'We Must Put The People First'
KANDEP - In recent mass media news reports in Papua New Guinea, concerns have been raised by senior officials in various government agencies that governance systems are failing.
This is serious enough in itself but especially bad for PNG as a developing nation seeking to achieve its developmental goals as enshrined in Vision 2050.
Continue reading "PNG must put the people first, not last" »
'Kramer Out' says the Post-Courier. 'Not so fast' says the corruption-fighting minister dismissed by a Leadership Tribunal
Thanks to Phil Fitzpatrick whose scouring of social media revealed what he termed Bryan Kramer's “defiant response” to judge Lawrence Kangwia and senior magistrates Edward Komia and Josephine Nidue, sitting as the Leadership Tribunal which last week dismissed Kramer as a minister and parliamentarian - KJ
PORT MORESBY - Late Wednesday afternoon of 24 May 2023, a copy of a notice giving effect to my dismissal from office as the member of Madang Open was circulated on social media.
It was purportedly issued by the Governor General’s Office [and], given the errors on the face of the document, many raised the question whether it was genuine or fake.
Continue reading "My dismissal is far from the end of the matter" »
Author and PNG Attitude contributor Daniel Kumbon with Bryan Kramer, Papua Hotel, Port Moresby, 2017
NOOSA – The prominent Papua New Guinea journalist Scott Waide has said “the judiciary has come back hard” on former police minister Bryan Kramer who was sacked as the Member for Madang Open in a notice signed by governor-general, Sir Bob Dadae, on Wednesday.
Kramer had faced a Leadership Tribunal after he was accused of a number of charges including one of deceiving and misleading the court by submitting fabricated documents and two of scandalising the judiciary after publishing posts on Facebook implying a conflict of interest by chief justice Sir Gibbs Salika.
Continue reading "Judiciary knocks Kramer from ring – for now" »
Michael Kabuni - "We hope this case sets a precedent, so citizens can continue to hold their leaders accountable"
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY – It seems that the Papua New Guinea Ombudsman Commission has received “an avalanche of complaints from the public” in relation to the Justin ‘Primitive Animals’ Tkatchenko issue and that it intends “to treat each complaint accordingly”.
This case, this saga, is different from any I’ve observed since I became interested in PNG politics. It has set itself apart from the rise of internet, and its temperamental grandchild social media, in making issues go viral.
Continue reading "Tkatchenko affair: Pipol 1, Marape 0" »
World in Chaos (Bing Image Creator)
TUMBY BAY - The final scene in Sean O’Casey’s 1924 Dublin play, ‘Juno and the Paycock’, ends with a drunken character dropping his last sixpence on the floor and declaring "the whole world is in a terrible state o' chassis" before passing out.
‘Chassis’ was a malapropism for ‘chaos’ and ‘paycock’ was an Irish rendering of the word ‘peacock’, which Juno liked to use to describe her layabout husband, Jack.
Continue reading "The world has always been in a state of chaos" »
Foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko’s response to public criticism has led to a serious question about the character of PNG's parliament - is it a chamber of mendicants controlled by kleptocratic leadership?
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s MPs have refrained from engaging in the debate around foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko’s “primitive animals” slur.
Many Papua New Guineans are wondering why their MPs, with few exceptions, have remained silent on the saga.
Continue reading "Tkatchenko reveals the sad secret of PNG: A parliament trapped by a reckless executive" »
As Justin Tkatchenko clings to office, can James Marape afford to cut loose this powerful figure?
| Academia Nomad
Supplementary information by Keith Jackson
PORT MORESBY – Following his 'primitive animals' abuse of social media critics, demands are growing for Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko to quit his ministry or even resign from parliament.
Other people are calling for his passport to be revoked and then have him deported.
Continue reading "I think it’s good if Tkatchenko won’t resign" »
Port Moresby university students protest against foreign minister Tkatchenko, who called social media critics of his daughter “primitive animals” (Michael Tamty Pais | Benar News)
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY - Justin Tkatchenko has stepped aside as foreign affairs minister after sustained calls for him to resign.
