Previous month:
November 2021
Next month:
January 2022

41 posts from December 2021

A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?

Phil 1
Phil Fitzpatrick - like all rational people, looking forward with apprehension


TUMBY BAY - Like just about everyone else, the two major things that occupied my mind during 2021 were the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly developing catastrophes of climate change.

As the year comes to an end, both are spiralling out of control. At best we are helpless spectators with an undetermined fate.

Continue reading "A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?" »

Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions

Woody Guthrie (Michael Ochs Archives)
Woody Guthrie - The work of one of the most significant figures in American folk music focused on themes of American socialism and anti-fascism. His music has inspired several generations politically and musically

| New York Review of Books

NEW YORK - Woody Guthrie wrote the heartfelt and playful resolutions below on New Year’s Day, 1943.

From 29 December 1942 until 1 January 1943, Woody filled a 72-page composition book with a letter to his love, Marjorie.

This little gem, in the middle of the book, provides insight into his daily concerns at the time — the large and the small.

Continue reading "Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions" »

Father Daughter Bond


This poem is dedicated to my stepdaughter who,
against her will, was taken away from me

That faraway mountain in the east
Lazy clouds drift by it slowly
Amongst the white lime rocks
There, in a little old grey hut
My dearest little girl plays in mud
Daddy longs for you with throbbing heart

Daddy misses everything of you
Misses you waiting at the gate
Misses your hugs and little kisses
Misses waving arms of greeting and goodbye
Misses your sweet, persistent call of ‘Daddy’
Daddy misses you, his heart in shreds

Continue reading "Father Daughter Bond" »

What did Whitlam ever do for us?

Gough Whitlam on the day of his government's dismissal on 11 November 1975. He died in October 2014 aged 98


NOOSA – I am, after a short stay in hospital, back home, still feeling a bit poorly – but that is my normal state.

You should also know I’m in something of an intemperate mood.

However, I’m feeling well and agreeable enough to manage this short compilation for readers too young or too senile to recall.

Continue reading "What did Whitlam ever do for us?" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation


THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.

The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation" »

Despite exposure, health corruption continues

Governor Gary Juffa - "Public servants have acted negligently, incompetently and possibly corruptly"


NOOSA – Oro Governor Gary Juffa has blasted companies that have abused medical contracts and continued these practices probably conspiring with corrupt public servants to do so.

Speaking in his capacity as chairman of Papua New Guinea’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reforms, Juffa said he was dismayed that the government had renewed a health department contract with a private company that was providing sub-standard medical equipment and drugs.

Continue reading "Despite exposure, health corruption continues" »

Pax Australiana & techniques of pacification

Forster - Roy edwards
Patrol Officer Roy Edwards and police with a group of manacled villagers, Kunimaipa section, Goilala Sub-District, late 1940s (photo previously unpublished)


NORTHUMBRIA, UK – Roy Edwards was an uncompromising kiap (patrol officer), not fond of paperwork and with his own way of bringing pacification to the warring tribes of Papua New Guinea.

He patrolled the Kunimaipa section of the Goilala region for months on end and was ultimately successful in erasing a traditional payback murder spiral that led to dozens of deaths each year.

The perpetuation of payback was an insurmountable obstacle to securing the wellbeing and progress of the villages.

Continue reading "Pax Australiana & techniques of pacification" »

Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions

Sam Akoitai
Sam Akoitai - "A peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests"


KIETA – Sam Akoitai was a man true to his convictions as a national leader representing the interests of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville as a national parliamentarian.

He was a national, regional and community leader of unwavering courage and a peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests.

Continue reading "Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions" »

Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61

Joseph Watawi - ‘Bruk lus, bruk gut, bruk steret na bruk olgeta’ 

| Sydney Morning Herald

SYDNEY - The autonomous region of Bougainville has lost a champion of independence and the father of the 2018 independence referendum.

Joseph Watawi, 61, who died in November, away last month, was born in January 1960 in Gohi village in north Bougainville.

Continue reading "Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61" »

Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas


TUMBY BAY - I come from a generation born in austerity. ‘Make-do’ was the order of the day.

In those what seem now like ancient days, Christmas represented something that now seems irretrievably lost.

Unfortunately, it all seems to be the result of modern human beings having a remarkable ability to subvert good things into bad things.

Continue reading "Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas" »

Tide’s turned, & nobody’s steering


ADELAIDE - The tide of history is sweeping us all along and, as usual, our predictions about where we will all end up will be mostly wrong.

