Government & politics Feed

Big men, big egos in ‘greatest democracy’

| Pearls & Irritations

Image by The Cartoon Movement
Image by The Cartoon Movement

CANBERRA - In May 2023, I was approached by media sources for a comment on the cancellation of a visit to Papua New Guinea (and Australia) by US president Joe Biden.

Biden was travelling to attend a G-7 meeting in Japan and the cancellation was prompted by a domestic US crisis resulting from the failure of Congress to pass the budget.

Continue reading "Big men, big egos in ‘greatest democracy’" »

Poor planning stunts health, education

| Act Now!

Act now
PORT MORESBY - The lack of proper planning at district level is a critical failure undermining the delivery of quality health and education services across Papua New Guinea.

Research by community advocacy organisation Act Now reveals that only 25% of districts have published a five-year development plan for 2023-27.

Continue reading "Poor planning stunts health, education" »

The impending, testy vote on B'ville

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – On Monday, not for the first time, the contentious matter of Bougainville’s future was debated on the floor of Papua New Guinea’s parliament.

The most controversial issue of all is that the result of the 2019 referendum, in which 97.7% of Bougainvilleans voted for independence, was intended to be non-binding.

Continue reading "The impending, testy vote on B'ville" »

Shock Pangu Pati split. What happens now?

| Academia Nomad

Allan Bird and James Marape (Radio New Zealand)
Likely challenger Allan Bird and troubled prime minister James Marape. Bird is the highly respected Governor of East Sepik Province (Radio New Zealand)

PORT MORESBY - Pangu Pati, the leading coalition partner in the current Papua New Guinea government, has split.

My test for a successful change in government in PNG is when there is a significant split within the biggest coalition party.

Continue reading "Shock Pangu Pati split. What happens now?" »

Why the best MPs will never lead PNG

| Academia Nomad

Rainbow Paita MP  -  one of the backroom operatives always in with a chance of running the country (Facebook)

PORT MORESBY - Rainbow Paita is the MP for Finschhafen Open and a senior minister in the Marape coalition government.

Paita’s name often floats around when attempts of a vote of no confidence occur aimed at securing the prime minister’s position.  Either he’s a candidate or a behind the scenes operative.

Continue reading "Why the best MPs will never lead PNG" »

No Mr Bird, PNG is not ‘printing money’

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Once again, the opposition is trying to mislead the people of Papua New Guinea in recent statements that PNG is printing money to fund the budget deficit.

This is just wrong. The International Monetary Fund verifies this is wrong. It is a condition of the IMF program that PNG does not print money to finance the deficit.

Continue reading "No Mr Bird, PNG is not ‘printing money’" »

IMF & World Bank get it wrong for PNG

| Academia Nomad

WEWAK - I disagree with the position of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in relation to the devaluation of the kina now underway.

The IMF believes that depreciating the kina will encourage exports and assist PNG production. In fact the opposite is true.

In the last 49 years, the PNG economy has not diversified much and therefore a significant depreciation is not going to automatically result in increased production and exports.

We had a significant depreciation 24 years ago which did not result in any significant benefits. It just led to more hardship for ordinary people.

This is because PNG has not invested in the productive capacity of the economy.  It is not possible to quickly increase production.

Only the extractive sector is able to do that, but almost all of these companies are operating at peak or declining capacity.

I just saw a 10kg bag of rice increase from K50 to K56, the second price increase this year.

Depreciation is already hurting ordinary people. While some low income earners are getting a tax break, the vast majority of people in the informal sector cannot access similar assistance.

The Marape government in chasing cheap loans and having resorted to printing money may have unknowingly placed a rope around the necks of ordinary citizens.

I believe a reasonable kina trading band of around 30 US cents and 40 Australian cents is what we should be aiming for.

We must restrain government borrowings and improve fiscal discipline. We must live within our means.

We must also redirect spending not just on economic enablers but also on the productive capacity of the various sectors.

We must also look at tax incentives to encourage private sector investment to help diversify our economy.