This comes after he branded Papua New Guineans “primitive animals” for criticising his daughter’s TikTok videos showing a lavish trip to the United Kingdom funded by taxpayers’ money.
Continue reading "What we learn from the Tkatchenko saga" »
‘Sack him!’ - how the PNG Post-Courier reported the furore (screenshot by Asia Pacific Report)
| RNZ Pacific | Updated
This article was republished by Cafe Pacific under a community partnership agreement with Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko has stepped aside from his position after calling critics of his daughter, ‘primitive animals’ and ‘useless individuals’.
Savannah Tkatchenko posted a video on TikTok after attending the Coronation of King Charles III in London last week.
Continue reading "Tkatchenko goes after ‘primitive animals’ slur" »
Pacific Islands representation at the Coronation of King Charles III. PNG really knows how to waste money (What's Good PNG)
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea government has just spent K6 million on events to mark King Charles III’s Coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey.
PNG is one of a diminishing number of Commonwealth countries that have the King of England as their head of state.
We are one of the poorer countries and this waste of money needs a response.
Continue reading "31 at Coronation is an abuse of our people" »
TUMBY BAY – The cynics among us have always known that political ethics and personal ethics are not similar or indeed compatible.
It has been naively said that political ethics comes from the head while personal ethics comes from the heart.
By that is meant that political ethics are based on what seems practical while personal ethics are based on what is fair and right.
Continue reading "The diabolic forces who inhabit our politics" »
Sir John Kaputin's plaque in the PNG Sports Hall of Fame. The distinguished politician and diplomat was a champion athlete and footballer
BARDON, BRISBANE, QLD - I hope readers of PNG Attitude will be able to help me get in touch with Sir John Kaputin, who I understand lives on the southside of Brisbane.
Sir John and I have a bit of history. In 1960, when I spent my third year as a Patrol Officer based in Madang, I played rugby league.
Continue reading "Remembering footie, politics & John Kaputin" »
James Marape and Joseph Lelang at the debate: Soft questioning failed to call the two leaders to account
| Academia Nomad | Edited
PORT MORESBY - Was it a debate? Maybe a panel discussion? Or perhaps a church gathering?
Whatever it was, the debate between Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape and opposition leader Joseph Lelang was promoted with a massive fanfare and ended in a storm of criticism.
Continue reading "Marape v Lelang debate: a lost opportunity?" »
ADELAIDE - The last 30 years or so have been dominated by the idea that the market is the infallible distributor of goods and services, with government's essentially reduced to the role of bystanders.
An entire generation of politicians has grown up with this idea firmly in their minds, especially amongst the conservatives.
Continue reading "Let’s address the future & not the past" »
| ConstitutionNet | IDEA International
Originally published as ‘The future of governance in Papua New Guinea: consultations begin on form and system of government’
THE HAGUE - Papua New Guinea is currently undertaking consultations for potential constitutional reforms on a range of issues in relation to its form and system of government.
Key questions include the suitability of its current model of parliamentary governance and the relevance of a British monarch as the Head of State.
The role of the Head of State (currently Charles III, represented by a Governor-General) is limited to ceremonial duties, with a prime minister in charge of the affairs of the country.
Continue reading "Can PNG's political culture be reformed?" »
Emperor Marcus Aurelius
PORT MORESBY – The famous Greek’s political theorist, Plato, envisioned what he saw as the ideal political state.
In his tome on political philosophy, Republic, written around 375 BC, Plato said “the ideal state would be ruled over by a specially trained guardian class.”
Continue reading "PNG is in need of a modern ‘philosopher king’" »
Caricature portrait of Paul Keating c 1984 by John Spooner (National Library of Australia)
TUMBY BAY - Despite my increasing aversion to the 24 hour news cycle, and after the resultant negative pile-on by what passes for the media in Australia, I couldn’t help but be lured to view an interview with Paul Keating at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Keating has an impressive intellect and an acerbic wit, which was fine-tuned even in his first days as a young Labor Party MP in the late 1960s and had become well-honed when he became Australia’s prime minister in 1991.
