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The PNG disease: Capitalism doesn’t care


CARDIFF, UK – I would suggest that the disgraceful eviction of 2,000 people from the ATS settlement is merely the symptom of a Papua New Guinea 'disease'.

Namely, that over the last 100 years, hundreds of businesses have fastened onto the money-making teat that a capital city, in this case Port Moresby, always engenders.

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No casino - we have enough problems

| My Land, My Country

PokiesIt is an absolutely disgusting move by the National Gaming and Control Board - Papua New Guinea’s gaming regulator - to sign off papers giving the OK for a new casino to be built in Port Moresby. It is even more disgusting that the Board sees fit to announce itself as a partner in the gambling business

LAE - Here’s are some questions for the National Gaming and Control Board.

How will the Board – the regulator – regulate itself as a partner and the investor in the event that there are offences committed against the law?

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Taking the ‘service’ out of Public Service


ADELAIDE - I happened to be looking through the Classifieds in the Adelaide Advertiser on Monday (not something I usually do, I was checking for a Death Notice).

And there, on the way to the Death Notices, I saw an advertisement, a Request for Tender in fact, from the Commonwealth Department of Finance.

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19th century capitalism just moved offshore

(Photo - Jonny White)
Capitalism isn't working (Photo - Jonny White)


ADELAIDE - Bernard Corden is right (Wages of fear – Contracting out the danger’). Neo-liberal capitalism has very adept at outsourcing hard, dirty or dangerous work to the developing world.

Outsourced to places where the political elites are largely unconcerned about the welfare of their workforce, preferring to focus on the acquisition of wealth for themselves.

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DFAT – elite became a feather duster

Bruce Haigh
Bruce Haigh - 'The best and brightest who challenge policy or who seek to put forward policy in the face of domestic political imperatives are sidelined and rendered voiceless and powerless'

| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - There was a time in the sixties through to the 1980s when DFAT, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Trade was subsumed in 1987), was a powerful department within the Australian federal bureaucracy.

Its branches mirrored every major department in Canberra and when it felt necessary it would intervene in policies being developed by other departments, and often enough DFAT prevailed.

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Wages of fear – contracting out the danger

Pipe_installation_2BERNARD CORDEN
| Edited extracts

‘No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky’ - Bob Dylan

BRISBANE - Wages of Fear is a critically acclaimed classic suspense movie starring Yves Montand and based on a French novel, Le Salaire de la Peur, by George Arnaud, written almost seven decades ago.

The narrative remains eerily familiar across Australia and Papua New Guinea, especially if you have ever driven through the Kassam or Daulo passes on the Okuk Highway amidst a convoy of dilapidated trucks.

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Maybe all we can do is apologise


TUMBY BAY - Do we older folk need to apologise to our children and grandchildren for the sorry state of the world we are bequeathing to them?

I guess the answer to that question depends on how culpable we feel and how complicit we think we have been in bringing the world to the edge of the catastrophe so many scientists believe it faces.

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Christian constitution: what a bad idea


ADELAIDE - The long and appalling history of religious influence on politics is so well documented that it is startling that prime minister James Marape should even contemplate writing a particular religion, in this case Christianity, into Papua New Guinea’s constitution.

A key axiom of any modern state should be a clear separation between church and state.

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More than one way to defeat corruption

David Kitchnoge - "Hold our leaders accountable by all means, but don’t unfairly bash the good guys"

| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - I am concerned about increasingly loud, twisted, short-sighted and naive views held by many people about the fight against corruption and bad practice. Some of these views may even be deliberate distractions.

It seems people think the only way to fight the scourge is to jail those who are adjudged as corrupt.

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A left wing view of the Somare legacy

Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)
Michael Somare and his wife Veronica (Wikipedia)

| International Committee of the Fourth International | Extract

Link here to the complete article

SYDNEY - The first years of Papua New Guinea’s independence coincided with the collapse of the nationalist program of economic regulation and import substitution based on tariff protection that had been widely promoted and adopted in former colonial countries.

From the late 1970s and 1980s, governments in the so-called Third World instead sought to integrate their economies into the capitalist world market by welcoming foreign investment on exploitative terms.

