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PNG’s fatberg politicians: Keeping the sunshine out

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - My next door neighbours are quite elderly, more so than me even, and I occasionally help them with stuff that goes wrong in their house, leaking taps and suchlike.

A recent endeavour involved unblocking the drain beneath their kitchen sink.

Continue reading "PNG’s fatberg politicians: Keeping the sunshine out" »


Can onetime ‘greatest of friends’ restore relationship they both desperately need

(PNG Business News)
Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape greets his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese (PNG Business News)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It’s always good to see Rowan Callick’s byline in The Australian or anywhere else, and the other day it was a delight to read the commentary that followed.

Callick’s an excellent journalist - a former Australian Journalist of the Year with a couple of Walkley Awards and three books to his credit.

Continue reading "Can onetime ‘greatest of friends’ restore relationship they both desperately need" »


Governor General election: Will parliament give meaning to PNG gender equality goals

Winnie_kiap.250x300
Winnie Kiap CBE, PNG’s ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011-22, and nominee for Governor-General

KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY - The position of Governor General in Papua New Guinea becomes vacant in February as Grand Chief Bob Dadae’s six-year tenure comes to an end.

In the history books, Sir Bob will be remembered as the only PNG Governor-General who served under the reign of both Queen Elizabeth ꓲꓲ and King Charles ꓲꓲꓲ.

And on Thursday his successor will be elected by the PNG parliament.

There has been much discussion in PNG recently about which women would qualify to be the first to hold this high office. Winnie Kiap is a leading contender.

Continue reading "Governor General election: Will parliament give meaning to PNG gender equality goals" »


A virus of evil assisted by men of stupidity

KEITH JACKSON

“It’s almost like there’s a political will for Covid to go away, and it hasn’t gone away. So we’re just not going to really talk about it anymore” - Independent federal MP, Rebekha Sharkie

NOOSA - The pandemic has to be getting worse. It has to be getting worse because there are no serious public health steps being taken to halt its progress.

On the contrary, public health measures have been diminished. 'You Do You' is the new, trite, slogan of how our leaders see Australians' health being managed.

Even the much vaunted vaccines are waning in their ability to protect. If you can get them in the first place. The federal government seems to have lost interest.

Continue reading "A virus of evil assisted by men of stupidity" »


PNG youth is trapped in the web of modernity

PHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA - Youth in Papua New Guinea is a time bomb that our country is adding in its drift towards anarchy.

Even as far back as the 2011 national census, 60% of PNG’s estimated population of 7.3 million was aged under 25.

It is clear that if the PNG government does not focus on the youth population now, the future prospects of the whole country will be saturated by failure.

Continue reading "PNG youth is trapped in the web of modernity" »


Reflections on 2022: another era of instability

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Across many parts of the world people are enjoying - or enduring - the Christmas season.

This Christian celebration has long been stripped of its religious meaning in most of the capitalist Western world.

At best, it is a time for people to get together and enjoy the company of their family and friends.

But mostly it is a time too often devoted to over indulgence and conspicuous consumption.

Huge efforts are made to encourage people to spend as if there will be no tomorrow.

Inevitably, tomorrow is when the bills become due.

The media breathlessly reports new record retail sales over Christmas and the New Year as if this meant something significant or was an inherently good thing.

The fact that it is very frequently a bad thing for many people as they get deeper in debt is usually ignored, at least for a while.

Soon enough, the same media will again be breathlessly reporting the dire personal consequences of overspending: the same spending it previously so enthusiastically reported if not actively endorsed.

Readers will gather that I am no fan of what Christmas has now become.

I perceive it as a gigantic festival of licensed excess and indulgence very similar to the Roman Festival of Saturnalia upon which the Christian ritual is based.

It is nevertheless a time of reflection for many people and most of us have a much to reflect upon as we struggle to understand how the world has quite suddenly gone to hell in a host of ways.

Illustration by Scott Stantis (US News)

Of course, the obvious immediate cause of the sudden deterioration in circumstances for so many people is the Covid 19 pandemic.

This continues to rage across the globe largely unabated, even though large scale public vaccination campaigns ameliorated its worst effects in most cases.

At last report the World Health Organisation calculated that 6.7 million people had died from Covid, although many credible authorities think this is a gross underestimate because the process of counting has been flawed or, very commonly, governments haven’t bothered to count.