He also has always had his finger very firmly on the pulse of Australian and international politics.
Continue reading "The AUKUS mess & straight talk from Keating" »
TUMBY BAY - A lot of my friends, most of whom are elderly, tell me they’ve given up watching, listening to or reading the news.
So too have some of my younger acquaintances, including my son and daughter in their early forties.
The general consensus is that it’s all too depressing.
Continue reading "People tuning out from bad news is a threat" »
PORT MORESBY - Great leaders have vision. They dream of a better future.
An Engan leader who had a great vision was the later Malipu Balakau. He has a grand vision to change Enga Province.
His vision of change was embedded in his captivating political speeches. He is said to have uttered his spellbinding speeches during his numerous campaigns.
“Poh mende ailyah lo epesamo ongo, namabame poh lo ono lo pena laro.” The wind that is blowing upwards, I will make the wind blow backwards.
Continue reading "PNG desperately needs a leader of vision" »
Karl Marx and the title page from the first edition of Capital, 1867: "Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks"
ADELAIDE – As Phil Fitzpatrick has written (‘Has the internet brought out the worst in us?’), the internet has indeed held up a mirror to us all.
It is hard to like much of what we see.
Greed, exploitation, lies and stupidity abound.
Neo-liberal capitalism is a system lurching into crisis.
Continue reading "Can the internet give us better government?" »
State Fragility: Case Studies and Comparisons by Nematullah Bizhan (ed), Routledge, London, 2022. ISBN 9781003297697. eBook can be downloaded free here
CANBERRA – ‘State Fragility: Case Studies and Comparisons’, edited by Dr Nematullah Bizhan, presents seven case studies that both address key questions on state fragility and examine the policies adopted to mitigate such brittleness in states.
Dr Bizhan is a visiting fellow and lecturer in public policy at the Australian National University and a senior research associate at Oxford University.
Continue reading "New book explores the fragility of nations" »
James Marape delivers a speech in Enga Province, January 2023 (Department of Prime Minister NEC Facebook)
ANDREW ANTON MAKO & STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape announced during the 2022 festive season that the annual allocation of electoral funding to each member of parliament (MP) will double in 2023.
It has largely gone unnoticed that the 2023 budget brought down in late November included this doubling.
Continue reading "Massive jump in MPs funds is a bad move" »
Asian Cup football final at Stadium Australia, 2015 - sport is a great comforter for Australians who feel the world has gone awry (Austadiums)
ADELAIDE - Even though any objective survey of modern Australian politics leads to despondency, we should bear in mind that the two biggest spending political parties performed rather badly at the last election.
Also, perhaps we should bear in mind that spending by our political parties is dwarfed by the colossal sums spent in the USA, where money doesn't just talk, it positively shrieks.
Continue reading "Somehow our timid democracy trundles on" »
In 2016 the Australian government implemented a scheme where an algorithm instead of a human would identify and pursue outstanding welfare debts. The system, dubbed ‘robodebt’, led to 373,000 Australians being forced to pay outstanding debts. The scheme was later found to be unlawful and was scrapped in 2020 resulting in the government agreeing to a settlement of $1.8 billion covering repaying debts paid, erasing outstanding debts and legal costs - KJ
ADELAIDE - I have followed the activities of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt scheme since it commenced.
As a retired former senior executive in the South Australia public service, I have some insight into the sometimes quite complex relationships between senior public servants and their political masters.
Continue reading "Australia’s public service is not fit for purpose" »
Anthony Albanese and James Marape at Moem Barracks, Wewak (PM’s Office Media)
| PNG Business News
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape says that, for the first time in the 47 years since independence, an Australian government and prime minister are addressing all outstanding issues between both countries.
Marape was commenting on the visit by Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese in mid-January.
Continue reading "Australia has taken 47 years to address issues" »
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash
TUMBY BAY - My next door neighbours are quite elderly, more so than me even, and I occasionally help them with stuff that goes wrong in their house, leaking taps and suchlike.
