Issues Feed

Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate

Giorgio Licini
Fr Giorgio Licini - "“Arrogance and a refusal to listen will isolate the big south island, leaving the smaller ones in the vast ocean with no choice but to turn to Asia"


NOOSA – A prominent Catholic priest in Papua New Guinea says Australia, as the region’s richest and biggest nation, should “lead through kindness” in the south-west Pacific and show “solidarity and inclusiveness”.

Writing in the PNG Catholic Reporter, Fr Giorgio Licini said the PNG government and civil society also have a responsibility because of their “central position among the family of nations in the Pacific [to] raise their voice regarding the current most pressing issues”.

Fr Giorgio enumerated these as Australia’s attitudes to offshore detention, refusing to acknowledge the negative environmental impact of coal burning and making “access and work difficult for other members of the Pacific family”.

Continue reading "Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate" »

The crisis in Australia’s offshore detention centres

No Way
President Trump tweeted, alongside pictures distributed by the Australian government, “These flyers depict Australia’s policy on illegal immigration. Much can be learned!”

ASHLEY PARK | Organisation for World Peace | Edited extracts

HOUSTON, USA - On 26 June, US president Donald Trump tweeted, along with pictures distributed by the Australian government, “These flyers depict Australia’s policy on illegal immigration. Much can be learned!”

The flyers had foreboding statements such as, “You will not make Australia home”, “You won’t be settled in Australia”, or simply, “No way.”

Australia’s immigration policy is just as, if not more, controversial than Trump’s hard-line immigration policy for the United States.

Despair and hopelessness run high on Australia’s offshore detention centres on the islands of Manus and Nauru, and many people on these islands have little hope of leaving.

Recently, Australia deliberately increased the hardship experienced by detainees, resulting in increased rates of suicide and self-harm.

Continue reading "The crisis in Australia’s offshore detention centres" »

Deadly ‘crystal road’ maritime drug route straddles the Pacific

Crystal Road
Maritime drug trafficking poses huge policing challenges for South Pacific countries, monitoring ocean making up one-third of the world’s surface.

KATE LYONS | Guardian Australia

SYDNEY - It’s been dubbed the ‘crystal road’: cocaine and methamphetamines are packed into the hulls of sailing boats in the US and Latin America and transported, in increasing amounts and with increasing frequency, to Australia via Pacific countries.

As part of Guardian Australia’s international reporting team, I investigated what was causing this explosion in the use of this maritime drug highway and what impact the trade was having on the local communities the drugs passed through, for the Guardian's High Seas series.

What I found was that the trade is being driven by Australia and New Zealand's growing and very lucrative appetite for drugs - people in the two countries were consuming more cocaine per capita and paying more per gram for the drug than anywhere in the world.

The use of this drug route has led to some wild stories.

Continue reading "Deadly ‘crystal road’ maritime drug route straddles the Pacific" »

Why we must never legislate for prostitution in PNG

Pawa - ProstitutesPAWA KENNY AMBAISI

PORT MORESBY – During his time in office now ousted prime minister Peter O’Neill sign off on some controversial issues like the $1.2 billion UBS loan and dismantling Task Force Sweep but he wouldn’t sign the Prostitution Act, which was a blessing for the people of Papua New Guinea.

“I commend the O’Neill government’s decision not to legalise prostitution in Papua New Guinea,” Deborah Kai of Mt Hagen wrote a letter published in The National newspaper The government, in its power and wisdom, has saved Papua New Guinea from definite destruction.

“Through not allowing prostitution, the daughters of this country have been saved from degradation. PNG has been saved from turning to prostitution and the floodgate of wickedness has been prevented from being opened.”

Continue reading "Why we must never legislate for prostitution in PNG" »

Australian journalists’ union joins bid for press freedom

MEAA cardMEDIA STATEMENT | MEAA | Pacific Media Watch

SYDNEY - MEAA, the union for Australia’s journalists, today joined with other media organisations in calling for urgent legal changes to protect press freedom and the public’s right to know.

As a member of Australia’s Right to Know Coalition, MEAA said in a statement it welcomed the united stance taken by media organisations following the Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC and the home of a News Corporation journalist earlier this month.

MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said the raids had solidified concerns about the impact of national security laws by seeking to stifle public interest journalism.

“The raids by the AFP earlier this month have highlighted just how vulnerable press freedom is in Australia,” Murphy said.

Continue reading "Australian journalists’ union joins bid for press freedom" »

In a crazy world, can PNG have its own Age of Enlightenment?

Could James Marape be the harbinger of PNG’s age of enlightenment, with a genuine belief in truth, justice and fairness for all


ADELAIDE - When I first arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1969 I was in search of excitement and adventure which, as it turned out, was not hard to find.

To the extent that I understood my primary role as a brand new liklik kiap [junior patrol officer], it was to help bring to the people of PNG peace, good government and what I unquestioningly believed to be the benefits of western civilisation.

As a single man with no money, I carried very little physical baggage with me. With the benefit of hindsight, I was carrying more than a little intellectual and philosophical baggage, which I had mostly unknowingly acquired during both my formal and informal education.

In the late 1950s and 1960s I was taught by mostly young teachers who, predominantly, were born either during or immediately after World War II.

They were the first of the so-called ‘baby boomers’ and collectively were heavily influenced by ideas about the world that had first arisen during the Enlightenment, which is usually said to have commenced around the year 1500.

The ideas they impressed upon me and my fellow students included a belief in the primacy of science as a means of acquiring real knowledge and, just as importantly, of eradicating the superstitions, fears and ignorance that had for so long afflicted humankind.

