It is time human rights and the environment were respected by Australian companies. PNG should not be a dumping ground
Emmanuel (Manu) Peni with Boe Spearim of Let's Talk, a program of Australia's National Indigenous Radio Service
EMMANUEL PENI & LUKE FLETCHER
WEWAK - In Papua New Guinea, the election campaign is heating up ahead of national general elections in July.
Part of the PNG government’s election messaging is focused on its commitment to the Wafi Golpu joint venture project – an immense proposed copper and gold mine in Morobe Province.
As with the Frieda River mine in the Sepik, there are serious concerns about how to manage the huge volume of toxic mine waste the project will produce.
Continue reading "People power: The fight to save the Huon Gulf" »
Unloading a plane at the remote Marawaka airstrip
The silent crisis facing women and girls in rural Papua New Guinea
GOROKA - Last year in May, from Queens Pads PNG here in Goroka, I picked up a large box covered in black tape. The contents of this box were 300 reusable sanitary pads.
Reusable sanitary pads are a big step up from the disposable one-time use sanitary pads currently dominating what is termed the feminine hygiene market.
Continue reading "Addressing the silence of Period Poverty" »
Rethinking how primary healthcare services are funded & delivered in rural PNG
CAIRNS – It was nearing dusk when we happened upon the two boys.
Relieved though I was to have found human habitation, I couldn't help observing that a shirtless boy at the front of the canoe likely had tuberculosis.
Continue reading "Goods out, money in: developing rural PNG" »
A regional tuberculosis treatment centre in PNG (World Vision)
| SBS News
PNG has already seen the emergence and spread of highly-drug resistant TB strains
SYDNEY - While all eyes are on the Covid-19 crisis, one of the world's deadliest diseases continues to haunt the Pacific.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is a highly-contagious airborne bacterial infection that attacks the lungs.
Continue reading "Pacific TB rates continue to climb" »
Suspicion towards Chinese people has grown since the virus emerged in Wuhan (AFP)
| South China Morning Post
It's easy for some politicians to deny racism in Australia when they are not members of targeted ethnic groups
SYDNEY – Another war is tearing through Australia’s civil society: a war of discrimination, racism and suspicion.
For three consecutive years, Australian politicians have commemorated Anzac Day, a time of remembrance of its war dead, with war-cries.
Continue reading "Anti-China racism as war talk stirs Oz" »
Lydia Gah is a Nakani woman from West New Britain
| ABC Far North
Following her divorce, Lydia pursued her education and went on to become a counsellor and social worker
TOWNSVILLE – Born prematurely in a remote village in New Britain, Lydia Gah learnt to survive from her very first breath.
But it’s her story as the survivor of a 12-year abusive marriage that she’s determined to share with the world.
Continue reading "Lydia's story: Surviving the pain of abuse" »
| Act Now
PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s tropical rainforests have enormous importance locally and internationally, but are under threat from a variety of sources including commercial logging.
The government has committed to drastically reduce the rate of commercial logging.
It has also committed to increase ‘downstream processing’ to increase financial returns by ending the export of unprocessed round logs by 2025.
Continue reading "Many promises, but failure to curb log exports" »
Coastline near Papua New Guinea - Indonesia border (Johnny Blades, RNZ)
| Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - Border crossing arrangements between Papua New Guinea and Queensland through the Torres Strait have been suspended.
PNG's police commissioner and National Pandemic Response controller, David Manning, has declared the new measure under the National Pandemic Act.
Continue reading "Sea border closed between Qld & PNG" »
NOOSA - The eminent journalist Scott Waide has accused the disgraced EMTV network of failing to provide a proper news service to Papua New Guinea after it sacked its entire news team in February.
The journalists had taken a stand against politically-inspired censorship triggered by coverage of the fraudulent misdeeds of a well-connected government crony.
Continue reading "Fired journos fight back with online service" »
Image by Joseph Hing
| Radio New Zealand | Extract
More than two million people in Papua New Guinea have no access to clean drinking water
AUCKLAND - There's concern that addressing water and sanitation challenges in the Pacific has become an afterthought for regional politicians and international leaders.
The Pacific Community (SPC), which provides scientific and technical expertise to the island nations on issues like water and climate change, is reporting a decline in water hygiene initiatives in the region.
