Government & politics Feed

Australia has taken 47 years to address issues

Albanese and Marape at Moem Barracks  Wewak (PM’s Office Media)
Anthony Albanese and James Marape at Moem Barracks,  Wewak (PM’s Office Media)

JIMBO GULLE
| 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" »


PNG’s fatberg politicians: Keeping the sunshine out

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


Governor General election: Will parliament give meaning to PNG gender equality goals

Winnie_kiap.250x300
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" »


A virus of evil assisted by men of stupidity

KEITH JACKSON

“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" »


Worst public health disaster since World War II

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" »


Labor & me: a political affair to remember

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Election PNG: Far from founding fathers vision

PRISILLA MANOVE

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" »


Recognising the perils of war to avert war

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


Albo’s hidden menace: A sullied public service

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


‘Doomed to disease & mortality', say experts

OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL CABINET
| OzSAGE

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" »


PNG's corruption is systemic & worsening

REPORT
| 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" »


Julie Bishop delivers hard truths to PNG

JOHN KURI

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" »


For good or ill US is democracy’s torch bearer

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


A historian's view of the very near future....

MATHIAS KIN
| Facebook

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...." »


Meg Taylor should be appointed our next GG

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" »


Society & civilisation ruined before our eyes

PAUL OATES

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" »


The puzzle of development: Is it good or bad?

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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?" »


The bold ambitions of a foreign policy PM

“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”

Albo_and_army

GREG SHERIDAN
| 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" »


Independence? Can we get there from here?

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

Bougainville

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?" »


Bougainville is becoming a poor copy of PNG

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 right & wrong way of high level decisions

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)
'Opening of the first parliament’ in Canberra (Painting by Tom Roberts,1903)

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


How political decisions often don't work

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

Paperwork

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


There are no more reds under the bed

"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"

Reds

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


The blackout curse that magic cannot fix

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

Blackout

JOHN KURI

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" »


Vice-minister Tonpi wants to attack laziness

“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"


Raphael Tonpi

PETER WARI
| 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 allure of the Crown: PNG & the Palace

"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"

Knighthood-sir-mel-togolo June 2018
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

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


The real virtues of constitutional monarchy

Britannia defends Law, Monarchy and Religion against Violation from the Great Political Libertine. Despite its many flaws, inequities and inequalities, a constitutional monarchy remains the least easily manipulated governance system humans have devised

Monarchy top
Death or Liberty! Cartoon by George Cruikshank, London, 1819

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Raymond Sigimet's perfectly competent and informative article about the death of the Queen triggered a remarkable outpouring of venom about the monarchy from those who want to replace it with a republic.

There is no denying that the monarchy is an archaic and elitist institution. Also, there are plenty of examples of royals behaving badly.

Continue reading "The real virtues of constitutional monarchy" »


Prince Charles, Kerr & the dismissal of Gough

John Kerr was looking for  friendship and support wherever he could. Prince Charles allowed himself to be drawn into the collaboration to bring down an Australian government

Prince Charles in 1976
King Charles III (then Prince Charles) in 1976

JOHN MENADUE
| Pearls Irritations

SYDNEY - In the heat of early spring 1975 in the New Guinea highlands, Australian Governor General Sir John Kerr sidled up to Prince Charles and suggested a quiet chat.

The topic? The possible dismissal of the Australian prime minister.

Continue reading "Prince Charles, Kerr & the dismissal of Gough" »


PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away

"I know how honoured Her Majesty is to be your Queen, a title borne by her with immense pride and renewed by the people of this great country upon independence in 1975" - King Charles III, speaking as the Prince of Wales, in 2012

Qeii
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited PNG in October 1982

RAYMOND SIGIMET

DAGUA - Papua New Guinea, as a member of the Commonwealth, is mourning the passing of its head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth II, called Misis Kwin in PNG Tok Pisin, died aged 96 one week ago, Thursday 8 September.

