded as a good leader and a down-to-earth journalist who does his job and has been very loyal to his employers at EMTV

MICHAEL ANDREW | Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - Journalists across Papua New Guinea have spoken out in support of EMTV news director Neville Choi after his “unacceptable” termination from a role he had held for six years.

Choi was reinstated by EMTV on Wednesday in the wake of the protests.

A public statement released on Monday had listed the reasons for his termination, one of which was his refusal to ‘bury’ a February 2019 story about the PNG Defence Force pay strike outside the prime minister’s office.

However, EMTV deputy head of news, Scott Waide, told Pacific Media Watch the news was broadcast because it was balanced and the fallout had already been resolved internally.

“Neville did his job as head of news and a journalist. He took both sides of the story and we ran it on EMTV news,” said Waide.

Continue reading "Journalists unite against ‘unacceptable’ EMTV sacking" »

Marape’s great opportunity to boost home-grown literature

Francis Nii
Francis Nii - "We struggle to produce our own literature hoping that one day a good leader will rise up and see its importance"


KUNDIAWA - Writing and publishing our own Papua New Guinean stories in the absence of government or donor agency support is a daunting and painful experience.

But we write because stories are part of our culture and books are repositories of our culture. What is it the authorities don’t understand?

I would like to relay the many struggles and hardships I went through to get my first book published only to find there is a trifling level of readership in Papua New Guinea. My story, unfortunately, is similar to many PNG authors.

I started writing, mainly poetry, in the 1980s while doing my economics degree at the University of Papua New Guinea and published in Ondobondo and the PNG Writers’ Union magazine.

Some of the poems were later republished in a collection by lecturer Ganga Powell with Macmillan Press Australia in a book titled, ‘Through Melanesian Eyes’, now available on Amazon.

My first serious writing, a novel, came in in 2003-04 while I was recuperating at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa from a near fatal motor vehicle accident.

Continue reading "Marape’s great opportunity to boost home-grown literature" »

Indonesian racism towards West Papuans affects Pacific

Rioting in Manokwari, West Papua, on Monday as local people protested against the racial abuse of Papuan students in East Java (Antara/Toyiban)


CANBERRA - Escalating violence and attacks on Papuan students saw thousands of young people march on the streets and set fire to the parliament building in West Papua on Monday.

This was in response to Papuan students being attacked in a dormitory in Surabaya last week after they had allegedly bent a flagpole during Indonesian Independence Day celebrations last Saturday.

Surabaya police chief senior commissioner Sandi Nugroho said the attack on the dormitory was carried out by Indonesian nationalist community groups angered by the treatment of their national flag.

In an effort to restore calm, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe called on all Indonesian citizens to respect their national value of ‘unity in diversity’ (Bhineka Tunggal Ika) and asked security forces to act professionally and in accordance with Indonesian laws and to not let activist groups take the law in their own hands.

Continue reading "Indonesian racism towards West Papuans affects Pacific" »

More thought needed: Education fund can go beyond student loans

Patrick Kaiku


PORT MORESBY - The recent announcement by prime minister James Marape of the PNG government’s consideration of an endowment fund is a significant development initiative.

Presumably this fund operating through the Sovereign Wealth Fund will function like a loan scheme, a pool of resources available for Papua New Guineans to access to meet costs of their education.

This is not a new proposal. Former prime minister, Peter O’Neill in a 2015 speech at the 60th graduation at the University of Papua New Guinea made a similar commitment when he proposed the establishment of a K200 million fund for disbursing loans to tertiary students.

But simply using an endowment fund for tuition misses the point. It is a piecemeal approach that will fail to fix systemic problems confronting the state of tertiary level education in PNG.

Continue reading "More thought needed: Education fund can go beyond student loans" »

PNG asks Australia for $1.5 billion for roads & anti-corruption

Wera Mori
Wera Mori, PNG's commerce & industry minister

SUE LANNIN | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extract

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea's government says it wants $1.5 billion from Australia to help finance its 2019 budget, including funding to help fight corruption and to pay for roads in remote areas.