Continue reading "In a crazy world, can PNG have its own Age of Enlightenment?" »

Becoming a rich black nation: Are we not rich already?

Children (Unicef)ROSA KOIAN

PORT MORESBY - We all want change and we want that change to happen quickly.

Many of us feel deprived of certain opportunities and privileges and therefore miss or forget that we are rich already.

As a country we didn’t have to struggle to become an independent democratic nation.

Beyond that we are rich with our good Papua New Guinean ways, cultures and traditions.

Our people have in them skills and talents that often are given freely.

Continue reading "Becoming a rich black nation: Are we not rich already?" »

What life is really like in (very expensive) Port Moresby

Port Moresby (Scott Waide)
In Port Moresby what appears to be a big salary is ripped to shreds by the reality of big city life

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country | Edited

LAE - Anyone living in Port Moresby without institutional housing, or support from relatives or parents, knows it’s an absolute nightmare.

Port Moresby is the most expensive city in the Pacific.

The rental price structure is like that in Australia and yet the wages employers’ pay don’t match the cost of living and housing is skewed towards the high end market.

Real estate companies charge a minimum K1,000 - K5,000 a week in rental. The vast majority of Papua New Guineans don’t see that kind of money in a fortnight or even six months. 

A salary of between K35,000 and K50,000 is next to impossible to live on if you have a family.

Continue reading "What life is really like in (very expensive) Port Moresby" »

Some advice on getting married young – don’t do it


PORT MORESBY - Family relationships is a hot topic. It bothers me. In the workplace and at home, I frequently think and talk about marriage and family life.

Even at public bus stops and shopping centres or while travelling, I’m always bothered. Honestly, I’m suppressed by thinking too hard on this issue.

This dilemma started after I got married in 2008. In my young life, I did not experience this phenomenon.

All I thought about, talked about and did was dream, wishing I could find out what best the world could offer me.

Sometimes I’d dream I was in a graduation hall receiving double degrees. At other times that I was a mechanical engineer or aircraft engineer. Or maybe in the hangar fixing aircraft engines.

Continue reading "Some advice on getting married young – don’t do it" »

‘Our women in blue face unspeakable difficulties’: Kramer

Kramer and RPNGC
Women police and Bryan Kramer: "I'll make it my business to stamp out gender bias and sexual harassment in the RPNGC"

BRYAN KRAMER MP | Kramer Report | Edited

MADANG – On Thursday I had the privilege to accompany prime minister James Marape and fellow ministers to inspect progress on the Australian government-funded Angau Hospital redevelopment project in Lae.

During the event, members of the Royal PNG Constabulary asked me if it was OK to take to a picture with them.

Under the leadership of Marape-Steven government, and in my capacity as police minister, our women will play a greater role in policing throughout the country.

While all members of the force face challenges in serving our country, our women in blue face unspeakable difficulties, not because of their lack of ability or performance but because of discrimination for being a woman.

Continue reading "‘Our women in blue face unspeakable difficulties’: Kramer" »

See who I met at Grand Papua Hotel - & some thoughts I had

Daniel and Keith
Daniel and Keith with copy of Survivor and traditional Enga caps


PORT MORESBY – We had quite a lunch at the Grand Papua on Friday.

By ‘we’ I mean Keith Jackson AM, who wrote the Foreword to my latest book ‘Survivor’, his lovely wife Cr Ingrid Jackson, a councillor in the shire of Noosa on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, and their son Ben, a communications specialist working with the Australian aid program in Papua New Guinea.

After we finished, the Jackson family met Hon Wera Mori, commerce minister and member for Chuave in Simbu, where Keith had come as an 18-year old to teach - and has remained a friend of PNG ever since.

Wera and Keith exchanged contact details and spoke for many minutes.

(As it happened Wera had been a student at a school at which Keith’s close friend Murray Bladwell had been principal and Keith was able to put them in touch after 50 years.)

Continue reading "See who I met at Grand Papua Hotel - & some thoughts I had" »

History tells how civilisations can fall suddenly & catastrophically

Collapse-of-civilizationCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I think that the article, ‘UBS loan to PNG government may have breached 15 laws’ attracted no comment from PNG Attitude readers, speaks volumes for the state of mind of ordinary Papua New Guineans.

They are now so used to hearing about the skulduggery, corruption and malfeasance of their political leaders that they no longer react to evidence of even the most egregious bad faith, self-interest or outright criminality.

I have recently read Nigel Tranter's lively book, ‘The Story of Scotland’, in which he relates in a non-academic and accessible way the centuries of chicanery, deviousness, vengeance seeking, theft and murder that are a feature of that country's historic heritage.

Continue reading "History tells how civilisations can fall suddenly & catastrophically" »

Banning Facebook for 12 months, or any ban at all, is a bad move

Ban fbSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - The reason why politicians are afraid of Facebook is because it has done more in the last 10 years to hold them to account than mainstream media outlets.

Facebook has become the most important tool that provides the verification for so called infrastructure projects that MPs claim have been completed but have not.

Facebook has been used to hold the former Health Minister Puka Temu to account for the medicine shortages in the country.

Continue reading "Banning Facebook for 12 months, or any ban at all, is a bad move" »

UBS loan: Conduct of O’Neill, Marape, others ‘wrong & improper’


PORT MORESBY – The final report of the PNG Ombudsman Commission into allegations of improper borrowing of a $1.239 billion loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland to purchase nearly 150 million shares in Oil Search Limited has been provided to PNG Attitude.