In an Australian context, what used to be the Liberal Party is no longer speaking to or for what was once its base, being middle class Australians.

Instead, it is now a party composed of the more reactionary and extreme neo-liberal elements of our community.

Continue reading "Tide’s turned, & nobody’s steering" »


If you are eagled-eyed, you vill spot something unusual about this message, to vit, the letter ‘w’ seems to have disappeared. It has been joined by the number  [tvo],  the rather useful [at] vhich is used in emails and the high performing general of the keyboard, the delete key. For this brief message I have replaced the [double-you] vith its one-legged first cousin, the v, because it vas too much trouble cut and pasting double-you each time it demanded inclusion. Vith my computer is dying one key at a time there as a resultant need to replace, upgrade, learn, transfer and generally stuff around vith a nev technology (once to hand).  This is clearly going to affect productivity here at Attitude Central especially as the ME/CFS monkey has decided to have a Christmas party in my brain. I'll do my best to keep things moving - KJ


Miserly Australia cuts Pacific aid again

Australia will cut its foreign aid next year even though the impacts of the Covid pandemic are still hurting Pacific Island nations (Development Policy Centre)

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Australian government reversed its earlier policy of cutting aid, and started to increase it.

Aid increased from $4.29 billion in 2019-20, before the pandemic, to $4.56 billion in 2020-21, the first year of the pandemic (amounts adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2021 prices.)

Continue reading "Miserly Australia cuts Pacific aid again" »

Slush funds corrupt, not politics as usual

Former New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian. According to documents obtained by The Australian newspaper Berejiklian had direct involvement in the administration of a controversial $252m (K625m) grants program branded as a ‘slush fund’


ADELAIDE -The politicisation of the Public Service – designed to operate in service of the public - has been an ongoing project for neo-liberal politicians all over the world.

This process is presented to the public as a means of ensuring that the public sector is 'responsive' to the government of the day.

What it actually means is that the public sector remains servile and compliant to whatever the government wishes, irrespective of the merits or even legality of the demand.

Continue reading "Slush funds corrupt, not politics as usual" »

We need practical leaders who get things right

Michael Kabuni reveals the PNG government wasted half a billion kina over five years on just some of its ‘ghost employees’ 

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - A few years back, it was revealed that a teacher at Oro Province’s rural Bareji High School had no qualifications for the job.

This year, the tireless efforts of Sunday Bulletin journalist Simon Eroro exposed that a consultant hired by the Oro Provincial Government possessed no qualifications for the job he was doing.

Continue reading "We need practical leaders who get things right" »

'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape

Marape Toroama
Ishmael Toroama (right) has told James Marape that PNG has not honoured commitments under the 20-year old Bougainville Peace Agreement


NOOSA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has told Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape “in no uncertain terms” that it is the resolve of the Bougainville people for an independent Bougainville.”

In a statement to the Bougainville parliament on Tuesday, Toroama said he had “made it clear that it was time to let our people go to be free as an independent sovereign nation.

Continue reading "'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape" »

Coalition against corruption regroups

TIPNG founding director Richard Kassman OBE
TIPNG founding director Richard Kassman OBE speaks at the relaunch of the Community Coalition Against Corruption on International Anti-Corruption Day last week

| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Ahead of next year’s national elections and amid Papua New Guinea citizens’ concerns about governance and corruption, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has relaunched the Community Coalition Against Corruption.

Initially co-founded by TIPNG and the Media Council of PNG in 2002 with the support of churches, chambers of commerce, the Ombudsman Commission and the office of the Public Solicitor, the Coalition is a collective community network committed to standing together against the evil of corruption.

Continue reading "Coalition against corruption regroups" »

PNG security ahead of the 2022 election

Visit by HMAS Choules
Handover of  first Guardian Class patrol boat by Australia to PNG,  2019 (DFAT)

| Asia & The Pacific Policy Society

CANBERRA - Policymakers in the Pacific Island region face multifaceted security issues.

That fact is not lost on the region’s leaders, as demonstrated by the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, which expands the definition of security beyond the geostrategic concerns to human security.

Continue reading "PNG security ahead of the 2022 election" »

Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good

A somare
When PNG became a nation in 1975, it had high hopes of building a better society and Michael Somare seemed to be the right leader to do it



PORT MORESBY – I want to talk about the kind of people who aspire to be national leaders and what might make them good leaders or not.