Amongst epidemiologists there is a broad consensus that at least 15 million have died so far and that this number is going to continue the increase in 2023 and probably beyond.

Right now, China is experiencing what appears to be the worst outbreak of Covid ever witnessed.

This is the end result of several years of determined but futile efforts to suppress the disease, sometimes applying draconian restrictions on personal freedom.

In the face of increasingly angry public protests these restrictions have been removed and the disease is reportedly running rampant.

I have seen reports that China is experiencing 37 million cases each day.

The official position is that there have been only a handful of deaths but the pictures of bodies piling up in funeral homes tell another story.

Meanwhile, in Europe the worst industrial scale war since the end of World War II continues to rage in Ukraine.

Russia’s coyly named ‘Special Military Operation’ has morphed into a grinding war of attrition.

Ukraine’s valiant people have so far withstood daily attacks on civilian targets as they have defeated Russia in the Battles of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson and are currently holding their own in the Battle of Bakhmut.

This latest battle is shaping up to be a modern version of the Battle of Stalingrad, except that this time it is the Russians who seem to be fighting a futile and staggeringly costly action for no obviously useful strategic purpose.

No one knows how this war will proceed in 2023 except that it seems clear that it will continue.

For Russia at least there is no plausible exit strategy that does not leave it gravely and irremediably weakened and diminished.

The geo-political consequences of Vladimir Putin’s war will be profound and enduring long after his death (hopefully soon).

The positive side effects of the war, if they may be named as such, include the revival and expansion of the NATO alliance, the irrevocable reorientation of Ukraine to Western Europe and the clear evidence for other adventurist authoritarian powers that the democratic world is willing and able to devote huge resources in defence of the values of personal freedom, the rule of law and the right to national self determination.

Despite this, it seems the Chinese leadership has failed to fully grasp the strategic implications of Putin’s war or, at the very least, unwisely chosen to assume that they could not suffer the same fate in relation to any military action against Taiwan.

Only last week China staged a provocative series of naval manoeuvres 250 kilometres off the coast of Japan.

No action could be more calculated to arouse anxiety and anger in Japan which, according to national mythology, has twice been preserved from Chinese invasion by the intervention of the cyclonic Divine Wind, Kamikaze.

The result of China’s provocations is that Japan decided to hugely increase its defence spending, including arming itself with a host of high technology weapons systems including stealth aircraft, submarines and large numbers of long range missiles.

It is hard to understand why the Chinese did not foresee this reaction. Their protests about Japan’s arms build-up ring rather hollow.

Meanwhile in Europe, the UK and the USA, the economic and social pressures now being generated by the strategic situation, together with cost of living problems associated with the profoundly inequitable and unfair neo-liberal capitalist system, continue to create varying degrees of political instability.

There seems to be no country in Europe that is unaffected in some way and the political class is struggling to cope with surging anger and resentment that is expressing itself as increasing support for both the extreme left and right of the political spectrum.

For example, Italy has recently seen the election of a neo-fascist or, perhaps more accurately, ultra-nationalist government, while Hungary is being ruled by an authoritarian, right wing government that is distinctly illiberal.

The problems in the US have been described comprehensively in this and other media and do not require repeating here.

Suffice to say that these appear no closer to resolution, with the policy chasm between Democrats and Republicans still seeming unbridgeable.

As with Europe, the extremists of left and right seem to be able to dominate the political discourse, especially through social media.

Meanwhile, the situation in the Middle East remains febrile and apparently hopeless. It continues to be a proverbial viper’s nest of intrigues, plots, sectarian hatreds, personal feuds and violence.

By comparison to the rest of the world, Oceania seems to be a haven of calm, although the political situation remains volatile in Solomon Islands, Fiji and some parts of Papua New Guinea.

As for Australia, the Albanese government appears to have ushered in a return to some sort of normality, where government ministers seem to properly understand their roles and behave and sound at least sensible most of the time.

This is a huge relief after nearly 10 years of conservative misrule which reached its apex in the dysfunctional and corrupt Morrison government.

So what are our collective prospects for 2023?

It is hard to imagine that things are destined to improve a great deal.

The pandemic seems likely to rage on, with China experiencing previously unimaginable levels of illness and death as a consequence.

This is likely to have unpredictable economic and social effects for China and the wider world.

The war in Ukraine may become much worse before serious talk about a peace settlement is possible.

Russia’s military has been grievously weakened but is still capable of inflicting great violence.

