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The global market for medical products is shaped mainly by the demands of wealthy consumers. It rarely calls into being the tools needed to combat diseases that afflict primarily poor countries therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines, as well as technologies that prevent the spread of disease such as insecticide-treated bed nets. Where such products do exist, its often down to the needs of tourists and soldiers and those products tend to fail over time as microbes and vectors evolve to evade our defences.
At the same time, governments and publicly or philanthropically funded research institutions generally do not have all the expertise required to discover, develop and create production pathways for such products.
Thats where Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) come in. PDPs are lean, not-for-profit public health intermediary organisations. They catalyse the discovery and development of global health products by bringing together public and private sector research and development expertise across a broad portfolio of product candidates. Some candidates succeed, some fall by the wayside.
The net effect of the 16 major PDPs work over the past two decades has been an impressive reinvigoration of the pipeline of tools for global health. Most importantly, a growing number of these tools have been approved for use, are under consideration by regulatory agencies, or are in late-stage trials.
When the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, launched Australias Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region in October 2017, she announced that Australia would commit $75 million over five years to support the work of PDPs from 2018. This represents the Australian aid programs single largest commitment to global health research and development, and a 50% increase in PDP funding in annual terms.
We need to communicate aid better is a constant chorus among those working in aid and development in Australia. Against the background of major aid cuts and the integration of AusAID into DFAT, parliamentarians tell the aid community we need to sell the message better. Minister Julie Bishop has said, support for our invaluable aid program has to come from home, from the Australian taxpayer. So the Australian taxpayers must support it, and that will come with a better appreciation of its purpose, its intent and the outcomes. The winning 3-Minute Aid Pitch from the 2017 Australasian Aid Conference was that we need to communicate aid better. Agencies band together to campaign for Australian aid. DFAT earnestly tweets happy snaps of aid events and initiatives. And yet something isnt working: further deep cuts to aid are being floated and the public seems largely indifferent.
So: are there some simple aid messages that we aid enthusiasts in government, NGOs, academia, and the private sector can use when we engage with non-aid enthusiasts? We know that aid and development assistance is complex. There are a multitude of issues and strands that can be bewildering for those of us working in this sector, let alone those who dont. We easily slip into the jargon of aid and development, but it can be like putting up a brick wall against those whose support for aid we actually want to encourage.
Here is an attempt at three simple messages to help explain the aid program:
Message #1: Overseas aid is less than 1% of Australian Government spending
The aid community talks about Australia only spending 0.22% of GNI on aid, against the UN target of 0.7% and with that sentence alone weve probably lost most of our potential audience. So lets talk about a more commonly understood idea,...
ACT NOW! launched its new camapign, titled 'Celebrating and Defending Customary Land', on April 17 in Port Moresby.
More than 30 people attended the launch event, including representatives from ten different media outlets and various civil society groups.
Camera crews set up their recording equipment
The lights were dimmed for the first screening of the new television advert
Eddie Tanago explained why customary land must be celebrated and defended
Every word was recorded by the TV crews
Campaign publications were popular with the media and other guests
Eddie Tanago answered questions from the audience.
All set! Oselle Tamanabae ready to greet the first arrivals
Paul Barker from the Institute of National Affairs in discussion with Eddie Tanago
My earlier blog summarised some key findings from WHO reports about NCD prevention and control globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. What does the recently released WHO NCD Progress Monitor 2017 report reveal about the NCD challenge in the Pacific?
First, it confirms the importance of NCDs as a source of death in the Pacific. NCDs now account for over 80% of all deaths in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga; over two thirds of all deaths in the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; and over half of all deaths in Papua New Guinea.
Second, Pacific Island countries (PICs) have a relatively high risk of premature (i.e. between 30 and 70 years of age) deaths from any of the four main NCDs: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. Premature deaths are important because they can usually be prevented or at least postponed, and they affect those of working age population. Graph 1 below shows the risk of premature deaths from any of the four main NCDs for those countries in the Pacific for which estimates are available.
Graph 1: Risk of premature (30 70 years of age) death from any of the four main NCDs in the Pacific
Importantly, WHO also states that PNGs population has the highest probability out of 194 countries in the world of dying prematurely from any of the four NCDs. There are inevitable data and methodological limitations in making such an important finding. For example, there are rarely estimates of the risk of premature NCD death for countries with a population of less than 200,000, several of which are in the Pacific and which may have even higher probabilities than PNG of premature death from one of the four NCDs. Nevertheless, what can be said with confidence is that relatively high levels of...