Continue reading "Pacific water supply is in big trouble" »
Illustration by Simon Kneebone
“I always like to firm up vinaigrettes with some facts” – Garry Luhrs
The email came with a tantalising opener, “Hi Keith - I would like this scandal to be advertised far and wide.” In my business, it doesn’t come more pulse-racing than that. The missive came from former kiap and forever humourist Garry Luhrs, but it had a serious message. “This misappropriation of aged care funds is right across the board. Every provider appears to have front trotters and snouts in the trough. They seem to be creaming up to 70% of the funds as administrative expenses. This requires a Royal Commission. Any assistance that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.” So folks, if after reading Garry’s revelations you find you’ve had a similar experience, just drop him an email or a note in the Comments section and make sure Garry adds your case to the growing list - KJ
WUNDOWIE, WA - Greetings and salutations, survivors of the great PNG experiment who are still on the perch!
Lend me your eyes and ears. I am in search of volunteers who would like to be recruited to accompany me on my last patrol.
Like Don Quixote I have picked up my drooping old lance and am setting out on this last epic patrol to tilt once more at the windmills of an uncaring bureaucracy.
Continue reading "The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam" »
The Kanene mob - Joseph (centre back) is a whizz at developing useful apps and has put one into action to help create jobs for Port Moresby youth
“We've 87 youths registered and expect 250 to join by the end of this week” – Joseph hopes his jobs scheme will promote an app to track illegal logging
PORT MORESBY - One beautiful rainy day, somewhere in the National Capital District of the largest island in the Pacific, I was having a cigarette under the cover of my car garage.
I was severely stressed out because a geographic information system I had designed and built to track illegal logging operations in Papua New Guinea was gaining no support.
Continue reading "My jobs scheme for Moresby has liftoff" »
Immigration at Jackson Airport - "long lines of miners queueing ready to extract resources from the ground"
'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose' (the more things change, the more they stay the same) - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1808–1890, French novelist and editor
CAIRNS - Clearly very little has changed since Martyn Namorong’s first visit to Australia in 2015.
When Martyn penned this, Papua New Guinea’s population was around seven million. In the 10 years since, it has increased by two million - a phenomenal rate of growth.
Continue reading "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" »
Cartoon by Hudson
NOOSA - This week, Australian citizens observe what seem to be the final paroxysms of the Morrison government as its lamentable record in office and surprisingly poor campaigning leave it in a shambles.
Nothing symbolises this more than the fallout from a series of appalling blunders concerning Solomon Islands, which from my perspective looks suspiciously like a friendly flag operation gone wrong.
Continue reading "Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship" »
| Campaign Manager | Act Now
PORT MORESBY – News that the bank accounts of 30 logging companies operating in Papua New Guinea have been closed have been welcomed by advocacy organisations Act Now and Jubilee Australia.
The PNG Forest Industry Association complained to The National newspaper that Bank South Pacific (BSP) had closed the commercial loggers’ bank accounts to comply with its anti-money laundering responsibilities.
Continue reading "BSP stops financing loggers. Will Kina?" »
1,300 people had sought refuge in this theatre in Mariupol, bombed earlier this week. Only 130 have been rescued
ADELAIDE – The ugly war in Ukraine is not proceeding according to Vladimir Putin’s wishes.
The result so far is a strategic failure that seems to be engendering a situation within Russia that is quite unstable.
Dictatorships rest largely upon an ability to enforce control by inspiring fear, and they employ large security apparatuses to do this.
Continue reading "If you can’t win the war, kill the innocents…." »
Eddie Tanago - "The PNG Forest Authority should be abolished". A rogue institution that has orchestrated illegal logging for 30 years
| Campaign Manager | Act Now!
PORT MORESBY - The Marape government’s claims that it has stopped issuing new log export licences to foreign-owned logging companies are not borne out by the evidence.
Nor are its statements that it is moving to 100% downstream processing of logs before they are exported.
Continue reading "Despite promises, foreign loggers run amok" »
Logs cut from pristine forest, Sepik River (Global Witness)
NOOSA - Prominent church, environmental and community organisations have demanded that the Papua New Guinea government take urgent action to establish an independent review of the country’s forestry sector following the killings of two landowners and a policeman at a logging site.
