Government & politics Feed

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.

Continue reading "On election violence & unaccounted billions" »


Australia's Covid situation is out of control

A Twitter thread examining the alarming, tragic and unfinished story of Covid in Australia: where the people are now; how we got here; and what we must do to extract ourselves from this shitshow

Covid pic masked people
Image by The Age

COLIN KINNER
(@ColinKinner)

BRISBANE - First, where are we right now? Some facts.

Around 50% of all Australians have had Covid, there have been 9,700 deaths from Covid and about half a million people are suffering from Long Covid.

To put that in perspective, the current death rate is around 50 people per day, and increasing.

Continue reading "Australia's Covid situation is out of control" »


Pre-poll incidents foretell election violence

One key test for PNG’s fragile democracy will be women’s political representation. PNG is one of only three countries to have no female legislators in its national parliament

Election and security officials plan the movement of supplies  2017 (Commonwealth Secretariat)
Election and security officials plan the movement of supplies,  2017 (Commonwealth Secretariat)

TEDDY WINN
| Griffith Asia Insights

https://blogs.griffith.edu.au/asiainsights/

TOWNSVILLE - Papua New Guineans will go to the polls on 2 July - the tenth time citizens have exercised their universal suffrage since the first post-independence election of 1977.

The process started with the issuing of writs on 12 May.  Sadly, the country lost its deputy prime minister in a fatal car accident the day before, resulting in the deferral of nominations by a week.

Continue reading "Pre-poll incidents foretell election violence" »


Fee-free education in PNG flawed, says NRI

Research suggests that policy-makers now need to focus on the less politically popular aspects of education policy, such as improving teacher quality and oversight and monitoring

Class

NEWSDESK
| Radio New Zealand | Pacific News

AUCKLAND - More than 10 years after it started, big changes are being called for in Papua New Guinea's tuition fee-free education system, introduced by the O'Neill government in 2011.

The National Research Institute (NRI) in PNG has conducted an assessment in East Sepik and Morobe provinces and found that, while fee-free education improved access for many students, the quality of education was undermined.

Continue reading "Fee-free education in PNG flawed, says NRI" »


When your guardians become grand thieves

Do the people understand exactly what is happening – and how it is happening, and to the benefit of whom? No, too often they don’t. They are not told. These things are not explained to them

Oates cartoon
PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND QLD –There is an argument put forward that, if everyone knows their taxes and public resources are deployed in a transparent and ethical way, where then is the corruption?

And if people vote on issues that have been fully explained to them by their elected representatives, where then is the ignorance?

Continue reading "When your guardians become grand thieves" »


New push to adopt anti-corruption strategies

Almost no organisations and government agencies have an anti-corruption strategy - even those responsible for protecting integrity

Corruption top

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - With the help of the European Union, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is seeking to persuade Papua New Guinea’s government agencies to adopt and implement explicit anti-corruption and integrity strategies.

It says it is doing this in the knowledge that few government agencies, including those responsible for protecting integrity and fighting corruption, do not have an anti-corruption strategy.

Continue reading "New push to adopt anti-corruption strategies" »


PM Marape’s compromised & corrupted Pangu

It was Michael Somare’s Pangu that knew the way to independence. Now under James Marape, ‘Pangu ino save lo rot’. Pangu doesn't know the way

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MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI – ‘Pangu save lo ro’ (Pangu knows the way) is a motto made popular by the late Sam Basil.

It refers to the Pangu Pati that attained independence for Papua New Guinea in 1975 led by the late Michael Somare.

Continue reading "PM Marape’s compromised & corrupted Pangu" »


The vital roles of the media in our country

Being an agitator can come at a high cost. In many instances, society may not be ready for the solutions the media provides. The media itself may not be ready

Scott Waide
Scott Waide - "The role of the media as a guardian of democracy comes to the fore when people go to the polls"

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - It has been a hectic three months working around the clock running pre-election workshops for journalists in all four regions through the media development initiative of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The most important part of the training for many of those journalists who attended has been the discussion around the role of the media in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The vital roles of the media in our country" »


Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI

From the outset ASPI was a highly politicised right wing think tank. It’s now reached its use-by date & should put down the megaphone

Aspi graphic

BRUCE HAIGH
| Pearls & Irritations

ORANGE, NSW - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ASPI, was conceived as a body to provide the government with the advice it wanted to hear.