Ukraine’s military is better trained, better led, better armed, better equipped and tactically more adept.

That said, it is not yet powerful enough to comprehensively defeat Russia and stalemate seems probable for the foreseeable future.

The various political, economic and social problems besetting Europe, UK and US are destined to continue unless a consensus emerges about the structure and leadership of a post-globalisation world – and the role of the various actors in that world.

And I will not discuss how things will work out in the Middle East. What would be the point?

In South East Asia and Oceania, nations seem to be mostly getting along, keeping a weather eye upon the manoeuvres and machinations of the great powers as they jockey for influence and control of events.

Papua New Guinea must try to deal with an increasingly lawless population, notably in the Highlands, and the perennial problem of what to do about Bougainville and other regions that may seek greater autonomy.

This already difficult task is compounded by the continuation of what I have previously described as the ‘rotating elected kleptocracy’ which is its parliament.

Not all of its members are entirely self-interested or corrupt but far too many are to have much confidence in effective governance.

So the best advice seems to be treading warily in the world, hoping for the best and planning for the worst.

What other choice is there?

May your God go with you as we venture into the unknowns of 2023.

 


Recognising the perils of war to avert war

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - We ought not to regard China as a direct military threat. It makes no strategic or practical sense to do so. After all, we willingly sell them the resources they need from us.

They have long ago worked out that, in our neo-liberal capitalist system, money speaks much more loudly than ethics, morality or patriotism.

I also agree that we should avoid being dragged into ugly regional wars, especially those premised upon the idea that democracy can be successfully exported.

Continue reading "Recognising the perils of war to avert war" »


Albo’s hidden menace: A sullied public service

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA –In an explosive article, a prominent Australian journalist has said the seven-month old Albanese Labor government is already “letting its moral mandate wither away”.

Jack Waterford, a much admired former editor of The Canberra Times, now a regular contributor to the Pearls and Irritations website, says Albanese has been excessively slow in building momentum for change and seems oblivious of the urgent need for it.

Waterford observes that “administrative reform is in the doldrums and focused on rhetorical fluff” and “there is no talk about accountability, individual and collective responsibility, or about moral cowardice”.

Continue reading "Albo’s hidden menace: A sullied public service" »


China’s behaviour tells story of its ambitions

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Dennis Argall, Australia’s former ambassador to Beijing and Washington, has written recently on the breakdown of USA's power as the defining feature of our strategic environment. 

I agree with a great deal of what he has written, however, I think that has not demonstrated that China is not bent upon becoming the world’s most dominant and influential power.

He does not pay sufficient regard to the rhetoric coming from within the Chinese Communist Party about China’s destiny to resume its natural place as the world’s foremost power.

Continue reading "China’s behaviour tells story of its ambitions" »


W Papuans fear Indon-PNG defence pact

YAMIN KOGOYA

“We are part of them and they are part of us,” declared politician Augustine Rapa, founder and president of Papua New Guinea’s Liberal Democratic Party.

Rapa was speaking in Port Moresby on 1 December at the 61st anniversary of the struggle for independence in West Papua.

Rapa’s statement was in response to PNG police who arrived at the anniversary celebration and attempted to prevent Papuans from the other side of the colonial border from commemorating this significant national day.

Continue reading "W Papuans fear Indon-PNG defence pact" »


The unfortunate lesson of St Patrick the slave

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In the late 4th or early 5th century AD, in the dying days of the Roman Empire, some Irish raiders captured a young bloke called Patrick from his home in Britain and took him to Ireland as a slave.

It turned out to be a big mistake.

After six years as a slave, Patrick escaped and returned to Britain where he trained to be a Christian cleric.

Continue reading "The unfortunate lesson of St Patrick the slave" »


Julie Bishop delivers hard truths to PNG

JOHN KURI

PORT MORESBY - If Julie Bishop was from Papua New Guinea I reckon she would have started her opening address with, “Stay where you are, you have a lot going for you but you don’t seem to know it.”

But fortunately and unfortunately she did not.

Fortunately because the grand occasion of the investment conference at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney was probably geared to hear her telling PNG the truth. (Although a version of her comments which seems to be untrue went viral in PNG.)

