Comment & opinion Feed

Wong & Wang hit Pacific as US bungles bloc

A wong wang
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.

Continue reading "New Asia-Pacific economic bloc excludes PNG" »


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.

Continue reading "The timely end of a dangerous government" »


Note to candidates: Avoid unwinnable seats

A
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" »


The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme

AABUL RIZVI
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

Exploitation and abuse of Pacific Islands workers will be turbocharged as their numbers are being ramped up

CANBERRA - One of the symptoms of exploitation in the Pacific Access Labour Migration Scheme (PALMS) is the number of workers who abscond from their employer and apply for asylum.

Since late 2019, over 3,500 people from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste have applied for asylum.

The nations from which these workers come has shifted from mainly Fiji in 2019-20 to Vanuatu and Timor in most of 2021.

In more recent months, the Solomon Islands has provided a larger share.

The numbers from Tonga have remained relatively stable at around 30-40 per month. By comparison, few are from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The success rate of the asylum applications has been very low.

In 2022 (until the end of April) there were 22 successful applicants from PNG, one from Solomon Islands, two from Fiji, one or two from Samoa and one or two from Tonga.

Most applicants, other than those from PNG, would know they have little chance of success.

The ones who are successful from PNG are unlikely to be on a PALMS visa and more likely involved in politics in PNG.

But by lodging an asylum application, the workers are provided a bridging visa with which they can also apply for work rights.

That maintains their lawful status in Australia at least until their primary asylum application is decided which can take a year or more.

A further application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can secure another bridging visa. The backlog is so large (over 36,000 at the end of April), it may take another year or two to process.

Abul Rivzi
Dr Abul Rivzi - "Unsuccessful asylum seekers total about 66,000 at present and are at great risk of exploitation as they have no work rights, social support or Medicare

Because few PALM Scheme workers arrived in Australia during the pandemic, asylum applications from Pacific citizens declined to around 60-80 a month in 2021. In 2022 so far, this has increased to 100-150 a month.

Neither the Department of Home Affairs nor the Tribunal have the resources to cope with the current massive asylum backlogs let alone dealing with a further surge.

Both of Australia’s major parties have committed to significantly boost PALMS visa numbers to supply farm labour and meat workers.

The number of people in Australia on PALMS visas are from Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor, Tuvalu and Vanuatu and their numbers increased from 5,550 at the end of June 2020 to 16,330 at the end of March 2022.

Without action, the exploitation and abuse of PALMS workers will be turbocharged as their number is ramped up.

But what happens if asylum applications are refused? The answer is very little. The Australian Border Force simply does not have the resources.

In most months, around 10-15 unsuccessful asylum seekers are removed voluntarily but only one or two unsuccessful asylum seekers are removed involuntarily.

On average, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal makes around 500 decisions a month with around 90% of applications being refused.

The unsuccessful asylum seekers who remain in the Australian community (totalling about 66,000 at present) are at even greater risk of exploitation as they have no work rights, social support or Medicare.

Yet the government has no plans to address this. Not surprisingly, difficult problems just get pushed aside.

Dr Abul Rizvi was deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration until 2007. He was awarded the Public Service Medal and the Centenary Medal for services to developing and implementing immigration policy


Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?

A MPs wait to receive a foreign leader. How many are corrupt
Members of Parliament wait to greet a foreign leader. How many are corrupt?

MICHAEL KABUNI
|Academia Nomad

It’s not just a few people doing the wrong thing. It’s most people doing the wrong thing

WAIGANI - The average turnover of Papua New Guinea’s elected politicians is 50%; at each national election about half of the incumbents lose their seats. 

This is one of the highest rates in the world and has been the case without exception since the first post-independence election in 1977.

Continue reading "Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?" »


Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz

Capture
Google 'typical Aussies' and this is what you get - a representation of the Anglo-Celtic constituency

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia certainly has a multicultural society with a wide range of different cultural and ethnic groups among its population – 278 in all.

However Australia has an unsuccessful multicultural society mainly because of the power imbalance between 277 of those groups and the old Anglo-Celtic establishment.