It was commissioned by prime minister John Howard in August 2001 to undertake ‘policy-relevant research and analysis to better inform government decisions and public understanding of strategic and defence issues'.

Continue reading "Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI" »


Commonwealth observers ready for action

The observer group at the 2017 election was strongly criticised for its perceived failure to identify many  substantial problems around voting

Commonwealth-observer-speaks-with-commonwealth voters-in-Hela-Province-2012-Treva-Braun-Commonwealth-Sec-
Commonwealth observer speaks with voters in Hela Province, 2012 (Treva Braun | Commonwealth Secretariat)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – A former president of Nauru, Baron Waqa, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to Papua New Guinea’s national election next month.

At the invitation of the PNG Electoral Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat will deploy the Group to observe and report on the country’s national election scheduled to begin on 2 July.

Continue reading "Commonwealth observers ready for action" »


A rough guide to a challenging future

Neo-liberalism's inherent flaws and contradictions have created mountainous debt and numerous socio-economic dysfunctions which have left the world’s economic and financial systems dangerously exposed

A Rough Guide to the Future

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - As an historian I am very wary about trying to predict the future based upon what has happened in the past or even what is happening in the present.

The record of those who predict the future with confidence is that they have been almost invariably wrong.

Continue reading "A rough guide to a challenging future" »


Don’t be fooled by the two bother brothers

Marape is as power hungry as O’Neill. They're just two Highlands egos preying on the emotions of uncritical voters 

O'Neill and Marape
Peter O'Neill and James Marape - "Papua New Guineans, don’t be fooled by these two power hungry guys"

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - When addressing a crowd of Pangu Pati supporters in Morobe Province a week ago, prime minister James Marape issued a challenge to his predecessor, People’s National Congress (PNC) leader Peter O’Neill, and his supporters.

He invited O’Neill to a debate and dared him to explain to the country what he had done for Lae and Papua New Guinea during his eight years in office (2011-19). Marape.

Continue reading "Don’t be fooled by the two bother brothers" »


Progress often needs more than a road

The people of Milne Bay have a point. They have the makings of prosperity and connectivity. But a road from the capital would not necessarily bring them anything but strife

Green alotau sign

JOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – Not long ago, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape convened a stakeholder meeting to discuss Connect PNG – a 20-year plan to increase strategic road connections across the country.

Australian high commissioner Jon Philp told the meeting that Australia continued to support strategic and high-quality infrastructure projects as a tool to promote economic prosperity.

Continue reading "Progress often needs more than a road" »


Another Somare seeks to rebuild a nation

We cannot build a decent Papua New Guinea when extortion and bribery are the starting points to acquire political power

Dulciana
Dulciana Somare-Brash with the late Sir Michael Somare - "We don't have female representation in parliament and that is a huge motivator. I work in the political space as a technical advisor and I’m hoping to have success at the polls this time"


DULCIANA SOMARE

ANGORAM - I’m the only female candidate contesting the Angoram Open seat in East Sepik Province – one of the 72 candidates who have nominated so far.

That may seem like an anomaly, however the underlying truth is that the steps involved in mounting an election campaign through all its processes up until the final count are complex, exclusive and expensive.

Continue reading "Another Somare seeks to rebuild a nation" »


Advice to a young, ambitious politician

Allan Bird
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird MP - "Behave in ways that best represent our values"

GOVERNOR ALLAN BIRD
| Academia Nomad

Good behaviour is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of great strength. Let the ballot box speak

WEWAK – I’ve seen a number of strong comments from young Sepiks and other coastal citizens in support of electing a coastal prime minister.

So let me share my observations on whether this outcome is possible and what it would take to achieve it.