Imagine being a door-to-door vacuum salesperson from the worlds 19th best vacuum company, approaching someone who already owns a Dyson, and trying to convince them that your model is better while saying that 80% of people you try to sell it to dont actually buy it.
Our Minister for International Development and the Pacific would sure give it a shot. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells went to the Overseas Development Institute in the UK last night our time, said the UK should spend more money in the Pacific region and partner with Australia to help us with that little China-in-the-Pacific predicament, but said we couldnt possibly spend more money on such things ourselves because Australians dont like aid.
Australias terrible and declining performance on aid does not put it in a good position to tell other countries what to do with theirs. Influence doesnt come cheap. (Just ask China)
Terrible sales pitch aside, Senator CFWs remark that youve got to take the public along with you on aid is also worthy of examination.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the government polling had exposed a big schism between the community and those working in the aid sector who think the complete opposite.
You do have to take your public with you, she said.
In many ways, its true. We know there are differences between views in the aid sector and in the general public we did research on it. But the views are not polar opposites. (See our full range of research on public opinion on aid here.)
The UK government had to work extremely hard to take the public (and Conservatives) along with them when they instituted the 0.7% aid target, so they probably didnt need this pearl of wisdom from a representative of a government that has done absolutely nothing to build public support for or understanding of aid and development.
ACT NOW! is today launching a new multi-media campaign 'Celebrating and Defending Customary Land.
Why? Well, customary land is the most valuable and important asset available to most Papua New Guineans but its critical role is often misunderstood or misrepresented, particularly by outsiders.
Too few people realise customary land supports an economy estimated to be worth K40 billion a year, provides jobs and incomes for 3 million farmers and provides housing and a sense of community for more than 7 million people.
Papua New Guineas Real Economy - Factsheet
Many outsiders and local elites like to describe customary land as idle, undeveloped and a barrier to development
Customary Land Lies - Brochure
But exactly the opposite is true:
Customary land is the only resource on which we can build a sustainable future that benefits the majority of the population rather than just a tiny minority.
But if we are to realise this opportunity people must be empowered to defend their customary land and must not to fall victim to the false promises of those who want to take it away from them.
This is particularly important as we struggle to cope with our population explosion, which will see numbers almost double by 2050, and food security becomes even more of a pressing global issue.
PNGs Population Explosion - Infographic and Poster
Already some countries are looking to acquire customary land in Papua New Guinea to feed their own people while the threats from the foreign owned logging and oil palm industries are ever present. Adding to these pressures are the international banks who want people to use their customary land as security for loans and a government which continues to push its dangerous land regist...
I recently caught up with Rashmii Bell over lunch in Brisbane, and asked about her background and experiences as an author. Listen to the podcast, read the transcript, or for highlights of what we discussed, read on.
I began by asking Rashmii to tell me about her background, and what she is currently involved in.
Rashmii hails from Sio, Morobe Province in PNG, having being born and lived in Lae, as well as Port Moresby and (presently) Brisbane. She was educated in Australia, and has lived between there and PNG since 1990. She studied at Griffith University, obtaining a degree in psychology and criminology. She has more than ten years of experience working in case management within adult and youth corrections services.
Im a little past nine years while Ive been at home. Ive just been raising children. But, Ive always enjoyed reading. I read everything, read every day. And writing, I have been writing for myself, but I only just started having my work published in the past three years
I went on to ask what Rashmii considered to be the most significant milestones in her journey as an author. Her first, and possibly most significant milestone, was seeing her work published on the PNG Attitude blog, edited by Keith Jackson. More recently, her role as editor of My Walk to Equality has provided new opportunities:
appearing at the writers festivals, the Sunshine Coast festival this year, and then Brisbane Writers Festival, both in 2016 and 2017, which has really, I think, for the majority of the emerging contemporary PNG writers, thats a huge thing for us to know that Papua New Guinean literature is being mentioned at these international events.
In a similar vein, I asked Rashmii what she thought were the things that had the most influence on her voice as an author. She explained to me that she focuses on long form writing, with her pieces best classified as opinion and commentary. This is not a genre favoured by many Papua New Guineans and, among those that do, there are very few women, so I think that in itself helps elevate my voice because I am the minority in amongst the commentators out there, among the PNG men.