Continue reading "Julie Bishop delivers hard truths to PNG" »


Share where you can & fight when you must

MICHAEL DOM

"Those who cling to perceptions and views wander the world offending people" - Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha (c 563-483 BCE)

"These ideals include the belief that security derives from respect for universal human rights, that wealth means well-being, that individual health corresponds to a healthy environment, that mental health is affected by experience of citizen interdependence and solidarity. Democracy depends on security derived from human rights-based policies to promote equality" – Stuart Rees in John Menadue Pearls & Irritations, quoted by Philip Fitzpatrick

LAE - Nope. Poor ideals to me.

Regardless of democracy I don't think life works that way in reality, and it's likely that Costa Rica would not work without the CIA and Uncle Sam up north.

Continue reading "Share where you can & fight when you must" »


For good or ill US is democracy’s torch bearer

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - It was Lord Palmerston who first said, in a speech to the British House of Commons on 1 March 1848, that Britain had ‘no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.’

This axiom ought to be the guiding principle for Australian diplomacy and, in fact, I think it has been since 14 March 1942, when prime minister John Curtin stated that Australia turned to America for support and advice in confronting the Japanese peril in the Pacific.

Our relationship with the US has endured since that time and, as Phil Fitzpatrick has rightly pointed out, we have usually acted loyally if sometimes unwisely to support our ‘great and powerful friend’.

Continue reading "For good or ill US is democracy’s torch bearer" »


A historian's view of the very near future....

MATHIAS KIN
| Facebook

KUNDIAWA - There was some doubt in the sixties about how a country of 800 different tribes speaking 800 languages would come together under one united government.

These feelings were expressed freely by Australians as well as New Guineans.

Many expressed that New Guineans themselves were not developed and that the economy and infrastructure were not ready for self-rule.

Continue reading "A historian's view of the very near future...." »


The lone and level sands stretch far away

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – It seems indisputable that the ruling and business elites have given up on climate change.

By their calculus, the potential cure (massive decarbonisation and an associated massive restructuring of the economy) is much worse than the disease because it will necessarily restrict their ability to make a great deal of money.

Also, to be brutally honest, citizens in the developed world are not going to accept a conscious decision to embrace a life in which there is much less ‘stuff’.

Continue reading "The lone and level sands stretch far away" »


Kiap nation builders do not need a memorial

BILL BROWN MBE

SYDNEY - I read ‘The Forgotten Australian Patrol Officers’ by Luke Gosling OAM MP and wondered who had misled him and who determined that the majority of kiaps supported a memorial for kiaps.

I am one of the former kiaps who think the memorial concept is a nonsense.

Distinguished former kiaps like Harry West and Fred Kaad have departed, but they did not support the push for either a medal or a memorial.

Continue reading "Kiap nation builders do not need a memorial" »


There are hidden traps in helping others

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There are vast numbers of volunteers out there in the community. They are all doing good work and most will derive a lot of personal satisfaction from this.

Very few of them expect monetary recompense for what they do. Or even recognition.

These factors distinguish them from what we normally regard as the impulse that drives philanthropy.

Continue reading "There are hidden traps in helping others" »


Society & civilisation ruined before our eyes

PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND – It’s very clear that Australia’s political system is fractured and no one has any idea how to fix it.

We’ve been watching the watering down of a new Integrity Commission. Both sides of politics – Labor and Liberal National – conspired to do that. What have they got to hide?

A huge credibility gap seems to have silently snuck up on us old timers.

Continue reading "Society & civilisation ruined before our eyes" »


The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – This may surprise you, but it’s a statement of truth: Many countries we term ‘developing’ don’t need development to create democracy.

And this is because traditional societies in countries like Papua New Guinea were always democratic, possibly more so than countries like Australia and the USA which boast about their democracies.

What these former colonised countries now need are governments that uphold the democracies they once knew.

Continue reading "The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?" »


Xi & Albanese: Can we seize the opportunity?

Whilst I hold Australia rather than China most responsible for the tension, our media has played a big part in promoting hostility. It has been a shameful performance from many ‘senior’ journalists and I don’t exclude ABC journalists with their attack dog style

Capture

JOHN MENADUE
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - The meeting between president Xi Jinping and prime minister Anthony Albanese could result in an overdue improvement in relations between China and Australia.

Real improvements will take time and a lot of goodwill. (But will deputy prime minister Richard Marles be a stumbling block?)