Continue reading "Advice to a young, ambitious politician" »


The timely end of a dangerous government

Teal albo top
Anthony Albanese has to prove himself capable of sorting out the considerable mess that Scott Morrison has left behind

KEITH JACKSON

If Albanese exercises democracy and wisdom in the cabinet room, we will have the best government we can have - and nobody can hope for anything more than that

NOOSA - Yesterday’s man under pressure has survived to become today’s hero – and I’m going to explain why.

For many Australians, the Labor Party’s win in Saturday’s national election seemed an unlikely victory.

Throughout his period as opposition leader, Anthony (Albo) Albanese had sought to present a target so small that nobody could take clear aim at it.

Continue reading "The timely end of a dangerous government" »


Note to candidates: Avoid unwinnable seats

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Governor Gary Juffa - a formidable politician and not someone an inexperienced candidate would want to take on

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - I once listened to a talk on a case study drawn from the Oro provincial election of 2017.

It dealt particularly with the challenges women face in elections.

Being from Oro, I listened with interest but was disappointed when I heard the findings, which were not a good reflection of Oro politics.

Continue reading "Note to candidates: Avoid unwinnable seats" »


Can Albanese end the great regression?

Albanese
Anthony Albanese - "A critical component of progress is engaging with people you don't agree with - everything else is the status quo"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The demise of Australia’s Morrison government hopefully spells the end of nine long years of inertia, incompetence and corruption.

The incoming Albanese government inherits a sea of troubles: unprecedented public cynicism about politics; a degraded Federal public service; an economy about to be smitten by inflation; mountainous debt and fragile asset bubbles; an incredibly destructive European war; and a Chinese economy teetering on the edge of disaster.

This is a grim outlook indeed.

Continue reading "Can Albanese end the great regression?" »


How Albanese could rewrite the script

Australian-parliament-house-canberra
Parliament House, Canberra

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Throughout April and May, John Menadue’s blog, Pearls & Irritations, published a series of expert essays on policies a new Australian government should adopt to improve its performance and effectivendess.

Here are synopses of each of these articles. Follow this link to read them in full.

Continue reading "How Albanese could rewrite the script" »


China lines up to support PNG’s late election

Election Scrutineers  national election 2017 (Johnny Blades  RNZ)
Scrutineers at the national election in 2017 (Johnny Blades RNZ)

KEITH JACKSON

Democracy was hijacked with the vote undermined by brazen electoral fraud and unprecedented violence and insecurity - PNG Election 2017

NOOSA – China is offering assistance to curb election violence in Papua New Guinea, according to a report in today’s The Australian newspaper.

The story by Ben Packham, the paper’s well-connected foreign affairs and defence correspondent, comes ahead of PNG’s five-yearly election starting on Friday 9 July and finishing on Wednesday 22 July after a two-week delay for reasons that are unclear.

Continue reading "China lines up to support PNG’s late election" »


Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?

A MPs wait to receive a foreign leader. How many are corrupt
Members of Parliament wait to greet a foreign leader. How many are corrupt?

MICHAEL KABUNI
|Academia Nomad

It’s not just a few people doing the wrong thing. It’s most people doing the wrong thing

WAIGANI - The average turnover of Papua New Guinea’s elected politicians is 50%; at each national election about half of the incumbents lose their seats. 

This is one of the highest rates in the world and has been the case without exception since the first post-independence election in 1977.

Continue reading "Tok stret ia: Is PNG thoroughly corrupt?" »


Basil: distrusted in life; praised at ‘belsori'

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Sam Basil. The 'belsori' vote following his death increases the prospects of ULP candidates winning seats.

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI – Many tributes have been written about the late deputy prime minister Sam Basil MP, who died last week after a motor vehicle accident.

In this article, I will write about the impact of Basil’s death on the political party he formed in 2020 - the United Labour Party (ULP) - and its situation leading into the 2022 elections before the tragic accident that took his life.

