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57 posts from August 2022

Rich countries must get real on climate. Now!

The rich developed countries are arguing over the best ways to deal with climate change while urgent action is needed to save vulnerable nations, especially those in the Pacific, from disaster

Yonki Dam
Two months of dry weather has caused a five metre drop in the water level at Yonki Dam which supplies power to one-third of Papua New Guinea


DAGUA - In the Highlands of Papua New Guinea there is a prolonged drought.

The water level of the Yonki dam near Kainantu has dropped to a critical level, threatening not only water supplies but the generation of electricity for most of the Highlands as well as Lae and Madang.

Continue reading "Rich countries must get real on climate. Now!" »

UN offers safety to survivors of violence

The House of Hope provides emotional, physical and material assistance to restore the dignity of survivors of violence and to promote their recovery and empowerment

House rules and artwork done by survivors of sorcery accusation related violence at the House of Hope. It is part of the rehabilitation process and therapy for survivors (Gerard Ng  UNDP Papua New Guinea)
House rules and artwork done by survivors of sorcery accusation related violence at the House of Hope. It is part of the rehabilitation process and therapy for survivors (Gerard Ng,  UNDP Papua New Guinea)

| United Nations Development Program PNG

PORT MORESBY - Since the beginning of this year, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), through its partner Catholic Diocese of Mendi, has reached over 1,000 people through 17 awareness programs on sorcery accusation related violence (SARV).

Responding to the grave human rights violations resulting from SARV in Southern Highlands Province, the Catholic Diocese of Mendi actively advocates against the practice and provides post-violence victim recovery support through a safe house – the House of Hope.

Continue reading "UN offers safety to survivors of violence" »

Australia wants 'closest possible relationship'

"Our traditional partners have always been Australia when it comes to trade, economics, security and we will continue to do so to make sure we have a safe region” - Justin Tkatchenko

Senator Penny Wong
Senator Penny Wong says Papua New Guinea and Australia "must have the"closest possible relationship. Our futures are tied together"

| Reuters

SYDNEY - Australia wants the closest possible relationship with Papua New Guinea, said foreign minister Penny Wong, on her first official visit to the country amid competition with China for influence.

PNG had previously turned down a Chinese offer to redevelop a naval base and Canberra is funding Telstra's acquisition of PNG's biggest mobile provider, Digicel, to counter growing Chinese influence in the Pacific Islands.

Continue reading "Australia wants 'closest possible relationship'" »

China gold has been tarnished under Marape

When prime minister O’Neill visited China frequently. “Peter O’Neill could not resist red carpets, and the Chinese rolled them out for him,” Paul Barker, PNG Institute of National Affairs

Tallest building in PNG  the Noble Centre
The 23-storey Noble Center, the tallest building in PNG built at a cost of $95 million (K230 million) by the China Railway Construction Engineering Group, was denied an occupancy certificate by the city building authority last September. It remains unoccupied


| The Monthly | Extract

MELBOURNE - Heading a new term of government, prime minister James Marape said he would issue a list of business categories reserved for Papua New Guineans below a certain investment level.

“I am not going to be prime minister to see the erosion of business opportunities for PNG nationals, like restaurants, guesthouses, lodges, being filled by entrepreneurs or businessmen from outside,” he said.

Continue reading "China gold has been tarnished under Marape" »

Reports highlight risks from Panguna mine

“Every day we worry about levees collapsing on us, about rivers full of mine waste flooding our land and villages and about whether the water we drink and wash with is making us sick” - Theonila Roka Matbob MP

A Theonila Roka
"We urgently need Rio Tinto to do what’s right and deal with the disaster they have left behind” - Theonila Matbob MP

| Bougainville News

Link here for the report, Panguna Mine Environmental & Human Rights
Link here for the report After the Mine: Living with Rio Tinto’s deadly legacy

BUKA - An independent report reviewing data on Rio Tinto's former Panguna mine has warned of serious risks to local communities from unstable mine infrastructure and flooding caused by the build-up of mine waste in rivers.

The report, produced by global environmental firm Tetra Tech Coffey, is a preparatory desktop study on the mine which will inform an environmental and human rights impact assessment later this year.

Continue reading "Reports highlight risks from Panguna mine" »

The insidious cancer that is corruption

Corruption is an insidious cancer in the social, economic and political fabric of the nation. It will have to be stamped out if Papua New Guinea is ever to reach its true potential

Tolai man uses tabu (shell money) to buy a soft drink in a Chinese store (Claudio Sieber)


ADELAIDE – Let us suppose that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) was not both corrupted and inefficient.