PNG's commerce and industry minister Wera Mori has told PM that the request for direct budget support from Australia was "quite significant".

"The new government has realised that we are in a situation which we need to basically come out of," he said.

"This will go basically towards helping us to cushion the current situation we are in so we can meet complete funding of the 2019 budget to deliver services to the people."

Mr Mori is part of a delegation of senior PNG ministers in Australia to attend a PNG investment conference in Sydney.

Continue reading "PNG asks Australia for $1.5 billion for roads & anti-corruption" »

'Patriarch' Morrison trying to teach Pacific children how to behave

Mungo MacCallum - "Australia is not an innocent bystander at the mercy of the polluting giants: we are a major player"

MUNGO MacCALLUM | John Menadue: Pearls and Irritations

BYRON BAY - The Great White Father has arrived in the far flung atolls of the Pacific. And, like the missionaries before him Scott Morrison is delivering the bringing of the light — a gospel of hope and salvation.

Well, up to a point. Boiled down, his message is that if they are worried about the rising waters, they should sandbag the foreshores and move to higher ground if there is any, because he is not going to do anything substantial to help.

He will, of course, offer money, which his host at the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga, said was not really the point:

“No matter how much money you put on the table it does not give you the excuse not to do the right thing, which is to cut down on your emissions, including not opening your coalmines. This is the thing we want to see.”

Continue reading "'Patriarch' Morrison trying to teach Pacific children how to behave" »

Joint Venture pressures PNG by setting deadline for LNG project

James Marape - unsure about the benefits locals will see from a multi-billion-dollar LNG project


SYDNEY - Oil Search has accused Papua New Guinea of backtracking on a deal to build a new liquefied natural gas project and set a 31 August deadline to resolve the dispute.

Oil Search is working in partnership with France's Total and US-based ExxonMobil on the US$13 billion site that would roughly double Papua New Guinea's exports of LNG.

The deal was signed in April, but since coming to office in May PNG's prime minister James Marape has raised concerns that locals will not receive enough benefit from the project.

"While initially indicating that the government had decided, in principle, to stand behind the agreement, more recently it has signalled its desire to renegotiate some of the agreed terms," Oil Search said.

Continue reading "Joint Venture pressures PNG by setting deadline for LNG project" »

Trying times in Tuvalu – no step up for climate change

Mad uncle
Tuvalu PM and Forum chair Enele Sopoaga and Australian PM Scott Morrison (Stefan Armbruster)


CANBERRA - “Save Tuvalu, save the world” sang school children as they greeted the Pacific’s leaders on arrival to what became a showdown pitting the region against Australia.

This was no ambush, but had been building for years.

At the capital Funafuti’s airport the school children sat in a moat of water surrounding a diorama of a climate change devastated island.

If it wasn’t obvious, the significance was explained to them by Tuvalu’s foreign minister. The symbolism was potent, and the ritual well established by the time Australian prime minister Scott Morrison was the last of the 18 Forum leaders to stride across the tarmac.

Well briefed on what to do, he crouched to chat, showing up for the ‘Step Up’, but one major detail escaped advisers that marked out the Australian delegation.

Continue reading "Trying times in Tuvalu – no step up for climate change" »

Colonisation will not cut it any more in our beloved islands

Corney Alone - "It was crystal clear that Australia’s attempted bullying was sponsored  from the pouch of the coal and fossil fuel industry"


PORT MORESBY – They were very strong words from the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama: the sentiments of the rest of the Pacific Islands leaders captured in his views.

“China never insults the Pacific," Bainimarama said. "They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands. They don’t do that.

"They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that. The [Australian] prime minister was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship….”

My own prime minister, James Marape, upon returning from Tuvalu acknowledged that "there is a climate change crisis in the region".

He further stated that he "will be vocal about it when he attends the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September this year".

Australia, or any other so-called leader of the free world, must know that Pacific Islands people value relationships.

