Foreign minister Marise Payne and prime minister Scott Morrison in Canberra yesterday afternoon announcing Australia's troop and police deployment to Honiara
NOOSA – As people in Honiara awake to a likely third day of riot, arson and looting , 43 Australian Defence Force personnel will join 23 Australian Federal Police in the Solomons’ capital “to provide security and stability” according to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, .
Foreign minister Marise Payne says the deployment disagreed the intervention was an intervention and also said it was not to support Solomons’ prime minister Manasseh Sogavere’s faltering government.
Continue reading "Solomons caper: Dexterous, Dopey or Deflection?" »
The Lowy Institute thought this blurred photo of a mahjong game was an appropriate image to accompany its survey report on what was presented as the indistinct loyalties of Chinese Australians to their home country, which is Australia
NOOSA – In February, author Hervey Forsythe wrote in PNG Attitude of how an Australian government-supported think tank, the Lowy Institute, had been accused of racism and ‘infantilising’ Pacific islanders.
In ‘Lowy feels heat over ‘tone deaf comments’, Forsythe told how the Institute faced a barrage of criticism following an extraordinary article in its magazine, The Interpreter.
Continue reading "This time our Chinese are Lowy's targets" »
John Pilger and Julian Assange at a rally in London, 2011
TUMBY BAY - In a recent article by Australian journalist and provocateur John Pilger, there is an interesting observation about the state of the world’s media.
Pilger was writing about the trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a piece published on the Counterpunch website:
Continue reading "Where do you get the news?" »
Neoliberalism as it is perceived by China - a wild American ram (or buffalo if you’re an editor) about to plunge a terrorised planet into the abyss
ADELAIDE - Bernard Corden has written a fine polemic in ‘There’s a man going ’round taking names’.
Idealism, unfiltered through the lens of reflective thought, is a dangerous thing.
Very few proponents of ‘pure’ neoliberalism – the ideology that markets can run the planet better than governments - appear to devote little if any time to reflection.
Continue reading "Privilege & power are on the march" »
TUMBY BAY - As Paul Oates has frequently pointed out in his comments on PNG Attitude, before you can solve a problem you have to clearly identify its root causes.
Once you’ve done that, you can devise strategies to eliminate or overcome those causes and solve the problem.
Continue reading "Neoliberalism & greed are here to stay" »
| APAC News
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has received frequent mentions in PNG Attitude because of what we perceive as its entrenched right wing, militaristic and neoliberal biases, especially on foreign affairs. Its coverage of Papua New Guinea issues also often suffers from a surfeit of opinion over factual analysis. Marcus Rubenstein’s shines a helpful light on ASPI, which often says aloud what the Morrison government chooses not to - KJ
“The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice” - Mark Twain
SYDNEY - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s claims of fearless independence ring hollow as foreign governments and corporate entities shower it with money.
Winston Churchill, whose once mighty British empire still casts a significant shadow across Australia, reportedly once said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
Continue reading "‘Independent’ think tank writes its own history" »
‘Artists are the gatekeepers of truth’ - Paul Robeson
BRISBANE – Covid or not, the blend of politics and economics that is neoliberalism continues to transfer control of the economy from government to private hands.
In doing so it continues to place limits on government spending, government regulation and government ownership.
Continue reading "There’s a man going ’round taking names" »
TUMBY BAY - I noticed when I first went to Papua New Guinea in the 1960s that the people tended to be guarded in their interactions with expatriates, but among themselves were quite open and not afraid to display their emotions.
Of course, this was a general observation. Judging people in such a way has its limitations because, at the end of the day, we’re all individuals.
Continue reading "How the political class gives us crap leaders" »
Rupert Murdoch - "In the cold-blooded world of profit above everything, Murdoch has no intention of foregoing precious dollars"
TUMBY BAY - In case you hadn’t noticed, the Murdoch press in Australia has embarked on an unexpected campaign urging action to combat climate change.
To most Australians this appeared to be outrageous hypocrisy given News Corp’s dreadful track record of climate change denial, disinformation and derision.
Continue reading "Murdoch, Money, Morrison & climate change" »
William Shakespeare Redux - “Some are born leaders, some achieve leadership, some have leadership thrust upon them and some do purchase it”
TUMBY BAY – A much quoted aphorism on the internet comes from William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” the bard wrote.