If this was so, then the PNG’s Chinese traders, described by Hamish McDonald in the current issue of The Monthly (link here $ or read an extract here), might have sufficient confidence in the system so they would not feel compelled to adopt some of the extrajudicial measures referred to in the article.

Continue reading "The insidious cancer that is corruption" »

PNG’s colonial construct is under threat

Papua New Guinea is entirely a colonial construct and, as recent elections demonstrated, tribalism still trumps democracy in many places and in many ways

Taking a break in a village
Taking a break in a village. Life under colonialism was predictable and progressive. And colonisers and colonised generally got on well. But the colonial governance construct is now showing its age


ADELAIDE - The desire of Bougainvilleans for independence is not going to dissipate based on some deal concocted by Port Moresby to give the island autonomous status within Papua New Guinea.

Surely this message has been delivered in clear and unequivocal terms?

Continue reading "PNG’s colonial construct is under threat" »

The new breed of Chinese trading in PNG

'Operating with cash only, ignoring company or goods-and-services tax obligations, importing goods through sometimes unorthodox channels....the Fujian businesses have been unbeatable competition at the bottom end of the consumer market'

Chinese business in PNG
"Periodically, mobs attack and ransack Chinese stores in PNG towns, as they also have in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital"

| The Monthly | Extract

MELBOURNE - Who should Australia believe about China’s business and strategic interests in Papua New Guinea?

Aiambak, 469 kilometres up the Fly River from the Torres Strait, is on the frontier of China’s contemporary reach into the wider world.

Continue reading "The new breed of Chinese trading in PNG" »

Centaurus looms as a new Covid threat

“The rodeo ain’t over till the bull riders ride,” wrote Washington Post sports editor Dan Cook in June 1978, giving birth to a popular cliché. The end of Covid has been called many times, some people even believe the propaganda that’s it’s over. You can be well advised, it's not over till it’s over.

Covid screening in India  where cases of BA.2.75 are rising (Mohd Arhaan Archer  AFP)
Covid screening in India where cases of BA.2.75 (Centaurus) are rising (Mohd Arhaan Archer AFP)

| Medscape

NEW YORK - Will Omicron's newest subvariant, BA.2.75, be the next one to worry about?

It was first found in early June in India and has now been detected in more than 20 countries, and researchers are waiting to learn whether it will substantially elevate case numbers after a wave of infections with BA.5.

Continue reading "Centaurus looms as a new Covid threat" »

Solomons’ threat to journalists condemned

‘Foreign media must understand that the manner in which journalists are allowed to conduct themselves in other countries does not give them the right to operate in the same manner in the Pacific’

Solomons journalists at a training workshop in March 2021
Solomons journalists at a training workshop in March 2021

| Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the Solomon Islands government for threatening to ban or deport foreign journalists “disrespectful” of the country’s relationship with China.

The IFJ said this was a “grave infringement on press freedom” and called on prime minister Manasseh Sogavare to ensure all journalists in the Solomon Islands remain free to report.

Continue reading "Solomons’ threat to journalists condemned" »

Bougainville says no to independence consultation

The autonomous Bougainville government said ratification of the 2019 referendum on independence will be done by the national parliament and doesn't require PNG citizens to be further consulted

Bougainville parliament sign (The Bougainvillean)

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - The Bougainville government has rejected a call from the Papua New Guinea government to hold for a nationwide consultation on the Bougainville independence referendum.

PNG prime minister James Marape proposed the consultation earlier this month.

Continue reading "Bougainville says no to independence consultation" »

The nightmare of war that is with us forever

A critical precondition for peace is that people must desire it fiercely enough to argue, fight and even die for it. This is what we all may be doing soon enough if China uses force to conquer Taiwan and the United States intervenes

Image - Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)
Art by Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)


ADELAIDE - One of the unfathomable mysteries of human nature is the instinct to pursue violence and war.

History is, in many respects, just one long and dismal story of seemingly endless warfare.

Continue reading "The nightmare of war that is with us forever" »

And remember - it's not always about China

Veterans in Pacific media must be in a strange position. To see a space so often ignored suddenly taken over by a cacophony of clueless commentators

Ardern suva
Jacinda Ardern talks to journalists in Suva - the Murdoch press perceived
the New Zealand prime minister as confrontational, and called her 'hostile'

| Twitter @iamprianka

MELBOURNE - Being part of Pacific media is amazing. So many talented, supportive journalists, doing great work for the love of a region so often under-resourced by world press

But I've noticed this love can sometimes spoil into an awful territorialism. And I want to talk about it.