In addition, the subjects she writes on social justic...
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released documents about the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases that kill or disable people prematurely (between 30 and 70 years of age). One WHO report, Why is 2018 a strategically important year for NCDs?, provides estimates of NCD premature deaths globally. As can be seen in Table 1 below, WHO estimates that there were 15 million premature deaths from NCDs in 2015. This is significantly more than the 12 million deaths from communicable and perinatal diseases. Importantly from a development perspective, 80% of premature NCD deaths occur in middle-income countries, with most premature deaths (41% of the global total) occurring in lower middle-income countries. WHO states that while the risk of premature deaths from NCDs has been falling in all income groups, the decline was much larger in high-income countries, thereby increasing the gap with low and middle-income countries.
Table 1: Premature deaths in 30 70 year olds in 2015
Measuring the policy responses to reduce the burden of NCDs
Reducing premature deaths and disability is important because they impose large financial, economic and social costs on households and government budgets, and many NCDs are often preventable or at least can be postponed through reductions in risk factors. Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 aims to reduce premature death by one third by 2030. The 2011 United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs agreed on a set of best buys and other interventions that countries could adopt to prevent and control NCDs. Another recent WHO report, Noncommunicable Diseases Progress Monitor 2017, assesses pro...
To be a refugee is to wait. Wait in a camp or at a border, wait to be resettled, issued a visa or to find another option, wait to leave, wait to know, wait to return. Much of the waiting must seem endless, especially the waiting to know about family and friends at home or lost along the way. Surely most people are driven to despair?
This sense of waiting or as one character tells us, of neither moving backward or forward is at the centre of Finnish director Aki Kaurismkis film The Other Side of Hope. Its a film that has been described as both coolly comic and humane. David Edelstein got wordy in his review for Vulture and called it tragic, funny, depressing, and inspiring. In the New York Times, AO Scott praised it for being a touching and clearsighted declaration of faith in people and in movies.
The story revolves around two men. Khaled, an asylum seeker from Syria who arrives in Finland after stowing away on a container ship from Poland; and Wikstrm, who leaves his wife and his job, and buys a grimy restaurant that serves sardines in a can as its plat de jour. Wikstrms is a funny kind of mid-life crisis, but its one that sees him act as a saviour to Khaled.
After having his claim for asylum rejected, Khaled takes to the streets, determined to stay in Finland rather than being repatriated to Syria. He ends up sleeping behind the rubbish bins of Wikstrms restaurant and its here that the friendship begins, with a fist fight.
Kaurismki cleverly injects a deadpan humour into the goings-on at the restaurant. In this otherwise heart-wrenching and sadly familiar refugee story, the gradually funnier and outrageous happenings at the restaurant draw you in and open you up to the drama that sits alongside them.
The dingy Golden Pint restaurant, with its faded dcor, dour wait staff, and a cook that routinely has a cigarette burning at the edge of his mouth while in the kitchen is an unlikely safe-haven, and yet this is what it becomes, and not just for Khaled. Khaled is taken in, given a job and a place to stay. The wait staff are paid a substantial improvement on their terms of employment under the last owner and given a sense of security, which you recognise as missing from each of their lives. And Wikstrm is his own boss, with the space and the freedom to do as he pleases. The fact that he has little idea of how to run a restaurant doesnt faze him: his attempt to boost profits by turning it into a sushi bar is a debacle and laugh-out-loud funny.
The relentless condition of waiting and the absence of a...
He was an angry Ayatollah; an angry anti-United States Ayatollah, and I was the head of a field office of a US NGO funded by the US government.
Where do you get your funding from? He forcefully enquired through a translator.
It was around 8pm and we had found our way through the narrow streets of old city in the centre of Najaf, stopping a few blocks from where the nephew of the Prophet Mohammad, fourth Caliph and namesake of the Shia, Imam Ali, is buried. Being late 2003, the security situation had already deteriorated in Iraq, and I was visiting ayatollahs in an attempt to explain to them what we did, so that they would then speak on our behalf to their followers. Ayatollah Sheikh Bashir al-Najafi had just accused me of being a CIA spy sent to assess the layout of his compound. Somehow, thankfully, we had managed to move on from that and onto where our money came from.
