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72 posts from November 2020

Time of tension: Revisiting Kerry Dillon’s ‘Chronicle’

Kerry Dillon
Kerry Dillon today - his perceptive chronicle of a time in PNG as independence loomed is well worth reading


The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer by Kerry Dillon, Hybrid Publishers, August 2020, 384pp. ISBN: 9781925736410, $35. Available from Booktopia & all good bookstores, and as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Apple iBookstore

NOOSA – In case you missed it, or on the off chance you want to know more, in this piece I’m revisiting Kerry Dillon’s memoir, ‘The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer’.

After publishing a brief review of the book in PNG Attitude in August, I exchanged a number of emails with Kerry, mainly on the subject of Rabaul in 1969-70 when his and my paths crossed during the tense days of the Mataungan Association’s challenge to the colonial Administration.

Continue reading "Time of tension: Revisiting Kerry Dillon’s ‘Chronicle’" »

Leaders plan format for Bougainville's next steps

Ishmael Toroama & Marape
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama - trying to get substantive talks going


BUKA – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama met in Port Moresby on Monday to lay the foundations for a successful meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) in Kokopo later this month.

JSB is the formal body in which matters affecting the relationship between PNG and Bougainville are thrashed out.

Continue reading "Leaders plan format for Bougainville's next steps" »

Our country is being taken away from us

| My Land, My Country

LAE - How much of the economy do we own? All the prime shop spaces in our towns and cities are owned by foreigners.

Can we easily get financing for a business? No. If we do get it, are the terms PNG-customer friendly? No. And shop space rentals are unaffordable.

Continue reading "Our country is being taken away from us" »

Joe Biden’s deep connection with PNG

Joe Biden - his uncle Ambrose was killed when his aircraft was shot down in PNG in World War II and his body never found


NOOSA – United States’ president-elect Joe Biden is well acquainted with Papua New Guinea – two of his uncles fought there in World War II and one was killed, his body never found.

“Australia looked to America, and a generation of Americans - including two of my uncles - responded,” Biden said during a visit to Australia as US vice president in 2016.

Continue reading "Joe Biden’s deep connection with PNG" »

The mysteriously blank face of DFAT


TUMBY BAY - It has always been a commonly held belief that politicians don’t run the country. That prerogative is exclusively the domain of the public service.

Anyone who has ever studied human relations theory will also know that managers always appoint people in their own image. This is particularly so among senior bureaucrats.

Continue reading "The mysteriously blank face of DFAT" »

A solution is available to a run-down Fly

Mouth of the Fly River


BANGKOK - I read with interest Professor Howes' assessment of the huge disparity in the provision of services between communities in the Torres Strait Islands and the Middle and South Fly Districts in PNG.

I had the good fortune to visit and work with many communities in Middle and South Fly in 2006 and between 2009-2014 and offer these thoughts.

Continue reading "A solution is available to a run-down Fly" »

Melanesians & Australians must safeguard freedom

Transmigrasi village
A transmigrasi village in West Papua


ADELAIDE - In 1975 I went from Papua New Guinea, where we were working, to Irian Jaya and Indonesia. Nothing prepared us for the scene in Jayapura. The Melanesians were serfs in their own country.

We stayed in a nearby village, which had been the subject of recent transmigrasi, the scheme to populate Irian Jaya with migrants from heavily populated parts of Indonesia, especially Java.

Continue reading "Melanesians & Australians must safeguard freedom" »

PNG too close to ignore, but what to do?

| DevPolicy Blog

Too Close to Ignore: Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia’ by Mark Moran, Jodie Curth-Bibb, Melbourne University Press, March 2020, pp 312. ISBN 9780522875478. Hardback $69.99. Paperback $34.99. Ebook 16.99. Available here from Melbourne University Press

CANBERRA - Edited by Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb, ‘Too close to ignore: Australia’s borderland with Papua New Guinea and Indonesia’, is a fascinating book, with detailed, rich descriptions of life in the South Fly of Papua New Guinea and of Australia-PNG interactions in this part of the world.

The border puts all the Torres Straits Islands in Australia and is a creation of the 1970s, but the border, along with the Torres Straits Island Treaty (in force since 1985), now rule everything.

Continue reading "PNG too close to ignore, but what to do?" »

China: unquestioning obedience or mutual respect?


ADELAIDE - Corney Alone raised a number of important and hideously complex issues in yesterday’s article, ‘Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG’.

Australia's policy towards West Papua is not genocidal although, shamefully, Australia - along with Britain, the Netherlands and the USA - capitulated to Indonesia's territorial demands in the 1960s when they should have supported a genuine act of self-determination.

Continue reading "China: unquestioning obedience or mutual respect?" »

Marape’s new approach to foreign investment

PNG's Lihir gold mine

| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

You can link here to the full article

CANBERRA - The Marape government’s approach to foreign investment – and to governance generally – marks a significant, and welcome, shift away from the sometimes dubious deal-making that marked his predecessor’s approach.

In May 2019 James Marape succeeded Peter O’Neill as prime minister of Papua New Guinea. O’Neill had been under pressure for some time, over allegations of corruption and of his handling of issues associated with major resource projects and foreign borrowing.

Continue reading "Marape’s new approach to foreign investment" »

Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG

Corney Alone tells Australia, "We're not going to sing a backward-leaning Kumbaya with you"


Australia’s ramped-up megaphone hostility to its biggest trading partner, China, has led to trade repercussions, pole-axed Australian diplomacy and raised eyebrows in the Pacific. Papua New Guinean business leader and national affairs commentator Corney Alone tells Australia it can play this game but shouldn’t expect the Pacific to fall into line - KJ

PORT MORESBY – Yes, Australia. You get exactly what you bargain for in your relations with China. For Papua New Guinea, though, on our turf we reject outdated, cold war era nonsense.

