Recent Notes 24: NZ ready to turn right
Who's really to blame for PNG mess

Recent Notes 25: Racism drives Oz referendum


There are some splendid essays and articles being generated in the debate on Australia’s impending referendum on providing our Indigenous population with the ability to make recommendations to parliament and government – a goal known as The Voice. But in all the fine words from senior politicians, business leaders, trade unionists and other members of the national elite, there’s a major omission.

These pillars of society are able to take a shot at propagandist-in-chief Peter Dutton and his ignorant supporters without much mentioning the underpinning cultural force which is going to smother even the Voice’s minimal contribution to the place of Indigenous people in Australian society.

That cultural force word is racism. It’s a word the proponents of a Yes vote in this referendum do not dare to openly use, just as it is rarely used in ‘polite’ Australian society. One of the few exceptions is Annabel Crabb’s recent article for the ABC, in which she states, “Let's be honest. Racism has been slopping around this referendum like a foul, rising tide.” So true. Scratch many Aussies and you find a racist underneath. This was understood by former prime minister Howard who infamously dog-whistled to Australia’s closet racists in order to win elections.

Our country current leadership - in the hands of the once self-proclaimed leftist, the timid travel enthusiast Anthony Albanese - launched a referendum that was bound to evoke racism without having the leadership status or strategic ability to deal with it. As soon as Dutton decided that he would oppose the referendum question, he gave that significant, racist part of Australian society approval to put those uppity Aboriginal people – 50,000 years the custodians of this land – in their place. On the margin.


Josh Snader

As a new family to Samaritan Aviation, we have the opportunity to see the ministry through fresh eyes. Because of Covid, we weren't able to do a vision trip to Papua New Guinea before moving here. We didn't know what to expect. We did our homework, but what if we sold our supporters on a ministry that doesn't live up to the hype?

It didn't take long to get our hands dirty. The first time I opened up the airplane doors, I found a young boy struggling to breathe. It felt surreal to have my hands on the stretcher holding a weak boy whose life was hanging on by a thread, just inches from me. I have three children and it didn't take much for me to see my own child lying there, gasping. The significance of what we do began to sink into my soul.

Later, as I drove my first patient to the hospital, I hit a pothole. This is a common occurrence, except this particular time the patient cried out in pain. A thought popped into my head, "My goodness, someone should call an ambulance." It quickly dawned on me that ‘I’ was driving the ambulance. The significance of what we do sunk in a little deeper. Read the complete article here


Teow Loon Ti

I chanced upon an article written by Peter Hartcher in The Age today (12/09/2023) and was astounded by how puerile the present mainstream media can be. The article is titled ‘Xi’s increasingly ‘extreme’ rhetoric points to only one thing’. That one thing is war and that China is preparing for it.

Hartcher is so obsessed with fighting a war with China that even President Xi’s inspection of rice paddies in Heilongjiang province in north-eastern China is presented as an abomination. Xi was found guilty of having said “increase production capacity to ensure that the grain production and supply are enough to meet usual demand, and can be used as a reliable supply source during extreme circumstances”. To a man obsessed with war, “extreme circumstances” has only one interpretation – ‘war’. Read the complete commentary here


From time to time Rob Parer sends me information about historical happenings in PNG and especially in those places like Wau, Wewak and Aitape with which his family was closely associated before, during and after World War II.

In 1943, Wewak was the site of the largest Japanese air base on the New Guinea mainland. Accordingly, it suffered repeated bombing attacks by US and Australian air forces, most notably on 17 August 1943 when 150 Allied aircraft destroyed half of the Japanese aircraft on the ground.

In late 1944, Australian soldiers took over from the Americans stationed at Aitape and began two advances: east along the coast to Wewak, and inland across the Torricelli Mountains to the Japanese supply base at Maprik. The Japanese put up stiff resistance resulting in many casualties from both battle and disease in the jungle terrain. Some 442 Australians were killed and 1,141 were wounded in the action.

Wewak Point was successfully captured on 10 May 1945 but operations against the Japanese in the Aitape-Wewak area would continue until the end of the war with the US atom bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The last year of the Pacific war cost more than one thousand Australian lives. Peter Charlton's books The Unnecessary War and the Thirty-Niners cover the loss of these lives - a contentious issue in the context of many commentators suggesting that areas in the south-west Pacific like Bougainville and the Sepik should have been ‘leap-frogged’ as the Allies made their way to Japan and final victory.


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