Continue reading "Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz" »


‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie

A
Scott Morrison - political abuser reaches the bargaining stage of grief

NICK FEIK
| Editor | The Monthly

MELBOURNE - On Friday, prime minister Scott Morrison came as close as he’ll ever come to conceding that most people don’t like him.

He also said that “there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things”.

Continue reading "‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie" »


MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay

A Llew-OBrienKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The south-east coastal Queensland seat of Wide Bay comes up for grabs again next Saturday when Australia holds its federal election.

Given the wobbly state of my health, a couple of days ago I cast a postal vote at the very desk where I sit writing this. So I'm in for getting rid of the Morrison government.

Continue reading "MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay" »


A most desperate need for good leadership

Democracy-problemsSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - In Abraham Lincoln’s time, messaging was limited to horse and rider and, as electronics became better understood, the telegraph.

News slowly developed as a commodity but, back then, it was largely confined to industrialised countries.

An event of significance happening in mid-19th century India might have appeared as a footnote in the London Times many weeks after the event.

Continue reading "A most desperate need for good leadership" »


Lies have power in age of political fiction

A FrankBruni
Frank Bruni

FRANK BRUNI
| The New York Times

DURHAM, USA - Imelda Marcos’s sandals lived better than I did. I just discovered that.

I was reacquainting myself with that whole sordid history — with the unfathomable extravagance that she and her dictator husband, Ferdinand, indulged in before they were run out of the Philippines in 1986 — and found an article on Medium that said that her hundreds upon hundreds of shoes occupied a closet of 1,500 square feet.

Continue reading "Lies have power in age of political fiction" »


Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?

A Democracy in Crisis (Kal  Freedom House)
Democracy & Human Rights in Crisis (Kal,  Freedom House)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – There has developed the most depressing reality that people can be seduced by falsehoods once they opt to suspend disbelief and accept as true that which has been fabricated.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln famously said, ““You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Continue reading "Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?" »


Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws

Scott Morrison (Mick Tsikas  AAP)
Scott Morrison's government has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for legal requirements and ethical norms (Mick Tsikas, AAP)

MICHAEL KEATING
| Pearls & Irritations

The establishment of an anti-corruption body has been long promised in both Papua New Guinea and Australia, but has never happened. Voters understandably explain this reluctance as an attempt to avoid scrutiny of how public money is spent and of other crucial decisions – KJ

CANBERRA - There is a legislated process prescribing how government grants should be administered, but it clearly is not being followed and we need an integrity commission to enforce it.

An important issue for many voters in the current federal election – particularly the 'Teal Independents' – is government integrity and the need to establish a national integrity commission with teeth.

Continue reading "Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws" »


The huge damage of political managerialism

A managerialism topCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Right now, we have a complete overload of dumbness to contend with around the world.

Let me give an example from a field I know something about - hospitals and aged care.

In these health industry sectors, there are some functions that can be effectively outsourced but they are substantially fewer than you might assume.

Continue reading "The huge damage of political managerialism" »


Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace

Anzac - dawn service rabaul
The RSL Cenotaph, a clear sky and a calm morning provided the perfect setting for this year's Anzac Day dawn service in Rabaul 

SUSIE McGRADE

RABAUL – In a year that marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Rabaul, more than 80 people attended Rabaul’s Anzac Day dawn service this year, which was hosted by the Rabaul Historical Society at the RSL Cenotaph.

The battle saw a small Australian overwhelmed by Japanese forces in late 1942 and it became the as the main Japanese naval base for the Solomon Islands and New Guinea campaigns.

Continue reading "Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace" »


The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam

A my-aged-care Simon Kneebone
Illustration by Simon Kneebone

GARRY LUHRS

“I always like to firm up vinaigrettes with some facts” – Garry Luhrs

The email came with a tantalising opener, “Hi Keith - I would like this scandal to be advertised far and wide.” In my business, it doesn’t come more pulse-racing than that. The missive came from former kiap and forever humourist Garry Luhrs, but it had a serious message. “This misappropriation of aged care funds is right across the board. Every provider appears to have front trotters and snouts in the trough. They seem to be creaming up to 70% of the funds as administrative expenses. This requires a Royal Commission. Any assistance that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.” So folks, if after reading Garry’s revelations you find you’ve had a similar experience, just drop him an email or a note in the Comments section and make sure Garry adds your case to the growing list - KJ

WUNDOWIE, WA - Greetings and salutations, survivors of the great PNG experiment who are still on the perch!