Johnson Wapunai, the member for Ambunti-Drekikir, told the PNG parliament that the incident arose from landowners’ anger at illegal logging and the logging company’s use of police against them.
Continue reading "Sepik killings must trigger urgent logging reform" »
COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With Philip Fitzpatrick, Chris Overland,
Bernard Corden and Lindsay F Bond
“An emerging public health crisis has already hit our nation. A promising nation lost in paradise with bad politicians and a weak bureaucratic system and institutions that can’t turn the tide around after 46 years of independence” - Jerry Kuri Mandara (Twitter @KuriJMandara)
NOOSA – Yesterday the ABC’s Papua New Guinea correspondent Natalie Whiting, in conjunction with her colleague, producer and journalist Bethanie Harriman, published an evocative but brutal article.
It was based on the fact that PNG’s entire health system is collapsing - overstretched staff, no money, limited medical supplies, a population in desperate circumstances with out of control Covid and the constant, unforgiving burden of other disease.
Continue reading "Health system melts - & not just in Australia" »
Annastacia Palaszczuk watches on as Queensland chief health officer Dr John Gerrard briefs journalists. Their handling of the pandemic has met with widespread condemnation in the community
“A pandemic is over when we stop widespread infection. It’s in the definition” - Dr Henry Madison
NOOSA – I’ve had a fair bit to say recently, rather more on Twitter than here, about the tragedy being played out in Australia as fools gain the upper hand in determining Covid policy.
It has been a struggle that pitted politics and commerce against science (see quote by the Queensland chief health officer quoted in the box below). And science lost.
Continue reading "How do they think infection will fix Covid?" »
BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO
PORT MORESBY - Over the last month or so, a number of settlements in Port Moresby had their residents evicted in quick succession.
The saga started late last year with the eviction of ATS Portion 695 and Garden Hill Settlement followed this year with the eviction of Erima Settlement.
Continue reading "Still no solution to worsening settler crisis" »
Illegal logging comprises 70% of PNG's timber industry
NOOSA – It is easily the biggest illegal land grab of customary land in Papua New Guinea.
Or maybe anywhere in the world outside what used to be called Communism before they discovered how much loot could be made out of Capitalism.
It is a mass theft encompassing more than five million hectares of land, 12% of the country.
Continue reading "Marape's cronies plunder illegal leases" »
CAIRNS – Chris Overland comments that “we collectively ought to have sufficient insight and humility to accept that we have an obligation to help out those who live in 'shithole' countries….
“Not merely through charity, but by a conscious, systemic and systematic effort to help them reach their true socio-economic potential.”
I agree entirely with this evaluation. The bit that sticks in my craw is the inequity that exists at such a deeply disturbing level.
Continue reading "The bells toll for us: But will we wake to them?" »
A postage stamp showing the spectacular Wawoi Falls in the Kikori River Basin which is on the tentative heritage list area. Unfortunately logging has now extended right up to the falls
ADELAIDE – I have to thank Chris Warrillow for correcting me as to the location of Sir Hubert Murray’s gravesite.
He saved me a frustrating visit to Bomana on my next trip to Papua New Guinea.
I’ll go to Badihagwa instead, bearing a K5 tradestore sarif to cut the grass.
Continue reading "Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect" »
A Hela gang - law enforcement lacks integrity and capability (Michael Main)
PORT MORESBY - In 2020 and 2021, Papua New Guinea faced serious security challenges on many fronts, including Covid-19, cyberattacks and tribal fights.
Many people in PNG do not see Covid as a security risk, as evidenced in the high level of vaccines hesitancy in the country.
Continue reading "A place of high threat & ineffective response" »
Covid Ward, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
| You can link to the OzSAGE website here
NOOSA – OzSAGE is an independent network of Australian health experts formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Independent’ in this context means that OzSAGE is beyond the grip of politicians, health bureaucrats and others who have demonstrated great incompetence in managing the pandemic and also repeatedly failed to tell the Australian people the full truth about Covid and its effects.
Continue reading "Pandemic: The truths they won’t tell you" »
Dr John Gerrard - "We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”
NOOSA – Dr John Gerrard is the chief health officer of Queensland and there are two unusual and important things about this.