We are also acutely aware of the 54 years of neglect, double-standards and the arrogant complicity in genocide of Australia's policy towards Melanesian West Papua.

Continue reading "Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG" »

Reforming a parliament of men

Haus tambaran
The main chamber of PNG's parliament house which has 111 seats for members of parliament but at the last election could find no room for women

| PNG National Research Institute

NRI Discussion Paper 178, ‘Challenges and critical factors affecting women in the 2017 National Elections: Case of Lae and Huon Gulf’ by Mary Fairio, Sarah Kaut Nasengom and Cathy Keimelo, National Research Institute, Port Moresby, 2020. You can read the full paper on the PNG NRI website here:

PORT MORESBY - In Papua New Guinea there is no equal playing field for female candidates when it comes to the national elections.

Female candidates who contest for political leadership face a lot of challenges.

Continue reading "Reforming a parliament of men" »

Australia’s damaging China witch hunt

| South China Morning Post | Edited extract

Link to the full article here

Australia anti-Chinese megaphone diplomacy (toned down just a little recently) has caused offence to China which has retaliated with selective trade bans. Papua New Guinea needs to ensure that its own important relations with China are not being caught up and impaired by Australia’s leaden foot and its tin ear - KJ

Continue reading "Australia’s damaging China witch hunt" »

Toroama & Marape get down to business

President Ishmael Toroama meets prime minister James Marape at Buka in September

| Office of the ABG President

BUKA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama will confer with Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape at the Bougainville pre-joint supervisory body meeting in Port Moresby next Monday.

The meeting is a prelude to a formal proper JSB meeting scheduled for 30 November 30 in Kokopo, East New Britain.

Continue reading "Toroama & Marape get down to business" »

From grass houses to those PNG McMansions

Apeke Taso
Apeke Taso built his house in his village in the war torn Tsak Valley. Many educated elites from the Tsak Valley have also built country homes in their villages


TUMBY BAY - Daniel Kumbon’s upcoming book, Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, is full of interesting information and photographs.

I was particularly intrigued by the photographs of veritable mansions built by highlanders in remote places.

Some of them even put to shame the McMansions that dot Touaguba Hill in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "From grass houses to those PNG McMansions" »

Eivo Torau: reconciliation & development


Kaybing - reconciliation foods
Eivo Torau women bear gifts of food at the civil war reconciliation ceremony

BUKA - The Eivo Torau Constituency in Central Bougainville has conducted six reconciliation ceremonies to signify its readiness to progress economic development for its people and the rest of Bougainville.

The six ceremonies were to resolve grievances and issues between parties over conflicts that occurred during the Bougainville Crisis.

They were a prelude to the redevelopment of the now defunct Manetai Limestone Project that existed pre-crisis.

Continue reading "Eivo Torau: reconciliation & development" »

K10m to BioMed “a total waste of funds”

Dr Bomai Kerenga - Argues that individual countries must fend for themselves against the Covid-19 pandemic and PNG is no exception.

| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea has approved nearly K10.2 million from its threadbare budget for an as-yet-unidentified Covid-19 treatment – allocating the money to an unknown biomedical company that was formed in August.

Prime minister James Marape, has insisted the national executive council had not completed its approval process to engage a PNG company to find a treatment, but leaked cabinet documents appear to show the K10.2 being awarded to Niugini BioMed Ltd for research into discovering a new treatment for Covid-19 infections from existing drugs.

Continue reading "K10m to BioMed “a total waste of funds”" »

Other priorities outweigh K10m to startup

Biomd top
Deborah Ruth Telek says right thinking Papua New Guineans would say no to the BioMed Covid drug proposal

| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - We cannot even get National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority accredited laboratories up and running around Papua New Guinea for testing.

These labs are used for testing water supply and processed food samples for public safety.

Continue reading "Other priorities outweigh K10m to startup" »

Toroama happy with Eivo-Torau reconciliation

Kaybing - Toroama speaks
President Toroama says the rights of people as resource owners come first

| Office of the ABG President

BUKA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has welcomed the efforts by the Eivo-Torau Constituency to move past their differences and focus on the economic development of their land.

The president was witnessing the Eivo-Torau Constituency reconciliation ceremony at the Manetai Catholic Parish as the people settled their differences from the Bougainville Crisis of the 1990s.

Continue reading "Toroama happy with Eivo-Torau reconciliation" »

Commodore Sam Bateman's 'heart for the PNG Navy'

Commodore sam-bateman
Commodore Sam Bateman - a leading maritime strategist and friend of Papua New Guinea

| President, Australian Naval Institute | Edited

SYDNEY - On 18 October 2020 Commodore Sam Bateman AM, RAN passed away aged 82. He was one of the leading maritime strategists of his generation and has left a significant legacy.

During two stints in Papua New Guinea between 1967 and 1975, Sam was senior officer of the PNG Patrol Boat Squadron, where he knew Colonel Reg Renagi, and was later Naval Officer in Charge, Port Moresby, and Director of Maritime Operations in PNG.

Continue reading "Commodore Sam Bateman's 'heart for the PNG Navy'" »

What is the process of drug development?

Niugini BioMed team
Dr Bomai Kerenga, chairman & CEO of the controversial Niugini Biomed and some of his research  team at a news conference on Friday

| PhD student, Auckland

AUCKLAND - Reading the news on Covid-19 drug production in PNG has prompted me to offer my take on it.

Those people who are familiar with drug research and development will agree with that screening for possible drug leads is just the start to developing a drug.

Continue reading "What is the process of drug development?" »