Continue reading "Xi & Albanese: Can we seize the opportunity?" »


Reluctant kiaps: 'We don't want hero status'

"The kiaps’ role in the bringing to independence of PNG was undoubtedly unique and important and that should bring with it a certain sense of pride, but that is as far as it goes"

Don Kennedy  with his wife Glen  of Mitchells Island  is presented the Australian Federal Police Overseas Service Medal by federal MP David Gillespie
Don Kennedy with his wife Glen is presented the Australian Police Overseas Service Medal by federal MP Dr David Gillespie, the National Party member for the seat of Lyne on the northern coast of New South Wales

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Early this month, the Australian Institute of International Affairs published an article, The Forgotten Australian Patrol Officers’, by Luke Gosling OAM, the Labor member for Solomon in the Northern Territory.

“What the kiaps did for Papua New Guinea is today called nation-building in official jargon,” Gosling wrote.

Continue reading "Reluctant kiaps: 'We don't want hero status'" »


Life itself is threatened by the profit motive

We have created a civilisation capable of destroying the environment on a global scale and that is exactly what is happening.  The warning bells from history are ringing loudly but our leaders and too many of the rest of us are not listening

Wafi-golpu-top

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – The proposal by Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold to dump plans to dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of mining waste into Huon Gulf shows why the people of Planet Earth are collectively doomed to disaster.

There is no chance this side of hell that international capitalism will stop despoiling the planet as long as there is money to be made.

Continue reading "Life itself is threatened by the profit motive" »


Albanese mission to fix Morrison’s problems

Albanese recognises is Australia needs to embrace the reality of an aspiring China and also enter new arrangements with the USA that can better protect Australia

Capture
Illustration by Global Times

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has articulated a view of Australia' long term defence requirements that is based upon a pragmatic and realistic assessment of history and current facts.

Albanese does not characterise China as an enemy, nor is he advocating that Australia become a humble supplicant to the USA.

Continue reading "Albanese mission to fix Morrison’s problems" »


How political decisions often don't work

When the Minister and CEO part company on what is desired, usually the minister will succeed – electoral success often depends on giving the people what they want

Paperwork

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When things don’t work in government we tend to blame politicians. Believe it or not, sometimes they’re not the ones at fault.

I’ve been writing a book about the chequered history of the government’s Aboriginal Heritage Branch in South Australia.

Continue reading "How political decisions often don't work" »


The blackout curse that magic cannot fix

I call it a curse for many reasons but I won't discuss them all. It's a curse because it really doesn't matter which government is in place or which CEO is appointed, no one - and I mean no one - has really addressed the blackout curse

Blackout

JOHN KURI

PORT MORESBY - What is it? Is it some kind of magic or witchcraft? Is it a spell or incantation?

This is Papua New Guinea - a place where black power still rules the lives of citizens in the urban centres and rural areas.

Continue reading "The blackout curse that magic cannot fix" »


Madness reigns supreme in US Pacific deal

Papua New Guineans have been grossly misled and opened wide our doors for large scale criminal gangsters and terrorists to come on to our turf. The Marape government is strongly urged to terminate this hollow and ridiculous agreement

Crimea bridge bombing
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of attacking the bridge to Russian-annexed Crimea, calling it an "act of terrorism". President Putin said Ukraine's intelligence forces had aimed to destroy a critically important piece of Russia's civil infrastructure (BBC)

CORNEY KOROKAN ALONE
| Twitter @CorneyKAlone

PORT MORESBY - Delusions reign supreme. It is disgusting to see naivety and short-sightedness reigning supreme in beloved Papua New Guinea.

We should and must know better. The Marape-Rosso government has been hoodwinked and misled.

Continue reading "Madness reigns supreme in US Pacific deal" »


Appeasers silent as Russia loses grip on war

If Putin sees his mighty army collapsing, his desperation to retain power may lead to more of the bad decision-making that has been the hallmark of the Russian conduct of the war so far. The use of tactical nuclear weapons may become his last resort

A troops
Ukraine troops advance on Kherson and other Russian-occupied areas

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Since I wrote this piece (Sachs’ & the New Appeasers have it wrong, 20 July 2022), the appeasers have become silent.

The appalling atrocities committed by the Russians in Ukraine have revealed the true nature of the Russian regime.

Vladimir Putin is not a wronged and misunderstood man.

He is an old school imperialist of the worst kind.

You do not do deals with such a man and expect them to be honoured.

At present, the Ukrainians continue to advance in the Donbas and near Kherson.

