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40 posts from May 2023

PNG must put the people first, not last

'We Must Put the Nation First'
'We Must Put The People First'


KANDEP - In recent mass media news reports in Papua New Guinea, concerns have been raised by senior officials in various government agencies that governance systems are failing.

This is serious enough in itself but especially bad for PNG as a developing nation seeking to achieve its developmental goals as enshrined in Vision 2050.

Continue reading "PNG must put the people first, not last" »

We have been betrayed by the global elite


TUMBY BAY - Australia, like many other developed nations, claims it has no responsibility for CO² emissions from the coal, iron ore and gas it exports.

If Australia accepted that responsibility it would blow its emission reduction targets sky high and fail every test of being a responsible and ethical nation.

Continue reading "We have been betrayed by the global elite" »

Australia needs to take a hard look at itself



TUMBY BAY - Towards the end of this year, Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

They will be asked whether it should be changed to establish a permanent, independent advisory body, known as The Voice, to advise federal parliament and the government on matters relating to the Australia’s Indigenous population.

Continue reading "Australia needs to take a hard look at itself" »

Play with dynamite, expect an explosion

From the song ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, written by Kris Kristofferson in 1969 and most famously sung by Janis Joplin, who recorded it shortly before her death from a drug overdose in 1970


ADELAIDE - In the distant past, there arose priestly castes, or classes, whose members purported to have special insight and understanding about the world; an understanding that hugely surpassed that of ordinary folk.written by

Through certain rituals and the possession of uncommon skills - such as the ability to read and write, or through mastery of astronomy or great talent for mathematics - they secured influence, authority and power.

Continue reading "Play with dynamite, expect an explosion" »

Bad, sad, quite mad & rapidly getting worse

A plan is hatched (not in the public interest)


NOOSA - Despite its rich and extensive natural resource base, which should make the task of national development, Papua New Guinea has been steadily dragged down over the last 30 years by a toxic blend of volatile politics and entrenched corruption.

A complex political situation intensified by corruption, cronyism and fluctuating strategic alliances have significantly hindered economic progress and contributed to societal challenges.

Continue reading "Bad, sad, quite mad & rapidly getting worse" »

Medicinal plants & preserving PNG languages


Roche    Some of the SIL team who translated literature into the Melpa language with some of their publications (Garrett Roche  c 2010)
Some of the Summer Institute of Linguistics team which translated literature into the Melpa language: (front row) Jack Minimbi from Jika Pangaka clan, Wu Elpa from Yamka,  Agnes Klara from Mokei Kiminika clan, Al Stucky from SIL.  (back row)  John Rumbi (Ruby) from Mokei Akilika clan, Delene Stucky from SIL, Joe Raima from Munjika Nengkamp clan (Photograph by Fr Garrett Roche, c 2010)

MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - If you type ‘country in the world with most languages’ into your search engine, you will find Papua New Guinea listed in first place with 839 languages and Indonesia second with 707 languages. 

Among the list of languages in PNG is Melpa, which is spoken mainly in Western Highlands Province.

Continue reading "Medicinal plants & preserving PNG languages" »

My dismissal is far from the end of the matter

'Kramer Out' says the Post-Courier. 'Not so fast' says the corruption-fighting minister dismissed by a Leadership Tribunal

| Facebook

Thanks to Phil Fitzpatrick whose scouring of social media revealed what he termed Bryan Kramer's “defiant response” to judge Lawrence Kangwia and senior magistrates Edward Komia and Josephine Nidue, sitting as the Leadership Tribunal which last week dismissed Kramer as a minister and parliamentarian - KJ

PORT MORESBY - Late Wednesday afternoon of 24 May 2023, a copy of a notice giving effect to my dismissal from office as the member of Madang Open was circulated on social media.

It was purportedly issued by the Governor General’s Office [and], given the errors on the face of the document, many raised the question whether it was genuine or fake. 