In its principal findings the Commission strongly criticises the conduct of prime minister Peter O’Neill, his main rival for leadership James Marape and other prominent leaders and concludes that they be investigated under the Leadership Code of the PNG constitution.

The Ombudsman Commission states the conduct of O’Neill was wrong and improper in a number of serious respects, including that he committed the government to purchase shares without the prior approval of the National Executive Council, he failed to present the loan to parliament for debate and approval and he misled the National Executive Council.

Continue reading "UBS loan: Conduct of O’Neill, Marape, others ‘wrong & improper’" »

'Rise up': female police inspector’s battle cry to women

Julie Palakai - Blazing a trail for change (AFP)
Julie Palakai - "Dressed in crisp police blues and wielding a large silver sword, she proudly marches judges, superior officers and other dignitaries - almost always male - up and down guard of honour lines"

NEWS DESK – France 24 / AFP

KOKOPO - In a nation where sexual violence is endemic, women are still targeted and attacked for witchcraft, and female representation in parliament is non-existent, police chief Julie Palakai is blazing a trail for change

The 43-year-old inspector, a domestic abuse survivor and 18-year veteran of the force, is one of the most senior female police officers in Papua New Guinea -- and is calling on the nation's women to take a stand against sexism with her.

"Women must strive and rise up against any discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace," she tells AFP.

"For young girls who are still struggling: Do not give up but strive for the best to achieve your goals and to find a better and happy life. Nothing is impossible," she insists.

Human Rights Watch named Papua New Guinea "one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman" in a report which estimated 70% of women would be raped or assaulted in their lifetime.

Continue reading "'Rise up': female police inspector’s battle cry to women" »

Digicel’s overdue tower debts impoverish & anger landowners

Digicel tower  Barikas  Madang Province (Amanda Watson)
Digicel tower at Barikas,  Madang Province (Amanda Watson)


PORT MORESBY – This is my seventh month of complaining about the failure of the Digicel PNG Ltd telecommunications company to pay the rent money it owes to the landowners of its digital tower locations.

Some Digicel employees feel sorry for us and have said the people in charge of payments will ignore us and never try to help.

The clauses of the agreement we made with Digicel are clear. No such thing should happen to any of us landowners. But because landowners are simple people and can easily be tricked, they continue to ignore us and cheat us.

Only a few landowners who have help from their families and clansmen are now seeking legal advice while the one hope of the rest of us is to continue to complain at the Digicel office. But we cannot break through by complaining and therefore are losing hope.

So what we think best is to use the media to expose what is going on. Not all the people in the Digicel office are bad. Perhaps some good people there will see this and try to find out what is going on.

When everyone in Digicel knows about the problems we face, perhaps they can talk for us. When that happens, we feel our problem can be solved and the corruption and cheating will be stopped.

Continue reading "Digicel’s overdue tower debts impoverish & anger landowners" »

Govt must introduce ICAC law; failure to do so is 'devastating'

Eddie Tanago
Eddie Tanago

EDDIE TANAGO | Act Now! campaign manager

PORT MORESBY – Our community advocacy group Act Now! is again calling on the Papua New Guinea government to publicly release the draft ICAC law it has promised will shortly be debated by Parliament.

There have been so many delays over the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption that the government cannot be trusted not to have watered down its powers meaning that it may end up as just another toothless tiger.

The government has totally failed to live up to its promises in both the 2012 and 2017 Alotau Accords that it would establish an ICAC.

We have also seen this government starve the ombudsman commission, the fraud squad, the auditor general and the financial analysis and supervision unit of vital funds so their capacity to tackle corruption has been undermined.

Continue reading "Govt must introduce ICAC law; failure to do so is 'devastating'" »

Political meddling & poor training spur corruption in PNG

CorruptionLUCY PAPACHRISTOU | Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

SARAJEVO - A newly-published discussion paper on corruption in Papua New Guinea’s public sector has found that low-level officials are often poorly informed about laws and regulations.

They are also under intense pressure to grant favours to businesses, politicians and clan affiliates, contributing to existing patterns of corrupt behaviour in the developing country.

The paper, ‘Governance and Corruption in PNG’s Public Service: Insights From Four Subnational Administrations’, was published this month by the Development Policy Centre, an aid and development policy think tank based out of the Australian National University in Canberra.

Its author, Dr Grant Walton, drew on interviews with 136 public servants across four provinces in PNG in an effort to fill the empirical data gap on why public officials may support or resist corruption and poor governance.

PNG tends to take a “top-down, one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to corruption,” Walton told OCCRP by phone.

Continue reading "Political meddling & poor training spur corruption in PNG" »

Something to ponder: How boys are brought up in PNG



PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea, when are we going to start raising our boys right?

The truth is, incidents involving PNG males abroad happen way more often than what ends up making it into news reports and it has been happening for years and years.

Many perpetrators are dumbfounded when called in by authorities, not thinking that what they did was wrong or a big deal. “I was drunk”, “I didn’t do anything, I only touched her”, “I was only taking pictures”….

The disproportionately high number of these type of incidents abroad makes me wonder just what our males are getting away with back here in PNG.

Continue reading "Something to ponder: How boys are brought up in PNG" »

Tribal conflicts threaten PNG’s peace builders – the women

VAWANGGIA ANGGRAINI BURCHILL | Development and Cooperation

PORT MORESBY - In Papua New Guinea, women and girls face high security risks. Particularly in tribal wars, they are subject to violence and displacement.

On the other hand, women play an important role in resolving conflicts and in peace-building.