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The rendering of change: there are means

Chris Overland - "The mantra of endless economic growth at all costs is deeply pernicious" (Banksy)


ADELAIDE – It is an especially fortunate state of affairs that the capacity for change lies with us as citizens given the manifest failings of our leaders, most of whom tend to fall short of our hopes and expectations.

History suggests that revolutionary change is impossible until the moment it is inevitable. There usually is a hinge point where this occurs and, right now, we seem to be at such a point.

Continue reading "The rendering of change: there are means" »

The futility of protest, and a footnote

Philip Fitzpatrick - "By all means read, listen and complain if it makes you feel good. Just don’t expect anything to change"


TUMBY BAY - You’re reasonably astute and a follower of what’s going on in your country and the rest of the world.

What you see is a horrible combination of ignorance, greed, corruption and incompetence.

What you feel is impending disaster.

Continue reading "The futility of protest, and a footnote" »

Kakistocracy finds it hard to go the distance


ADELAIDE - I think that the phenomenon that Phil Fitzpatrick describes in ‘The Biggest Threat is real and was indeed epitomised by the appalling Trump and his enablers in the USA.

And, as Phil writes, that is “the global problem of politicians of dubious merit and intent, totally not worthy of election, who are nevertheless populating governments everywhere.”

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The biggest threat: leaders there for themselves


TUMBY BAY - An interesting phenomenon has been developing in politics over recent decades which seems to have accelerated in the last ten years or so.

It’s the global problem of politicians of dubious merit and intent, totally not worthy of election, who are nevertheless populating governments everywhere.

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After the gold rush, the funerals


‘Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armour coming sayin’ something about a Queen / Look at mother nature on the run in the 1970s’ - Neil Young, from After the Gold Rush

BRISBANE - Rio Tinto’s recent destruction of the Juukan Gorge indigenous rock shelters in the Pilbara region of Western Australia attracted extensive media attention and resulted in a federal senate inquiry.

It also led to several resignations of senior executives, humiliated but richly rewarded with golden handshakes.

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Let’s change our election culture

Jackson Kiakari - "Don’t vote for your wantok and expect our economy to be healthy. Elections concern our national welfare, not your haus lain agenda"


The Port Moresby North-West by-election – for the late Sir Mekere Morauta’s former seat – will be fought out between 39 candidates on Wednesday 2 June. In Papua New Guinea terms, it is an unusual electorate: 75% of the population is literate; people from all 22 provinces live there; and it covers most of the important government institutions in PNG, including parliament. Of course, PNG Attitude has no preferred candidate but I did find that this thoughtful article nailed one of the most critical problems in PNG politics and governance- KJ

PORT MORESBY - I am not against any candidate in this by-election or any future election. I’m not against any particular individual or group.

But I am against our election culture. The culture of buying votes and enticing support through materialism.

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The persistent stigma of white racism

Feelings towards specific groups in Australia
Community feelings towards specific racial groups in Australia


TUMBY BAY – Let me start with a statement.

The most prevalent form of racism is based on colour and is manifested almost entirely by whites against people of colour.

And now a definition.

Racism is the belief that humans can be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities (races) and that there is a causal link between biological traits (such as colour) and intellect, personality, morality and other cultural and behavioural features.

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The mythologising of Michael Somare


TUMBY BAY - It’s ironic that in his death Michael Somare seems to have united Papua New Guinea in a way that he could never achieve while he was alive.

Some of this is owed to the cult of the haus krai but more is owed to the nation’s overwhelming need for a universal hero who can be celebrated across all language and tribal groups.

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Views against early independence 'were correct'

Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam in 1973 - 'Conservative leaders spoke out against a fast transfer of power but were overtaken by these two unstoppable forces'


CLEVELAND, QLD - If one was to bequeath a view of history as it happened, Chips Mackellar’s recollection is accurate and reflects the general view of most Papua New Guinean people in the early 1970’s.

That’s what kiaps in the bush heard from the Papua New Guinean people they met and worked with.

There was a general view that more time was needed to effectively transfer power from a Western government to a people who had never experienced anything like it in the past.