Continue reading "My dismissal is far from the end of the matter" »

Judiciary knocks Kramer from ring – for now

Daniel and Bryan
Author and PNG Attitude contributor Daniel Kumbon with Bryan Kramer, Papua Hotel, Port Moresby, 2017


NOOSA – The prominent Papua New Guinea journalist Scott Waide has said “the judiciary has come back hard” on former police minister Bryan Kramer who was sacked as the Member for Madang Open in a notice signed by governor-general, Sir Bob Dadae, on Wednesday.

Kramer had faced a Leadership Tribunal after he was accused of a number of charges including one of deceiving and misleading the court by submitting fabricated documents and two of scandalising the judiciary after publishing posts on Facebook implying a conflict of interest by chief justice Sir Gibbs Salika.

Continue reading "Judiciary knocks Kramer from ring – for now" »

Complacency feels good, but it might kill you


TUMBY BAY - Australia has changed considerably since the sleepy 1950s and a major influence can be put down to immigration.

Left to our own devices we’d probably still be dozing in the warm sunshine of national complacency.

Complacency about climate change and its effects is beginning to look more and more like a scourge, even a killer. And yes, we're bloody complacent


Continue reading "Complacency feels good, but it might kill you" »

Taking back PNG? This new law gives it away

Warime Guti -
Warime Guti - "Let us work together to create a sustainable future that values the protection of our natural resources and respects the rights and well-being of its people"


LAE - The Papua New Guinea Environmental Alliance (PNGEA), a representative of civil society organisations, is deeply concerned about the national government’s push to establish special economic zones throughout the country.

We’re concerned about the impact of the Special Economic Zone Authority Act of 2019, legislated to identify environmentally important areas and consider the well-being of communities within and near planned zones.

Continue reading "Taking back PNG? This new law gives it away" »



The rain is running like a cresting fever
pushing the tide on the swollen river
painting buildings thermometer silver
palling the streets that sweat and shiver.

My study window is moist with tears
the roof is weak and a leak appears
dribbles down the wall like passing years
gathers in a puddle of lurking fears.

Continue reading "Rain" »

Equality must be real & practised with respect

| Academia Nomad

Sitiveni Rabuka (left), prime minister of Fiji, visiting Taneti Maamau, president of Kiribati, in January. Both leaders are seated as a mark of equality and respect. Rabuka later confirmed that Kiribati had agreed to return to the Pacific Islands Forum (Sitiveni Rabuka, Twitter)

PORT MORESBY - When Kiribati left the Pacific Islands Forum after the Forum (including Australia and New Zealand) failed to honour a gentleman’s agreement to let its leadership rotate to a Micronesian nation, it was Fiji which brought Kiribati back into the fold.

After becoming prime minister late last year, he went to Kiribati and, along with his delegation, sat on the grass in the sun.

Continue reading "Equality must be real & practised with respect" »

Farewell, my dear brother, Philip Kai Morre

Mundua     Philip recent
A recent portrait of the late Philip Kai Morre - counsellor, churchman, author, community leader


KUNDIAWA - It is often difficult to accept reports or notices of friends’ passing, especially if they are very close to you.

On the morning of Tuesday 25th April, a work colleague of Philip Morre Kai in the Community Services Division of the Simbu Provincial Government called me.

He was enquiring on behalf of the Division’s members to find out if what they heard that morning about Philip’s passing was authentic or a mere circulation of rumour.

Continue reading "Farewell, my dear brother, Philip Kai Morre" »

Don’t sign PNG-US defence deal until it’s fixed

Dr Bal Kama (ANU College of Law)

| Academia Nomad

CANBERRA – The Papua New Guinea and United States governments are said to be ready (possibly this week) to sign an unprecedented security agreement enabling US forces to operate in PNG.

A draft of the agreement was leaked last week and its substance has not been denied by either government.

Continue reading "Don’t sign PNG-US defence deal until it’s fixed" »

Modi PNG trip expands India’s balancing act

| Andrew Korybko’s Newsletter

MONTREAL - India is the only Great Power whose growing ties in any region aren’t seen by the New Cold War’s Chinese and Western protagonists as a threat to their interests.

This makes these nations amenable to accepting India’s envisaged balancing role in the countries they’re competing over, like those in the Pacific.