Continue reading "PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away" »


Marape says PNG's prospects now look strong

“I want to warn the country about ‘lazy man expectations’ that money from oil, gas and mining would be a permanent solution for our economy; far from it” – James Marape

Marape speaks in parliament
James Marape speaking in parliament this week

JAMES MARAPE MP
| James Marape News Page | Edited

WAIGANI – The story of Papua New Guinea is not bad as many people make it out to be.

By 2027, the Budget will be in surplus and by the mid-2030s PNG will have paid its total sovereign debt on the way to becoming a K200 billion economy.

Continue reading "Marape says PNG's prospects now look strong" »


PNG’s colonial construct is under threat

Papua New Guinea is entirely a colonial construct and, as recent elections demonstrated, tribalism still trumps democracy in many places and in many ways

Taking a break in a village
Taking a break in a village. Life under colonialism was predictable and progressive. And colonisers and colonised generally got on well. But the colonial governance construct is now showing its age

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The desire of Bougainvilleans for independence is not going to dissipate based on some deal concocted by Port Moresby to give the island autonomous status within Papua New Guinea.

Surely this message has been delivered in clear and unequivocal terms?

Continue reading "PNG’s colonial construct is under threat" »


Solomons’ threat to journalists condemned

‘Foreign media must understand that the manner in which journalists are allowed to conduct themselves in other countries does not give them the right to operate in the same manner in the Pacific’

Solomons journalists at a training workshop in March 2021
Solomons journalists at a training workshop in March 2021

NEWS DESK
| Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the Solomon Islands government for threatening to ban or deport foreign journalists “disrespectful” of the country’s relationship with China.

The IFJ said this was a “grave infringement on press freedom” and called on prime minister Manasseh Sogavare to ensure all journalists in the Solomon Islands remain free to report.

Continue reading "Solomons’ threat to journalists condemned" »


Bougainville says no to independence consultation

The autonomous Bougainville government said ratification of the 2019 referendum on independence will be done by the national parliament and doesn't require PNG citizens to be further consulted

Bougainville parliament sign (The Bougainvillean)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - The Bougainville government has rejected a call from the Papua New Guinea government to hold for a nationwide consultation on the Bougainville independence referendum.

PNG prime minister James Marape proposed the consultation earlier this month.

Continue reading "Bougainville says no to independence consultation" »


The nightmare of war that is with us forever

A critical precondition for peace is that people must desire it fiercely enough to argue, fight and even die for it. This is what we all may be doing soon enough if China uses force to conquer Taiwan and the United States intervenes

Image - Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)
Art by Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - One of the unfathomable mysteries of human nature is the instinct to pursue violence and war.

History is, in many respects, just one long and dismal story of seemingly endless warfare.

Continue reading "The nightmare of war that is with us forever" »


Corruption fighter Kramer slams allegations

“The allegations of scandalising the judiciary are nonsensical. It’s a fact the chief justice, who I understand is the complainant in this allegation, is a close friend of former prime minister Peter O’Neill and was appointed on an NEC (Cabinet) submission sponsored by O’Neill"

Bryan Kramer at parliament house
Bryan Kramer at parliament house

THIERRY LEPANI
| PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s Justice Minister and Madang MP Bryan Kramer has been referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission on 14 counts of alleged misconduct.

He told a media conference that the Ombudsman Commission had delivered a letter informing him of the allegations and the referral.

Continue reading "Corruption fighter Kramer slams allegations" »


Mass media & politics: an uneasy relationship

It is important that media criticism of the government is based upon facts and constitutes fair comment. This is vital to preserve the credibility of the media

A

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Requiring the media to 'instil unity amongst our people' – as the Solomons prime minister proposes - is all too often code for 'do not criticise the government even if this is warranted'.

In Australia, the Liberal-National Party governments have been notoriously critical of the ABC because, as they see it, the management and journalists are biased against the conservative side of politics.

Continue reading "Mass media & politics: an uneasy relationship" »


How to give women a say in PNG governance

Traditionally women exercised power on matters such as food security, children’s health and education.  In matrilineal settings, they can exercise total authority over the distribution and use of land

A

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - I believe Terence Wood (‘What went wrong with the 2022 elections’) has made some pertinent observations. 

