Government & politics Feed

Pacific democracy & mobile technologies

Mobile-phonesAMANDA HA WATSON, JEREMY MILLER & ADRIANA SCHMIDT
| ANU Department of Pacific Affairs

CANBERRA - In late 2019, the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville voted in a non-binding referendum offering two choices: greater autonomy or independence.

People voted overwhelmingly for independence (97.71%) in what was widely regarded to be a successful process with an informed and engaged citizenry.

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A state of perpetual crisis

Perpetual crisis (The Guardian)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The world has always been in a state of perpetual crisis. We seem to seamlessly roll on from one crisis straight into another one.

We actually thrive on crises.

If there wasn’t a worldwide crisis at any given time, we would wonder what was happening. That we didn’t have a crisis would become a crisis in its own right.

Continue reading "A state of perpetual crisis" »


Getting women into the Pacific’s parliaments

Kerryn_baker
Dr Kerryn Baker

WEB TEAM
| ANU College of Asia & the Pacific | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - The Pacific Islands region has the lowest level of women’s representation in politics in the world. Three countries - Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Micronesia - have no female politicians.

Dr Kerryn Baker has researched women’s political representation in the Pacific for nearly a decade. During this time, her work has highlighted the importance and value of having more women in Pacific parliaments.

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Marape spooked by Bougainville ‘feelgood factor’

Marape in Bougainville (Post-Courier)
James Marape in Bougainville last month (Post-Courier)

RICHARD EWART
| ABC Pacific Beat | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - The overwhelming vote for independence in Bougainville, and now the election of a new president for the autonomous region, appears to have spooked Papua New Guinea's prime minister, James Marape.

He has raised the possibility of a change to the constitution to prevent any other PNG province from promoting the subject of independence or autonomy.

Continue reading "Marape spooked by Bougainville ‘feelgood factor’" »


Marape, seeking 'stability', appoints Basil deputy

James Marape and Sam Basil
James Marape and his new deputy prime minister Sam Basil

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Davis Steven has been moved from his position as Papua New Guinea’s deputy prime minister to be replaced by Sam Basil, consolidating Basil's political career and retaining the national planning ministry.

In a document seen by PNG Attitude, no mention was made of Steven or why he has lost the country's second top job.

Continue reading "Marape, seeking 'stability', appoints Basil deputy" »


On diplomatic doublespeak & intellectual dishonesty

Partner coverW D BROWNSMITH

CANBERRA - Zoom was the venue as Australia and Papua New Guinea relaunched their bilateral relationship on Wednesday.

Prime ministers Scott Morrison and James Marape then released a statement outlining a new comprehensive strategic and economic partnership between the two countries. (Although Mr Morrison was the only one to grace the washed out cover photo.)

Continue reading "On diplomatic doublespeak & intellectual dishonesty" »


For James Marape, the biggest challenges await

Marape
James Marape - the uncertainties over coming months will test the resilience & stability of the country & his government

BAL KAMA
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - The resilience and stability of Papua New Guinea is under growing strain as the country navigates what has already been an unprecedented year.

Beyond the increase in Covid-19 cases and the effect the virus is having on lives and livelihoods, the government has overcome a court challenge to the election of prime minister James Marape and has undertaken some significant law reforms on the mining and anti-corruption fronts.

Continue reading "For James Marape, the biggest challenges await" »


PNG missing out on gold 'explosion'

Namah
Belden Namah - "The Marape government has totally failed the people at a time when they need their government the most"

BELDEN NAMAH MP
| Leader of the PNG Opposition

PORT MORESBY - The price of gold has taken off around the world as the Covid-19 pandemic pushes investors to turn away from currencies to buy gold but PNG is missing out because of the continued closure of Porgera gold mine.

The government of prime minister James Marape is fully responsible for this loss of revenue because of its decision to refuse an extension of the special mining lease to Canadian miner Barrick and the protracted court proceedings that have resulted.

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Can we remain free?

Chinese view
China's view of neoliberalism could well end up being close to the truth - not that China offers a more persuasive ideology

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The current coronavirus crisis has thrown into stark relief the inherent tension between individual freedom and social obligation.

This has perhaps been most evident in the United States, where there is now active resistance against demands that individuals sacrifice their personal liberty for the greater good in an effort to control the Covid-19 pandemic that had by yesterday killed 105,000 Americans.