Continue reading "And remember - it's not always about China" »

Beyond the Corridor

"The dark passage is only life's score / Let not your fear triumph in this fight / Be brave, take those steps towards the door"



There's something beyond the corridor
For the air is filled and sour with fright
But be brave, take those steps to the door

Each step squeaks and squeals along the floor
Fear abounds and races through the night
There is something beyond the corridor

The dark passage is only life's score
Let not your fear triumph in this fight
Be brave, take those steps towards the door

Take heart with each step to the door
Amidst shadows standing silent as the night
There is something beyond the corridor

And that something wants you to explore
It's not out of reach, just out of sight
Be brave, take those steps through the door

Out of the terror & death, it’s time for peace

Every day there was gunfire in Enga Province. Constant reports of death and destruction poured in from almost every district. Property valued at millions of kina went up in smoke - shops, homes, schools, health facilities

Kumbon top


PORT MORESBY - I had terrible dreams, some so scary they made me sweat, in the last couple of weeks I was up there in Wabag.

Maybe my poor brain recorded so much destruction, crime, violence, atrocities and human rights violations that the events kept resurfacing in my sleep.

Continue reading "Out of the terror & death, it’s time for peace" »

By our values, the portions are not equal

The political economy of a pig farmer’s life


Dom -pigs

1,  28 December 2012

Until you have seen your hands blistering
Until you have felt sweat break like fever
Before another new gardens planting

Until you have cleaned the piss and manure
Cut, carried and replaced sodden bedding
Until you have closed the sow with the boar

Continue reading "By our values, the portions are not equal" »

PNG: Is the future capitalism or nothing?

The current fighting in the Highlands has less to do with political leadership and everything thing to do with lost hope. The men who are fighting, harming people and destroying property, those men own nothing

Gun family


“The only comfort that may be drawn is from the fact that the subsistence lifestyle, that has sustained Papua New Guineans for thousands of years, will probably insulate them from the worst impacts of what is and remains a grossly inequitable, unjust and frequently corrupt system” – Chris Overland in ‘The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism.”

LAE - No. Subsistence farming may not save Papua New Guinea in the future.

There is too much to unpack in that assumption and I will most likely be dead and gone before my country realises the inevitable endpoint that I only spy through a poet’s lens.

Continue reading "PNG: Is the future capitalism or nothing?" »

The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism

Allowing the market to entirely determine the distribution of wealth without the cautious restraining hand of government has hugely exaggerated the economic gap between winners and losers

Annexation of Papua  1885
Annexation of Papua, 1885


ADELAIDE - Traditional Melanesian culture was organised in ways that were and are totally at odds with the prevailing capitalist economic system.

I would characterise the traditional way of life as being based upon a system of mutual obligation and communalism, whereby each member of a social group both contributed to the common good of the group and, in turn, received benefits from it.

Continue reading "The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism" »

Women struggled against electoral barriers

More than 100 women leaders protested about the way in which their right to vote was taken away by corruption, violence and intimidation by male candidates and their supporters 

woman voting

| Devpolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The results of the 2022 PNG elections confirm that women will once again sit in PNG’s parliament, after a hiatus of five years.

The 2022 elections were therefore not exactly a repeat of the 2017 elections for women candidates, but much more work is needed if significant numbers of women are to be elected.

Continue reading "Women struggled against electoral barriers" »

Wau Kik: Playing football the PNG hard way

Wau Kik was popular sport with few rules and those who witnessed or took part related anecdotes of players who were feared and respected because of their viciousness at the prime strategy of kicking the bare legs and feet of opponents

Sigimet - football PNG v Solomons
A football match between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands


DAGUA - Football or soccer is a popular sport in Papua New Guinea, said by the PNG Football Association to have been introduced by German Lutheran missionaries in Morobe Province in 1884.

The first record of an organised local football competition was on the goldfields of Wau and Bulolo in that province.