One is that, under Queensland law, it is the chief health officer, not the premier, who has absolute power to give public health directions.
Professor Evelyne de Leeuw of the University of NSW says the role has more clout than any other CHO in Australia and “even internationally [as the] final decision-maker on public health.”
Continue reading "Covid: The disease pollies want you to get " »
Governor Gary Juffa - "Public servants have acted negligently, incompetently and possibly corruptly"
NOOSA – Oro Governor Gary Juffa has blasted companies that have abused medical contracts and continued these practices probably conspiring with corrupt public servants to do so.
Speaking in his capacity as chairman of Papua New Guinea’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reforms, Juffa said he was dismayed that the government had renewed a health department contract with a private company that was providing sub-standard medical equipment and drugs.
Continue reading "Despite exposure, health corruption continues" »
Bernard Collaery - "The contemptible prosecution of Bernard Collaery is an assault on the rule of law”
NOOSA – When I resigned as president of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia in January 2009, I continued working on a few projects I did not want to see languish.
One was to gain national recognition of the 1,053 civilian and military prisoners interned by the Japanese in Rabaul who drowned when the prison ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed on 1 July 1942 en route to Hainan in China.
Continue reading "The persecution of Bernard Collaery" »
TUMBY BAY - When I was a little kid I drove my parents to absolute distraction by regularly staying awake for 24 hours at a stretch and then sleeping for 12 hours straight.
They presumed that my circadian rhythm, a natural process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle, indicated I had a serious problem.
Continue reading "Weird ways, or has Nature got a plan?" »
Westpac, ANZ, Bank South Pacific and Kina Bank have questions to answer about their ties with illegal logging practices in PNG
NOOSA – Banks operating in Papua New Guinea - including Westpac and ANZ - have provided the country’s five largest exporters of logs with at least K300 million in credit over the last 20 years.
But gaps in company reporting and murky funding processes mean the true amount could be three times as high, reaching close to a billion kina.
Continue reading "Four banks backed destructive logging" »
Jimmy Drekore, unidentified colleague and Dr Izzard Agua - spearheading a great medical achievement for Papua New Guinea
NOOSA –One of Chimbu’s favourite sons, Jimmy Drekore - in 2014 selected as Papua New Guinea’s Man of Honour and in 2016 winner of the prestigious international World of Children Award - is still kicking goals for PNG’s children.
Research into childhood osteomyelitis initiated in 2011 by Jimmy and his Simbu brother Dr Izzard Agua soon extended into better understanding methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the aggressive bacteria that eats penicillin for breakfast.
Continue reading "Jimmy Drekore spearheads medical breakthrough" »
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" »
TUMBY BAY - One of the most perverse inventions of capitalism is planned obsolescence.
This is the idea that an article is manufactured to fall apart and cease to function properly after a certain amount of time.
Annoying for you and good for the manufacturer, who has ensured that users have to purchase a new article to continue to enjoy its convenience.
Continue reading "Only the grassroots can save the planet, but...." »
Sir David Attenborough and Governor Gary Juffa at the Glasgow summit - “Sir David is so sharp and ever more passionate about our natural environment,” says Juffa
NOOSA – Scott Morrison’s announcement in Glasgow that “technology will have the answers” to saving the world from climate change has generated widespread disapproval from world leaders.
And his offer to increase Australia's climate funding by $100 million (K260 million) a year for the next five years to cover all Pacific Island and South-East Asian countries also left his audience cold.
Continue reading "‘Morrison not listening’, say Pacific leaders" »
Theonila Matbob - "Our work will continue until Rio Tinto has fully dealt with the disaster it left behind”
| Human Rights Law Centre
SYDNEY – Bougainville’s education minister Theonila Roka Matbob MP has won an important award for her outstanding work to hold Rio Tinto to account for the devastating effects of its mining in the island’s Panguna region.
Theonila, a traditional landowner and community leader from Makosi, downstream from the mine, received the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award.
Continue reading "Theonila recognised for holding Rio to account" »
‘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" »
CAIRNS - What is unfolding in Papua New Guinea is nothing short of a human tragedy on a significant scale.
Superficially the nation’s woes appear to be the result of corruption. But they are more complex than that.
This is not the first time we have witnessed failures of the state and the inevitable outcomes.