Continue reading "Can we remain free?" »


A wind of change in Maramuni

Dr Lino Tom MP meets the people of Maramuni
Dr Lino Tom MP meets the people of remote Maramuni

SIMON DAVIDSON

KOKOPO - Maramuni, a poorly developed region in Enga Province, is experiencing the wind of change as a new road project, initiated by national government minister Dr Lino Tom, takes shape.

The Maramuni local level government is located 250 kilometres north-west of Wabag, the provincial capital.

Continue reading "A wind of change in Maramuni" »


Nicholas’s solution to election violence

Election-related violence in Hela Province
Election-related violence in Hela Province

BETTY GABRIEL WAKIA

PORT MORESBY - The Highlands region of Papua New Guinea is known for the election-related violence that has clans fighting amongst themselves and prosecuting bloody wars that have no end.

Provinces like Enga, Southern Highlands, Simbu, Western Highlands and Hela are particularly known for this.

Continue reading "Nicholas’s solution to election violence" »


Marape government fails to tackle corruption

Tanago_Eddie
Eddie Tanago - "There has not been one prosecution of a high profile leader for corruption or misappropriation and not one minister has been forced to resign or even step aside"

EDDIE TANAGO PAINE

PORT MORESBY - A year after taking power, the government of James Marape has completely failed to deliver on its promises to tackle Papua New Guinea’s chronic corruption.

James Marape was elected as prime minister on the back of a growing wave of discontent about political corruption and the misuse of public funds - and the initial signs from the new government were promising.

Continue reading "Marape government fails to tackle corruption" »


James Marape - a year in review

James Marape speaking
James Marape - over the last 12 months Papua New Guineans have witnessed the depth of his vision

RAMOI BIAK

WEWAK - Twelve months ago who would have predicted  the rise of a much under-rated James Marape as the eighth prime minister of Papua New Guinea putting an end to eight tumultuous years by Peter O’Neill and his Peoples National Congress Party.

Marape continues to intrigue and surprise us with the array of tools he is deploying from the Pandora’s box of politics.

Continue reading "James Marape - a year in review" »


Thoughts on an unusual Anzac Day

Soldiers landing at Gallipoli  25 April 1915
Australian soldiers land at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915. Prof Henry Reynolds writes: "The heroic image of the digger inhibits any assessment of the costs and benefits of war. Questions about the wisdom of engagements are seen as diminishing the sacrifice and suffering of participants"

HENRY REYNOLDS
| Pearls & Irritations

HOBART - This Anzac Day we should question the relentless militarisation of our history and the cult of the digger.

These ideals make it easier for Australian governments to commit to wars overseas and more difficult for critics to engage in serious debate.

In 2008, a few months before he suffered the onslaught of a fatal disease, the Anglo-American scholar Tony Judt contributed an essay to the New York Review of Books entitled ‘What Have We Learned, If Anything?’

Continue reading "Thoughts on an unusual Anzac Day" »


Marape declares state of emergency

James-Marape-and-Jelta-Wong-EMTV-680wide
James Marape and health minister Jelta Wong

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Following the detection of the first coronavirus case in Papua New Guinea late last week, in an emergency meeting yesterday the national executive council decided on the implementation of a series of tough measures to stop or slow the spread of the disease through the country.

“This is not just a health issue but a national security issue,” prime minister James Marape said in a public statement, adding that it will have profound effects on the economy, law and order and education.

Continue reading "Marape declares state of emergency" »


Coronavirus: A warning from history

Pangolin
Indian pangolin. Some people believe coronavirus entered the human domain because the pangolin  (found in Africa and Asia) is considered a delicacy in China

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I spent 32 years working in various capacities within the health, hospital and aged care sector.

It was a continuous learning experience for me and one which, despite the anxiety and distress it sometimes generated, was richly rewarding in providing insights into the nature of humanity.

A fascinating part of my long term learning experience was working in the public and environmental health division of South Australia’s department of health.

Continue reading "Coronavirus: A warning from history" »


O’Neill’s K37 billion debt legacy

Ian Ling-StuckeyIAN LING-STUCKEY | Edited

PORT MORESBY - When Peter O’Neill came to power in 2012, Papua New Guinea’s debt was K8.5 billion. When he left in 2019, the figure was K37.6 billion.