Continue reading "Views against early independence 'were correct'" »

Brian Cooper’s conviction was a fit-up

Cooper at Sydney Airport after release from prison
Brian Cooper at Mascor after his release from prison


"[Brian] Cooper wasn't the only one espousing such messages in Papua New Guinea before independence, especially after the UPNG was established. In most cases the local kiap or the district commissioner would have a quiet word with them and tell them to tone it down and that would be the end of the matter" – Phil Fitzpatrick

ADELAIDE - I think that Phil is right. At worst, Mr Cooper was guilty of tokim mauswara tasol or, as my children would have said, ‘dribbling shit’.

Why then Australian prime minister Robert Menzies decided to single him out as an 'enemy of the people' is hard to fathom.

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Covid-1984: face masks, vaccine & the big lie


‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’ - George Orwell

BRISBANE – ‘Boys from the Blackstuff was a acclaimed British television drama series written by the Liverpool, UK, playwright Alan Bleasdale.

It was initially screened during the Autumn of 1982 following a period of fomenting civil unrest that culminated in the notorious inner city riots within Liverpool’s Toxteth district.

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Old leaders must encourage young leaders

Young-leadersROBERT IKI LESO
| North-West By-Election 2021 | Edited

From Thomson Honga's Facebook page, which he describes as a “media platform designed to provide critical North-West by-election information and discuss development issues for the people of the North-West Electorate”, the seat formerly occupied by the late and greatly admired leader, Sir Mekere Morauta

ENGA - You can have lots of titles and positions but if you do not raise young leaders to take over, you could be something else and not the leader you claim.

Such people are puffed up with ego and pride. They are always insecure, sensitive and uncomfortable to share experiences, skills, talents and knowledge with the novices and younger generation.

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Christmas for atheists

St nicholas
St Nicholas - definitely not an atheist but a rich man who used his wealth to alleviate suffering

| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2016

TUMBY BAY - I was about eight years old when I realised that organised religion was a giant confidence trick.

The thing that made me aware of this was my mother’s plan to send me to the local Catholic school.

We’d just moved out of the migrant hostel after arriving in Australia from England and I was bound to a new school.

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Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe


TUMBY BAY - As 2020 draws to a close, confusion and trepidation seem to be the major emotions people the world over are feeling.

The confusion stems from uncertainty about how to interpret what appear to be existential threats in 2021 and beyond.

They include the coronavirus pandemic.

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Reflections on a dismal year


ADELAIDE - As 2020 staggers towards its dismal end, the trail of upheaval and disasters left in its wake will continue to reverberate around the world for many years to come.

When historians of the future are considering the impact of Covid-19 on the world, they will be presented with a smorgasbord of issues to contemplate.

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It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people


TUMBY BAY - When did politicians start putting themselves first instead of us?

When did politicians start acting like rock stars and movie stars instead of acting like representatives of the people?

When did political spin take over from political reality?

Continue reading "It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people" »

Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up


TUMBY BAY - Back in 1993 the pop group Aerosmith sang in the opening lines of Livin’ on the Edge, “There's something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.”  

The idea that there is something wrong with the world, including the people in it and the way they behave, is a feeling that has probably been around ever since our forebears crawled out of the swamps and grew legs.

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PNG leaders, you have the clearest choice


SONOMA - The current saga about the opposition’s attempted hijacking of parliament and the subsequent legal battles portray a gloomy picture of the nation’s political landscape.

But behind the two forces battling in the corridors of power are the powerful economic ideologies that each group represents.

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History beckons again for Papua New Guinea

Maritime cadets. Gary Juffa - "
Maritime cadets. "It is not a blunder to want better for your country and people. It is not wrong to want to have a fair share of our resources. It is not wrong to think of our children's tomorrows" - Gary Juffa


TUMBY BAY - When the so-called baby boomers came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s a revolution of liberating enlightenment began to sweep the world.

It began in California, swept through Britain and Europe and finally made its way to Australia.

From there it seeped into Papua New Guinea.

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The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill

Marape Oneill
Are we about to see a second face-off between James Marape and Peter O'Neill?

| PNG News | Edited

PORT MORESBY – Why are so many people supporting prime minister James Marape?