A recent endeavour involved unblocking the drain beneath their kitchen sink.
Continue reading "PNG’s fatberg politicians: Keeping the sunshine out" »
Winnie Kiap CBE, PNG’s ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011-22, and nominee for Governor-General
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY - The position of Governor General in Papua New Guinea becomes vacant in February as Grand Chief Bob Dadae’s six-year tenure comes to an end.
In the history books, Sir Bob will be remembered as the only PNG Governor-General who served under the reign of both Queen Elizabeth ꓲꓲ and King Charles ꓲꓲꓲ.
And on Thursday his successor will be elected by the PNG parliament.
There has been much discussion in PNG recently about which women would qualify to be the first to hold this high office. Winnie Kiap is a leading contender.
Continue reading "Governor General election: Will parliament give meaning to PNG gender equality goals" »
“It’s almost like there’s a political will for Covid to go away, and it hasn’t gone away. So we’re just not going to really talk about it anymore” - Independent federal MP, Rebekha Sharkie
NOOSA - The pandemic has to be getting worse. It has to be getting worse because there are no serious public health steps being taken to halt its progress.
On the contrary, public health measures have been diminished. 'You Do You' is the new, trite, slogan of how our leaders see Australians' health being managed.
Even the much vaunted vaccines are waning in their ability to protect. If you can get them in the first place. The federal government seems to have lost interest.
Continue reading "A virus of evil assisted by men of stupidity" »
BRENDAN CRABB & MIKE TOOLE
"The nurses would spend hours sitting with their dying patients holding their hands
ensuring they weren’t alone in their final minutes of life" - Emma Reardon
MELBOURNE - The arrival just over a year ago of the new and different-looking Omicron variant of Covid-19 brought much hope that this would usher in the end of the pandemic.
That hope was based on two assumptions: that Omicron led to milder disease than earlier variants, and that its extraordinary capacity to spread fast would mean that the wider population would rapidly be exposed to this ‘milder’ virus and further boost the immunity that 95% of Australian adults already had through two doses of the vaccine.
Continue reading "Worst public health disaster since World War II" »
NOOSA - In March 2021, Phil Fitzpatrick sent me an unexpected and somewhat surprising email: ‘Just out of curiosity, what made you run in the federal election back then?’
Phil went on to explain:
‘I’ve often wondered what motivates politicians to run for office.
‘I have trouble believing that they are somehow inspired by some deeply held sense of duty or purpose. Nowadays it just seems like part of a career path.
Continue reading "Labor & me: a political affair to remember" »
GOROKA - Election season in Papua New Guinea is usually a very tumultuous time for all involved.
Since independence elections have evolved as a kind of modern day warfare fought between various tribes across a nation of more than 800 language groups.
Over the course of time, this Western process of appointing leaders has been modified to align with elements of Melanesian culture.
Continue reading "Election PNG: Far from founding fathers vision" »
ADELAIDE - We ought not to regard China as a direct military threat. It makes no strategic or practical sense to do so. After all, we willingly sell them the resources they need from us.
They have long ago worked out that, in our neo-liberal capitalist system, money speaks much more loudly than ethics, morality or patriotism.
I also agree that we should avoid being dragged into ugly regional wars, especially those premised upon the idea that democracy can be successfully exported.
Continue reading "Recognising the perils of war to avert war" »
NOOSA –In an explosive article, a prominent Australian journalist has said the seven-month old Albanese Labor government is already “letting its moral mandate wither away”.
Jack Waterford, a much admired former editor of The Canberra Times, now a regular contributor to the Pearls and Irritations website, says Albanese has been excessively slow in building momentum for change and seems oblivious of the urgent need for it.
Waterford observes that “administrative reform is in the doldrums and focused on rhetorical fluff” and “there is no talk about accountability, individual and collective responsibility, or about moral cowardice”.
