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20 posts from October 2023

Of brave men & colonial bastardry


SAMFORD VALLEY, QLD - In late July, the Brisbane branch of the Naval Association of Australia, in collaboration with the DVA, hosted a public event to recognise the Coastwatchers of WWII.

This was held at Jack Tar Place on Brisbane city's South Bank, immediately adjacent to the Queensland Maritime Museum. Jack Tar Place is dominated by a statue of a sailor and the whole area is dedicated to honour all who served in the RAN, including the Coastwatchers.

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10 ways to cut travel costs in PNG

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – Unfortunately, travel within Papua New Guinea is expensive. I write this following a visit to New Ireland, a destination which is unbelievably beautiful but does not attract as many local tourists as it should.

The return flight for just one traveller will easily run up to K2,000 ($AU850). Accommodation for three nights at a lodge may cost another K1,500 ($640), and breakfast and dinner about K150 ($64) a day (about K400 if you stay for three nights).

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Support a Coastwatchers memorial in Oz


FRANKSTON VIC – After World War I, the Royal Australian Navy established a Coastwatching service comprising civilian volunteers. As time went on, the service was extended to include the territories of Papua and New Guinea using civilian planters and missionaries. 

With the outbreak of World War II, former naval officer and kiap Eric Feldt rejoined the Navy and one of his tasks was to command of the Coastwatchers from bases in Port Moresby and later Brisbane.

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Bville govt & BCL now on the same path

| President, Autonomous Bougainville Government

PANGUNA - I am pleased to advise that good progress has been made in our ongoing discussions with Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) aimed at amicably ending long-running Judicial Review proceedings in the National Court of Papua New Guinea.

Back in January 2018, the ABG refused an extension of BCL’s EL01 exploration licence and three months later the company was granted leave by the court for a judicial review of the decision. The proceedings have remained ongoing ever since.

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Reject Japan’s lobbying over nuclear waste


Nuclear waste water from Japan is destroying the environment of the Pacific Islands, including the fisheries resources of the world’s largest tuna producer. Not only that, but the price Japan pays for Taiwanese and South Korean tuna is twice the price of Pacific Islands tuna, acknowledged as the highest quality tuna in the world.

In July, for example, Papua New Guinea exported tuna to Japan at below average market prices, both breaching the Nauru Agreement and leading to harmful competition between Pacific Islands countries.

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A statement for our people & our country


Australia is our country. We accept that the majority of non-Indigenous voting Australians have rejected recognition in the Australian Constitution. We do not for one moment accept that this country is not ours. Always was. Always will be. It is the legitimacy of the non-Indigenous occupation in this country that requires recognition, not the other way around. Our sovereignty has never been ceded - Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal Convention, Central Australia, May 2017

Statement of 22 October 2023

To the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament. This is an open letter which will be circulated to the Australian public and media.

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Hamas, Iran, Israel & war without end

| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - Numerous articles and commentaries on social and mass media are focusing their attention on the issue of would the Middle East be at peace if Israel vanished.

In this short analysis, I want to discuss three related issues that I believe form the core of present conflict in the Middle East: the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran; the religious rift among Muslims; and the shared animosity of Arab countries against Israel.

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The three factors that gave us the No vote


TUMBY BAY - Making sense of the overwhelming No vote in last Saturday’s referendum on an Indigenous Voice is difficult because the water has been so terribly muddied.

On the face of it the failure of the referendum appears to have been caused by multiple factors. Among those factors three seem to stand out.

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Recent Notes 34: Trouble & strife


From ‘The Emergence of Secessionism’, a chapter in ‘Papua New Guinea - A Political History’ by James Griffin, Hank Nelson & Stewart Firth. With thanks to Martin Maden’s ‘Tok Piksa’

There was a lot of political strife and active protests against the Australian colonial administration in Rabaul in the 1960s and ‘70s which saw the formation and rise of the Mataungan Association and the popular movement for independence on Bougainville (Napidakoe Navitu), where there was a similar will of the people to secede.

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After day of shame, we must stand by yet

| Culture Heist

TWEED HEADS - Yesterday should have been a day when we all walked a little taller as Australians. When we took a step towards healing with First Nations peoples, and a reckoning with the colonial past. Instead we have a day of pain and shame that many will struggle to overcome. Instead, it was day of pain for all of us who voted Yes, but far more so for Indigenous Australians who generously offered the hand of reconciliation, only to have it rebuffed.

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Recent Notes 33: Most PNG logging is illegal


Civic action group, Act Now, has launched a timber legality risk assessment for Papua New Guinea. The report finds that almost all logging occurring in PNG’s natural forest areas is illegal. The assessment is based on a comprehensive review of all the available literature, including official government inquiries, court cases, international organisations such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the International Tropical Timber Association and civil society groups.

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Recent Notes 33: Terrible cost of colonialism


Eminent Australian journalist Rick Morton has uncovered that focus groups conducted late last year revealed ‘a shocking hurdle’ blocking the path of the Yes vote in the national referendum to be concluded next week. Almost one-third of all focus group participants believed Australia’s Indigenous people had been treated fairly since the English first occupied their lands at the end of the 18th Century

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If our heroes say ‘Yes’, so can we


Noel Pearson  Josh Apanui and a crowd of supporters at Tweed Heads
Noel Pearson Josh Apanui and a crowd of Yes supporters at Tweed Heads


TWEED HEADS - Joining the Yes campaign to offer greater inclusion for Australia’s Indigenous people campaign has been a revelation for me. I’ve met people of every background, united in wanting to give giving First Nations people a voice in federal parliament.

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Recent Notes 32: Pacific Forum backs Yes vote


The head of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, believes Australia’s credibility will be boosted globally if the Yes vote on 14 October wins referendum, which ends tomorrow week. Puna said he respected Australia’s right to make its own democratic decision, but he wanted to see a Yes vote.

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Recent Notes 31: Japan’s oppressed minority


Japan has long portrayed itself as culturally and ethnically homogenous, something that some have even argued is a key to its success as a nation. More than 98% of Japanese people are descendants of the Yamato people. But the minority Ainu people, with their own distinct history, languages and culture have been victims of colonialism, assimilation, and discrimination, and much of that identity has been lost.

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Recent Notes 30: Some letters worth keeping


NOOSA – Search engines have improved out of sight, but still trouble penetrating through that first couple of layers of the internet into the rich lode of information that lies beneath. This includes Recent Comments, our popular feedback column, which contains among its near 52,000 items some of the most important, amusing and curious nuggets to be found on the blog.

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Uncomprehending elites put us in danger


NOOSA – We live at a time when It is difficult to find any outstanding political leadership in most of the world’s democracies. The professionalisation of politics, and associated political inbreeding, has reached its apogee. Winning and retaining power is now the main point of politics. Reform is a subsidiary issue. The will and capability to change and address difficult issues like global warming have been compromised.


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