Continue reading "Wau Kik: Playing football the PNG hard way" »

Corruption fighter Kramer slams allegations

“The allegations of scandalising the judiciary are nonsensical. It’s a fact the chief justice, who I understand is the complainant in this allegation, is a close friend of former prime minister Peter O’Neill and was appointed on an NEC (Cabinet) submission sponsored by O’Neill"

Bryan Kramer at parliament house
Bryan Kramer at parliament house

| PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s Justice Minister and Madang MP Bryan Kramer has been referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission on 14 counts of alleged misconduct.

He told a media conference that the Ombudsman Commission had delivered a letter informing him of the allegations and the referral.

Continue reading "Corruption fighter Kramer slams allegations" »

Tanim tok: government's voice in colonial PNG

This piece was inspired by a conversation between Raymond and his father (‘A policeman remembers….’), who spoke of the venerated role of the colonial tanim tok (interpreter)

Sigimet - kiap with luluais. tultuls  tanim tok and other local officials
Kiaps talk with luluais, tultuls and tanim tok


DAGUA – Kiaps were government patrol officers within the Australian colonial administration who were tasked to bring control over the 850 tribes of the territories of Papua and New Guinea.

A vital person who patrolled with kiaps in this arduous and sometimes dangerous task was the tanim tok.

Continue reading "Tanim tok: government's voice in colonial PNG" »

Mass media & politics: an uneasy relationship

It is important that media criticism of the government is based upon facts and constitutes fair comment. This is vital to preserve the credibility of the media



ADELAIDE - Requiring the media to 'instil unity amongst our people' – as the Solomons prime minister proposes - is all too often code for 'do not criticise the government even if this is warranted'.

In Australia, the Liberal-National Party governments have been notoriously critical of the ABC because, as they see it, the management and journalists are biased against the conservative side of politics.

Continue reading "Mass media & politics: an uneasy relationship" »

How to give women a say in PNG governance

Traditionally women exercised power on matters such as food security, children’s health and education.  In matrilineal settings, they can exercise total authority over the distribution and use of land



CAIRNS - I believe Terence Wood (‘What went wrong with the 2022 elections’) has made some pertinent observations. 

He has picked out a number of factors that are increasingly impacting the safe and orderly conduct of elections.

I would add a couple more to the mix.

Continue reading "How to give women a say in PNG governance" »

Old Melanesia offers lessons to a grim future

When they say ‘gold is a resource’, then anything in and around it is useless. The people living on the land above the gold, anything else in the ground and down the rivers are seen as a nuisance


| Presentation at the Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - Papua New Guineans are proud and resilient people. We come from a bloodline of some of the most ingenious and innovative people.

Our ancestors sailed the oceans before others did. Our ancestors invented agriculture! Let that sink in.

Continue reading "Old Melanesia offers lessons to a grim future" »

PNGDF chief: Care for our people & country

For Major-General Goina, the PNGDF's role is about humanity - the duty to care wrapped around a desire for peace, safety and well-being for women and children

3 - Members of PNGDF participating in NATEL 2022


PORT MORESBY - Elections come and go, governments rise and fall, yet democracy remains.

We say that Papua New Guinea’s national election is the pillar of democracy but to me they are the culvert into which this nation’s free river of democracy is piped, felt and expressed.

The PNG Defence Force is an old institution, much older than the birthdate of this nation with roots buried deep in time amid the battlefields of World War II.

Continue reading "PNGDF chief: Care for our people & country" »

What went wrong with the 2022 elections?

I’ve spoken to electoral officials who told me about the death threats they received. I’ve heard of candidates kidnapping officials’ family members. If other candidates’ supporters attacked your supporters last election, why not get revenge this time round?

A Chaotic-election-PC-top

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The dust is still swirling, far from settled, and already people are calling the 2022 elections the worst in Papua New Guinea’s history.

Is that correct? I don’t know – the 2002 and 2017 elections provide stiff competition. And in some ways, 2022 hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

Continue reading "What went wrong with the 2022 elections?" »

Can the Pacific Forum learn from ASEAN?

Questions remain about whether the Pacific Islands Forum can adapt mechanisms from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to manage the heightened attention that comes with big power competition

A beach pinterest

| East Asia Forum | Edited

CANBERRA - In the recently agreed 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, and before that the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, the Pacific Islands Forum is seeking to both define the challenges facing the region and to identify solutions.

Southeast Asia has long been the object of great power rivalry, but ASEAN has, despite criticism, acted as a fulcrum around which big power jostling is stabilised.