Continue reading "Colonisation will not cut it any more in our beloved islands" »

Breaking the hearts of our Pacific friends & neighbours

Enele Sopoaga
Enele Sopoaga - "We are already crossing the red lines to keep, to save, the small island countries"

EMAIL | The Australia Institute

CANBERRA - Last week the Pacific Island Forum made clear that new coal mines were a 'red line' issue.

Its final communique made clear to the world what the Pacific nations require of its neighbours, including Australia: the survival of Pacific Island nations requires no new coal mines.

While Pacific Island leaders deserve congratulation for their vocal call for no new coal mines, it is a disappointment that Australia has bullied any language of a ban or limitation of new coal out of this week's 50th Pacific Islands Forum communique.

Australians cannot underestimate the importance of taking climate action, particularly in the Pacific. As the UN Secretary-General has said, “if you can save Tuvalu, you can save the world”.

Continue reading "Breaking the hearts of our Pacific friends & neighbours" »

‘I'm glad we took a chance on Papua New Guinea’

FriendsLORNA THORNBER | Stuff New Zealand

WELLINGTON, NZ - When there was a shooting on the street outside his hotel on his first night in Papua New Guinea, David Lee wondered whether he had made the right decision, accepting a job in the country that had seen his wife and children move there with him.

Lee, who hails from Lower Hutt, knew that running insurance company Capital Life in Port Moresby was a great career opportunity, and he and his wife Lydia thought their sons Jayden and Jack, aged five and almost three respectively, were young enough to adapt to a different way of life. But they got a bit of a shock when they began reading up on the place.

"What we read and saw focused mainly on the negative stuff, which made us pretty nervous," David, 38, says.

While the shooting initially exacerbated their fears, David says they have come to see PNG as a beautiful, and beautifully diverse, country that, for expats, offers an enjoyably exotic lifestyle.

Continue reading "‘I'm glad we took a chance on Papua New Guinea’" »

‘Aussies keep saying China will take over. Guess why?’ - Fiji PM

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Frank Bainimarama
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Frank Bainimarama (Mick Tsikas)

KATE LYONS | Guardian Australia | Extract

FUNAFUTI - Scott Morrison has been accused of causing an extraordinary rift between Australia and Pacific countries by the prime minister of Fiji, who said the Australian prime minister’s insulting behaviour while at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu would push nations closer to China.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia after the conclusion of the forum, Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji and a political heavyweight in the region, said Morrison’s approach during the leaders’ retreat on Thursday was “very insulting and condescending”.

“Yesterday was probably one of the most frustrating days I have ever had,” he said of the leaders’ retreat, which lasted for nearly 12 hours and almost broke down over Australia’s red lines on the climate crisis.

Continue reading "‘Aussies keep saying China will take over. Guess why?’ - Fiji PM" »

Pacific needs Australia to stop obfuscating on climate change

Scott Morrison and Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga (Mick Tsikas)
Scott Morrison and Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga (Mick Tsikas)

KATHARINE MURPHY | Guardian Australia | Extract

Link here to Katharine Murphy’s full commentary

CANBERRA - Pacific leaders are fully aware that things are not under control when it comes to Australia’s climate change efforts.

You can understand their impatience. They are standing on the frontline of a climate crisis, and trying to prod laggards around the world.

The Pacific needs the big emitters, and countries that can influence them, like Australia, to stop obfuscating and start acting while we’ve got a chance of averting the worst scenarios.

So, this past week, entering the global arena, Morrison found himself wedged between the campaign calm down offensive at home, and Australia’s demonstrable absence of climate leadership.

Continue reading "Pacific needs Australia to stop obfuscating on climate change" »

Chinese counterfeits are killing PNG’s embryonic fashion industry

James Marape and Annette Sete
James Marape and Annette Sete

ANNETTE SETE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guineans in the creative industries will never win against cheap Chinese copies unless and until the Papua New Guinea government tightens up on some of the laws safeguarding our businesses.

Chinese imitations of local designs and fake or counterfeit products will continue to flood our markets.

This past week my total of Chinese copies reached eight. Six of those we attempted to fight against, but high legal costs meant we can’t afford to do it all.