Continue reading "Basil: distrusted in life; praised at ‘belsori'" »


‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie

A
Scott Morrison - political abuser reaches the bargaining stage of grief

NICK FEIK
| Editor | The Monthly

MELBOURNE - On Friday, prime minister Scott Morrison came as close as he’ll ever come to conceding that most people don’t like him.

He also said that “there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things”.

Continue reading "‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie" »


MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay

A Llew-OBrienKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The south-east coastal Queensland seat of Wide Bay comes up for grabs again next Saturday when Australia holds its federal election.

Given the wobbly state of my health, a couple of days ago I cast a postal vote at the very desk where I sit writing this. So I'm in for getting rid of the Morrison government.

Continue reading "MPs stick around up here in Wide Bay" »


Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors

Frank Jordan
Frank Jordan - "To invite New Zealanders to work in Australia but exclude Papua New Guineans shows a deep lack of respect"

FRANK JORDAN
| Reason Australia Party

Reason supports giving Papua New Guinea citizens the same rights to live and work in Australia as New Zealand citizens and offering them legislative protections for fair and safe working conditions

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is a nation of nine million people just 10 kilometres north of Australia.

Most Australians will have met someone from New Zealand which has a population two thirds that of PNG. How many can say they have met someone from PNG.

Continue reading "Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors" »


A most desperate need for good leadership

Democracy-problemsSTEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - In Abraham Lincoln’s time, messaging was limited to horse and rider and, as electronics became better understood, the telegraph.

News slowly developed as a commodity but, back then, it was largely confined to industrialised countries.

An event of significance happening in mid-19th century India might have appeared as a footnote in the London Times many weeks after the event.

Continue reading "A most desperate need for good leadership" »


Lies have power in age of political fiction

A FrankBruni
Frank Bruni

FRANK BRUNI
| The New York Times

DURHAM, USA - Imelda Marcos’s sandals lived better than I did. I just discovered that.

I was reacquainting myself with that whole sordid history — with the unfathomable extravagance that she and her dictator husband, Ferdinand, indulged in before they were run out of the Philippines in 1986 — and found an article on Medium that said that her hundreds upon hundreds of shoes occupied a closet of 1,500 square feet.

Continue reading "Lies have power in age of political fiction" »


Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?

A Democracy in Crisis (Kal  Freedom House)
Democracy & Human Rights in Crisis (Kal,  Freedom House)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – There has developed the most depressing reality that people can be seduced by falsehoods once they opt to suspend disbelief and accept as true that which has been fabricated.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln famously said, ““You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Continue reading "Democracy’s flaws. Could they be fatal?" »


Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws

Scott Morrison (Mick Tsikas  AAP)
Scott Morrison's government has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for legal requirements and ethical norms (Mick Tsikas, AAP)

MICHAEL KEATING
| Pearls & Irritations

The establishment of an anti-corruption body has been long promised in both Papua New Guinea and Australia, but has never happened. Voters understandably explain this reluctance as an attempt to avoid scrutiny of how public money is spent and of other crucial decisions – KJ

CANBERRA - There is a legislated process prescribing how government grants should be administered, but it clearly is not being followed and we need an integrity commission to enforce it.

An important issue for many voters in the current federal election – particularly the 'Teal Independents' – is government integrity and the need to establish a national integrity commission with teeth.

Continue reading "Morrison is in breach of govt integrity laws" »


Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries

Benjamin Raue
Benjamin Raue - "PNG may want to take a page out of Australia’s book and reduce the power of parliament over redistribution"

BENJAMIN RAUE
| Asia & The Pacific Policy Society

Open electorates should cover similar numbers of people but this is not the case in practice

SYDNEY – Next month, voters in the Pacific’s largest country, Papua New Guinea, will be going to the polls to have their say on who should run their country.

In addition to voting for the country’s 22 provincial governors, Papua New Guineans will also be voting for 96 members representing ‘open’ electorates, which cover the whole country.

Continue reading "Redrawing PNG’s unfair electoral boundaries" »


The huge damage of political managerialism

A managerialism topCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Right now, we have a complete overload of dumbness to contend with around the world.