Continue reading "Communities only answer to PNG failures" »
Logs stacked for export in Vanimo (Ed Davey, Global Witness)
| The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The police drove into the Papua New Guinean village of Watwat in SUVs during a rainstorm.
It was late on a July night in 2019, and they’d come through the rainforest, armed with guns and metal bars.
Men and teenage boys were dragged out of bed, beaten and thrown into the mud.
Continue reading "PNG palm oil's corruption & brutality" »
| K92 Mining
KAINANTU - K92 Mining has donated K100,000 to Femili PNG to support its work in eradicating family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea.
‘’We have been in operation for four years and, for us as a new company, we want to be able to support social issues and agendas,” said K92 vice-president Philip Samar.
Continue reading "K92 & Femili PNG join against violence" »
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" »
The Manus detention centre in October 2017 ahead of its closure
| SBS News | Extract
BRISBANE - The end to eight years of Australia's detention of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea has raised concerns for the United Nations' refugee agency and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The AHRC has questioned whether the Australian government is able to relinquish full responsibility for more than 120 detainees who remain in PNG while still adhering to rights and refugee treaty obligations.
Continue reading "Australia strands asylum seekers in PNG" »
A study of three PNG companies revealed that gender-based violence cost them about K7.3 million a year
EVONNE KENNEDY & SHABNAM HAMEED
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited extracts
PORT MORESBY - Evidence has emerged that the private sector in Papua New Guinea can play a key role in responding to gender-based violence, and that doing so makes good business sense.
Research by the International Finance Corporation, in partnership with the Business Coalition for Women, has found that a gender-balanced workforce, and appropriate workplace responses to family and sexual violence, can provide benefits to businesses and their employees.
Continue reading "Dealing with GBV is good business sense" »
Porgera gold and copper mine in Enga Province
'Every dogma has its day' - Anthony Burgess
BRISBANE - Over the past five decades many notorious corporate brigands in the mining and mineral resources sector have plundered vast quantities of ore and precious metals from the bountiful arc of the Pacific rim that encompasses Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Buccaneering recidivists include Rio Tinto at Panguna, BHP at Ok Tedi, Placer Dome on Misima Island, Barrick Gold at Porgera, Newcrest at Lihir, Morobe Mining JV at Hidden Valley, St Barbara at Simberi and Gold Ridge and Ramu NiCo at Kurumbukari and Basamuk Bay near Madang.
Continue reading "Digging & dumping: A PNG mining chronicle" »
Duncan Gabi - "Perhaps we have forgotten that we do not own the land, but are put here to protect it and pass it on"
| Auna Melo
WEWAK - A man sat alone drenched deep in sadness.
And all the animals drew near him and said, “We do not like to see you so sad, ask us for whatever you wish and you shall have it.”
The man said, “I want to have good sight.” The vulture replied, “You shall have mine.”
Continue reading "Let's get serious, we belong to the land" »
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?" »
Countries with lowest immunisation rates averaged across measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and hepatitis B vaccines, 2019
STEPHEN HOWES & KINGTAU MAMBON
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - The World Bank reports data immunisation coverage for nearly all countries in relation to three vaccines: measles; combined diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus (DPT); and hepatitis B.
For all three, the most recent data (2019) show that Papua New Guinea has the lowest vaccination rates in the world for infants: 37% for measles, 35% for DPT and 35% for hepatitis B.
Continue reading "Vaccination: A state failing its people" »
Sonia Paua was "determined as hell" to finish the painful treatment. "She wasn't going to give up"
ZALIKA RIZMAL & WILL JACKSON
| Pacific Beat | ABC | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - Sonia Paua flew to Australia from Papua New Guinea to undergo medical treatment that sounds on paper like some kind of medieval torture.
When seven years old, Sonia was diagnosed with a rare and painful bone infection, chronic osteomyelitis, in her left leg.
Continue reading "Sonia walks free after life-changing surgery" »
Site of the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province (Porgera Joint Venture)
KIETA - I visited Enga Province for the first time in early July this year for a meeting between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea National Government.
The meeting was one of a number to consult on the outcome of the Bougainville referendum on independence that showed a huge majority of Bougainvilleans favouring the creation of their own nation.
Continue reading "What it is we truly value" »
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" »