I began with a very basic overview of the international humanitarian and development industry, some organisations take money from the Coalition Provisional Authority, some have no experience and come here with little idea of what they are doing, some come to spread the word of the Bible, while others are professional independent organisations that work on the basic needs of people. We are non-religious, we are not-for-profit, and all of us came here voluntarily.
Who is your funder? He must have had savvy advisors as he was focused on getting an answer to this question, but at least I had some time to think of a response.
We have different donorsaverage people who donate money by, for example, putting money into tin cans at supermarkets. Secondly, we get money from rich people who, when they die, donate their estate
Yes, he said, very much like we do
Finally, something in common! I emphasised this point and mentioned it again, hoping that the direction of the conversation would change before I had to explain why we took US government money. I continued, We get money from UNICEF
Interrupting again, he stated, UNICEF is a part of the UN. They are not independent, are they?
At this stage I decided to just get it over with and plough through. We write proposals that we then offer to various donors. We are not government contractors, we include the Iraqi staff when we decide what we want to do, and then we offer a proposal to donors to see if they will give us the money for the project. I watched intently as the translation was delivered before adding, One of our donors is the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. They are a part of the US government.
That was 2003.
In 2010 and 2011, I decided to go back to the places where I had worked to see what happened to the people and projects. The...
Lead poisoning kills approximately 143,000 people per year from long-term exposure. Quartz reports the story of a Kenyan mother who galvanised a community to shut down a smelter that was exposing people to these dangerous chemicals.
The Guardian reports on the impacts throughout Asia of Chinese aid, investment and competition with India.
A new report by UN Women points at universal childcare as a way to increase progress across the SDGs, and even costs it; read about it in this blog by the authors.
Charles Kenny writes for OpenCanada on the areas of society that still need to work towards gender equality, and how this can be done.
The region of the Horn of Africa has dried faster in the 20th century than it did over the last 2,000 years. Caused by global warming, this has pushed millions of the worlds poorest to the edge of survival, the New York Times reports.
The Chinese-in-the-Pacific dilemma has once again hit the headlines in Australia, this time with a proposed naval base in Vanuatu. It was promptly rejected by the Vanuatu government, but the likelihood of having Chinese military hardware on a long-term basis in the Pacific has raised significant discussion on the strategic implications for Australia and its allies.
Australia has long maintained a well-established and enduring relationship with the people of the Pacific. But Chinas influence is undeniably increasing. Its investment in soft power in particular has been a success, not only in economic terms but also in the lives of ordinary people. Chinese infrastructure projects, while not always successful, have enabled access to government services, giving people a sense of modernity and development. Chinas growing diaspora in the Pacific is also increasingly active in community engagements and maintain a close influence on local politics.
Chinas people-to-people relations continue to expand as it becomes a first responder to disaster relief efforts, shows goodwill through local charities, and provides scholarships for Pacific students to prestigious Chinese universities. To bridge the cultural gap, China is currently considering building Chinese language schools in the Pacific, beginning with Papua New Guinea.
Australia believes, as part of its strategic policy, that a secure Pacific means a secure Australia. Chinas emergence in the Pacific is seen by some as a threat to this state of order.......
Last month, on the sidelines of the Vanuatu Labour Summit, I caught up with Lionel Kaluat, the former Labour Commissioner for Vanuatu. Lionel is widely viewed as having been instrumental in Vanuatus early labour mobility success, which saw Vanuatu become the main provider of workers to New Zealand horticulture under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program. I asked Lionel both about those early successes, and about recent changes to Vanuatus labour sending arrangements.
Matt: Lionel, you were Labour Commissioner when Vanuatu quite against expectations became the largest provider of seasonal workers under New Zealands Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. What do you think was behind that success?
Lionel: Well, I believe the success story of how Vanuatu came to lead in New Zealand was basically because of the structure that we had right in the beginning which complemented New Zealand government policy.
And I think the beauty of the RSE program in the beginning was that New Zealand made sure that their backyard was cleared up, that the illegal workers were dealt with before the program commenced I always repeated to Australia to follow that example.
That was one of the reasons for RSE success: we started off with clear ground.
I then introduced a policy where we would not be reliant on the government as [an] agent, but where we would privatise the program by engaging agents, to ensure that there was no political interference. That was instrumental to that early success.