PNG is a vast archipelago burdened by poverty although very rich in natural resources. In the highlands, tribal conflicts occur frequently. Women and children are particularly threatened by violence.

Traditionally, fights between tribes erupt over land disputes, the bride price of women or the possession of pigs.

Continue reading "Tribal conflicts threaten PNG’s peace builders – the women" »

In the case of land, the colonial administrators mostly got it right

Bill Brown on patrol in PNG
Respecters of the people's land - a young Bill Brown on patrol in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s


ADELAIDE – The Australian colonial administration in Papua New Guinea understood right from the outset of its rule that the concept of individual ownership of land didn't apply.

In part, this was based upon the British colonial experience elsewhere in the Pacific, like Fiji, where land was also a communally held and managed asset.

The Administration, as it was known, therefore pursued a policy of tightly controlling how land issues were managed and, in particular, demonstrated a strong general bias against acquiring land.

Given that a feature of the late European colonial era was the rapacious and violent seizure by colonists of traditional lands, it puzzled me that the Pacific colonies tended to be treated differently.

Continue reading "In the case of land, the colonial administrators mostly got it right" »

Land, culture & the limitations of western interpretation

Angry locals  gold mine (Jethro Tulin)
In 2013, angry people massed in their thousands at Porgera, forcing the gold and silver mine to curtail operations. One man was killed (Jethro Tulin)


TUMBY BAY - One of the inherent problems of western-based disciplines like anthropology, sociology, politics and history is that they tend to interpret concepts and practises in terms of their own societies and experiences.

Further than this, they have become the dominant arbiter when it comes to such interpretations.  Even non-western practitioners seem to default to western concepts as a matter of course.

And when a serious attempt is made to interpret something in a neutral way, western ideas interfere and inevitably colour the result.

If you add the western proclivity to render as much as possible into black and white rather than hues of grey the result gets even worse.

There is an argument that, because of the academic strength and reach of its canon, a western interpretation is the best way outsiders can understand what happens in non-western societies.

Continue reading "Land, culture & the limitations of western interpretation" »

A family conversation about Bougainville independence

Londari  Peter Mision Yaki and Besini at Gordons
Blending of culture: Londari and Besini when small children, in the arms of their dad Peter Mision at Gordons Estate in Port Moresby


WABAG – A message about Bougainville posted by me on my timeline and responses from my dear relatives, Gayle Tatsi and Peter Mision.

Daniel’ message

It is my personal wish that, in their referendum, the people of Bougainville do not vote to break away from the rest of Papua New Guinea.

It is better for us to remain united, especially from a family point of view.

This thought came to my mind when Londari Mision Yaki whose mother, Galye Tatsi is from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB), celebrated his 22nd birthday a few days ago.

His dad, Peter Mision Yaki, is my Aimbarep tribesman from Kondo village in Kandep, Enga Province.

All of us uncles, cousins, bubus and wantoks on both sides celebrated the occasion.

But how will this be if the majority of the Bougainville people vote for independence?

It is hard for me to imagine Londari and his sister Besini getting a passport to visit their maternal relatives.

Continue reading "A family conversation about Bougainville independence" »

It’s time to do something about squatter settlements

Port Moresby squatter settlement
Port Moresby squatter settlement


TUMBY BAY - I saw my first squatter settlement in 1967 in Mount Hagen.

The settlements around Mount Hagen in those days were nothing like the ones that came later.

Unlike their counterparts in the big towns like Port Moresby and Lae, where squatters came from other districts, they were mainly occupied by local landowners. The town was not yet big enough to have created an underclass of dispossessed landowners.

The settlers around Mount Hagen were generally made up of people who had moved in closer to the town to take advantage of its attractions and to sell the vegetables they produced in their nearby gardens.

They were, nevertheless, a hodgepodge of ramshackle buildings constructed with no thought of order.

Continue reading "It’s time to do something about squatter settlements" »

From shocking tribal violence to strawberries for Singapore

Kumbon - Wabag provincial headquarters
Enga provincial headquarters in Wabag


WABAG - Nobody believed the people of Enga Province would one day export premium strawberries. To outsiders, it seemed their main achievement was to involve themselves in tribal warfare.

That perception will hopefully be erased now that a market has been established in Singapore for Enga strawberries and possibly other agricultural products.

This is the result of hard work put in by Governor Sir Peter Ipatas who encouraged Israeli company Innovative Agro Industries to partner with the Enga Provincial Government to establish a K23 million vegetable project at Taluma in the Sirunki area of Laiagam.

Many people felt the project would fail because the local Makol tribe was involved in tribal fighting. But now strawberries are produced there for export as well as potatoes for Port Moresby.

Continue reading "From shocking tribal violence to strawberries for Singapore" »

'Feelings of fear': Kiaps, police & the PNG people


TUMBY BAY - Joe Herman, in PNG Attitude, has joined a growing list of Papua New Guineans who have alluded to the feeling of fear induced by many Australian kiaps in the days before independence.

At the same time, some of those kiaps have expressed surprise that they or their cohorts created that perception or were ever regarded in this way.

Like me, I think that a lot of kiaps went out of their way not to convey any overt authoritarian or oppressive power imbalance in their day-to-day dealings with the people they administered.

As a group of administrators that were very thin on the ground and deeply embedded in often remote societies under their care, such arrogance was never an effective tool. Cooperation, more than anything else, was the key to their success.

They did, however, hold responsibility for administering, among other things, the rule of law, which had certain sanctions attached to it that had to be applied without fear or favour.