What Shakespeare was writing about in 1601 was inherited leadership, such as that of the aristocracy, and the play is, appropriately for our times, framed in a context of a dying society crumbling into decay.
Continue reading "Forget born or made, you can buy leadership" »
ADELAIDE – Much of yesterday’s fine polemic by Bernard Corden and Keith Jackson, Our impure Ozocracy is beginning to buckle, rang all too true for me, as did Barry Jones’ Citizens must rescue Australia’s wobbly democracy.
Jones is right, only we as citizens can change anything.
Continue reading "The struggle to retain a people’s democracy" »
Brigadier General Jack D Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in 'Dr Strangelove', a black comedy directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick (1964)
BERNARD CORDEN & KEITH JACKSON
“It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil” - Anthony Burgess
“Your Commie has no regard for human life. Not even his own” – Brigadier General Jack D Ripper (Dr Strangelove)
“Mr President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks” - General 'Buck' Turgidson (Dr Strangelove)
Continue reading "Our impure Ozocracy is beginning to buckle" »
Australia's House of Representatives. Barry Jones was science minister from 1983-90
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations
| Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - Only an active citizenry can prevent Australia sliding towards authoritarianism or populist democracy.
Democracy faces its greatest existential crisis since the 1930s. Hitler used democratic forms to come to power in Germany but rejected the democratic ethos.
Continue reading "Citizens must rescue Australia’s wobbly democracy" »
Of the thousands of images of the Panguna copper and gold mine on Bougainville, this must be the most dramatic. An armed guerrilla fighter looks over the deserted mine during the 1988-1998 civil war
‘If you want to change culture you will have to start by changing the organisation’ - Mary Douglas
BRISBANE – In addition to the corporate vandalism and carnage reprised in my Digging & Dumping piece the other day, several other contentious mining ventures await approval from the Papua New Guinea government.
I had included the Wafi-Golpu joint venture southwest of Lae on this list until it received approval a couple of days ago.
Continue reading "Corporate vandalism need not be so" »
TUMBY BAY - This is an interesting question when you consider that Australia will be going to an election fairly soon.
The current Morrison government is irrelevant when it comes to tackling climate change.
The world is moving forward, as are our state governments and corporations, but the federal government is still pathetically twiddling its thumbs.
Continue reading "What to do in case of irrelevant government" »
Dr Joe Ketan - "The failed government systems have set PNG back many years – this time back to the stone age" (DWU)
| My Land, My Country
KUK - Public sector reform is an alien concept to the people of Papua New Guinea.
The idea has been brought into countries like PNG by fly-by-night consultants, whose knowledge seems based almost exclusively on trendy paperbacks purchased at airport bookshops on their way to their new jobs in Third World capitals.
Continue reading "40 years lost on useless reforms" »
Sun Tzu (544-496 BC), Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher
ADELAIDE - While I agree with Phil Fitzpatrick's observation, in a comment to PNG Attitude, that the USA has involved both itself and Australia in a series of mostly disastrous wars, it does not necessarily follow that this is inevitable in the case of rising tensions with China.
I say this for several reasons but will mention only one, which is China's serious vulnerability to a trade embargo.
Continue reading "This is a time for superb leadership" »
NOOSA – The Australian mass media and opposition Labor Party have “missed the point” of the AUKUS pact which saw the Morrison government dump a huge submarine contract, says Mike Scrafton, former senior adviser to Australia’s defence minister.
Writing for Pearls and Irritations, Scrafton forecasts that, under Australia’s new strategic arrangements with the United States and the United Kingdom, there will be a major step-up in the US militarisation in Australia.
Continue reading "AUKUS, PNG & the build-up against China" »
ADELAIDE - While I think Phil Fitzpatrick is over-egging the pudding in Australia – Not that Great a Country, I believe it is true to say that Australia is not a 'great' country.
Phil referred to many of its faults, which is fair comment I suppose, but there are some virtues.
In relation to climate change, every one of Australia’s eight states and territories has now committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.