Continue reading "Can the Pacific Forum learn from ASEAN?" »

Promote unity, Sogavare tells broadcaster

“We struggle to hold this country together,” Sogavare said, stating that SIBC had been broadcasting news based on misinformation and deliberate lies that had caused anxiety in the public

SIBC newsroom
The newsro/om at Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

| Island Sun - Pacnews

SUVA, FIJI - Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare has accused the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) of deviating from its purpose of uniting the country.

Responding to a question in the Solomons parliament, Sogavare said SIBC is a statutory body and service provider that continues to receive funding from the government.

Continue reading "Promote unity, Sogavare tells broadcaster" »

A colonial construct about to be sorely tested

Papua New Guinea’s parliament operates more as a collection of loosely affiliated Mafia mob bosses than a genuine democratic institution



ADELAIDE - China, tribalism, corruption and a province that wants to be its own nation pose a prickly pathway for Papua New Guinea over the next few years.

The desire of Bougainvilleans for independence is not going to dissipate on the basis of a deal concocted by Port Moresby to give the province autonomous status within PNG - an offer that falls well short of expectations.

Continue reading "A colonial construct about to be sorely tested" »

Meeting Penny

"I heard footsteps brushing against the grass and crackling the dry leaves. I looked up and was surprised to see a pretty young woman, all Afro and earrings"

Penny 2


FLASH FICTION - This is my story of Penny, someone I met unexpectedly. On a Wednesday.

Our meeting was extraordinary and it happened on this particularly insignificant Wednesday.

I got to know that Penny is a Capricorn, born in the month of January.

Continue reading "Meeting Penny" »

Heritage, bilums & cultural appropriation

The truth is that imitation and exchange have long been integral in the development of human societies. Begging, borrowing or stealing other people’s ideas drives socio-cultural and economic change around the globe



ADELAIDE - Raymond Sigimet’s article, The cruel and brazen theft of bilum designs, has raised a significant issue and in so doing exposes a veritable witches brew of tricky problems.

Rightly, he regards the use of traditional bilum designs for other purposes as an example of what is commonly called 'cultural appropriation' – which occurs when cultural features or artefacts of a group are adopted by other groups or individuals in an exploitative or disrespectful way.

Continue reading "Heritage, bilums & cultural appropriation" »

PNG fails to deter sorcery-related violence

Brutal torture of women accused of witchcraft goes unpunished and initiatives to end the crime make little progress. The government was supposed to fund the Sorcery National Action Plan, but it never happened

After torturing people accused of sorcery, the perpetrators burn down their homes and evict them from the village (Dickson Tanda)

| Al Jazeera

SYDNEY - Reports of machete-wielding men slashing innocent bystanders, arson attacks, sexual violence against girls, and the displacement of thousands of people during last month’s election in Papua New Guinea have drawn international condemnation.

But an even more insidious form of violence continues to plague the country: sorcery-accusation-related violence (SARV), the public torture and murder of women accused of witchcraft.

Continue reading "PNG fails to deter sorcery-related violence" »

Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture

In September 1974, Déwé Gorodé and Susanna Ounei were arrested for protesting against ceremonies that commemorated the colonisation of New Caledonia. It was the first of three stints in jail, and in prison she wrote poetry and joined other young people to reflect on the role of women in the independence movement

Déwé Gorodé  Melbourne  1987
Déwé Gorodé during a visit to Melbourne in August 1987. The text on the whiteboard reads:
"My country is Kanaky" in her language Paicȋ (The Age).

Yesterday before they landed
in our history
of roots recited
of origins memorised
who you were exactly
what your place was
in the world of our people

It’s up to you, my mother,
it’s up to you, my sister
to try and find out….

Millenia’ by Déwé Gorodé, written in Camp Est prison, 1974

Continue reading "Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture" »

The cruel & brazen theft of bilum designs

The sale of these splendid (and strong) string bags and other products based on bilum design is putting money into the hands of many creative and hard-working women who sustain this national art

Bilum designs on fabrics for sale (Florence Jaukae  Facebook)
Bilum designs on fabrics displayed for sale (Florence Jaukae,  Facebook)


DAGUA - The bilum is no ordinary string bag. It is part of the Papua New Guinea persona.

It is part of our identity. It is a national symbol. It is a shared experience in our diversity.

Papua New Guinea bilum designs are unique to our country.

Continue reading "The cruel & brazen theft of bilum designs" »

A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy

Very few Pacific islands would opt for their current status if offered a choice to return to their pre-colonial lives. This could be more than a post-modern fantasy

Canoe (Pinterest)


CAIRNS - If you look at history through a Bougainvillean lens, independence is obvious and non-negotiable.