Continue reading "'Feelings of fear': Kiaps, police & the PNG people" »

Reject the ban on street food. It is not a real solution

Cooked Food
A lazy solution to what? Port Moresby residents warned not to sell cooked food in public places


PORT MORESBY - The informal economy in Port Moresby is once again under siege. The National Capital District Commission (NCDC) is about to introduce another ban.

This time the ban will target street sellers of cooked food and betel nut (buai) and will come into force on 22 or 23 March.

The last time NCDC introduced a ban was the controversial buai ban that caused great disruption and even deaths and was eventually replaced by a partial prohibition after the ban turned into a game of cat and mouse as buai smuggling became a new phenomenon.

The stories of abuse, harassment and death that unfolded at the height of the ban remain fresh in the minds of city residents.

Defiant betel nut vendors buoyed by the prospect of huge gains colluded with law enforcers to smuggle large quantities of buai into the city.

Continue reading "Reject the ban on street food. It is not a real solution" »

Governance, ethics & leadership in PNG – a personal perspective

Ila Geno
Ila Geno

ILA GENO | DevPolicy Blog

PORT MORESBY - I want to establish from the outset the foundation of experiences from which I am speaking on the important subjects of governance, ethics and leadership in Papua New Guinea.

This paper revolves around personal and practical experiences acquired over the years in my various capacities: firstly as a public servant and secondly as a private citizen, and it is a privilege to share them with you.

I would like to tell you a story from my childhood, growing up in a village from the late ‘40s to the ‘50s.

I can recall one of many lessons in compliance I received from my father.

Continue reading "Governance, ethics & leadership in PNG – a personal perspective" »

Thuggish city rangers trusted as wardens of our women

City-rangers (EMTV)
City rangers in Port Moresby - ill-equipped to deal with people honestly and ethically, especially women (EMTV)


PORT MORESBY - There is a band of men scavenging in Port Moresby from outlying areas that the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) has seen fit to mobilise, giving them the mandate to sieve betel nut vendors and chewers.

This week the NCDC announced 200 bus stop wardens or city rangers will help keep law and order and protect our womenfolk who transit at the bus stops.

City residents received the announcement with sadness since they know these men to be thugs and brutes.

Although the idea is noble, these thugs will carry screwdrivers, machetes, clubs and iron rods to bruise and chop anybody stalking women or selling or spitting betel juice on footpaths, bus stops, and walls.

Continue reading "Thuggish city rangers trusted as wardens of our women" »

Summit offers new hope for traditional landowners

National Land Summit (Kinjap)
Section of the audience at last week's National Land Summit workshop (Peter Kinjap)


PORT MORESBY - In gearing up for a national land summit in May, the Lands and Physical Planning Department in association with National Research Institute is hosting two-day workshop in each of Papua New Guinea’s four regions.

The southern region workshop was held late last week at the International convention Centre in Port Moresby.

At the meeting, landowners from Oro, Central, Western and Milne Bay had the opportunity to contribute views and shared their experiences on customary land issues.

Opening the workshop, Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced that the government has taken steps to produce secure land titles. He said a consultant from Australia had been engaged to work on this.

The watermarked, ‘bullet proof’ land titles will be accepted by banks as legitimate evidence of title. As part of this project, all documents in the Lands Department are being scanned and will be digitised.

Continue reading "Summit offers new hope for traditional landowners" »

Australia must quickly resolve Manus refugee crisis: Pruaitch

Patrick Pruaitch
Patrick Pruaitch -  “Australia’s role in this refugee crisis is deplorable from almost any angle one could take"

MEDIA STATEMENT | Office of the PNG Opposition Leader

PORT MORESBY – Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch has called on the Australian government to quickly resolve the problem of refugees stranded in Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the past six years.

Mr Pruaitch said details of the billion kina security contract awarded to the Paladin Group highlight the callous way offshore refugees are being treated.

The Paladin contract was awarded in 2017, a year after the PNG supreme court declared it was unconstitutional and illegal for refugees to be held in a PNG detention centre and after the virtual prison was shut down.

“These refugees came to Manus after perilous boat trips that have taken many lives and 600 of them have been left to languish on the island for the past six years,” Mr Pruaitch said.

“Following a visit there, the Catholic Bishops of PNG have said the mental health of most refugees has deteriorated severely and many are suicidal.”

Continue reading "Australia must quickly resolve Manus refugee crisis: Pruaitch" »

Revisiting the PNG LNG project landowner problem

Colin Filer
Colin Filer

COLIN FILER | DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - On 25 January this year, Papua New Guinea’s Post-Courier newspaper reported that the national court had just overturned a decision made by a provincial land court magistrate in 2006.

The decision in question was meant to resolve a dispute between two members of a Huli clan about the ownership of land in the Moran petroleum development licence area, which is one of eight licence areas that now form part of the PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

But it seems that the magistrate ‘mistakenly’ granted one of the disputing parties rights to land in an adjoining licence area that belonged to a Fasu clan, and this had led to unlawful encroachment by members of the Huli tribe, onto land that rightfully belonged to members of the Fasu tribe.

Continue reading "Revisiting the PNG LNG project landowner problem " »

Despite promises, govt continues to condone illegal land grabs

Eddie Tanago


PORT MORESBY - It is one of the world’s biggest illegal land grabs, yet more than five years after the government promised to cancel the SABL (special agriculture and business) leases and return the land to its customary owners, the people of Papua New Guinea are still waiting to hear which, if any, leases have been cancelled.