Lend me your eyes and ears. I am in search of volunteers who would like to be recruited to accompany me on my last patrol.

Like Don Quixote I have picked up my drooping old lance and am setting out on this last epic patrol to tilt once more at the windmills of an uncaring bureaucracy.

Continue reading "The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam" »


Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up

dads army dionne gain
'Dad's Army' (Dionne Gain, Sydney Morning Herald)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In Australia the issue was characterised incorrectly by the media as an ‘agreement to allow Chinese armed forces to protect Solomons infrastructure, less than 2,000 kilometres off Australia’s east coast’.

This was a significant overstatement. Under most definitions, the role of police is hardly considered to be ‘armed forces protecting infrastructure’.

But, you know, journalisms.

Continue reading "Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up" »


Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht

Night of Broken Glass Brisbane
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police

CHEK LING
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - It happened 133 years ago. Yet the Chinese Question remains, having now mutated to the China Question.

Meanwhile the burden upon the Chinese as scapegoats, at the altar of racial purity in the first instance, cultural cohesion a century later and more recently the issue of national sovereignty continues unabated.

Continue reading "Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht " »


Australia: More PMs than PNG but….

A
James Marape and Scott Morrison. By the end of June both may be out of a job

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Australia and Papua New Guinea head to the polls - in May and June respectively - and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and his PNG counterpart James Marape risk losing their grip on power.

If PNG appoints a new prime minister, it will be our fourth since 2002. If Australia gets a new PM, it will be it sixth over the same period.

Continue reading "Australia: More PMs than PNG but…." »


What Christ’s resurrection means in 2022

Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelenskyy  April 2022 - right man in right place at right time (Wikimedia CommonsZelenskyy)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,  April 2022 - the right man in the right place at the right time (Wikimedia Commons)

PAUL COLLINS
| Pearls & Irritations

CANBERRA - In the last two months we’ve seen hope, and extraordinary leadership, come literally out of left field in the person of the 44-year-old Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Talk about the right man in the right place at the right time, although the ‘place’ is the vicious attack on Ukraine by Putin’s Russians.

Continue reading "What Christ’s resurrection means in 2022" »


Did Zed go to Honiara to learn or to tell?

KEITH JACKSON

A Capture
Manasseh Sogavare and Zed Seselja pose stiffly for a photo after what seemed like a waste of time and jet fuel. Zed appeared to drop into Honiara empty-handed to praise Manasseh for a statement he made a couple of weeks ago and to express concern anyway

UPDATE

NOOSA – Australia’s international development minister Zed Seselja flew to Honiara today to reiterate his government’s previously expressed ‘growing concerns’ about the Solomons’ warming ties with China and a mysterious naval facility the Solomons knows nothing about.

It's highly unusual for a minister to travel overseas during the caretaker period of a national election, so reasons portentous looked at hand.

But now Zed's back to Aus, the trip appears more as a bit of campaign fluff to try to show Morrison et Fils are on the ball when it comes to pushing back against China.

Continue reading "Did Zed go to Honiara to learn or to tell?" »


Brief encounter, big step: Nudging closer to Indonesia

PM Marape and President Widodo in Jakarta
James Marape and Joko Widodo meet over tea in Jakarta

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinean prime minister James Marape’s flying visit to Jakarta late last week drew much criticism on PNG social media because of the size of the accompanying delegation.

The cheap criticism obscured the mini-summit’s importance as an encounter where Marape and Indonesian president Joko Widodo were able to meet privately and face-to-face.

Continue reading "Brief encounter, big step: Nudging closer to Indonesia" »


China & the Solomons: Just how smart is Australia?

KEITH JACKSON

Sogavare and Xi
Manasseh Sogavare and Xi Jinping - security deal caused an Australian meltdown

NOOSA – In late October 2010, then United States’ secretary of state Hillary Clinton was in Honolulu nearing the end of a comprehensive tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

In two weeks Clinton was to visit Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, and high on her agenda were discussions about military cooperation and action “to respond to a more complex maritime environment”.