Continue reading "Albo’s hidden menace: A sullied public service" »
OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL CABINET
OzSAGE is an independent network of Australian experts from a broad range of sectors relevant to the well-being of the Australian population. It aims to be an additional diverse and multidisciplinary resource formulating advice on public health and other policy matters relevant to Covid-19 control
SYDNEY - OzSAGE calls on National Cabinet to urgently revise the Strategic Framework for Transitioning Covid-19 Measures released on 9 December 2022.
While OzSAGE supports the intent of the strategic principles, many of the accompanying statements contained in the framework have serious inaccuracies and are not supported by the evidence or current real-life experiences.
Continue reading "‘Doomed to disease & mortality', say experts" »
| Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG)
Edited extracts from the Civil Society Report on the Implementation of Preventive Measures
of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Papua New Guinea
PORT MORESBY - The overall findings of the report indicate that Papua New Guinea is only partially compliant with its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Furthermore, although laws and relevant agencies have been established to carry out these obligations, improvement is needed in areas where laws are inadequate and where UNCAC provisions are not strictly enforced.
Continue reading "PNG's corruption is systemic & worsening" »
PORT MORESBY - If Julie Bishop was from Papua New Guinea I reckon she would have started her opening address with, “Stay where you are, you have a lot going for you but you don’t seem to know it.”
But fortunately and unfortunately she did not.
Fortunately because the grand occasion of the investment conference at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney was probably geared to hear her telling PNG the truth. (Although a version of her comments which seems to be untrue went viral in PNG.)
Continue reading "Julie Bishop delivers hard truths to PNG" »
ADELAIDE - It was Lord Palmerston who first said, in a speech to the British House of Commons on 1 March 1848, that Britain had ‘no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.’
This axiom ought to be the guiding principle for Australian diplomacy and, in fact, I think it has been since 14 March 1942, when prime minister John Curtin stated that Australia turned to America for support and advice in confronting the Japanese peril in the Pacific.
Our relationship with the US has endured since that time and, as Phil Fitzpatrick has rightly pointed out, we have usually acted loyally if sometimes unwisely to support our ‘great and powerful friend’.
Continue reading "For good or ill US is democracy’s torch bearer" »
KUNDIAWA - There was some doubt in the sixties about how a country of 800 different tribes speaking 800 languages would come together under one united government.
These feelings were expressed freely by Australians as well as New Guineans.
Many expressed that New Guineans themselves were not developed and that the economy and infrastructure were not ready for self-rule.
Continue reading "A historian's view of the very near future...." »
MARTIN AWAYANG NAMORONG
PORT MORESBY - The Hela were some of the last people in Papua New Guinea to have contact with Europeans.
And one of the first outsiders to have contact with them was Jim Taylor during his 1937 patrol.
His daughter, Dame Meg Taylor, would retrace his journey decades later in her documentary ‘In My Father's Footsteps’.
Continue reading "Meg Taylor should be appointed our next GG" »
CLEVELAND – It’s very clear that Australia’s political system is fractured and no one has any idea how to fix it.
We’ve been watching the watering down of a new Integrity Commission. Both sides of politics – Labor and Liberal National – conspired to do that. What have they got to hide?
A huge credibility gap seems to have silently snuck up on us old timers.
Continue reading "Society & civilisation ruined before our eyes" »
TUMBY BAY – This may surprise you, but it’s a statement of truth: Many countries we term ‘developing’ don’t need development to create democracy.
And this is because traditional societies in countries like Papua New Guinea were always democratic, possibly more so than countries like Australia and the USA which boast about their democracies.
What these former colonised countries now need are governments that uphold the democracies they once knew.
Continue reading "The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?" »
“I spoke to Albanese on the day the Chinese foreign ministry criticised plans for Australia to upgrade the RAAF Tindal base to accommodate six US B-52 strategic bombers”
| The Australian | Edited extracts
SYDNEY (5 November 2022) - Anthony Albanese may look and sound a mild man, and that is one of his strengths. But he has an ambition that no Australian leader has had for decades.
He wants to create a military force capable of defending Australia.