Last month the United Nations wrote to the government for a third-time, accusing ministers of racial discrimination against their own people for not implementing the recommendations of the 2013 Commission of Inquiry and cancelling the leases.

Previous letters from the UN have been ignored by the government and PNG needs to be much more transparent.

We have heard so many excuses and seen so much misinformation from the government for so many years that people have rightly lost all trust in our politicians.

Continue reading "Despite promises, govt continues to condone illegal land grabs" »

'Give them freedom' – Bishops denounce 6-year refugee detention

PNG bishopsSTAFF WRITER | Catholic News Agency

PORT MORESBY - The bishops of Papua New Guinea have issued a renewed plea on behalf of the nearly 500 refugees and asylum seekers being held in indefinite detention in deteriorating conditions.

“These people have been away from their families for the sixth Christmas… it was just another night of detention on Manus Island,” said Fr Ambrose Pereira, communication secretary for the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Facing conditions of trauma, overcrowding, and lack of food, he said, “most of them survive thanks to medicines, mostly anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics,” and many face serious side effects from taking the medications long-term without a prescription.

Continue reading "'Give them freedom' – Bishops denounce 6-year refugee detention" »

The greatest threat to democracy & world order is the internet

Phil Fitzpatrick recent
Phil Fitzpatrick


TUMBY BAY - There is at least one commentator on PNG Attitude who thinks I’m a conspiracy theorist so I thought I’d throw this idea into the mix to see what sort of reaction I get.

The idea became apparent while I was reading Michiko Kakutani’s excellent little book, ‘The Death of Truth’ (William Collins, 2018).

And it’s all down to an otherwise innocent little tool called an algorithm.

An algorithm, as you are probably aware, is a kind of recipe or ordered set of steps that if followed will result in an answer to a problem.

Computer programmers design algorithms for all sorts of reasons, including selling us stuff or influencing the way we think.

You are probably familiar with the advertisements that pop up on your computer or digital device screen while searching the web.

Continue reading "The greatest threat to democracy & world order is the internet" »

Some people mock & deride refugees. Here’s why you should not


Henry Lowig
Professor Henry Lowig

NOOSA - On Saturday, Father Bob Maguire [@FatherBob] was attacked on Twitter by journalist Chris Kenny, former politician Alexander Downer and once Labor now Liberal political-hopeful Warren Mundine.

The elderly priest who describes himself as “patron of the unloved and unlovely” had drawn a comparison between the barbed wire that fenced in the World War II concentration camp at Auschwitz and the conditions prevailing for refugees on Manus and Nauru, a link which had enraged the three chumps.

I tweeted in response to them: “My father-in-law lost most of his family in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. My wife is horrified at the Australian government's treatment of refugees. She recognises the same elements of cruelty & inhumanity, sickness & death, present in Manus & Nauru.”

I note here, in further defence of Father Bob, the words of the Auschwitz Memorial: “When we look at Auschwitz we see the end of the process. It's important to remember that the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers. This hatred gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanisation & escalating violence.”

Continue reading "Some people mock & deride refugees. Here’s why you should not" »

Transparency tells us something of its anti-corruption year

Daphne Caruana Galizia
Transparency gave its 2018 Anti-Corruption Award to Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s leading investigative journalist, who was assassinated in October 2017. The last words she wrote: “There are crooks everywhere, the situation is desperate.” Her killers have not been found

STAFF WRITER | Transparency International

BERLIN - As 2018 draws to a close, we want to look back on the year in corruption.

From the African Union declaring 2018 the “year of anti-corruption" to the Summit of the Americas’ overarching anti-corruption theme, the cause of anti-corruption has been high on the global agenda.

The year started with the launch of our Anti-Corruption Knowledge Hub, a dedicated online space for research on corruption.

In the spring, the Corruption Perceptions Index demonstrated the link between corruption and violence against the press and shrinking space for civil society, both worrying trends continuing throughout the year. 

Over the summer, following our critical report, the International Maritime Organisation, the United Nations shipping agency, finally set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement. 

We also analysed and made recommendations on a proposed EU-wide whistleblower protection directive  — which politicians have now voted to adopt. A welcome step. 

In autumn, we held the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen, where over 1,600 participants gathered to discuss and pioneer the fight against corruption. 

During the conference, the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award recognised Spanish whistleblower Ana Garrido Ramos and the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia for their fearlessness and integrity in speaking truth to power.

Continue reading "Transparency tells us something of its anti-corruption year" »

2018: An unsettled year for PNG

Ron May

RONALD MAY | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - It was a year of mixed outcomes for Papua New Guinea.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the Highlands caused extensive landslides early in the year, killing more than 150 people and damaging houses, food gardens, roads, airstrips and buildings.

The quake’s epicentre was in the Southern Highlands in an area of major oil, gas and mining operations, which were forced to close-down and evacuate staff.

Local landowners demanded an investigation into the ‘causes’ of the earthquake, many believing that oil and gas extraction was responsible. A state of emergency was declared but relief operations were hampered by the remoteness of the affected areas and heavy rains and flooding.

The effects of the earthquake exacerbated problems in the Southern Highlands, which faces recurrent intergroup fighting and unresolved socio-economic grievances.

Landowners were promised royalty payments under an LNG Project Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement negotiated in 2009. But the implementation of this agreement has been hampered by the difficulties of identifying the legitimate claimants among contesting groups.

Continue reading "2018: An unsettled year for PNG" »

Manus Island 'smeared' by refugee detention

Michael Kuweh
Michael Kuweh - "Manusians are on the defensive. We have been smeared beyond all description"


AUCKLAND - The reputation of Papua New Guinea's Manus Island has been smeared and its people need to be compensated, says church leader Michael Kuweh.