Leaders shape our local level governments, districts, provinces and ultimately our entire nation.

But the poor results on the ground are evidence that many of them, perhaps most of them, have not served our people well.

Continue reading "Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good" »

Can be darn cold up in those mountains

Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda
Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda


TUMBY BAY - Like many liklik kiaps (cadet patrol officers), my first couple of patrols in the Papua New Guinea Highlands involved the construction and maintenance of roads.

The idea was to get the young men out amongst the local people so they could quickly learn Tok Pisin and also find out if they could cope with roughing it in the bush.

Continue reading "Can be darn cold up in those mountains" »

Could PNG produce the next Covid variant?

| Burnet Institute | The Age | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - In South Africa, only one in four people are vaccinated against Covid-19, a key factor behind the spread of the Omicron variant.

But just four kilometres north of Australia, the situation is far more dire. In Papua New Guinea, our closest neighbour, fewer than one in 20 people have had the jab.

Continue reading "Could PNG produce the next Covid variant?" »

Journoganda: Hardcore message for softcock hacks


NOOSA - Simon Jackson was born in Papua New Guinea and spent the first 10 years of his life there before returning to Australia to complete his education.

As a project manager with Microsoft, he crossed the ditch to New Zealand around 2010 and, apart from a short stint in the PNG highlands in 2011, has been there since, managing Cloud IT projects for Microsoft’s large customers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Continue reading "Journoganda: Hardcore message for softcock hacks" »

Sir Paulias Matane, an outstanding leader, dies at 90

Paulias Matane
Sir Paulias Matane - "Never let go of his humble roots"

| The Pacific Newsroom

FINSCHHAFEN - Very sad news this morning on the passing of Sir Paulias Matane, a truly great human being.

My mind goes back to the last interview I did with him. It was after he had retired as Papua New Guinea's Governor General.

We met him still living in the same humble home across the road from the school where he first worked as a teacher. This was the first thing that struck me.

Continue reading "Sir Paulias Matane, an outstanding leader, dies at 90" »

A true heart-warmer from the pen of Fitz


Just Another Stray by Philip Fitzpatrick, KDP Australia, 279pp, ISBN: 9798782206581, paperback AU$15.40, Kindle AU$1.00. Available here from Amazon Australia

She closed the photo file and stared at the background image on her desktop. It was a photograph of Tom and Sophie in the front paddock with Rosie the dog, Anthony the horse and Pricklebum the sheep.

Sophie was sitting on Anthony’s back and Tom was holding his halter and smiling up at the little girl. 

After several moments she made up her mind. She opened a blank word document and began typing.

“One day my father arrived home with a little girl he had found by the roadside.”

Continue reading "A true heart-warmer from the pen of Fitz" »

We need a new entity to administer customary land

| Edited extracts

Link here to the complete report by the National Research Institute

PORT MORESBY - In Papua New Guinea, customary land is administered by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP).

This faces many challenges including the costly, cumbersome process of land registration, protracted disputes over ownership and boundaries and questions about the capacity of DLPP to administer customary land.

Continue reading "We need a new entity to administer customary land" »

Kastom & Kristen can be a perfect match

Johannes & his wife Rose with grandson Victor at the 30th wedding anniversary in 2009
Johannes Kundal and Rose with grandson Victor at their 30th wedding anniversary in 2009


TUMBY BAY – In between finishing my latest novel and starting a new one I’ve been proofreading a fascinating autobiography by Johannes Kundal.

Johannes is a member of Enga Writers Association and his book, The Legend of the Miok Egg, is being edited and readied for publication by author Daniel Kumbon, who founded the group.

A few extracts have been published in PNG Attitude over the last year or so.

Continue reading "Kastom & Kristen can be a perfect match" »

Peter Kepa - philosopher & educationist

 Arnold  Philip Kai & Peter Kepa  October 2021
Arnold, Philip and Peter following Sunday service. The last photo of these good friends together  Peter was admitted to hospital the same week same week


KUNDIAWA - The fall of a giant or a biknem often creates sensational headlines through the towns and provinces of our country.

Politicians, business tycoons and prominent public servants top the list of who are seen as important at the time of their demise.

In this tribute, we want to mark the passing of Peter Kepa, who has died in Kundiawa aged about 68.