Let me give an example from a field I know something about - hospitals and aged care.

In these health industry sectors, there are some functions that can be effectively outsourced but they are substantially fewer than you might assume.

Continue reading "The huge damage of political managerialism" »


Labor’s 7 point plan for the Pacific

ABC shortwave radio aerial system
The ABC's shortwave radio service was shut down by the Morrison government, enabling China to grab the frequencies. If elected, the Labor Party says it will fund a project to rescue this trashed capability

DANIEL HURST
| The Guardian | Extract

SYDNEY - Labor has vowed to increase foreign aid to Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste by $525 million over four years, as it makes an election pledge to ‘restore Australia’s place as first partner of choice for our Pacific family’.

The opposition is also vowing to reform Pacific worker schemes, ramp up patrols to fight illegal fishing, boost regional broadcasting, and ‘listen and act on Pacific island warnings of the existential threat of climate change’.

Continue reading "Labor’s 7 point plan for the Pacific" »


A look at Jason Clare – Labor’s coming man

Clare
Jason Clare in full flight

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA –  Jason Clare, the Labor Party member for Paul Keating’s former seat of Blaxland in Sydney’s west, has leaped to national prominence in Australia after stellar performances as party spokesman in the current election campaign.

Or that's how it may appear. But Clare became a minister  early in his political career, was mooted as a potential prime minister in 2013, and since then has occupied a firm position as both a shadow minister and a senior member of Labor’s shadow cabinet.

Continue reading "A look at Jason Clare – Labor’s coming man" »


Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend

A nam bish
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015,  before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister

MARTYN NAMORONG

"You were once our coloniser. You created institutions. All on our behalf. And yours too, let's be honest" - Martyn Namorong

In 2015, under the auspices of PNG Attitude (and, of course, our generous readers), the young Martyn Namorong – one of the most perceptive critics Papua New Guinea has produced - made his first visit to Australia.

Continue reading "Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend" »


Pacific: ALP unveils as Morrison flails

_Pix - Morrison CO(R)ALBERNARD KEANE
| Crikey | Extracts

MELBOURNE - Capitalising on Scott Morrison’s persistent problems over his Solomon Islands debacle, Labor maintained the unusual foreign policy theme of the campaign so far by unveiling its Asia-Pacific strategy this morning, with Penny Wong standing in for Anthony Albanese.

A half billion dollars in extra aid over four years, an expanded Pacific labour scheme under which participants can bring family members, and a new class of permanent migration visa — these form the core of the policy, along with an unspecified ‘Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership’.

Continue reading "Pacific: ALP unveils as Morrison flails" »


Remembering the remarkable John Guise

guise
John Guise - "The first Papuan to make a political mark and a true pioneer of nationhood"

DON WOOLFORD
| AAP Archive | 28 August 2012

SYDNEY - A little-known role of the most remarkable Papuan of his generation should be recalled during the commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the battle of Milne Bay - Japan's first defeat on land in World War II.

John Guise, the first Papuan to make a political impact, didn't mind a bit of boasting, especially if it involved cricket and the unbeaten 253 he once smashed which was, and may still be, a record for Milne Bay first grade.

Continue reading "Remembering the remarkable John Guise" »


Did Xi shoot the sheriff?

A Bush hails ‘sheriff Australia' (BBC News)
Bush hails ‘sheriff Australia' (BBC News). Every day looking more like the Sheriff of Nothingham

DAN McGARRY
| The Village Explainer
| Courtesy Asia Pacific Report

“If we can’t respect the equal standing of nations, we can’t protect their integrity” – Dan McGarry

VILA - If the coming election goes to Australia’s Labor Party, Senator Penny Wong is very likely to become foreign minister.

So when she speaks, people across the region prick up their ears.

Continue reading "Did Xi shoot the sheriff?" »


Oz omnishambles over China & Solomons

A
Loudmouth tearaway Marise Payne has gone missing leaving commentary on the Solomons to shy, demure Penny Wong

BERNARD KEANE
| Crikey

MELBOURNE - The debacle of the now-formalised agreement between China and the government of the Solomon Islands has forced Morrison onto the defensive.