So the debt was 4.4 times larger after only seven years. K29.1 billion larger. Not double, not triple, not even quadruple – an extraordinary 4.43 times larger.

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Money talks in the US of A

Bernie (Nate Beeler  The Columbus Dispatch  USA)
Bernie Sanders (Nate Beeler,  The Columbus Dispatch,  USA)

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I wonder whether people in Papua New Guinea are following the run up to the election in the United States.

They go to the polls in November but are now enmeshed in the Democratic Party state ‘primaries’ that will eventually decide which leader will contest the presidency, probably against Donald Trump.

There is a hope among ‘progressives’ in the USA (and worldwide) that whoever wins will be able to oust Trump.

Continue reading "Money talks in the US of A" »


O’Neill’s economic lies refuted

Stuckey
Ian Ling-Stuckey - "O’Neill dragged us into a debt trap. His economic mismanagement increased PNG’s debt by 435%"

IAN LING-STUCKEY
Papua New Guinea Treasurer | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY - Peter O’Neill does shame to his role as former prime minister by continuing to lie to the country about his economic legacy.

During the years of his autocratic rule, he produced fake budgets, fake national accounts and fake growth figures.

I had hoped that, when he was caught out for his fraudulent behaviour and deceptions through the due diligence exercise and confirmed by the independent International Monetary Fund, at least he might stop lying to the people of this nation.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s economic lies refuted" »


PNG passes historic whistleblower law

WhistleMARTYN NAMORONG

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s parliament passed historic whistleblower protection legislation on Tuesday following a commitment made by prime minister James Marape last month.

The passing of the Whistle Blower Act coincided with the tabling of enabling legislation for the creation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Continue reading "PNG passes historic whistleblower law" »


Neo-colonialism & the South Fly

Martyn Namarong
Martyn Namorong - "The consequence of a constitutional contradiction is that colonialism in PNG has a Melanesian face"

MARTYN NAMORONG

PORT MORESBY - Recent media reports have highlighted the problems faced by Daru in terms of its ailing infrastructure and the chronic shortages of almost everything that could make urban life liveable.

Daru is a stone’s throw away from the first world existence of Australia yet a million miles away from access to reliable safe clean drinking water, decent sanitation and healthcare.

Continue reading "Neo-colonialism & the South Fly" »


Booting Exxon boosts Marape – for now

Broken exxon
Exxon’s conduct has been criticised by the PNG government as being “exploitative”

BAL KAMA
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

CANBERRA - The recent announcement of the Papua New Guinea government to cease all negotiations with one of the United States’ largest oil and gas companies, Exxon Mobil, over the P’nyang LNG project, a new gas field in PNG, has broader implications for the US and PNG.

At first glance, the decision against Exxon for allegedly acting in bad faith is part of a wider crackdown by the government of prime minister James Marape to ensure greater fairness in the resource sector.

Continue reading "Booting Exxon boosts Marape – for now" »


Marape must investigate Duma, says Transparency

Peter_Aitsi
Transparency PNG's Peter Aitsi - minister Duma must be directed to step down and an independent investigation into corruption allegations immediately undertaken 

NEWS DESK
| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - TIPNG is calling for the prime minister and relevant Papua New Guinean agencies to investigate what appear to be serious allegations of grand corruption against state minister William Duma, as reported in the Australian Financial Review.

As parliament prepares to convene its first sitting of the year, TIPNG urges prime minister Marape to live by his words that he will fight corruption and that the example must now start with his own cabinet.

Continue reading "Marape must investigate Duma, says Transparency" »


Time to crack down on corruption

Commerce and industry minister William Duma says he did nothing wrong
Commerce and industry minister William Duma says he did nothing wrong

EDITORIAL
| Australian Financial Review

SYDNEY - The Australian Financial Review’s investigation into the issuing of Horizon Oil’s lucrative petroleum development license in Papua New Guinea in 2011 has raised serious questions about the conduct of the company.

Chairman Mike Harding has acted properly by standing down CEO Michael Sheridan – who in 2011 was Horizon’s CFO, company secretary and a board member – pending an independent investigation into the corruption allegations by Herbert Smith Freehills and Deloitte, which will be overseen by an independent board committee.