Continue reading "Peter Kepa - philosopher & educationist" »

Cronies & cash destroy PNG's justice system

Bhosip Kaiwi and Jenelyn Kennedy
Bhosip Kaiwi and Jenelyn Kennedy. The 19-year old mother's brutal torture and murder was supposed to be a turning point in PNG. But the criminal justice system has been far too corrupted


PORT MORESBY – The criminal justice system exists to apprehend, prosecute, sentence and punish people who commit crimes.

There are many notorious braggarts in Papua New Guinea who boast they have murdered but avoided the criminal justice system.

Gaol is not for me, they say.

Continue reading "Cronies & cash destroy PNG's justice system" »

Val Rivers, Baroness of Burra, dies at 78

Val Smelters Home top
The historic Burra Smelters Home Hotel bought by Val in the mid-1990s as visitor accommodation for her tourism business


NOOSA – We have to be grateful to James Kidd, the surviving son of Valerie Bridget (Val) Rivers, who died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital four months ago aged 78.

It was James who meticulously went through Val’s papers to ensure that friends and colleagues learned of the death on 2 July of the woman I call the Baroness of Burra.

Continue reading "Val Rivers, Baroness of Burra, dies at 78" »

The persecution of Bernard Collaery

Bernard Collaery - "The contemptible prosecution of Bernard Collaery is an assault on the rule of law”


NOOSA – When I resigned as president of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia in January 2009, I continued working on a few projects I did not want to see languish.

One was to gain national recognition of the 1,053 civilian and military prisoners interned by the Japanese in Rabaul who drowned when the prison ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed on 1 July 1942 en route to Hainan in China.

Continue reading "The persecution of Bernard Collaery" »

Pacific whanau must be honoured

Dr Damon Salesa … We need to honour … and be connected to our whanau around the Pacific (Radio New Zealand)
Dr Damon Salesa - "We need to honour and be connected to our whanau around the Pacific" (Radio New Zealand)


NOOSA – The new vice-chancellor of Auckland University of Technology (AUT), is keenly aware that he has broken through another glass ceiling.

The son of a factory worker, Dr Damon Salesa made New Zealand history last week as the first Pacific person to be appointed to head a New Zealand university.

Continue reading "Pacific whanau must be honoured" »

Weird ways, or has Nature got a plan?


TUMBY BAY - When I was a little kid I drove my parents to absolute distraction by regularly staying awake for 24 hours at a stretch and then sleeping for 12 hours straight.

They presumed that my circadian rhythm, a natural process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle, indicated I had a serious problem.

Continue reading "Weird ways, or has Nature got a plan?" »

Death of Marie Charley: Woman of sweet strength

Phil and Marie Charley - "their romance smacked of the silver screen”


NOOSA – Marie Charley has died in Sydney aged 93. She was the doyen of my favourite family and wife of my great comrade, the late Philip Charley OAM.

Marie, a school teacher by profession, had accompanied Phil for most of his long career in broadcast management, usually taking teaching positions along the way.

Continue reading "Death of Marie Charley: Woman of sweet strength" »

Papua’s long betrayal: 60 years of repression

"Every drop of Papuan blood leaves a trail leading to the perpetrators, the crime scenes and, eventually, to Papuan statehood"


CANBERRA – Yesterday, 1 December, marked 60 years since the State of Papua came into being.

In the centuries preceding 1961, Ortiz de Rates, a Spanish explorer, renamed the island ‘Nueva Guinea’ (New Guinea)’ on 20 June 1545 and, hearing of his alleged discovery, other Europeans followed.

Continue reading "Papua’s long betrayal: 60 years of repression" »

An undefeated hero in the land of racists

'David Gulpilil Two Worlds' by Craig Ruddy, Winner 2004 Archibald Prize (NSW Art Gallery)


TUMBY BAY - We in the West tend to judge people of other cultures in terms of our own values. We do this because we are conceited and assume that our values are superior to theirs.

This conceit was a fundamental ingredient in Australia’s past colonial experience and still informs how we relate to nations like China and India.

Continue reading "An undefeated hero in the land of racists" »

Four banks backed destructive logging

Westpac, ANZ, Bank South Pacific and Kina Bank have questions to answer about their ties with illegal logging practices in PNG


NOOSA – Banks operating in Papua New Guinea - including Westpac and ANZ - have provided the country’s five largest exporters of logs with at least K300 million in credit over the last 20 years.

But gaps in company reporting and murky funding processes mean the true amount could be three times as high, reaching close to a billion kina.

Continue reading "Four banks backed destructive logging" »