But the same sentiment applies to practically every other island group in the Pacific region.

Continue reading "A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy" »

The day W Papua was stolen from its people

The only appropriate and adequate justice left for Papuans is to be given back their sovereignty. This is the only way to have decades of violence against them reconciled



Link here to Yamin’s complete article in Asia Pacific Report

BRISBANE - Sixty years ago today — on 15 August 1962 — the fate of the newly born nation-state of West Papua was stolen by men in New York.

The infamous event is known as The New Agreement, a deal between the Netherlands and Indonesia over West Papua’s sovereignty.

Continue reading "The day W Papua was stolen from its people" »

Bougainville: James Marape's biggest issue

Bougainville’s dire need for foreign aid could render it vulnerable to China’s influence as it struggles to become the world’s newest democracy — and it could also become the target of Beijing’s strategic aims


| United States Institute of Peace | Edited extracts

Link here to the complete articleThe Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

WASHINGTON DC - Now that Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has been re-elected, the stage is set for him to settle what he has called the biggest issue facing the country.

This is the future political status of Bougainville, an autonomous region seeking independence by 2027.

Continue reading "Bougainville: James Marape's biggest issue" »

Thoughts on the brutal death of a vagrant rat

I do not want to take a life; I’m not a barbarian or a savage. I was not cut out for taking a life. Rats, do not put me in such a situation. Maybe I should join the Jain religion

Gabi dead rat


WEWAK - A few days ago, I set a rat glue trap to catch the pests who had invaded our home and established squatter settlements in the walls and ceiling.

Some of the rascals would walk around the house like they had a property title.

Continue reading "Thoughts on the brutal death of a vagrant rat" »

Sweeping reform is not on Albanese’s agenda

We must harden up and put our collective shoulders to the wheel to make our country more economically resilient and self-reliant, as well as to repair our much neglected and grossly inadequate defence forces

Anthony Albanese (The West Australian)Anthony Albanese has taken over a country in which laissez faire capitalism has wrought its magic, enriching the few at the expense of the many (Caricature from The West Australian)


ADELAIDE - Australia's 'timid' government (Keith Jackson’s descriptor) has sniffed the wind and knows that, while Australians were intensely unhappy with the previous government, they were not necessarily going to buy into demands for thoroughgoing reforms of the current system.

In particular, a large majority of voters still fondly imagine that the serious problems now manifest in the health system, aged care, disability services, public transport and housing can be magically fixed without, if not an increase in taxation, at least the abandonment of the unjustified and inequitable tax cuts which passed into law before the recent election.

Continue reading "Sweeping reform is not on Albanese’s agenda" »

A voter's observation of a corrupted election

“When you want my wife or my daughter, I can give them to you but when you want my power, I will never give it to you. Even if I lose, I will make my way in”

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier front page



KUNDIAWA - According to Greek philosopher Aristotle “Man is a political animal who can work towards his highest good only as a member of a society. Man is continuously searching for an ideal society to live in."

Abraham Lincoln, one of America's greatest presidents, referred to democracy as “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Papua New Guinea accepted this concept and adopted it into our Constitution.

Continue reading "A voter's observation of a corrupted election" »

Bigmanship: the deliverer of corrupt leaders

A corrupt politician’s strong tribal identity can create an impossible situation for honest candidates to succeed, and so the corrupt are re-elected

Caricatures from Wantok newspaper
Caricatures from Wantok newspaper


PORT MORESBY - Despite colossal efforts by international partners, NGOs and other entities to rid us of corrupt leaders, we are again confronted by their resurgence after the just completed national elections.

As I see things, this is due to three cultural factors that are the salient catalysts that cause voters to install corrupt leaders election after election.

Continue reading "Bigmanship: the deliverer of corrupt leaders" »

Election gives Marape a stranglehold on PNG

Marape became the first PNG prime minister to be elected unopposed as 97 MPs decided to vote for him unanimously, leaving former prime minister O’Neill, comprehensively outmanoeuvred in the election, to strut out of the chamber muttering something about “a matter of conscience”

Rachael and James Marape



NOOSA – Even in the elation of victory, unanimously chosen prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, could not bring himself to provide hope for women to occupy a fair share of seats in PNG’s parliament.