I read with interest and frustration as Papua New Guineans call for protection of our rights.

Continue reading "Chinese counterfeits are killing PNG’s embryonic fashion industry" »

Climate change - & the deafness of those unwilling to face reality

B&w Overland
Chris Overland


ADELAIDE - What passes as the climate debate seems to me to typify what is happening in our world today.

Those who occupy what might broadly be described as a conservative political position seem unwilling or unable to grasp the scale of the problem or its probable consequences.

As a result, they are quite unwilling to contemplate the economic and lifestyle trade-offs required, especially in the so-called developed world, to ameliorate the worst effects of the change process that is clearly and unequivocally occurring now.

Those who have what is called a progressive political outlook see the oncoming disaster but are apparently incapable of galvanising sufficient public support to induce governments to do anything meaningful.

Partly at least, this is because the progressive forces often are also the proponents of the sort of identity politics around sexual preferences, ethnicity, and so forth that have so material assisted the resurgence of ‘white nationalism’ that they despise.

Continue reading "Climate change - & the deafness of those unwilling to face reality" »



I was abducted early in the morning when I was on my way to school. I was grabbed from behind and wrestled to the ground, a knee pinning my neck, my face in earth soaked from the morning dew.

The attack came suddenly from a dark patch of shrubbery near the track. I was caught off guard and could not react in time to fend it off.

“Be still or you will be in grave danger,” a man’s voice warned.

I felt his stale breath on my neck. It stank of an unwashed, unclean mouth. It was nauseating.

Continue reading "Abducted" »

A policeman’s story: tackling symptoms but not causes in PNG


Man bilong polis: life and times with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary 1982 to 1991 by Douglas Ranmuthugala, unpublished manuscript, 2013. 288 pages, ISBN 9780992389000

TUMBY BAY - Douglas Ranmuthugala came from Sri Lanka, where he had been a senior policeman, to work in Papua New Guinea.

When he left Papua New Guinea he joined the Australian Federal Police and worked there for 15 or more years, primarily as an intelligence analyst, before retiring.

He wrote this book for his family with no intention of publishing it:

“This volume was not written for publication. It is merely for my grandchildren to understand what their grandparents lived through.

“As someone said, the past is another country. It is however, worth the occasional visit. My wife and I hope that this volume will give the next generation a peek at what it was to live in the time before.”

Continue reading "A policeman’s story: tackling symptoms but not causes in PNG" »

Police commissioner says B’ville fraud investigations not ‘political’

Francis Tokura
Acting police commissioner Tokura - concerned by Bougainville rumours


SINGAPORE – Papua New Guinea’s acting police commissioner, Francis Tokura, has sought to damp down speculation about fraud squad investigations into a number of matters in Bougainville.

Tokura said that social media claims that the investigations are aimed at destabilising Bougainville ahead of November’s referendum on the province’s political future are untrue.

“I want to make it clear that the investigations taking place are the result of  allegations made regarding a number of audits and financial matters,” he said.

“These investigations are not political in nature.

Continue reading "Police commissioner says B’ville fraud investigations not ‘political’" »

Australia's aid infrastructure fixation won’t be a boon for the Pacific

Terence Wood
Terence Wood

TERENCE WOOD | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - The need for infrastructure in poorer parts of the Pacific is obvious. Outside of urban areas, once-paved roads are now muddy tracks. On some islands, planes land on grass runways that are frequently closed by rain. In some places, small boats take hours to move cargo from ships moored off coasts deprived of wharves.

Australia has always devoted aid to the Pacific’s infrastructure needs. In 2013, a recent low point, Australia still spent US$70 million on infrastructure in the region. Other OECD donors haven’t neglected infrastructure either. OECD donor countries, alongside multilateral institutions like the World Bank, spent US$327 million in the Pacific in 2013.

The infrastructure focus of Australian aid to the Pacific is set to ramp up in coming years. This will come through grants — how Australia typically gives aid in the region — and, increasingly, through the provision of loans.