Continue reading "In praise of a wide brown land" »
French president Emmanuel Macron - his vision of France as a partner in the Western alliance confronting China in the South Pacific would have been stung by the inept AUKUS announcement
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations
CANBERRA - There is more at stake for the French-Australian relationship in the Pacific than just money after Australia last week cancelled a contract with France’s Naval Group to build new submarines.
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison indicated that the $90 billion (K230 billion) contract with France, signed in 2016, included ‘contractual gates’ at which critical decisions. Like this could be made.
Continue reading "Fencemending: France, Australia & the Pacific" »
Inner-city latte-drinking basket-weavers (Sky News)
TUMBY BAY - Let’s be honest. Australia is an insignificant world power sitting in isolation at the bottom of the planet desperately clinging on to an increasingly tenuous notion of Western hegemony.
On one current reckoning we sit in seventeenth place on the world power scale, just below Switzerland and just above Turkey.
Continue reading "Australia – not that great a country" »
Scott Morrison looks at Joe Biden on a video link - "China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power"
ADELAIDE - I think Phil Fitzpatrick, The US sets up Australia for war, has invested Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines with more significance than it deserves, at least as far as the prospect of war is concerned.
As I have written before, in Rationality & balance required for China, the 'dance of death' between a resurgent and increasingly nationalistic and belligerent China and the previously dominant USA began some time ago.
Continue reading "No room for neutrality in this new world" »
Scott Morrison has placed Australia on the front line of any future war with China (AFP)
TUMBY BAY - The editorial in this weekend’s ‘The Saturday Paper’ is interesting. It quotes Hugh White, former deputy-secretary of the Defence Department.
In an article elsewhere, White suggests that conventional submarines are perfectly suited if Australia is only interested in defending itself, whereas nuclear-powered submarines are perfectly suited to attacking another country.
Continue reading "Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice" »
The Big Three Meet - Johnson Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight, Herald-Sun)
TUMBY BAY - The United States of America is a warmonger but prefers to fight its wars in other people’s countries: Moro (Philippines), Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the list goes on and, as you can read here, it is very, very long.
War and the military industrial complex are inextricably entwined in the US economy and now it seems to be quite advanced in its planning for the next war – another one in our backyard, the Indo-Pacific.
Continue reading "US sets up Australia for a China war" »
Scott Morrison's government keeps promoting coal (cartoon by Paul Dorin @DorinToons)
TUMBY BAY - Australia’s daft prime minister and climate change laggard says he wants to solve the problem of global warming using technology.
What he means by technology are dodgy developments such as carbon sequestration.
Until that happens he plans to open new gas fields to provide feedstock for new gas-fired power stations, which he thinks produce less pollution.
Continue reading "Can renewables save the planet?" »
Scott 'Beefy' Morrison attacking a dog's eye (aka maggot bag or rat's coffin)
ADELAIDE – While I fully agree with Keith Jackson's comments, ‘The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning’, I am pessimistic that the Morrison government will be ejected from office based upon the grievous failures Keith described so eloquently.
Basically, Scott Morrison can and will exploit the apathy, ignorance, credulity and fear of far too many Australians who will vote to ensure that government remains in what he will characterise as his 'safe hands'.
Continue reading "Can the daggy dad do it all again?" »
‘Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena’ - Wilhelm Reich
‘The most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory’ - Richard Dawkins
‘The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage’ - Mark Russell
Continue reading "Of matters malevolent - & a fiery stunt" »
This is a revised, refined and augmented version of an earlier article in PNG Attitude. It’s far from the last word on the subject of Australia’s often wayward response to Covid, and I have no reason to think my views are particularly precious, but I need to say this, harsh as it is - KJ
NOOSA - Philip Fitzpatrick, author and provocateur, recently wrote for PNG Attitude a polemical commentary entitled, ‘A government prepared to see its people die’.
This piece drilled deeply into my own feelings about what Australia is being put through at this time of Covid.
Continue reading "The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning" »
ADELAIDE - Commenting on Keith Jackson’s ‘The vandals who trashed our nation’ and other remarks on the Covid crisis, Andrew Brown wrote that “people in small business are going broke by the dozen, the number of empty shops in my local area is frightening”.
And he added, “That is real hardship for people losing everything they have and not having any hope.”