We must decentralise our government structure as a means of encouraging spread of private sector investments. The engine room for growth is in the provinces, not in Waigani.

We must have a smaller central government that oversees provinces and doesn't compete with them.

We need to expand private sector investment and support private sector to grow both the economy and jobs. It is not government that grows the economy, private sector does that.

Too much government control, coupled with corruption is killing our economy.

The Marape government has borrowed K32 billion over the last five years but has only proven that it is incapable of growing the economy. Economic growth has lagged behind this government borrowing.

I hope all current and future leaders learn something from this grave mistake and not repeat it in the future.

We have a situation in our country where the government thinks it should be running businesses - and it fails miserably. We should focus on governing and leave business to the private sector.

It's time for a reset. Marape has taken PNG backwards by 20 years. It's time to take PNG forward.

* Allan Bird is Governor of East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea and is seen as a likely candidate for prime minister after the next national election

We need writers to keep our pollies honest

| Academia Nomad

Joe Ketan (Linked In)Joe Ketan (Linked In)

PORT MORESBY - It is hard to keep track of politicians. We cannot hold them accountable for their actions if we do not know what they are doing – or not doing – with respect to their duties.

We have got to keep our politicians honest by keeping an eye on them at all times!

Continue reading "We need writers to keep our pollies honest" »

PNG’s disappointing disaster response

| Academia Nomad

After the cyclone the flood
After the cyclone the flood (Generated with AI, 1 April 2024 0804 am)

PORT MORESBY – The history of disaster response in Papua New Guinea is fraught with delays, inefficiency and corruption.

Under the Public Finance Management Act, tendering processes are suspended when a disaster is declared to ensure the response is faster. And this opens the door to corruption. How?

Continue reading "PNG’s disappointing disaster response" »

Instability all round in Australia’s near north


James Marape
Prime Minister James Marape - looks good for now but feelings are he will be deposed before the year is out (Rhiannon Johannes, DFAT)

HOBART - The past several months has seen an escalation of violence in Papua New Guinea, Australia’s nearest neighbour.

Given the recent developments, prime minister James Marape’s hold on power looks tenuous, and we may soon see a change in leadership.

Continue reading "Instability all round in Australia’s near north" »

Death threats against alternate PM Bird

| Facebook | Academia Nomad

Allan Bird
The police hierarchy warn possible prime minister Allan Bird of death threats even as they move his trusted police commander to a distant post (Facebook)

Allan Bird has been nominated to succeed prime minister James Marape in a forthcoming vote of no confidence

WEWAK - Am I desperate to be prime minister of Papua New Guinea? Short answer is no. But someone needs to step up and seriously address the issues which are destroying our country. Those problems will not fix themselves.

Since my nomination, I have been advised by a deputy police commissioner that my life is under threat and the police are monitoring the situation.

Continue reading "Death threats against alternate PM Bird" »

Poor opposition tactics let Marape off hook

| Academia Nomad

John Rosso (PNG Blogs)
John Rosso - well poised to become PNG's next prime minister as James Marape miscalculates and Opposition fails to strengthen its ranks (PNG Blogs)

PORT MORESBY - Let’s be honest. If there was a vote of no confidence in February 2024, prime minister James Marape would have defeated it.

Governments in PNG are usually destabilised from within - not without.

Leading up to the vote of no confidence, the numbers in the senior coalition partner, Pangu Pati, actually grew. So did coalition numbers overall.

Continue reading "Poor opposition tactics let Marape off hook" »

Allegations that MP seeks to bribe opponents


Village in Aoke-Langalanga electorate  Malaita
Village in Aoke-Langalanga electorate, Malaita

MALAITA, SOLOMONS – An official in the office of the Deputy Provincial Secretary of Malaita Province has expressed great concern to me that an announced candidate for the 2024 Solomons election, Mathew Wala MP, is trying to force other highly ranked candidates not to stand for election.