Continue reading "Time to crack down on corruption" »


Bad governance & lots of tok gris

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Fake government applying Band-Aids and painting over them with  spin and empty rhetoric"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When mounting evidence suggests that a government is corrupt and they fail to adequately address the evidence, what can be done about it?

The short answer, of course, is not to vote for them. But if they are electorally secure and their term of government has some time to run, well, other options are severely limited.

Continue reading "Bad governance & lots of tok gris" »


Oil Search fires back at PNG

James Marape
James Marape -“To date my families, tribes, provinces and country are yet to fully see those promised windfalls"

JAMES THORNHILL
| Bloomberg | Extracts

NEW YORK - Exxon Mobil Corp’s partner on a Papua New Guinea gas project that’s threatened by failed talks with the government has hit back at PNG’s position, saying its terms were uneconomical.

Oil Search, in its first comment since the talks broke down on Friday, said that the government’s demands meant the project would not gain a sufficient return on investment.

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Me & corruption – a true story

Leonard Roka holding coconut
Author Leonard Fong Roka - "Why should I vote for the political leaders under which this rot is happening"

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - I re-entered the service of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in May 2017 after a short stint in late 2014-15.

My desire was a permanent career in the Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation Department’s referendum directorate. But, as the bosses said, I was kicked out for non-performance.

Continue reading "Me & corruption – a true story" »


Sam Koim’s new appointment

Sam koim
Sam Koim - former corruption buster, now the new Commissioner-General of PNG's Internal Revenue Commission

SAM KOIM
| New Head of the Internal Revenue Commission | Edited extract

PORT MORESBY - My vision for the Internal Revenue Commission [IRC] is: “building the foundations of a robust, modern and efficient tax administration”.

Albert Einstein once said “intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them”. It is logical, not necessarily genius, to find lasting preventative measures instead of costly and repetitive firefighting solutions.

Continue reading "Sam Koim’s new appointment" »


Deputy takes over health hot seat

Dr Paison Dakulala
Dr Paison Dakulala

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND – A new appointment has been made to Papua New Guinea's embattled health department, after the former health secretary's contract expired this week.

Dr Paison Dakulala will take over on a three month contract after Pascoe Kase's contract expired on Monday and was not renewed.

Continue reading "Deputy takes over health hot seat" »


PNG must change its spending systems

Allan Bird
Governor Allan Bird - "Right now the only real check and balance is the individual"

ALLAN BIRD
| Governor, East Sepik Province

WEWAK - Our country is overrun with corruption because we do not have effective checks on power.

There is a complete lack of checks and balances in the system. In fact I would say that there aren’t any checks and balances at all.

We negotiate for an opportunity to spend money. Everyone spends public money, from the prime minister all the way to the local level government presidents, ward members and public servants.

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The enigma of James Marape

Aunt
An elderly aunt in Indiana (not Phil Fitzpatrick's)

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I’ve got an elderly aunt in Indiana, USA, who thinks Donald Trump is wonderful. She was a volunteer in his 2016 election campaign and is thinking about doing it again this year.

My aunt thinks Barack Obama was the worst president that America ever had and that the Democrats are socialists who will destroy America.

Continue reading "The enigma of James Marape" »


Cliodynamics & Bougainville

Clio
In Greek mythology, Clio is the muse of history

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Many readers may be as surprised as I was to learn that there is a thing such as cliodynamics, much less that it may have any role in explaining what is happening right now in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere.

Cliodynamics is defined as a transdisciplinary area of research (stay with me) integrating cultural evolution (how societies change over time), cliometrics (a form of economic history), macrosociology (the study of social systems and populations on a large scale), the mathematical modeling of historical processes over the very long term, and the construction and analysis of historical databases.

Continue reading "Cliodynamics & Bougainville" »


Will Peter O’Neill return as prime minister?

O'Neill
Disgraced former prime minister O'Neill. Despite Port Moresby gossip, police minister Kramer says O'Neill has no chance of making a comeback

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report | Extracts

MADANG - Following the election of James Marape as the eighth prime minister of Papua New Guinea in May 2019, there have been whispers in the corridors of Waigani and among certain members of the business community that strong believe Peter O’Neill will be returned as prime minister.

So what chance does O’Neill have returning as prime minister? The short answer is zero.

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Extreme corruption needs extreme response

James Marape
James Marape has one of the hardest jobs a national leader can face - ridding a country of corruption

ERIC SCHERING

MICHIGAN, USA - In the 18 December issue of The National, prime minister James Marape put the kibosh on unauthorised foreign travel by ministers of state.