He has picked out a number of factors that are increasingly impacting the safe and orderly conduct of elections.

I would add a couple more to the mix.

Continue reading "How to give women a say in PNG governance" »


What went wrong with the 2022 elections?

I’ve spoken to electoral officials who told me about the death threats they received. I’ve heard of candidates kidnapping officials’ family members. If other candidates’ supporters attacked your supporters last election, why not get revenge this time round?

A Chaotic-election-PC-top

TERENCE WOOD
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The dust is still swirling, far from settled, and already people are calling the 2022 elections the worst in Papua New Guinea’s history.

Is that correct? I don’t know – the 2002 and 2017 elections provide stiff competition. And in some ways, 2022 hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

Continue reading "What went wrong with the 2022 elections?" »


A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy

Very few Pacific islands would opt for their current status if offered a choice to return to their pre-colonial lives. This could be more than a post-modern fantasy

Canoe (Pinterest)

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - If you look at history through a Bougainvillean lens, independence is obvious and non-negotiable.

But the same sentiment applies to practically every other island group in the Pacific region.

Continue reading "A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy" »


Sweeping reform is not on Albanese’s agenda

We must harden up and put our collective shoulders to the wheel to make our country more economically resilient and self-reliant, as well as to repair our much neglected and grossly inadequate defence forces

Anthony Albanese (The West Australian)Anthony Albanese has taken over a country in which laissez faire capitalism has wrought its magic, enriching the few at the expense of the many (Caricature from The West Australian)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Australia's 'timid' government (Keith Jackson’s descriptor) has sniffed the wind and knows that, while Australians were intensely unhappy with the previous government, they were not necessarily going to buy into demands for thoroughgoing reforms of the current system.

In particular, a large majority of voters still fondly imagine that the serious problems now manifest in the health system, aged care, disability services, public transport and housing can be magically fixed without, if not an increase in taxation, at least the abandonment of the unjustified and inequitable tax cuts which passed into law before the recent election.

Continue reading "Sweeping reform is not on Albanese’s agenda" »


Election gives Marape a stranglehold on PNG

Marape became the first PNG prime minister to be elected unopposed as 97 MPs decided to vote for him unanimously, leaving former prime minister O’Neill, comprehensively outmanoeuvred in the election, to strut out of the chamber muttering something about “a matter of conscience”

Rachael
Rachael and James Marape

 

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Even in the elation of victory, unanimously chosen prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, could not bring himself to provide hope for women to occupy a fair share of seats in PNG’s parliament.

“Women do not need special seats, they can run on merit,” was the curt response when he was asked whether two (1.7%) of 118 seats was an adequate return for the nation’s women.

Continue reading "Election gives Marape a stranglehold on PNG" »


PNG’s election: Death, arson & destruction

Elections need to proper planning and management. But this election has repeated previous experience, with 50 known deaths, arson, destruction of property and 3,000 people displaced from their homes

Houses burn in Enga Province
Houses burn in Enga Province

MAHOLOPA LAVEIL
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

PORT MORESBY - Violence is a mainstay of Papua New Guinea’s elections.

As I write this article, tensions are high in the capital Port Moresby. Reports of machete wielding men slashing innocent bystanders along the city’s main roads and fears of retaliation fill my social media feed.

Continue reading "PNG’s election: Death, arson & destruction" »


America’s self-obsession is killing democracy

The United States still has a chance to fix itself before 2024. But when democracies start dying—as the USA already has—they usually don’t recover

Capitol
The United States Capitol (Stephen Voss, Redux)

BRIAN KLAAS
| The Atlantic

NEW YORK - In 2009, a violent mob stormed the presidential palace in Madagascar, a deeply impoverished red-earthed island off the coast of East Africa.

They had been incited to violence by opportunistic politicians and media personalities, successfully triggering a coup.