Infrastructure is needed in the less affluent Pacific countries. But Australia’s newfound fixation on infrastructure spending is not guaranteed to be beneficial. There are two reasons why: recipient context and donor motivations.

Continue reading "Australia's aid infrastructure fixation won’t be a boon for the Pacific" »

More than a belief in miracles to get out of this climate mess

Phil Fitz
Fitzpatrick - "For Morrison and many of his cohorts empirical science is something they view with scepticism"


TUMBY BAY - I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but if the people of the Pacific believe that the Australian government will do anything meaningful about climate change they are sadly mistaken.

Australia currently has a conservative government with an undeclared core of climate change deniers in its ranks.

If that isn’t discouraging enough it is also led by a prime minister who is a committed Pentecostal Christian who believes in miracles and God’s will.

One of those miracles enacted by God was letting him win the last unwinnable federal election. He is now prime minister because God put him there.

Roughly translated this means that he believes that climate change has been imposed on the world by God for unexplained reasons that should not be questioned.

For Morrison and many of his cohorts empirical science is something they view with scepticism.

Continue reading "More than a belief in miracles to get out of this climate mess" »

Vivid street art of Port Moresby to be showcased in Brisbane

Port Moresby street artBELINDA MACARTNEY | Westender | Edited

Paradise Palette – An Exhibition of Contemporary Art from Papua New Guinea, curated by Don Wotton. Launches on Tuesday 27 August at the Royal Queensland Art Society Gallery, 162 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, running until Monday 16 September. Open daily 9am – 5pm

BRISBANE - I was overwhelmed to see a sign welcoming me ‘home’ at Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby.

After many years’ absence, the urbanscape has changed but the warmth and generosity of its people remains.

When I signed the visitors book at my old primary school as ‘past pupil’ the headmaster beamed broadly.

Continue reading "Vivid street art of Port Moresby to be showcased in Brisbane" »

Kase’s admission of health system failure 10 years overdue

Pascoe-kase (post courier)
"I said to Pascoe Kase (pictured) 'You have to go to the clinics and talk to staff because the information you are giving me here is wrong'.   It turned into a tense exchange"

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - For the last five years, I have been repeating the same story: ‘We have a crisis in the health system.’

The rest of the country can see it. The people who are victims of the medicine shortages all over the country keep speaking out about it. Health workers have cried while being interviewed because they simply can’t save lives.

And we’re not talking about the expensive cancer treatment and operations families have to pay for. 

It’s the basics that are lacking. Antibiotics, malaria drugs, family planning drugs and consumables. The clinics don’t have them. Or even if they have them, the supplies are not enough for their catchment areas.

Personally, I have emailed the health secretary, Pascoe Kase, about the cancer unit in Lae, the ill-treatment of the late Dr John Niblet and the medicine shortages. I have called and sent text messages.

Continue reading "Kase’s admission of health system failure 10 years overdue" »

No heroes these wasted years: memoirs of a vice chancellor

Signing the charter to support student involvement at UNITECH. Dr Schram wanted to "create a real student-centred university"

ALBERT SCHRAM | Life Is a Journey of Learning | Extracts

Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram’s Papua New Guinea memoirs

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls” - Robert F Kennedy

VERONA - Papua New Guinean universities had been founded in colonial times as Australian universities, and were presented as a gift to the newly independent state in 1975.

Given the history of almost annual violent student protests and staff strikes, however, one can ask whether this gift was not a Trojan horse.

The concept of a university operating under the law, producing employable and competent graduates, offering opportunities for personal development and promoting active citizenship, remains utterly foreign.

Continue reading "No heroes these wasted years: memoirs of a vice chancellor" »

The Internet Forest

Internet jungleSIMON DAVIDSON

The internet is a forest,
Not a forest of teak or balsa trees,
But a forest of viral networks myriad.

The internet is a forest,
Running on mega speed cables,
Freighting megabytes of information.

The internet is a forest,
A forest of possible paths,
To link myriads of computers.

The internet is a forest,
An information super highway,
A portal to any computer anywhere.

Continue reading "The Internet Forest" »