Continue reading "The bold ambitions of a foreign policy PM" »
The problem is not too few resources, a small population, a lack of investor confidence or some other excuse the politicians use to cover their incompetence. The problem is poor leadership
LEONARD FONG ROKA
PANGUNA - Bougainville is a small island with enough resources for its population and we should be able to deliver good lives to ourselves.
Sure, there’s the crisis of global warming to harm her, but this is a world crisis which we do not face alone.
Continue reading "Independence? Can we get there from here?" »
The PNG-Bougainville leadership and citizens were designed to be tax and rent collectors, not owners of natural resources. That is why we seem to value foreigners
LEONARD FONG ROKA
PANGUNA - In Bougainville we live our lives listening to the sweet talk of the elected members of parliament in Port Moresby and here in Buka.
It’s the same old parley, and still the same old suffering that seems to get worse every day.
Continue reading "Bougainville is becoming a poor copy of PNG" »
The electoral track record of governments operating according to ideology is dismal. The more contentious and difficult the decision, if it is based upon party ideology or orthodoxy the more likely it is the political class will hesitate before imposing it
'Opening of the first parliament’ in Canberra (Painting by Tom Roberts,1903)
ADELAIDE - Phil Fitzpatrick is writing a new book, this one on the Aboriginal Heritage Branch, an important and often controversial segment of South Australia’s public service for which he worked some years ago.
In his critique of the Branch (now the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division) Phil correctly described some of the many elements that influence decision-making in the operations of a government department.
Continue reading "The right & wrong way of high level decisions" »
When the Minister and CEO part company on what is desired, usually the minister will succeed – electoral success often depends on giving the people what they want
TUMBY BAY - When things don’t work in government we tend to blame politicians. Believe it or not, sometimes they’re not the ones at fault.
I’ve been writing a book about the chequered history of the government’s Aboriginal Heritage Branch in South Australia.
Continue reading "How political decisions often don't work" »
"I think that it is an error to assume that because of our lamentable history of Sinophobia, this type of thinking therefore is still significant, socially or politically, in Australia"
ADELAIDE - Professor Colin Mackerras (‘Australia should rid itself of its fear of China’) rightly refers to how Australia's lamentable history of Sinophobia has, in the past at least, led to racially prejudiced and unjust policies such as the deplorable White Australia Policy.
I am old enough to remember the 'Reds under the bed' scare campaign that once influenced Australian political thinking, notably amongst conservatives.
Continue reading "There are no more reds under the bed" »
I call it a curse for many reasons but I won't discuss them all. It's a curse because it really doesn't matter which government is in place or which CEO is appointed, no one - and I mean no one - has really addressed the blackout curse
PORT MORESBY - What is it? Is it some kind of magic or witchcraft? Is it a spell or incantation?
This is Papua New Guinea - a place where black power still rules the lives of citizens in the urban centres and rural areas.
Continue reading "The blackout curse that magic cannot fix" »
“When people are too dependent on the government for handouts, their mindset is positioned in one direction only. Their minds become stagnant and they will not prosper"
| The National
PORT MORESBY - Poor judgement has resulted in Southern Highlands been riddled with law and order issues and this needs to change, says Mendi-Munihu MP, Raphael Tonpi.
“We need to respect and comfort them and find ways to assist and make Mendi town regain its glory days,” he said.
Continue reading "Vice-minister Tonpi wants to attack laziness" »
"The emergent PNG elite was mightily enamoured with aspects of monarchy, notably the awarding of various medals and honours. Such bilas never lost its allure, whether in PNG or elsewhere in the remnants of the former Empire"
In PNG, the imperial awards system is maintained alongside the home-grown Order of Logohu. The Post-Courier records the knighting of business leader Sir Mel Togolo in June 2018
ADELAIDE - I guess it is baffling to most outside observers that a foreign Queen, who was formerly an Empress, should have been the Head of State in Papua New Guinea and generally held in high regard.
In pre-independence times the Queen's status must have mystified Papua New Guineans.
Continue reading "The allure of the Crown: PNG & the Palace" »