They appear to have mastered manoeuvre warfare, something the Russian army seems incapable of replicating.

Strategic and tactical ineptitude by the Russians, combined with severe logistical and personnel problems, renders the Russian army highly vulnerable to a fast-moving enemy force.

As of today, Ukrainian troops had retaken more territory in regions illegally annexed by Russia, and continue to advance near the southern city of Kherson.

They were also moving towards Russian-held Luhansk in the east.

"There are new liberated settlements in several regions," said president Volodymyr Zelensky.

While it is too early to be sure, there are clear signs the Russian army is crumbling in the face of the better led, better armed and better motivated Ukrainians.

The implications of this are profound, both for Ukraine and Russia as well as for the rest of the world.

If Putin sees his mighty army collapsing, his desperation to retain power may lead to even more of the very bad decision making that has been the hallmark of the Russian conduct of this war so far.

A reisner
Colonel Markus Reisner has emerged as one of the most credible experts analysing the Russia Ukraine War

The use of tactical nuclear weapons may become his last resort.

Consequently, whether we have fired a bullet or not, we are all invested in the outcome of this appalling conflict.

For readers interested in military matters who want an objective and dispassionate assessment of events in Ukraine, I recommend the commentaries posted on YouTube by Colonel Markus Reisner PhD, commander of the Austrian Army's principal staff training college and its elite Vienna Guards Regiment.


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)

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


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)

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


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

SIMON DAVIDSON

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" »


Sachs’ & the New Appeasers have it wrong

Sachs appears to be one of the New Appeasers whose starting premise is that Putin is a rational actor, not an unrepentant neo-imperialist whose territorial aspirations cannot be satisfied through negotiation or by conceding land for peace

Putin and Macron
Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron - the table perhaps symbolic of the distance between Putin's goals of empire and the New Appeasers desire for peaceful resolution

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - In his recent speech, ‘The world imperilled at the end of US leadership, Jeffrey Sachs has advanced several propositions that are highly contestable.

Professor Sachs evidently believes that the underlying cause of the Russia-Ukraine War was the constant expansion of NATO – a military alliance of 28 European, Canada and the USA, which strongly supports NATO’s expansion.

Continue reading "Sachs’ & the New Appeasers have it wrong" »


The US is sick: Time to think for ourselves

Australia should be encouraging Pacific Islands nations to join it in forming a regional bloc that thinks for itself, makes its own rules and sees to its own future

Wake-up-america
This World War I propaganda poster has new meaning as the US faces threats at home and abroad

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Jeffrey Sachs speaks a lot of sense but, as he says, no one wants to listen to him.

There are a lot of people like Sachs who people go out of their way to ignore. Among them are climate scientists and epidemiologists.

Continue reading "The US is sick: Time to think for ourselves" »


The silencing of Covid truth teller, Dr Berger

David Berger has been forced to submit to a Communist style re-education program and humiliation where he has to explain how he has behaved discourteously, unprofessionally and offended the community. If he does not comply, this skilled, ethical and courageous doctor will face deregistration because he told the truth

Berger
Dr David Berger - Covid truth teller who the Australian authorities are trying to silence as they seek to cover up accountability for over 10,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of seriously ill victims

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - There has been an outpouring of support for Australian doctor David Berger, whose social media activity has been censored and registration as a doctor threatened because he tells the truth about the incompetence of the Australian government’s handling of Covid.

Dr Berger has been an acute reporter, knowledgeable analyst and severe critic of how Australian governments have failed the public in their handling of Covid.

Continue reading "The silencing of Covid truth teller, Dr Berger" »


Chinese now a real threat in the Gulf of Papua

Lying, obfuscation and diversion are all part of well-established Chinese strategy to confuse or misdirect putative enemies and gullible others as to its real intentions. What Chinese diplomats are saying about the development at Ihu clearly fits this category

Capture
Speaking before 3,000 representatives to the National People’s Congress in Beijing in March 2021, president Xi Jinping proclaimed his country had been the first to tame Covid, the result of “self-confidence in our path, self-confidence in our theories, self-confidence in our system, self-confidence in our culture”

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I worked as a kiap in the Gulf Province (or District as it then was) for two years from mid-1969 to mid-1971.

It was a very impoverished region then as it is now.

For this reason, any major development project is likely to be welcomed by the local people.