Continue reading "It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid" »
CLEVELAND – I don't disagree about recent observations in PNG Attitude about the political blunders made in Australia’s response to the Covid threat.
But I believe the core problem lies within our system of selecting political leaders.
Continue reading "Crisis of competence: Our flawed pollies" »
TUMBY BAY - Have you ever wondered why Capitalism and Christianity seem to sit so well together?
You have observed James Marape, for example, and politicians before him conflate wealth and religion ideas like making Papua New Guinea the ‘richest black Christian nation on Earth’.
Continue reading "The Bible as capitalism’s manual" »
ADELAIDE - Throughout history, civilisations have risen and fallen regularly. There are many reasons but the process of decay often starts within.
The first clear indicator that all is not well emerges, somewhat perversely, at the very height of the civilisation’s power and influence.
The ancient Greeks coined a term for this malady: hubris.
Continue reading "The decline of the West. What of PNG?" »
Editor of The Age, Gay Alcorn. Jenny Hocking writes, "The Age failed even to mention that Australia is six months behind the rest of the world in (its) way out of this pandemic"
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations | Edited
MELBOURNE – Last Thursday, The Age newspaper published a provocative editorial, ‘Victoria cannot go on like this’, which many saw as undermining the Victorian government’s public health response to Covid.
Having done so in the middle of a pandemic, The Age should have expected, and indeed welcomed, a robust response.
Continue reading "‘The Age’ undermines public health" »
NOOSA – I set out to write this piece a couple of days ago, only to be confronted by Phil Fitzpatrick’s stirring polemic, ‘A government prepared to see its people die’.
This drilled deeply into my own feelings at what my country is being put through as a result of mindless political ambition. So I decided to wait a short while before launching into this.
Continue reading "The vandals who trashed our nation" »
Scott Morrison - "pious Christian hypocrisies"
TUMBY BAY - After an initial desperate foray into Keynesian economics at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia, the federal government is under increasing pressure from big corporations to revert to business as usual.
This is despite the rapid escalation in recent weeks of the crisis created by the Delta variant.
Continue reading "A government prepared to see its people die" »
ADELAIDE – In ‘Covid: Ineptitude, deception and lies’, Keith Jackson correctly refers to the 'weasel words' of both ‘Golden’ Gladys Berejiklian and the man he terms ‘Slovenly’ Scott Morrison.
Jackson writes of how these politicians avoid saying the obvious and how they try to deflect attention from the true situation their complacency, ineptitude and incompetence has created.
Continue reading "Covid puts Australia on knife edge" »
TUMBY BAY – It happened when we were still absorbing dire warnings in the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and reeling from the latest Covid-19 outbreaks in NSW and Victoria.
That’s when the Taliban strolled into Kabul and took Afghanistan back after 20 years of occupation by the Americans and their allies, including Australia.
Continue reading "When leaders became enemies" »
Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - incompetent politicians who are existential threats to Australia
NOOSA – This piece starts in Papua New Guinea, the place that taught me what resilience really means.
After my arrival in the country in 1963, one of the attributes that quickly endeared me to Papua New Guineans was their tenacity; even if it tended to be a tenacity conditional on whether people were convinced that what they were asked to do was meaningful.
Continue reading "Australian resilience is an oxymoron" »
A Tagali warlord presents his Mac58 and M16 at a Hela gun surrender. Technology has made clan warfare much more lethal
WARRADALE - Among the boxes of stuff in my shed, I dug up a document I had kept because I wanted to prove I had not embellished a story.
The document was a carbon copy of a Local Court case I heard at Baiyer River in the Western Highlands nearly 50 years ago, on 10 December 1971.
Continue reading "A Baiyer court case: A good kiap reflects." »
ADELAIDE - The title to this piece comes from a book written by H G Wells and published in 1933.
In his book, Wells made a number of predictions about how the world would develop in the aftermath of World War I.
Some of his predictions were correct, notably regarding the development and use of air power to influence the outcome of warfare, especially strategic bombing.
Continue reading "The shape of things to come" »
Democracy will have to do better than this... Panicked Afghans storm an aircraft as they try to leave Kabul after its seizure by the Taliban
ADELAIDE - While I endorse Governor Gary Juffa's sentiments in ‘The world is ours, let’s act that way', I am afraid 'ordinary people' will not retake possession of their particular worlds any time soon.