Continue reading "Modi PNG trip expands India’s balancing act" »

Devices of benefit become means of control

What Happened to My Power (Image by Microsoft Bing)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The South Australian government has just finished building a new double-circuit 132kV transmission line to Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula near to where I live in Tumby Bay.

The former transmission line was more than 50 years old and prone to regular breakdowns.

A few years ago the line was knocked out by a storm and people were without power for several weeks.

Continue reading "Devices of benefit become means of control" »

The story of Chief John, poet & radical

Portrait of Chief John Kasaipwalova placed on the casket for his funeral

| The National Weekender

PORT MORESBY - Her voice rose high and echoed in the big hall of the Reverend Sione Kami Memorial Church, drowning the noise of the heavy rain thudding on the roof.

The woman dedicated her song to the man she addressed as the father of her children.

Least to say, she brought the house down with emotion.

Continue reading "The story of Chief John, poet & radical" »

98% of Bougainvilleans teach us a lesson

Charteris     Kieta Harbour and Pok Pok Island  Bougainville (  Pinterest)
Kieta Harbour and Pok Pok Island Bougainville ( &  Pinterest)


CAIRNS - I have not read Gordon Peake’s book, ‘Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation: Journeys in Bougainville’, but found his observations as reported by Professor Howes in ‘Gloomy Confessions of an Adviser’ most instructive.

For me, Peake’s comments about Bougainville resonate loud and clear. In my view, they could just as validly be applied to any province in Papua New Guinea or the Solomons.

Continue reading "98% of Bougainvilleans teach us a lesson" »

What the hell is going on with USA & China

The Eagle and the Bear (Microsoft Bing Image Creator)


TUMBY BAY - Along with many other people I have spent the last year or so trying to get my head around the sabre rattling that has been occurring between China and the USA, with various nervous acolytes, including Australia, standing off to the side.

Both behemoths have unsavoury human rights records and a propensity to strut their military might whenever it pleases them.

Continue reading "What the hell is going on with USA & China" »

This US defence pact shouldn't be signed

The Think Tank (Microsoft Bing Image Creator)
The Think Tank (Microsoft Bing Image Creator)


PORT MORESBY - It seems that his current troubles, serious though they are, are not bothersome enough to prevent Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko from attending Monday’s meeting of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation in Port Moresby.

This will be the third summit of the grouping of India and 14 Pacific Island countries, and it is held as PNG prepares to sign a controversial Defence Cooperation Agreement with the USA.

Continue reading "This US defence pact shouldn't be signed" »

Tkatchenko affair: Pipol 1, Marape 0

Michael Kabuni
Michael Kabuni - "We hope this case sets a precedent, so citizens can continue to hold their leaders accountable"

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – It seems that the Papua New Guinea Ombudsman Commission has received “an avalanche of complaints from the public” in relation to the Justin ‘Primitive Animals’ Tkatchenko issue and that it intends “to treat each complaint accordingly”.

This case, this saga, is different from any I’ve observed since I became interested in PNG politics. It has set itself apart from the rise of internet, and its temperamental grandchild social media, in making issues go viral.

Continue reading "Tkatchenko affair: Pipol 1, Marape 0" »

The world has always been in a state of chaos

World in Chaos (Bing Image Creator)
World in Chaos (Bing Image Creator)


TUMBY BAY - The final scene in Sean O’Casey’s 1924 Dublin play, ‘Juno and the Paycock’, ends with a drunken character dropping his last sixpence on the floor and declaring "the whole world is in a terrible state o' chassis" before passing out.

‘Chassis’ was a malapropism for ‘chaos’ and ‘paycock’ was an Irish rendering of the word ‘peacock’, which Juno liked to use to describe her layabout husband, Jack.

Continue reading "The world has always been in a state of chaos" »

New colonisation of the White Man’s Pacific

Jacksons International AIrport  Port Moresby's (
Jacksons International AIrport Port Moresby (

| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - And the anti-China media beat-ups continue, this time over possible Chinese naval bases in the South Pacific.

The anti-China campaign never stops: Hong Kong; Xinjiang; debt traps; the tennis player Peng Shuai, who was ‘disappeared’; Covid policies that were too strict and then too permissive; a property collapse; a shrinking economy now growing too fast; and renewed beat ups about Chinese military bases in the South Pacific.