Continue reading "China & the Solomons: Just how smart is Australia?" »


The aid gap: inapt activity v resigned inertia

dependency theory
Dependency Theory

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS – “We have the local knowledge, we live it -” Dr Momia Teariki-Tautea, PNG Attitude, 29 March 2022

I thank the doctor for his truism, but I would ask whether Papua New Guineans have applied it?

I suggest the knowledge Dr Teariki-Tautea speaks of is ignored by nearly all administrative arms of the PNG government.

Continue reading "The aid gap: inapt activity v resigned inertia" »


Problems of our own need reforms of our own

Dr Joe Ketan -
Dr Joe Ketan - "Foreign consultants who piggyback on development aid have often been responsible for bad advice"

JOE KETAN

PORT MORESBY - A quick glance at Papua New Guinea’s recent history will tell you that there are certain things that you would have done it differently if you had your time over again.

But time does not stop or rewind, although sometimes history seems to repeat itself over and over.

Continue reading "Problems of our own need reforms of our own" »


Democracy under pressure in PNG & Oz

Akakis (Hindustan Times)
Illustration - Hindustan Times

Chris Overland:
Social Stability vs Individual Rights

ADELAIDE - Democracies are both difficult to create and difficult to govern successfully.

First and foremost they require a remarkably self-disciplined population willing to voluntarily conform to a broadly agreed set of ideas about how their society is ordered and governed.

Continue reading "Democracy under pressure in PNG & Oz" »


Ulli Beier: A personal recollection

Ulli Beier
Something of a metaphor. Ulli Beier with monkey idling in the shadows on his shoulder

ED BRUMBY

MELBOURNE - It is 52 years since I attended Ulli Beier’s classes in African literature at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Now as then, and like many others, my view of him remains conflicted.

Maebh Long has laid bare, eloquently, his hypocrisy and deceit which, back then, was a matter of considerable gossip, on and off campus.

Continue reading "Ulli Beier: A personal recollection" »


Guns & politicians: no special privileges please

Kabuni - Rainbo PaitaMICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – Recently, there have been two gun incidents in Port Moresby involving politicians.

The most serious of these occurred when a gun allegedly belonging to a PNG politician was accidentally discharged killing a bystander.

Continue reading "Guns & politicians: no special privileges please" »


In a world of violence, is it forlorn to hope?

Fitz - Illustration by Dola Sun (National Public Radio)
Illustration by Dola Sun (National Public Radio, USA)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Politicians and other reprobates are known to rely on a suite of well-worn axioms as they go about their nefarious dealings and machinations in office.

One of these is the accepted wisdom that if a lie is repeated often and loudly enough people will eventually come to believe it is true.

Continue reading "In a world of violence, is it forlorn to hope?" »


Three summits in Brussels as Ukraine fights back

A
A Russian armoured personnel carrier burns amid damaged and abandoned utility vehicles after fighting in Kharkiv (Marienko Andrew, AP)

CHRIS OVERLAND & KEITH JACKSON

ADELAIDE & NOOSA – As the Ukraine War moves to its one-month anniversary, the more important Western nations are tonight holding an unprecedented series of three summits in Brussels - NATO, G7 and European Union, all in a row.

They do so as the outcomes of the war remain uncertain, but as Vladimir Putin’s destruction and terrorism continue.

Continue reading "Three summits in Brussels as Ukraine fights back" »


On the death of Ben Micah: Admission & contrition

Ben Micah
Ben Micah lived the high life while, along with many cronies, stealing the money that kept PNG and its people poor. Micah's now dead but corruption is well and truly alive

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The veteran New Ireland politician Ben Micah died on Wednesday morning after a suspected heart attack. He was aged about 63.

Micah had previously been admitted to Port Moresby’s Pacific International Hospital.

I republish below an extraordinary mea culpa Micah wrote two years ago, when he seemed to realise his political career might be over (although cronies say he was contemplating standing again in this year’s national election).

Continue reading "On the death of Ben Micah: Admission & contrition" »


Yes, the fog of war has descended

Vladimir Putin -
Under Vladimir Putin, the Soviet state has returned, complete with its underlying kleptocratic economic culture and entirely stripped of any benevolent parts it might have had 

FROM AN AUSTRALIAN EXPATRIATE

MOSCOW - The BBC world service has reported new press restrictions in Russia, including 15 years jail for those who breach them.