That allowed a transparent [and] accountable system to work, and we did so by trialing out the first 104 workers in a pilot. And the pilot proved successful.
Through that, employers in New Zealand found that our workers were reliable, competent. Thats how we first developed a trademark, or trade name: we are reliable workers, we can work eight hours a day, we are healthy, physically and mentally fit.
We also featured the skills our workers had, coming from rural areas. We picked people from rural areas who spent most of their time in the gardens.
I believe that once you do things right in the first place, you will always be right. So, we are very, very proud, and very glad that we actually had it on the right track right in the beginning.
And another good thing was our partnership with the New Zealand authorities. We were monitoring, providing advice, and making sure that things were done right in the first instance.
Matt: And its been, what? More than ten years since then? How do you think Vanuatu is going now in terms of labour mobility and its participation in the RSE and Australias Seasonal Worker Program (SWP)?
Preliminary OECD data on donor generosity were released today. The data cover 2017, and should be troubling to any Australian politician thinking of cutting aid in the coming budget.
In the 2017 calendar year, Australian aid was just 0.23 per cent of Australias Gross National Income (GNI). Australia now lags badly behind the median aid donor (which gives 0.29 per cent). The chart below shows you how Australia compares to other donors. It is worth looking at the countries in Australias neighbourhood. For the first time since 2005, Australia gives less aid as a share of GNI than Japan. Beneath Australia are the notoriously tightfisted United States, alongside countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece that have been through brutal recessions, and a group of countries such as Slovenia and Poland, all with GDPs per capita less than half that of Australias.
Is this really Australias place in the world?
The next chart shows how Australias ranking as a donor has trended over time. A score of one means most generous. There are 29 donors in total. As you can see, Australias standing is not improving. It has fallen to 19th in 2017, its lowest ranking in the group (which was also achieved one other time, in 2005). Needless to say, further aid cuts wont help this.
Its tempting to hide behind numbers when youre making excuses for inaction. Australia has become adept at it.
The world has 65 million displaced people. Many are stuck between homes they can never return to and countries who cant support them long-term.
When confronted with this global crisis, Australia has one number that makes us look impressive: we accept the third largest number of refugees for formal resettlement each year an expected 18,750 people in 2018. But our resettlement numbers pale in comparison to countries like Lebanon that neighbour conflict zones; Lebanons population today is 20 per cent refugees.
Globally, developing nations who have financial and security struggles of their own host 84 per cent of the worlds refugees.
Wealthy nations should be doing far more to support displaced people globally. This was recognised by UN member states in the September 2016 New York Declaration, which committed all countries to finding a fairer way to manage population flows and better share the responsibility for humanitarian and migration crises.
In the follow up to the Declaration, UNHCR was charged with developing a Global Compact on Refugees. Countries are now negotiating the content of the Compact, which will be finalised in July. A similar process is underway to develop a Global Compact on Migration.
Australia must stop hiding behind our resettlement intake, and make meaningful commitments to do our fair share. Below are five concrete actions the Australian Government can take in the global compacts process to step up to the refugee challenge:
Australia should develop a whole-of-government program of action in follow up to the global compacts. As a starting point for this program, Australia should bring its refugee resettlement quota back up to its previous level of 20,000 places, and then incrementally work to double it in the next five years. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 1.2 million refugees need resettlement. But in 2016 only 125,000 refuge...
In 2007, I began research with 22 ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers arriving in Central Otago for the first official season of New Zealands Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE).
As part of a longitudinal study, I followed the lives of these seasonal workers, their employers, their families, and their communities, whether they continued in the scheme or not. I am still in contact with 20 of them.
Where are they now?
Nine of the workers are currently working in New Zealand; eight as RSE workers and one with a two-year talent visa through his employer, which enables his family to live with him in New Zealand. He is not the only RSE worker that has been given this opportunity. Interestingly, when the RSE visa was established, it was made clear that it would not be a pathway to other immigration visas (and this is still the official position). Of the other 11 men, after seven seasons of the RSE, one is now working in Australias Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and the remaining ten are in Vanuatu.
Reasons to exit
Various reasons were given for leaving the RSE. Five of the men were stood down on the blacklisting system. Any misconduct of workers working and living regulations are reported by employers and team leaders to the Vanuatu Employment Services Unit (ESU). Being blacklisted prevents workers from returning for two-to-five years, or indefinitely, depending on the offense. Others did not earn as much as in earlier seasons (specifically, 2009-2010 was a lower-earning season, due to weather conditions). A number of men said they needed a rest to spend time with their families.