Continue reading "New colonisation of the White Man’s Pacific" »

US defence deal will weaken PNG sovereignty

USS Oakland
USS Oakland is on duty in waters around PNG and the Pacific Islands as AUKUS steps up activities in the region


PORT MORESBY - United States president Joe Biden and Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape are slated to sign a defence cooperation agreement next Monday which will give nuclear submarines and other military assets freedom of entry to PNG and the Pacific Islands.

The signing of the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement will drag PNG into a military alliance with the US and Australia and give the US and its allies the right to utilise Lombrum naval base in Manus Province.

Continue reading "US defence deal will weaken PNG sovereignty" »

Melanesian beauty is now ashes in our mouth


TUMBY BAY - If you speak to any of the diminishing band of old kiaps they will probably tell you that Papua New Guinea changed their lives.

In most cases they will put a positive spin on the nature of the change and tell you that being there opened their eyes to a whole new concept of society and what it meant.

However, not all could see what they were looking at.

Continue reading "Melanesian beauty is now ashes in our mouth" »

Tkatchenko reveals the sad secret of PNG: A parliament trapped by a reckless executive

Foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko’s response to public criticism has led to a serious question about the character of PNG's parliament - is it a chamber of mendicants controlled by kleptocratic leadership?

Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s MPs have refrained from engaging in the debate around foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko’s “primitive animals” slur.

Many Papua New Guineans are wondering why their MPs, with few exceptions, have remained silent on the saga.

Continue reading "Tkatchenko reveals the sad secret of PNG: A parliament trapped by a reckless executive" »

I think it’s good if Tkatchenko won’t resign

Kubani   Tkatchenko  clinging to office and Marape  clinging to power
As Justin Tkatchenko clings to office, can James Marape afford to cut loose this powerful figure?

| Academia Nomad

Supplementary information by Keith Jackson

PORT MORESBY – Following his 'primitive animals' abuse of social media critics, demands are growing for Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko to quit his ministry or even resign from parliament.

Other people are calling for his passport to be revoked and then have him deported.

Continue reading "I think it’s good if Tkatchenko won’t resign" »

Reject this cruel rebuke to a great heritage


SYDNEY – Having been recruited into the Administration of Papua and New Guinea in 1952, I soon found myself as a student at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney.

The six-week ‘short course’ for cadet patrol officers (pikinini kiaps) was an integral part of Australia’s post-war determination to bring modern and robust governance to the then two separate territories.

Continue reading "Reject this cruel rebuke to a great heritage" »

What we learn from the Tkatchenko saga

Michael Tamty Pais  BenarNews
Port Moresby university students protest against foreign minister Tkatchenko, who called social media critics of his daughter “primitive animals” (Michael Tamty Pais |  Benar News)

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Justin Tkatchenko has stepped aside as foreign affairs minister after sustained calls for him to resign.

This comes after he branded Papua New Guineans “primitive animals” for criticising his daughter’s TikTok videos showing a lavish trip to the United Kingdom funded by taxpayers’ money.

Continue reading "What we learn from the Tkatchenko saga" »

Tkatchenko goes after ‘primitive animals’ slur

‘Sack him!’ - how the PNG Post-Courier reported the furore (screenshot by Asia Pacific Report)

| RNZ Pacific | Updated

This article was republished by Cafe Pacific under a community partnership agreement with Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko has  stepped aside from his position after calling critics of  his daughter, ‘primitive animals’ and ‘useless individuals’.

Savannah Tkatchenko posted a video on TikTok after attending the Coronation of King Charles III in London last week.

Continue reading "Tkatchenko goes after ‘primitive animals’ slur" »

Are we humans failing to secure our survival?

Microsoft Bing image creation


TUMBY BAY – Having reached an age well past the Biblical allotment of threescore years and 10, I’ve noticed in the scriptures there could be more – although it comes with a menace.

‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away’ – Psalm 90:10

Continue reading "Are we humans failing to secure our survival?" »

31 at Coronation is an abuse of our people

(What's Good PNG)
Pacific Islands representation at the Coronation of King Charles III.  PNG really knows how to waste money (What's Good PNG)

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea government has just spent K6 million on events to mark King Charles III’s Coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey.

PNG is one of a diminishing number of Commonwealth countries that have the King of England as their head of state.

We are one of the poorer countries and this waste of money needs a response.

Continue reading "31 at Coronation is an abuse of our people" »

Beautiful outriggers set sail for the Solomons

NOCC members lift canoes to start the journey to the Solomons
Noosa canoeists lift one of the outriggers to start their journey to a new life in the Solomons (Noosa Today)


NOOSA - Chaplin Park, home base for the Noosa Outrigger Canoe Club, was a busy riverside greensward last week as club members loaded and farewelled two canoes bound for the Solomon Islands.

It seems a bit like taking coal to Newcastle or coconuts to Kokopo, but these sleek racing lovelies are as rare as rocking horse poo in the Solomons, which is looking to build the sport of competitive outrigger canoeing.

Continue reading "Beautiful outriggers set sail for the Solomons" »

Do we need monarchy in this neoliberal age?

QEII Coronation Parade
Officers and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary contingent ready to march in London at the 1953 Coronation Parade: Bill Burns, Peter Broman, ‘Sandy’ Sinclair (Dennis Burns)


 TUMBY BAY, SA - What does King Charles do and is he actually necessary?

Surely he is a simple anachronism from a feudal past whose relevance is long gone.

Unfortunately, that assertion couldn’t be further from the truth.

The coronation of King Charles is crucially important to the ruling classes because he acts to legitimise their existence.

Continue reading "Do we need monarchy in this neoliberal age?" »

PNG population has exploded to 19 million

A hostile crowd gathers in Kaugere, Port Moresby, after a young man was fatally knifed. The mob later torched several houses owned by Engan residents (Photo: Courtesy Hon Justin Tkatchenko's Facebook)


NOOSA –Papua New Guinea has underestimated its population by nearly half, research by United Nations and British experts have found.

Previous estimates, based on the last census 12 years ago, had put the population at about nine million.

Continue reading "PNG population has exploded to 19 million" »

When the bigman arrived, so did capitalism


TUMBY BAY – When I first arrived in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s, the system of local government was not widespread, especially in remote areas.

Government reached the people in the form of interaction between Administration officers and clan leaders, officially appointed as luluais and tultuls in New Guinea and as village constables (mamusi) in Papua.

Continue reading "When the bigman arrived, so did capitalism" »

John Kasaipwalova, poet & radical, dies at 74

John & Keith
John Kasaipwalova and Keith Jackson back together at UPNG in 2017


NOOSA – The death of Chief John Kasaipwalova at the age of 74 on Tuesday night has robbed Papua New Guinea of one of its outstanding literary figures.

John was born in Okaikoda village on Kiriwina Island in 1949 and later proved to be a bright and outstanding student, receiving a scholarship to St Brendan's College at Yeppoon in Queensland  and from there an Australian Commonwealth scholarship to attend the University of Queensland to study arts and law.

Continue reading "John Kasaipwalova, poet & radical, dies at 74" »

The residues of war that linger to this day

Image: Paga Hill Estate


LONDON, UK – I’ve recently been awarded a grant to conduct research in Papua New Guinea for my PhD project on ‘the enduring legacies of World War II’.

To gain a research visa, I need to produce a detailed plan for my proposed trip, and I hope readers of PNG Attitude might be able to help me with some aspects of my study.

The research I’m conducting will comprise interviews with Papua New Guineans and observations of my own about any matters relating to World War II that have lingered to this day.

Continue reading "The residues of war that linger to this day" »

The diabolic forces who inhabit our politics

The corrupt and the goodPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – The cynics among us have always known that political ethics and personal ethics are not similar or indeed compatible.

It has been naively said that political ethics comes from the head while personal ethics comes from the heart.

By that is meant that political ethics are based on what seems practical while personal ethics are based on what is fair and right.

Continue reading "The diabolic forces who inhabit our politics" »