Wala has announced he will contest the seat of Aoke-Langalanga and last month he invited other prospective candidates David Filia, Vincent Anisi and David Faradalolo to a meeting.

Continue reading "Allegations that MP seeks to bribe opponents" »

What does it take to remove a prime minister?

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - I’ve had readers asking me to write about the steps involved in removing a prime minister in a vote of no confidence.

Instead of writing a new article, I’m reposting a blog I wrote for Australian National University’s DevPolicy Blog in 2020. It details steps involved in removing an incumbent prime minister.

Continue reading "What does it take to remove a prime minister?" »

Introducing the flammable politics of Noosa


Projection is a psychological phenomenon where feelings directed towards the self are displaced outwards towards others

NOOSA - As the Campaign for Noosa takes on the uneasy rhythm of all early political campaigns, my thoughts drift back to my first inklings that this seemingly laid-back seaside resort had Politics. So I dug out a five year old piece I wrote on Noosa Politics and blew off the dust before adding some contemporaneous notes.  Reader alert, at 2,000 words it’s quite a long read….


This morning at a ridiculously early hour (OK, it was seven o’clock), I was interviewed by Tess Connery for the 2SER-FM Sydney breakfast show, a meal that now passes me by.  Tess had called upon me to reminisce about the first day of 2SER, which had begun broadcasting on 1 October 1979.

Continue reading "Introducing the flammable politics of Noosa" »

Is Marape headed for a no confidence vote?

| Academia Nomad

A parliament in session Generated by AI  27 January 2024)
Parliament: where no confidence votes take place
(Fantasy illustration generated by Bing AI, 27 January 2024)

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea's long-serving senior minister Kerenga Kua yesterday announced his resignation from the Marape Coalition.

Since then people have been asking me whether this means there will be a vote of no confidence in prime minister James Marape.

Continue reading "Is Marape headed for a no confidence vote?" »

January riots: Is the political class listening?

| DevPolicy Blog

Economist Andrew Anton Mako
Economist Andrew Anton Mako delivering the 11th Henry Kila Memorial Address in Port Moresby last year (Roan Paul Business Council of PNG)

PORT MORESBY- This year started terribly for Papua New Guinea as civil riots rocked the nation.

What started as a protest by law enforcement officers (police, defence force and corrections staff) on 10 January over high deductions from their first pay of the year quickly escalated to looting and destruction of shops in Port Moresby as people took advantage of the security vacuum in the city.

Continue reading "January riots: Is the political class listening?" »

The January riots in Papua New Guinea

| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

Ron May amidst his filing system (Australian National University)
A photo of a younger Ron May (amidst his filing system!) Ron, an Australian academic with an over 50-year association and an unparallelled knowledge of  Papua New Guinea (Australian National University)

PORT MORESBY - On 10 January, Port Moresby was rocked by riots, looting and arson on an unprecedented scale.

Rioting also occurred in Lae and several other towns. More than 20 people died and there has been extensive damage to property.

Continue reading "The January riots in Papua New Guinea" »

It is Man not God that Marape fears


National front
Don’t believe this front page story from The National. What prime minister James Marape fears is Man. His fear of Man is evident through various actions:

1 - The Speaker, a Pangu Pati member, convened a parliament meeting in 2020 after a legal adjournment to prepare for a no-confidence vote chaired by the deputy speaker.

2 - In the same year, Marape’s government had unlawfully convened and passed legislation to avoid a no-confidence vote while the opposition, with majority support, had been lured to far away Vanimo.

Continue reading "It is Man not God that Marape fears" »

Politicians are not to blame for every stuff-up

| Academia Nomad

Vote here
The people will gain much power in Papua New Guinea when they vote for politicians because of merit not how much money they give away (Generated with Bing AI, 30 December 2023) AI, 30 December 2023

PORT MORESBY – We can’t blame the Papua New Guinea government for everything. Here are some other culprits.