Mr Kuweh is a layman and spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Manus.

The indefinite detention of refugees for nearly six years on the island has brought it into disrepute, he said.

"This is a place that has been tarnished because the Australian government dumped its responsibilities on the island and it has affected nearly 70,000 people on Manus.

"It's not the fault of the refugees, it is the fault of the Australian government who decided to follow a 'Pacific Solution'."

Continue reading "Manus Island 'smeared' by refugee detention" »

The Manus babies who face a stateless future

Manus baby 1LYANNE TOGIBA & MICHELLE CHENG | The Guardian

SYDNEY - The children of Manus Island refugees and local women are being denied birth certificates, according to their families, potentially leaving up to 39 of them stateless.

A number of refugee men detained in the Australian-run Manus Island regional processing centre and Papua New Guinean women started relationships as early as 2015, with some children born shortly after.

The regional processing centre was shut down in 2017 but at least 750 refugee and asylum seeker men remain in the country, with 580 of those on Manus Island, according to UN high commissioner for refugees estimates from July.

Families say authorities have refused to issue birth certificates to their children, despite multiple attempts to obtain the documents.

Continue reading "The Manus babies who face a stateless future" »

Empowered women increase crop yields & improve lifestyle

Family_UnitSTAFF WRITER | World Bank

PORT MORESBY – A World Bank study has found that when women in Papua New Guinea are empowered to make decisions in the sale of cocoa and coffee, their households ultimately benefit.

The ‘Household Allocation and Efficiency of Time in PNG’ report, part of a K360 million World Bank project, analysed how domestic responsibilities impact the ability of women to allocate their labour to cultivate, harvest and process cocoa and coffee in PNG.

The report, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, said men and women do not share the same tasks within the household: men’s work being geared towards cocoa or coffee production and women more focused on other agricultural and off-farm activities as well as on domestic work.

Continue reading "Empowered women increase crop yields & improve lifestyle" »

Kokoda barricades: Official disengagement leads to Trail unrest

Kokoda - the fee noticeRASHMII BELL

BRISBANE – The words were handwritten on a torn white plastic sheet, and the images appeared on Australia’s Channel 9 news on Sunday.

Reason for collection of gate fees

  1. You trekkers payed K350.00 to KTA, but that never reach the landowners in terms of service for the last 10 years
  2. For the last 10 years landowners never received ward allocation
  3. The landowners want KTA chairman to step down before gate will be open
  4. For that reason, we are collecting half of that K350.00 which is K175.00 for road to pass through

Plis pay K175.00 cash now to walk

On Remembrance Day, journalist Tim Davies presented a disturbing news story even as companion media were beginning to focus on the exorbitant expenditure of staging the APEC meetings in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Kokoda barricades: Official disengagement leads to Trail unrest" »

PNG roll out red carpet for APEC but locals live in poverty

Rose Maino
Rose Maino's family home was demolished ahead of the APEC summit (Natalie Whiting, ABC)


Read Natalie Whiting’s full report and great photographs here

PORT MORESBY - Tears roll down Rose Maino's cheeks as she describes the past few weeks of her life.

The grandmother is among a group of families whose homes have recently been bulldozed. She sits behind a big patch of dirt where the houses used to be and cries.

"Everything from the house has been buried into the ground. I've made a tent and I live in it," she said.

"My grandchild also died, we buried my grandchild last week."

Another resident, Dickson Theophilus, says they were only given a day's notice.

Continue reading "PNG roll out red carpet for APEC but locals live in poverty" »

Regionalism & tribalism, not nationalism, at many PNG schools

Sogeri national high school students in their computer lab - experiencing a sense of national identity often not observed in other types of secondary school where regionalism and tribalism reign


GOROKA - The group of teenagers from Bougainville, the New Guinea Islands, Momase and the Highlands - their yellow and green uniforms indicating they were students - chit-chatted, took selfies, giggled and did the things teenagers do.

We were in the boarding lounge at Jackson's Airport in Port Moresby sitting and waiting for our flight to be announced.

The students were taking shots, hugging and even crying for each other. Among them, a New Ireland girl tried to comfort her sobbing Highlander girlfriend. Elsewhere, three coastal boys queued up for Wewak and Vanimo left their line to hugged the Highlands boys waiting for the Goroka and Hagen flights.

The Sepik boys said, "Plis noken lus tingtig lo plan blo yumi" (Please, don't forget our plans). I didn’t hear what their plan was but, yeah, that was it. I also wondered why these students were on a mass flight in October when they should still be in class.

At the next boarding call, I joined the Goroka-bound passengers and exited the boarding lounge for flight PX 160.

Continue reading "Regionalism & tribalism, not nationalism, at many PNG schools" »

Simbu people plead for a long-awaited road to Karimui

Karimui dancers  Kundiawa Show 1978 (Paul Barker)
People of the remote Karimui region of Simbu - many have never seen a motor vehicle. Karimui dancers at the Kundiawa Show, 1978 (Paul Barker)


KUNDIAWA – “Can someone please get this message to the Australian High Commission or DFAT?”

This is the plaintive cry from Simbu to a country which is not up to listening to plaintive cries from anywhere but its elite.

The 400,000 Simbu people, jammed into the middle of the Papua New Guinea highlands in a province with few resources other than their intelligence and energy, have been calling for a road into the rich Karimui area and its 40,000 people for half a century.