And this on what was supposed by the press gallery ahead of the campaign to be a source of unique and irrepressible strength: his tough-guy act on China.

Continue reading "Oz omnishambles over China & Solomons" »


Musos war on tyranny: Sand Spiders rampant

A sj
Simon Jackson - Productivity as a songwriter is vast. He also has quality of musicianship and writes lyrics of intense social substance

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – My eldest child Simon, now old enough to be my father, was born at Taurama Base Hospital (as it then was) in Port Moresby in the middle of the night in October 1967.

I well recall that midnight hour because I was a participant in a new scheme - the presence of fathers at childbirth - but had been shooed away because of some medical complication just as the tip of Simon's head appeared .

Continue reading "Musos war on tyranny: Sand Spiders rampant" »


Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht

Night of Broken Glass Brisbane
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police

CHEK LING
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - It happened 133 years ago. Yet the Chinese Question remains, having now mutated to the China Question.

Meanwhile the burden upon the Chinese as scapegoats, at the altar of racial purity in the first instance, cultural cohesion a century later and more recently the issue of national sovereignty continues unabated.

Continue reading "Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht " »


Australia: More PMs than PNG but….

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James Marape and Scott Morrison. By the end of June both may be out of a job

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Australia and Papua New Guinea head to the polls - in May and June respectively - and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and his PNG counterpart James Marape risk losing their grip on power.

If PNG appoints a new prime minister, it will be our fourth since 2002. If Australia gets a new PM, it will be it sixth over the same period.

Continue reading "Australia: More PMs than PNG but…." »


US will work on PNG’s biggest problems

Land cleared by ExxonMobil for an airfield  Komo  2010 (Jes Aznar  The New York Times)
Men walk across land being cleared by ExxonMobil for Komo airstrip in 2010. The massive LNG project has been a major unsettling influence in the area (Jes Aznar,  New York Times)

BRIAN HARDING & NICOLE COCHRAN
| United States Institute of Peace | Edited

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - In terms of geographical size and population, Papua New Guinea is by far the biggest country in the Pacific Islands, a region increasingly central to United States’ strategic interests.

Along with neighbouring Solomon Islands, PNG is at the centre of a growing geopolitical contest between the US and its allies and China.

Continue reading "US will work on PNG’s biggest problems" »


No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG

A un candidate training
United Nations women candidates workshop, Port Moresby, 2012. If training does not pragmatically address the socio-cultural barriers facing women, it is likely to be a complete waste of time

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

Disclaimer: If your goal is advocacy for women’s rights, please don’t read this article. It will offend you. If you get offended easily, don’t read. But if your goal is ‘winning’ an election as a women in Papua New Guinea read on - MK

PORT MORESBY - There is the idealistic, modern, Western way of doing things. And then there is the Papua New Guinean Way, the Melanesian Way.

In electoral terms, one of these is clearly much more effective than the other.

Continue reading "No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG" »


Bougainville: PNG’s very wicked policy problem

CHRIS OVERLAND

A independence demoADELAIDE – In his thoughtful exposition, ‘What should we do with Bougainville’, Joe Ketan neatly outlines what is described as a 'wicked' policy problem, meaning one for which there is no good solution.

It is abundantly clear that, if Bougainville's demand for independence is not acceded to by the Papua New Guinean parliament, it is likely a unilateral declaration of independence will be declared by an angry and frustrated Autonomous Bougainville Government.

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What should we do with Bougainville?

Ketan - ANU Observers in Bougainville
The ANU-UPNG Bougainville referendum observer team in Central Bougainville, November 2019

JOE KETAN

PORT MORESBY - In November 2019, the voters of Bougainville turned out and voted overwhelmingly for independence at a referendum expressly giving them the opportunity to have a say on their political future of their island.

I was in Bougainville for the referendum as a member of the Australian National University’s accredited international and domestic observer team.

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