“Women do not need special seats, they can run on merit,” was the curt response when he was asked whether two (1.7%) of 118 seats was an adequate return for the nation’s women.

Continue reading "Election gives Marape a stranglehold on PNG" »

Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights

“There are many writers wondering where PNG is heading and when the vicious cycles of political corruption, poor economic development and social decay will end. Papua New Guinea is a nation in denial” - Sumatin

Dom Magasin cover top


NOOSA – Sumatin magazine, published by Michael Dom and his energetic team at Ples Singsing, is billed as the ‘space for Papua New Guinean creativity’ and is a wonderful initiative that has revived the fading literary flame lit by the Crocodile Prize.

Sumatin magazine issue 2 of July 2022, which you can access here, is a free, online production featuring both original content and relevant writing drawn largely from Ples Singsing, PNG Attitude and DevPolicy Blog.

Continue reading "Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights" »

Kessy Sawang is woman #2 in PNG parliament

This afternoon Kessy Sawang joined Rufina Peter in Papua New Guinea’s parliament as the Rai Coast seat was declared in Madang Province. Two women and 116 men. Anyway, here’s what Kessy wrote after her first attempt at election, in 2017, saw her finish a close third….



RAI COAST - My name is Ms Kessy William Sawang (family and friends call me Kez).

I’m an aspiring political leader and blogger who advocates for good governance in PNG’s public sector as it is critical for development. I would like to see transformation of rural PNG in inclusive development and there is shared prosperity.

Continue reading "Kessy Sawang is woman #2 in PNG parliament" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation

“In mining, hard facts and foresight are important. We are very conscious of the fact that in a few years, Papua and New Guinea may be independent. Soon there may be an indigenous administration – call it a black president if you like"

Brown 09

Arawa headman Narug and other village leaders Monoerung Tavore (wearing glasses) and Kori (in hat) listen as kiap Max Heggen explains the Arawa Agreement under which villagers would forfeit a tract of land to allow a large town to be built to service the Panguna mine. Brown describes Narug as a tough negotiator but "thoughtful and reasonable."


THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES – Bougainville District Commissioner Des (DN) Ashton paid the price for obeying orders at Rorovana when the Papua New Guinea Administration removed his authority over Bougainville Copper's areas of operation.

Following Australian Prime Minister John Gorton’s August intervention in the Rorovana confrontation, the Administration committed a special unit of a dozen kiaps to the mining operation.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation" »

There’s no escaping a hothouse earth

We're on a path to 3 degrees by the end of the century, or sooner. At 3 degrees much of planetary life would end. McGuire argues that changes to the biosphere are now at the point of no return


| Pearls & Irritations

NORTHERN NSW - A couple of months ago I set off with my partner to the northern hemisphere for a prolonged stint in Canada.

I’ll admit I was excited and relieved to be getting away from the rain-soaked Northern Rivers.

The region had been robbed of sunlight for months on end and the trauma of the floods earlier in the year was deeply ingrained, even though I was among the lucky few whose house was spared.

Continue reading "There’s no escaping a hothouse earth" »

Rufina: Lone woman prepares to take her seat

Rufina Peter, the new Governor of Central Province, will be the only woman in the 118 seat Papua New Guinea parliament. She is now in an influential position to advocate for a system to get more women into parliament


Governor-elect Rufina Peter - experienced, committed, courageous



NOOSA - The electors of Papua New Guinea’s prosaically-named Central Province found themselves to be also the centre of national attention today as the only one of 118 electorates to vote in a woman as their Governor and member of parliament.

Late yesterday, Rufina Peter, standing on an unlikely policy platform proposed by Peter O‘Neill’s unsuccessful People’s National Congress [see below], blitzed the incumbent Governor Robert Agarobe (Pangu) who had led the field of 22 candidates until Peter swooped to take the seat in the third last round of counting.

Continue reading "Rufina: Lone woman prepares to take her seat" »

Troubled PNG poll should be wake-up call

Responsibility for the election lies with PNG but Australia’s support was clearly inadequate. A renewed Australian commitment to the Pacific demands more in helping to deliver safe and credible elections in the region

PNG lead image

| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - It has been a difficult election period for Papua New Guinea.

Outbreaks of violence in the nation’s capital Port Moresby and other parts of the country have disrupted voting and counting, leading to the PNG Governor General granting a two-week extension to 12 August for the return of writs. This has been pared back to 5 August.

Continue reading "Troubled PNG poll should be wake-up call" »