If you look at the reforms, good or bad, in PNG, you can generally pin them on multilateral institutions, either the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

Continue reading "Politicians are not to blame for every stuff-up" »

Christmas: A time to weigh up God’s plan


SilSil Bolkin - author, essayist & devoted servant of the PNG people

PORT MORESBY – Jesus, the only son of God, was born into a poor family in a small town. Indeed, he was born in a shed meant for animals.

God allowed his son to be born in a cowshed because he wanted the world to know His son was a gift to everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

Continue reading "Christmas: A time to weigh up God’s plan" »

Recent Notes 34: Trouble & strife


From ‘The Emergence of Secessionism’, a chapter in ‘Papua New Guinea - A Political History’ by James Griffin, Hank Nelson & Stewart Firth. With thanks to Martin Maden’s ‘Tok Piksa’

There was a lot of political strife and active protests against the Australian colonial administration in Rabaul in the 1960s and ‘70s which saw the formation and rise of the Mataungan Association and the popular movement for independence on Bougainville (Napidakoe Navitu), where there was a similar will of the people to secede.

Continue reading "Recent Notes 34: Trouble & strife" »

Uncomprehending elites put us in danger


NOOSA – We live at a time when It is difficult to find any outstanding political leadership in most of the world’s democracies. The professionalisation of politics, and associated political inbreeding, has reached its apogee. Winning and retaining power is now the main point of politics. Reform is a subsidiary issue. The will and capability to change and address difficult issues like global warming have been compromised.


Continue reading "Uncomprehending elites put us in danger" »

Recent Notes 28: Signs of political change


A formidable trio of academics have collaborated to write a new book, ‘Troubles and Puzzles: The 2022 General Elections in Papua New Guinea’, which was published online just on Sunday. The ANU’s Terence Wood and UPNG’s Maholopa Laveil and Michael Kabuni are names that regular PNG Attitude readers will recognise for their astute commentaries on PNG politics.

Continue reading "Recent Notes 28: Signs of political change" »

A Yes Vote – you know it makes sense

| Come the Revolution

TWEED HEADS - On Saturday, 27 May, 1967, Australians voted by an overwhelming majority to alter the Constitution to give the Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders the right to be counted in all future censuses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The vote was a huge victory for the ‘YES’ camp: it won 90.77% of votes cast in all six States.

Continue reading "A Yes Vote – you know it makes sense" »

Who's really to blame for PNG mess

Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – In June, the Constitutional Law Reform Commission completed a nationwide consultation gauging views on whether the prime minister should be elected directly by the people as in a presidential system. The directive to do this came from the national government.

Why the need to change the current system? Because the government thinks that the unicameral parliamentary system is “not working”? The obvious question therefore: ‘Is the current parliamentary system not working for PNG because it’s a bad system, or because PNG is not using the parliamentary system as it is supposed to be used?’

Continue reading "Who's really to blame for PNG mess" »

48 years on we need to do a lot better


It's the 48th  anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s independence on Saturday and Eddie’s Kikibakik, a folk tale in the Binandere language of Oro Province, discusses the problems besieging the nation and how they might be best addressed - KJ

PORT MORESBY - We sit down in the forever blacked-out Port Moresby night and hear our neighbours playing the famous Saugas song, Sindaun Bagarap, which echoes around on this windy night. And we hear the buai (betel nut) buyers complaining about hikes in prices. And we think about Papua New Guinea turning 48 in a few days’ time.

The question I ask my small brother, Braigi, is how have we progressed so far in the last 48 years as a nation?

Continue reading "48 years on we need to do a lot better" »

US gazumps Australia for control of region


Microsoft Bing Image Creator


PORT MORESBY – As an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Papua New Guinea government, I have to write anonymously to secure my safety.

I am writing to reveal interference by the United States in PNG’s internal affairs which is undermining the bilateral relationship between Australia and PNG.

Continue reading "US gazumps Australia for control of region" »

The making of PNG: JK Murray v Bureaucracy


Evelyn and JK Murray
Evelyn and JK Murray in Port Moresby, 1951

Introduction by Keith Jackson

NOOSA - Within the space of a couple of weeks early this year, Loch Blatchford and I experienced coincidental but catastrophic computer failures.