It was a call renewed earlier this year when the European Union committed K340 million for the rehabilitation of cocoa in the cocoa pod borer-devastated province of East Sepik.

Unlike most of Simbu, Karimui is a generally flat region at an altitude of 800-1,500 meters with a climate of moderate to high humidity.

Crops like cocoa, coffee, betel nut, coconuts and others normally associated with coastal areas grow there prolifically. But there is no road linking it to anywhere.

Continue reading "Simbu people plead for a long-awaited road to Karimui" »

Millions spent on APEC while grassroots struggle continues

Port Moresby prepares for APEC (Koroi Hawkins  RNZ Pacific)JOHNNY BLADES |Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand Pacific

AUCKLAND - In the roadside markets of Port Moresby, vendors struggle to earn a living in a city with few job opportunities.

Tau Ligo, a young father selling foodstuffs, said he worries about his kids' future.

"Just because of the APEC, they're doing up the roads,” he said. “We need doctors at the hospitals, schools are not being upgraded. Classes are over-populated, there's not enough teachers. We should be having more teachers in government schools."

Lucy, who is frying lamb flaps on a grill, talked about the improved roads and big new buildings.

Continue reading "Millions spent on APEC while grassroots struggle continues" »

A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward


John wrote this open letter to prime minister Peter O’Neill to illustrate the plight of women suffering from cancer. I understand the prime minister doesn’t waste his time on social media. In fact, many in parliament don’t. We all have people we have lost to cancer. Many are mothers and children taken in their prime. It’s a grim reality many families face today – Gary Juffa

PORT MORESBY – Dear prime minister, greetings to you and your cabinet. This morning (Monday 23 October), I visited the cancer ward at Port Moresby General Hospital at 1.13 am.

The purpose of my visit was to see and feel the life in this ward. Hon prime minister, the first feeling that engulfed me as soon as I opened the door was similar to walking into a morgue.

There was no life in this building except for the light from fluorescent tubes. I will bring to you the realities of this place.

Hon prime minister, if you stand where I stood, you will see a stretch of corridor. If you look to your left and right, you will see curtains hanging lifelessly on the doors. I believe you would vividly know what is behind those curtains.

Continue reading "A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward" »

Separating fact from fiction - history is seldom pure & never simple

CAW Monckton
Early Papuan magistrate CAW Monckton - suave here but had a 'shoot and loot' approach to law enforcement


ADELAIDE - One of the perennial problems for historians is separating fact from fiction.

History is a notoriously murky subject, capable of being interpreted or reinterpreted because the facts change or new facts emerge or, sometimes, simply because we choose to perceive the facts differently.

This is why there can be so many histories of the same event or time or place in which different authors reach different conclusions about what happened.

Thus, Geoffrey Blainey and Manning Clark, both eminent historians, wrote very different histories of Australia. To this day, aspects of Australian history emphasised (or de-emphasised) by each of these great scholars are hotly contested in the so called 'history wars'.

I have recently read a splendid book called 'The English and Their History' by Robert Tombs, in which the author takes a very different and forensic view of English history to that usually reflected in classical scholarship.

Tombs’ exposes how myth, confusion, bias, misunderstanding, misreporting and omission have all contributed to what the English understand to be their collective history.

With this in mind, it is a bit frustrating for me to read that Papua New Guinea supposedly has “a longstanding tradition of military-style and heavy-handed policing, and some of my fellow countrymen assert direct links between this behaviour and that of some kiaps under the previous Australian colonial administration.”

Continue reading "Separating fact from fiction - history is seldom pure & never simple" »

NZ offers to legislate to save refugees; Australia says rack off

Mungo Maccallum
Mungo Maccallum - "The suffering, trauma, dementia and death no longer have any real point: we do it just because we can"

MUNGO MACCALLUM | Pearls & Irritations | Extract

CANBERRA - Our new foreign minister, Marise Payne, assures us that the Pacific Solution is still in place and the men, women and children held as asylum seekers in overseas detention can stay there until they rot.

This policy has always been arbitrary, and arguably against international law – it is clearly against international standards of human rights. But last week Payne took it to a new level of cruelty.

During the Pacific Islands Forum at Nauru, the New Zealand deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, repeated his country’s long-standing offer to take 150 refugees from Nauru.

Knowing that the island and its corrupt and despotic ruler Baron Waqa were wholly owned subsidiaries of Australia, Peters went straight to Payne, who equally promptly said no.

Continue reading "NZ offers to legislate to save refugees; Australia says rack off" »

APEC façade hides a law & order crisis that is ready to ignite

Tawali Dive Resort where 20 tourists were taken hostage at gunpoint recently. Milne Bay and its many beautiful locations have become a tourism mecca over the last few years. Have PNG's raskols begun to work out that where there's tourism, there's lucrative pickings?  


PORT MORESBY – Our promise to the world that Papua New Guinea will provide a safe and secure APEC has been undermined by a recent increase of criminal activity including serious incidents at some of PNG’s supposed safest locations.

More than 20 tourists were taken hostage and robbed at gunpoint at Tawali Dive Resort in Milne Bay over the Repentance Day long weekend and on Saturday a group was held-up at Varirata National Park just outside Port Moresby.

Tawali, an East Cape resort only accessible by boat, has been the target of three robberies in as many years – an example of the decline of law and order in Milne Bay previously considered one of the safest destinations for local and international tourists.

At Varirata at the weekend, raskol opportunists targeted a young family and stole their belongings and their car.

Continue reading "APEC façade hides a law & order crisis that is ready to ignite" »