Seven of ten men in Vanuatu said they either wished to return to the RSE or apply for the SWP, to earn money for school fees. Nonetheless, once removed from seasonal worker programs it is difficult to return, unless arranged with an employer.
Achievements of workers
Workers stated that without participation in the RSE many of their goals would not have been realised, especially in terms of educating their children.
Within weeks of participating in the RSE in 2007, many of the workers began small business trading with each other, despite the fact that not one of these workers had studied past grade six. 14 workers said they had used some of their funds to start a business. The range of businesses demonstrates entrepreneurial audacity. Popular businesses initiated by participants ranged from a...
Since the turn of the century, Pacific island countries have been in the global spotlight like never before. Greater assertiveness, evident in global discussions around climate change as well as in relations with traditional allies like Australia and New Zealand, has been driven both by national and regional dynamics. However, diplomatic strength has not coincided with significant economic improvements. A resource boom has come and gone in Papua New Guinea, arguably creating more problems than it has delivered in the way of benefits. Throughout Melanesia, ongoing problems with basic service delivery have contributed to greater decentralisation, reversing decades of state-building efforts. Throughout the wider Pacific, dependence upon foreign assistance is as great as ever.
This special issue of Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies aims to explore the significant changes sweeping the Pacific islands region this century. What are the future implications for the region of changes now underway? How best can challenges be addressed? What are the implications for policy-makers?
Without wanting to constrain the breadth of papers that may be submitted, it is envisaged that possible topics might include: the blue-green economy, service delivery, regionalism, trade, and labour markets. Papers from different disciplinary backgrounds are invited, including economics, political science, governance, development, and the environment. Papers with relevance to public policy in the region are especially encouraged. All papers are subject to the normal peer review process undertaken by Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies. For further details, please contact Matthew Dornan.
October 31st 2017 (once accepted, papers will be available online on an early-view basis)
The prolonged vote counting in Papua New Guineas election provides a slight hiatus to consider political incumbency the benefits of holding office and its potential disadvantages. Counting is complex and hazardous, subject to delays by staff and security forces demanding allowances. The scrutiny of each electorate involves thousands of transfers of preferences from losing candidates to stronger ones until one of the last few candidates garners a majority of the remaining live votes. Apart from possible arithmetical error by exhausted officials, it is a phase when deliberate fraud has occurred in the past.[i] Tensions can erupt in violence.
To date most controversy has centred on gaps in the electoral rolls denying people the vote, as noted by the Commonwealth Observer team echoing its 2012 report. Limited funding from successive PNG governments has for years prevented proper updating voters deleted when their names had been sent to Election Commission headquarters. Some candidates perceive rigging by government, others unfairly have blamed Australian technical assistance for the state of the rolls, which is denied. Australias Minister for International Development and the Pacific is aware of reported irregularities in the election rolls but adds its not really appropriate for Australia to provide running commentary on the conduct of elections, and Its really important that we develop productive relations with whoever the PNG people elect as their leaders.
Predicting the next government is hazardous when in recent PNG ele...
The Senate Select Committee on the Future of Public Interest Journalism is currently inquiring into the state of journalism in Australia and around the world, which seems like a rather wide mandate.
But its no secret that journalism has struggled with the rapid changes brought forth by the online era, such as the fairly recent advent of fake news, so its worth investigating if anything can be done to stop the spiral.
At Devpolicy have seen the impact of media decline through our work in several ways, the most jarring being the cuts to Australian public broadcasting on and in the Pacific. But there have been other, more subtle changes too, along with the efforts we ourselves have made to try to get more eyeballs on issues we believe are important.
So our centre decided to make a submission to this inquiry. You can read our full submission here, but we summarise the key arguments below.
Public interest journalism and the Pacific region
As a centre with research work focused on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, the steady decline in quality Australian coverage of the region is an acute concern.
In recent years, there have been a number of worrying developments, like the shedding of jobs from Radio Australia, the axing of the Australia Network, foreign bureaus closing and the end of shortwave radio broadcasts into the Pacific earlier this year.