Continue reading "Chinese now a real threat in the Gulf of Papua" »


Pre-poll incidents foretell election violence

One key test for PNG’s fragile democracy will be women’s political representation. PNG is one of only three countries to have no female legislators in its national parliament

Election and security officials plan the movement of supplies  2017 (Commonwealth Secretariat)
Election and security officials plan the movement of supplies,  2017 (Commonwealth Secretariat)

TEDDY WINN
| Griffith Asia Insights

https://blogs.griffith.edu.au/asiainsights/

TOWNSVILLE - Papua New Guineans will go to the polls on 2 July - the tenth time citizens have exercised their universal suffrage since the first post-independence election of 1977.

The process started with the issuing of writs on 12 May.  Sadly, the country lost its deputy prime minister in a fatal car accident the day before, resulting in the deferral of nominations by a week.

Continue reading "Pre-poll incidents foretell election violence" »


When your guardians become grand thieves

Do the people understand exactly what is happening – and how it is happening, and to the benefit of whom? No, too often they don’t. They are not told. These things are not explained to them

Oates cartoon
PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND QLD –There is an argument put forward that, if everyone knows their taxes and public resources are deployed in a transparent and ethical way, where then is the corruption?

And if people vote on issues that have been fully explained to them by their elected representatives, where then is the ignorance?

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Violence, voting fraud to blight 2022 election

The 2022 election is shaping up to be the most violent ever despite the government purchasing armoured vehicles, imposing a ban on the 50,000 illegal firearms in the country and support from the Australian Defence Force

Election - Men queue to vote at a Highlands election (Treva Braun)
Men queue to vote at a Highlands election (Treva Braun)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The shooting of a returning officer, 30 other deaths in electoral violence, candidates’ supporters burning rivals’ vehicles and other violence have already marred Papua New Guinea’s upcoming general elections.

In a pointed article for the Asia & the Pacific Policy Society, academics Henry Ivarature and Michael Kabuni have expressed fears that the elections due to start on Tuesday 2 July are shaping up to be as bad as what was said to be “the worst one ever” in 2017

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PM Marape’s compromised & corrupted Pangu

It was Michael Somare’s Pangu that knew the way to independence. Now under James Marape, ‘Pangu ino save lo rot’. Pangu doesn't know the way

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MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI – ‘Pangu save lo ro’ (Pangu knows the way) is a motto made popular by the late Sam Basil.

It refers to the Pangu Pati that attained independence for Papua New Guinea in 1975 led by the late Michael Somare.

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Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI

From the outset ASPI was a highly politicised right wing think tank. It’s now reached its use-by date & should put down the megaphone

Aspi graphic

BRUCE HAIGH
| Pearls & Irritations

ORANGE, NSW - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ASPI, was conceived as a body to provide the government with the advice it wanted to hear.

It was commissioned by prime minister John Howard in August 2001 to undertake ‘policy-relevant research and analysis to better inform government decisions and public understanding of strategic and defence issues'.

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No excuses: it’s time you voted for women

Aren’t you tired of voting for male candidates after 47 years of terrible results? What more excuse is there not to vote for female candidates?

Kabuni - Women voting (Commonwealth-Secretariat)
142 women have nominated for next month's national election– just 4% of the total of 3,493 candidates. And, of Highlands candidates, a meagre 1% are women

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI – Since Papua New Guinea’s first election after independence in 1977, of the 983 MPs elected only seven (0.7%) have been women.

In the national election to be held next month, 142 women have nominated – just 4% of the total of 3,493 candidates.

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A rough guide to a challenging future

Neo-liberalism's inherent flaws and contradictions have created mountainous debt and numerous socio-economic dysfunctions which have left the world’s economic and financial systems dangerously exposed

A Rough Guide to the Future

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - As an historian I am very wary about trying to predict the future based upon what has happened in the past or even what is happening in the present.

The record of those who predict the future with confidence is that they have been almost invariably wrong.

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Don’t be fooled by the two bother brothers

Marape is as power hungry as O’Neill. They're just two Highlands egos preying on the emotions of uncritical voters 

O'Neill and Marape
Peter O'Neill and James Marape - "Papua New Guineans, don’t be fooled by these two power hungry guys"

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - When addressing a crowd of Pangu Pati supporters in Morobe Province a week ago, prime minister James Marape issued a challenge to his predecessor, People’s National Congress (PNC) leader Peter O’Neill, and his supporters.