In places like China, theocratic Iran and newly Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the world will belong to armed minorities who will impose their world view upon the great majority.
Continue reading "PNG people unlikely to reclaim birthright" »
Who would want to have these three as family? Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton share a cruel joke at the expense of Pacific islanders, their attitudes and hypocrisy on public view
TUMBY BAY - On behalf of all concerned people in Australia I would like to extend a sincere apology to the nations and people of the South Pacific.
We apologise for the misguided, inadequate, cowardly and reckless actions of our Australian federal government in failing to take seriously the dire consequences to you of climate change.
Continue reading "An open letter to our Pacific friends" »
Chris Overland - 'Consultancies not all bad news for smart public servants'
ADELAIDE - A seminal idea underpinning neo-liberal capitalism is that private enterprise is always more efficient and cost effective than a public entity.
This notion informs much of the decision making surrounding the hiring of consultants, the target of a polemic by my colleague Philip Fitzpatrick in PNG Attitude yesterday.
Continue reading "Consultants: watch-borrowers hard at work" »
A 1959 report on kiaps by Sir David Plumley Derham KBE CMG (1920–85), Australian jurist and university administrator, was misused to enhance police powers and weaken kiaps' more measured approach to pacification and administration in PNG
TUMBY BAY – For decades Papua New Guinea has been a happy hunting ground for the consulting industry.
Careers have been built on providing often gratuitous advice to governments in both PNG and Australia, not to mention the purchase of the odd sports car or coastal retreat.
It’s not a post-independence phenomenon as many people assume. Consultants have been active in PNG since the 1950s.
Continue reading "The deadly damage of naïve consultants" »
ADELAIDE - Bernard Corden’s splendid article, 'A Question of Balance', neatly describes the situation the Western world is now in and how we got here.
Neo-liberal capitalism is, in many respects, the reaction of the propertied classes against the sometimes unduly restrictive nostrums of democratic socialism that emerged in its full form in the aftermath of World War II.
Continue reading "Can capitalism be tamed?" »
‘War does not determine who is right, only who is left’ - Bertrand Russell
BRISBANE - During the 1970s the United Kingdom experienced the best of times, with the lingering aftermath from the swinging sixties, and the worst of times.
It was a decade beset by escalating unemployment, civil unrest, power cuts and industrial strikes.
Continue reading "A question of balance" »
TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinea appears to be handling its relationship with China much better than Australia.
The Melanesian propensity to seek consensus, rather than muscling up in a confrontational manner, might have something to do with it.
So too might Papua New Guineans’ emphasis on respect rather than derision.
Continue reading "Aussie needs some Melanesian Way on China" »
China's helping hand in the race against Covid (Xia Qing - Global Times)
| Global Times
This article has been edited from a Global Times interview with Mr Zhou, who is director of the Centre for Pacific Island Countries Studies at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies - KJ
BEIJING - Despite a troubled vaccination progress at home, Australia has still found energy to interfere in the vaccination rollout in Papua New Guinea by touting vaccine rivalry between itself and China.
PNG, which recently detected its first case of the highly contagious Delta variant, has agreed to vaccine offerings from a number of suppliers including China, Australia, New Zealand and Covax, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.
Continue reading "Australia must focus on cooperation not China" »
When Australia's politicians don't want to and public servants aren't up to, in comes the military - Lieutenant-General John ‘JJ’ Frewen, Vice-Admiral Ray Griggs, Commodore Eric Young (AAP)
ADELAIDE - I think that several causes lie behind the farcical situation described in ‘The man who was told he wasn’t Australian’.
Firstly, I think that the current federal government has repeatedly expressed its hostility to 'illegals' and this sentiment (however false) has now firmly gripped the minds of the immigration bureaucracy.
Continue reading "The grim truth behind a baffling decision" »
Cartoon by Alan Moir
TUMBY BAY - It is remarkable how Australia, in less than 10 years, has become a repressed, uncaring, corrupt and stupid country.
This is despite the existence among its citizens of many caring and enlightened individuals.
But in the many others is observable a disturbing degree of compliance, indifference or capitulation.
Continue reading "She’ll be right mate just doesn’t cut it" »