The official Kremlin narrative is the only permitted one.

I agree with those who say that the Soviet state has returned, complete with its underlying kleptocratic economic culture, though entirely stripped of any of its benevolent parts.

Continue reading "Yes, the fog of war has descended" »


What about West Papua? It’s our Ukraine

AMICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - It took less than a week for the world to come together to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sanctions were applied to Putin, oligarchs and the Russian Central Bank, there was a suspension of SWIFT banking services and weapons and aid money were supplied to Ukraine.

Continue reading "What about West Papua? It’s our Ukraine" »


Don't vote for politicians who deceive

Manila and Justin Kundalin
Manila and Justin Kundalin with Justin Jr

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

KANDEP, ENGA - One of the most deceptive acts for a member of parliament in Papua New Guinea is to use taxpayers or government money to win back their seats at an election.

But for any person to use money to bribe people to vote for a particular candidate is wrong and it is illegal.

Continue reading "Don't vote for politicians who deceive" »


US Coast Guard & PNG: Those who defend must also protect

Crew of coastguard cutter
Crew of Coast Guard Cutter 'Stratton' on patrol in Fiji's exclusive economic zone, February 2022

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - When the US Coast Guard sailed into Fairfax Harbour, Port Moresby, last Thursday morning to be welcomed by Papua New Guinea’s defence minister Win Daki, there was at least one person feeling disgruntled.

“We are getting ourselves into a serious blunder of a lifetime,” said business leader and national affairs commentator, Corney Alone.

Continue reading "US Coast Guard & PNG: Those who defend must also protect" »


Russia’s contempt a warning for us all

A Wilcox
'Nice place you've got here. Would be a shame if anything were to happen to it (Wilcox)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The unfolding disaster in Ukraine has been met by a blizzard of meaningless drivel from Western elites.

They are shocked, confused and afraid: all of their fine words unable to disguise the pathos of their collective response to Vladimir Putin's naked aggression.

Continue reading "Russia’s contempt a warning for us all" »


EMTV suspends 19 journalists

EMTV newsroom  Port Moresby  before the dispute
An editorial conference in the EMTV newsroom in Port Moresby taken before the dispute occurred

REBECCA KUKU
| The Guardian
| The Pacific Project is supported by the Judith Nielson Institute

PORT MORESBY - Nineteen journalists from Papua New Guinea’s leading television media company, EMTV, have been suspended following a walk-off protest by staff.

The staff walked off the job last week in support of their head of news and current affairs, Sincha Dimara, who was suspended earlier in February for ‘insubordination’.

Continue reading "EMTV suspends 19 journalists" »


How do they think infection will fix Covid?

Annastacia Palaszczuk & Gerrard
Annastacia Palaszczuk watches on as Queensland chief health officer Dr John Gerrard briefs journalists. Their handling of the pandemic has met with widespread condemnation in the community

KEITH JACKSON

“A pandemic is over when we stop widespread infection. It’s in the definition” - Dr Henry Madison

NOOSA – I’ve had a fair bit to say recently, rather more on Twitter than here, about the tragedy being played out in Australia as fools gain the upper hand in determining Covid policy.

It has been a struggle that pitted politics and commerce against science (see quote by the Queensland chief health officer quoted in the box below). And science lost.

Continue reading "How do they think infection will fix Covid?" »


Light turning to shadow, & the turning away

Corden topBERNARD CORDEN

“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away”
 -  
Pink Floyd, On the Turning Away, 2015

BRISBANE - Ten years have passed since the traumatic MV Rabaul Queen disaster on 2 February 2012.

The dilapidated rust bucket capsized at daybreak in treacherous waters as it crossed the Vitiaz Strait off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea with the likely loss of about 500 people.

Continue reading "Light turning to shadow, & the turning away" »


Women MPs in PNG: Are men a secret weapon?