He made it clear that ministers must receive permission from himself through the chief secretary before they travel to Australia, the United States or China.

Continue reading "Extreme corruption needs extreme response" »


B’ville finance minister under pressure

Robin Wilson
South Bougainville community leaders want president John Momis to answer questions about finance minister Robin Wilson who is under investigation

ANTHONY KAYBING

BUKA - The community governments of South Bougainville have called upon Bougainville president John Momis to answer questions surrounding his embattled finance and treasury minister, Robin Wilson.

Mr Wilson is the subject of official corruption charges before Papua New Guinea’s national court and is under active investigation on a range of matters but retains his portfolio in the Momis cabinet.

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That’s all you get, says Buin

Buin
Buin is a truly beautiful part of the world but local leaders are angered by the actions of the Autonomous Bougainville Government

ANTHONY KAYBING

BUIN - The collective community governments of Buin District have petitioned the Bougainville government not to extend its term in office.

Chairpersons of the community governments claim the Bougainville government led by president John Momis has acted unconstitutionally and deprived the people of their right to democratically sound process.

Continue reading "That’s all you get, says Buin" »


Australia leaves refugees to madness & death

Hamid Kehazaei
Iranian refugee Hamid Kehazaei died in 2014 after contracting a leg infection in Manus that eventually left him brain dead

SIOBHÁN O'GRADY
| Washington Post

WASHINGTON DC - For the past 10 months, asylum seekers held in Australia’s controversial offshore processing centres in the Pacific islands have been able to seek transfers to Australia for urgent medical treatment.

Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton claims the policy has helped people migrate into Australia “through the back door.” Physicians and refugee advocates say it has saved sick asylum seekers’ lives.

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O’Neill: Izze an Ozzie izze Lizzie…..?

Oneill
"Is he an Aussie, is he, is he, is he an Aussie is he, eh? Is it because he's an Aussie, Lizzie, That he makes you dizzy, Lizzie?" (From the Vaults)

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - On Thursday 14 November, former prime minister Peter O'Neill released a press statement announcing he had registered criminal complaints against me.

The complaints, made on 22 May 2019 and 28 October 2019, alleged I had made false citizenship claims against him, thus offending against sections 21 and 23 of the Cybercrime Act.

Continue reading "O’Neill: Izze an Ozzie izze Lizzie…..?" »


Push the power of the pen

Power to the pen
"True development comes not when more money comes into the treasury but when the mindset changes"

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

SONOMA – The words of writers live longer than the ploys of many politicians. Writers influence every successive generation. Their legacy lasts long.

I believe in the power of writing and it is a power that has no peer.

The world is changing and Papua New Guinea is changing in terms of buildings and roads and education and international relationships and development.

Continue reading "Push the power of the pen" »


Is Gordons a turning point for PNG markets?

Gordons exterior
Port Moresby's new Gordons Market - symbol of progress or another chance to sink into chaos and anarchy?

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY - The much talked about refurbished Gordons Market was officially opened on the 31 October at a cost of K30 million, most of the funds coming from the New Zealand Government and the National Capital Development Commission.

The market is said to be the biggest fresh produce market in the Pacific and will cater for up to 1,500 vendors.

Continue reading "Is Gordons a turning point for PNG markets?" »


O’Neill: Chief justice’s shock intervention

LetterKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea chief justice, Sir Gibbs Salika, has made an extraordinary intervention in politics by lodging a complaint against police minister Bryan Kramer alleging he has spread “a false or misleading report”.

And Salika’s letter of complaint was quickly leaked to Facebook.

Continue reading "O’Neill: Chief justice’s shock intervention" »


Limited pot of money, says Treasurer

PNG Budget
Ian Ling-Stuckey and his Treasury team – “The budget process is a tough one – a demanding one requiring balancing different claims on a very limited pot of money”

IAN LING-STUCKEY MP
| PNG Treasury Minister

PORT MORESBY - Budget repair is difficult. It requires an honest approach, one that exposes the economic lies of the O’Neill years.

It requires an ability to make tough decisions, such as the K1,482 million spending cuts in the 2019 supplementary budget.

Continue reading "Limited pot of money, says Treasurer" »