Mine cost PNG Attitude the bulk of its images and links but fortunately retained most of the textual content. Loch’s resulted in him losing most of The Blatchford Collection, his valuable, impeccably assembled historical compilation of the development of Papua New Guinea’s education system after World War II.

Continue reading "The making of PNG: JK Murray v Bureaucracy" »

How Belden learned the lesson of kindness

| Facebook

Belden Namah (second from left)
Captain Belden Namah (second from left) as a junior PNGDF officer with special forces comrades

PORT MORESBY – “Pack your cargo and go to the carpark, the school bus will drop you off at the airport,” these words of the principal of Sogeri National High School were directed at the young Belden Namah.

Speechless and in despair, Namah left the principal’s office and, silently sobbing, walked down the path to the male dormitory.

Continue reading "How Belden learned the lesson of kindness" »

Mr Speaker, we are not your enemies….

| PNG Post-Courier *

A Post-Courier newsboy on the streets of Port Moresby - a reminder
that parliament belongs to the people whose voice must be heard

PORT MORESBY - Mister Speaker, our collective question without notice is to you mister Speaker. We want the Prime Minister and his deputy to take note Sir.

Our question from the Media Gallery is specifically directed to you, Mr Speaker, because of events that have transpired in the last 48 hours in which the freedom of the media in the people’s House has been once again curtailed.

Continue reading "Mr Speaker, we are not your enemies…." »

Is Marape more autocratic since the US deal


PARI - From the time the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed last week, there have been indications that prime minister Marape is behaving more autocratically.

I have the feeling that PNG democracy is heading down the death highway under Marape's rule.

When the news was reported that Biden was going to visited PNG, Marape appealed to Papua New Guineans and the media to be cautious in making comments about the visit.

Continue reading "Is Marape more autocratic since the US deal" »

‘JT Must Go’: Tik-Tok claims first PNG scalp

| Australian Outlook

We are not primitives
University students in Port Moresby protest on 12 May against foreign affairs minister Justin Tkatchenko, who called social media critics of his daughter “primitive animals”  (Michael Tamty Pais, BenarNews)

HOBART - Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko has stepped down from his role for now.

But elite politics and money in PNG ensure that when attention shifts once more, he will be back.

PNG is probably the most important country in the Pacific backyard for Australia.

Continue reading "‘JT Must Go’: Tik-Tok claims first PNG scalp" »

We're your hope, we're not primitive animals


"Papua New Guinea needs brave men and women with clever minds and loud voices to rise
against the few who are corrupting our government and sucking our people’s money"


PARI - Shamefully, the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed by PNG defence minister Win Bakri Daki and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken at APEC Haus on 22 May.

This was despite nationwide protests urging prime minister PM Marape to both sack former foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko and not sign the security pact.

The Marape government never respects the people of PNG.

Continue reading "We're your hope, we're not primitive animals" »

PNG must put the people first, not last

'We Must Put the Nation First'
'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" »

My dismissal is far from the end of the matter

'Kramer Out' says the Post-Courier. 'Not so fast' says the corruption-fighting minister dismissed by a Leadership Tribunal

| Facebook

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" »

Judiciary knocks Kramer from ring – for now

Daniel and Bryan
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" »

Tkatchenko affair: Pipol 1, Marape 0

Michael Kabuni
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" »

The world has always been in a state of chaos

World in Chaos (Bing Image Creator)
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" »

Tkatchenko reveals the sad secret of PNG: A parliament trapped by a reckless executive

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" »

I think it’s good if Tkatchenko won’t resign

Kubani   Tkatchenko  clinging to office and Marape  clinging to power
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" »

What we learn from the Tkatchenko saga

Michael Tamty Pais  BenarNews
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" »

Tkatchenko goes after ‘primitive animals’ slur

‘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" »