It’s because he has revolutionary ideas that will propel this country into economic independence in years to come.

Let me highlight some achievements so far.

Continue reading "The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill" »

The dangers of complicity


TUMBY BAY - Silence has always been recognised as complicity. Failing to speak out when something bad is happening is often interpreted as endorsement, especially by the people perpetuating the badness.

A cowed and silent population is the ultimate aim of despots who use the repression of its citizens’ right to a free voice as a political weapon.

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Marape’s resolute & patriotic stand


PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marape, consolidated his political capital with 52 MPs and urged calm to Papua New Guineans, the business community, international friends, supporters and political observers in a press conference on Friday.

He warned against corporate lobbyism by mineral resource developers peddling money bags as part of their questionable pursuits. You can link here to his full press conference.

I want to tell you what we, most Papua New Guineans, know and feel.

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Our country is being taken away from us

| My Land, My Country

LAE - How much of the economy do we own? All the prime shop spaces in our towns and cities are owned by foreigners.

Can we easily get financing for a business? No. If we do get it, are the terms PNG-customer friendly? No. And shop space rentals are unaffordable.

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Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG

Corney Alone tells Australia, "We're not going to sing a backward-leaning Kumbaya with you"


Australia’s ramped-up megaphone hostility to its biggest trading partner, China, has led to trade repercussions, pole-axed Australian diplomacy and raised eyebrows in the Pacific. Papua New Guinean business leader and national affairs commentator Corney Alone tells Australia it can play this game but shouldn’t expect the Pacific to fall into line - KJ

PORT MORESBY – Yes, Australia. You get exactly what you bargain for in your relations with China. For Papua New Guinea, though, on our turf we reject outdated, cold war era nonsense.

We are also acutely aware of the 54 years of neglect, double-standards and the arrogant complicity in genocide of Australia's policy towards Melanesian West Papua.

Continue reading "Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG" »

Beyond first contact & gun-bearing Baptists


ADELAIDE - It is pleasing to see that a new book by Daniel Kumbon, Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, will soon be available.

It will join recent works by Sil Bolkin, Mathias Kin and the late Francis Nii as another step in preserving the history of Papua New Guinea, in this case of the Enga people in particular.

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A state of perpetual crisis

Perpetual crisis (The Guardian)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The world has always been in a state of perpetual crisis. We seem to seamlessly roll on from one crisis straight into another one.

We actually thrive on crises.

If there wasn’t a worldwide crisis at any given time, we would wonder what was happening. That we didn’t have a crisis would become a crisis in its own right.

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2020 signals major change for PNG & the world


ADELAIDE - Unfortunately the tides of history do not always move in a linear or predictable fashion. Take the Russian Revolution for example.

The first major convulsion within Tsarist Russia occurred in 1905. A combination of suppression and political concessions enable the old regime to remain in place but it was an ominous warning for the Tsarists that the status quo would not and could not last much longer.

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When crisis is not enough to beget change

Climate-change-media-headlinesPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - One would not expect there to be any apparent upsides to a devastating global pandemic, but strangely enough Covid-19 has provided one.

This has been in the form of revealing many of the structural, social and ideological shortcomings of our current systems of governance.

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How’s PNG’s new foreign policy going?

| Pacific Fellow | Young Australians in International Affairs | Edited

SYDNEY - After securing the confidence of parliament in May 2019, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape promptly announced a shift in the country’s foreign policy.

Marape declared that PNG would divert from its traditionally non-confrontational approach to international affairs and would assume a bold focus on forming new partnerships with regional neighbours and challenging historical dependencies.

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Innovation can make suckers of us all

In the USA much presidential policy is dispensed using Twitter feed. Trump has 86 million followers (PNG Attitude has 7,000)


TUMBY BAY - No matter how good an innovation is there will always be people who subvert it and spoil it for everyone else.

This axiom applies from something as simple as people taking undue advantage of a public welfare measure by ripping it off with false claims to the greater complexity of major frauds perpetuated by large corporations taking advantage of loopholes in tax laws.

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