Continue reading "America’s self-obsession is killing democracy" »


Marape v O'Neill: Post-election battle looms

James Marape and Peter O’Neill seem likely to retain their seats but Allan Bird, the respected governor of East Sepik Province, is seen by many people as good prime ministerial material

O'Neill casts his vote in 2017
Peter O'Neill casts his vote at the 2017 election. Re-elected prime minister, he was toppled by James Marape in 2019. Now a bitter battle looms for the leadership

RONALD MAY
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - Voting is proceeding apace in Papua New Guinea’s tenth election for the national parliament. A record of around 3,500 candidates are contesting the parliament’s 118 seats.

In the last parliament (2017-22) there was no female MP and despite campaigns to encourage women to contest this election, only 142 of the candidates are women, compared to 167 in 2017.

Continue reading "Marape v O'Neill: Post-election battle looms" »


Pacific uni strife continues as funds dry up

"University of South Pacific is only one of two regional universities in the world, and arguably one of the few tangible outcomes of Pacific regional integration” - Professor Albert Schram

USP dale pana
Solomon Islands student Dale Pala wants regional governments to sort out the USP mess  - 'When they come here students say we are one people, one ocean’

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It’s been a while since this blog touched upon happenings at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

The deportation of vice-chancellor Professor Sal Ahluwalia and his wife Sandra Price in February last year, and the subsequent withdrawal of Fiji’s funding from the regional university, have kept the issue alive.

Continue reading "Pacific uni strife continues as funds dry up" »


Chinese now a real threat in the Gulf of Papua

Lying, obfuscation and diversion are all part of well-established Chinese strategy to confuse or misdirect putative enemies and gullible others as to its real intentions. What Chinese diplomats are saying about the development at Ihu clearly fits this category

Capture
Speaking before 3,000 representatives to the National People’s Congress in Beijing in March 2021, president Xi Jinping proclaimed his country had been the first to tame Covid, the result of “self-confidence in our path, self-confidence in our theories, self-confidence in our system, self-confidence in our culture”

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I worked as a kiap in the Gulf Province (or District as it then was) for two years from mid-1969 to mid-1971.

It was a very impoverished region then as it is now.

For this reason, any major development project is likely to be welcomed by the local people.

Continue reading "Chinese now a real threat in the Gulf of Papua" »


The complex challenges of leadership in PNG

“Every man has his good side,” Marape says of O'Neill. “But as time progressed, power got into his head, and his heart shifted away from the main goalpost"

Oneill marape
Marape says of O'Neill: "Some of us reached the tolerance rate where we can’t be part of that sort of regime where you make a call and you expect everyone else to follow"

HAMISH McDONALD
| The Saturday Paper

MELBOURNE - As Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape was working the tables at a hotel gathering of his Pangu Party in Goroka, a heavily drunk man was making a nuisance of himself.

Burly police bodyguards moved in for a rough eviction. But then Marape saw the man, walked closer, embraced him, and got him to sit quietly in a corner. The prime minister had recognised an old high school classmate.

Continue reading "The complex challenges of leadership in PNG" »


Capped partner visas: Another Dutton rort

It's likely the government, particularly under Peter Dutton, acted illegally in limiting the number of partner visa places to an extraordinary degree

Adelaide_airport_arrived_stamp

ABUL RIVZI
| Pearls & Irritations

CANBERRA - In 2018, I wrote about one of opposition leader Peter Dutton’s lesser known scandals – his action to egregiously limit the number of partner visas.

In 1989 and in 1996-97, parliament voted to ensure partner visa applications (more specifically spouse visa applications) were managed on a demand driven basis.

Continue reading "Capped partner visas: Another Dutton rort" »


On election violence & unaccounted billions

Only seven of Papua New Guinea’s 65 government agencies have reported how they have spent billions of public funds provided to them in the budget since 2016

The Money Tree by Channell Arivai
The Money Tree (painting by Channell Arivai)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The delivery of a peaceful election is a shared responsibility that requires broad-based leadership, says Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG).

It says a free and fair election will require a concerted effort by the police, defence force, correctional service and some government agencies working alongside the electoral commission.

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