Delilah Gore (Sohe)  Loujaya Kouza (Lae) and Julie Soso (Eastern Highlands governor)
Happy days. Delilah Gore (Sohe),  Loujaya Kouza (Lae) and Julie Soso (Eastern Highlands) after their election in 2012. All failed to win re-election in 2017

MICHAEL KABUNI & DANNY AGON
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – For five days in mid-January, Papua New Guinea’s Registry of Political Parties and Candidates, with the support of donors, ran a mentoring program for aspiring female candidates to contest this year’s national election.

Getting women into parliament is tough in Papua New Guinea.

In the 46 years since independence, there have been only seven women elected to parliament, and only two were re-elected after serving just one term.

Continue reading "Women MPs in PNG: Are men a secret weapon?" »


Rort the system & make a few million

Green eviction clipJOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – Land administration and corruption are major and related issues in Papua New Guinea.

They are also long-term and well-recognised issues, and a source of immense hardship especially in terms of their impact on the lack of affordable housing in urban PNG.

Squatting on vacant land is not just a practice of the underclass, it is something even middle class Papua New Guineans are compelled to do because of a public policy debacle neither PNG authorities nor their Australian advisers seem able or willing to address.

Continue reading "Rort the system & make a few million" »


The bells toll for us: But will we wake to them?

ASTEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS – Chris Overland comments that “we collectively ought to have sufficient insight and humility to accept that we have an obligation to help out those who live in 'shithole' countries….

“Not merely through charity, but by a conscious, systemic and systematic effort to help them reach their true socio-economic potential.”

I agree entirely with this evaluation. The bit that sticks in my craw is the inequity that exists at such a deeply disturbing level.

Continue reading "The bells toll for us: But will we wake to them?" »


Those valuable insights beyond ‘shithole country’

TrumpSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS – I was particularly struck by the recent observations of Dr Chris McCall and author Nick Brown (in Phil Fitzpatrick’s review of his latest book).

Their observations of discovering some of life's grim realities provided by salient insights into the shallow ignorance of what former US president Donald Trump contemptuously referred to as “shithole countries”.

Continue reading "Those valuable insights beyond ‘shithole country’" »


Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists

(Kal)
Illustration by Kal (The Economist)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Hang on, what’s up? The world wasn’t supposed to turn into custard until my generation was safely six foot under.

As Stan Grant eloquently put it, “We are miserable, getting poorer, afflicted with disease, on the verge of blowing ourselves to smithereens and facing a climate catastrophe”.

Continue reading "Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists" »


How Queensland surrendered its people to Covid

Gerrard
Dr John Gerrard's extraordinary words - "Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – This week Queensland recorded its deadliest two days of the Covid pandemic so far

Nine deaths and 38,500 new cases of the virus. Nearly 600 diseased people, 40 of them in intensive care, straining the hospital system to its limit.

Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard says all the dead had “significant underlying medical conditions”. It sounded like an excuse. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Continue reading "How Queensland surrendered its people to Covid" »


Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation

Contact
First Contact

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Robert Forster’s recent article on the pacification of the Goilala region set me thinking about why the imposition of Pax Australiana in Papua New Guinea was so strikingly different to the colonial processes followed in South America, Africa and South East Asia.

By way of context, readers need to understand that European imperialism was almost invariably imposed by force, often with catastrophic results for the indigenous population involved.

Continue reading "Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation" »


Covid: The disease pollies want you to get

Covid Gerrard pic
Dr John Gerrard - "We are not going to stop the Omicron virus.  Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Dr John Gerrard is the chief health officer of Queensland and there are two unusual and important things about this.

One is that, under Queensland law, it is the chief health officer, not the premier, who has absolute power to give public health directions.

Professor Evelyne de Leeuw of the University of NSW says the role has more clout than any other CHO in Australia and “even internationally [as the] final decision-maker on public health.”

Continue reading "Covid: The disease pollies want you to get " »


Does power truly reside in the people?

Scomo tatts
Scott Morrison feels vulnerable - a national election is due and a majority of Australia's population of 17 million is unhappy. Greater power accrues to the people when politicians become exposed

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The many and obvious failings of various Western democracies have been on vivid display over the last two years.

Whilst it is fair to criticise our political elites for their incompetence, misjudgement and venality, we who vote for them might take pause to consider the extent to which we are also culpable.

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