He invited O’Neill to a debate and dared him to explain to the country what he had done for Lae and Papua New Guinea during his eight years in office (2011-19). Marape.

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Australia’s aid program needs to be focused

While rebuilding a strong and effective aid program will take time, there are already in existence opportunities to increase funding for highly effective multilateral programs

The 30-year demolition of Australia's foreign aid (Australian Council for International Development)
The 30-year demolition of Australia's foreign aid budget, 1972-2022 (Australian Council for International Development)

MATT MORRIS
| Twitter | Edited

CANBERRA - Poverty reduction and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals offer a good guiding framework for development aid.

Within this, however, Australia needs to carefully prioritise its aid spending both within countries and in its global programs.

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Kramer on China, PNG & backdoor diplomacy

Good relationships, earned trust and gradualism can get you a long way in Papua New Guinea. But so can bribing the right people

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Bryan Kramer - Corrupt PNG politicians and other conmen are experts at building relationships, and Australia seems not to recognise this

PHILIP FITZPATRICK & PAUL OATES

On Monday the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas interviewed prominent PNG politician and immigration minister Bryan Kramer for Radio National Breakfast. A number of PNG Attitude contributors heard the exchange and told me they were impressed by it, so I asked two of them to share their thoughts - KJ

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Solomons deal puts Australia in crosshairs

Australia must be agile in building a foreign policy that can balance its relations with both the United States and China

Albanese Biden et al
Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden, Narendra Modi and Fumio Kashida - geniality marked the recent Four Eyes summit in Tokyo but China's ambitions for the Pacific Islands could mark the onset of a new Cold War

MUHAMMAD ABDUL BASIT
| Independent Australia

SURFERS PARADISE - The recent China-Solomon Islands pact has sent waves of discomfort through the US and its allies, particularly Australia. Security concerns have been felt in Canberra to Washington.

As China allegedly seeks to develop a military base in the Solomon Islands and increases its sphere of influence, the power dimensions in the region may change.

That makes the – yet unrevealed – agreement a matter of curiosity and serious concern for Australia and its allies.

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Wong & Wang hit Pacific as US bungles bloc

Biden’s failure to include a Pacific Islands nation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework may prove to be a shocking oversight

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Foreign ministers Penny Wong and Wang Yi -  as Biden makes a strategic blunder, the contest for influence in the Pacific Islands heats up

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Chinese and Australian foreign ministers are arriving in the Pacific Islands today on separate missions to reinforce their influence in the region.

And, as US president Joe Biden announced the creation of an Asia-Pacific economic bloc to counter China’s dominance, China proposed to 10 Pacific Island countries that they enter into a cooperation agreement covering policing, security and data communications.

Continue reading "Wong & Wang hit Pacific as US bungles bloc" »


New Asia-Pacific economic bloc excludes PNG

Bloc map korea
US president Joe Biden on Monday in front of a giant map of the Korean peninsula. If the goal is to stifle China, why overlook the Pacific Islands?

KEITH JACKSON

The omission of PNG and the Pacific Islands from the alliance is both a misguided decision and a missed opportunity

NOOSA – It’s a bold if obvious idea that crept onto the agenda while we in Australia were having a general election.

It’s also a flawed idea but, given its general air of contempt towards the Pacific Islands, I’m not surprised the Morrison government let it slide.

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The timely end of a dangerous government

Teal albo top
Anthony Albanese has to prove himself capable of sorting out the considerable mess that Scott Morrison has left behind

KEITH JACKSON

If Albanese exercises democracy and wisdom in the cabinet room, we will have the best government we can have - and nobody can hope for anything more than that

NOOSA - Yesterday’s man under pressure has survived to become today’s hero – and I’m going to explain why.

For many Australians, the Labor Party’s win in Saturday’s national election seemed an unlikely victory.

Throughout his period as opposition leader, Anthony (Albo) Albanese had sought to present a target so small that nobody could take clear aim at it.

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Note to candidates: Avoid unwinnable seats

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Governor Gary Juffa - a formidable politician and not someone an inexperienced candidate would want to take on

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - I once listened to a talk on a case study drawn from the Oro provincial election of 2017.

It dealt particularly with the challenges women face in elections.

Being from Oro, I listened with interest but was disappointed when I heard the findings, which were not a good reflection of Oro politics.

Continue reading "Note to candidates: Avoid unwinnable seats" »