Combined, these developments have served to reduce the quality and quantity of reporting on the Pacific region that we see here in Australia, and to reduce the access that Pacific islanders have to high quality news about...
Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
Peter Neill Director, World Ocean Observatory | Huffington Post | July 11, 2017
It has been some time since weve reflected on the issue of deep sea miningthe search for minerals of all types on the ocean floor. We have seen already how marine resources are being over-exploitedover-fishing by international fisheries being the most egregious example, mining for sand for construction projects and the creation of artificial islands, the exploitation of coral reefs and certain marine species for medical innovations and the next cure for human diseases based on understanding and synthesis of how such organisms function.
The Deep Sea Mining Campaign, an organization based in Australia and Canada, has been following the saga of Solwara 1, proposed by Nautilus Inc. for offshore Papua New Guinea that continues to seek financing year after year since 2011. The project is basically a kind of corporate speculation premised on the lucrative idea of the availability of such minerals conceptually in the regionindeed the company has declined to conduct a preliminary economic study or environmental risk assessment, the shareholders essentially engaged in a long odds probability wager comparable to those who invested in marine salvagers attempts to find and excavate pay-ships lost at sea with purported vast cargos of silver and gold. The idea that they should be required to justify their endeavors to governments, third-world or otherwise, or to coastwise populations whose livelihood and lives depend on a healthy ocean from which they have harvested for centuries, is anathema.
Deep Sea Mining recently reported on the recent Nautilus Annual General Meeting where CEO Michael Johnston was asked:
Is it true that without the normal economic and feasibility studies, the economic viability of Solwara 1 is unknown?
Is it true that the risk to shareholders of losing their entire investment in Nautilus is high and the potential returns promoted by Nautilus are entirely speculative?
June 14 this year marked the signing ceremony of the Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relations (PACER-Plus) Trade Agreement in Tonga. Ten countries that signed included Australia, New Zealand (the Plus), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Niue, and Tonga. That event should have been a keystone ceremony. It should have been deferred, given the torrid conditions that had prevailed in the trade negotiations and the conclusive meeting in April in Brisbane, Australia. Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu stayed away.
In this commentary, I offer a personal reflection on my disappointment that the key principles of governance and leadership, the cornerstones of the Pacific Islands Forum for more than four decades, have been diminished. PACER-Plus was to be an umbrella multilateral trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand with the 12 Pacific Island Countries. Amongst the political leaders that attended the ceremony in Tonga was Hon. Bill English, Prime Minister of New Zealand (NZ). His attendance is significant, in that it demonstrated New Zealands seriousness in continuing its close engagement with the Pacific island economies, and it re-enforces its national interests with countries that it has enjoyed close historical relations and a positive trade balance; Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Tokelau, Cook Islands and Tuvalu.
Absent from the Tonga ceremony were three large economies from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG): PNG, Fiji, and Vanuatu. I refer to them herein as the Anti-PACER-Plus MSG Trio. Their boycott of a regional instrument is telling of a void in confidence of regionalism and leadership.
Solomon Islands broke ranks to become a founding Signatory country to the Agreement. (Ratification has yet to be completed by its parliament). The bloc withdrawal of PNG, Vanuatu and Fiji from the Agreement is a betrayal of expectations on Pacific regional cooperation. I understand their concerns that regionalism should not be done to the detriment of national interests. As Secretary-General, I made that point clear on many occasions and some benefits have come to fruition, such as the labour mobility scheme, accredited training centres, and higher standards in various sectors.
In light of what transpired in Brisbane and Tonga, why didnt those at the helm of Pacific regional organisations recognise the seriousness of politics and clear indication that the Anti-PACER-Plus MSG Trio were not interested in any trade agreement?
As Founding Father of the twin strategies Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and PACER-Plus I am at loss to see a dearth of leadership to retain Islander solidarity. Without the Anti-PACER-Plus MSG Trio as Parties, the character of the PACER-Plus Trade Agreement resembles a PACER-Minus framework. Inevitably, the countries that signed the Agre...
SOURCE: Charles Richardson / CRIKEY
Papua New Guinea, Australias former colony and nearest neighbour, has been going to the polls in a parliamentary election that concludes tomorrow. As is common in countries with major logistical challenges, voting has been staggered over a two-week period.
Whats not so common is the degree of sheer chaos being reported. Voting in the capital, Port Moresby, was aborted last week and re-run three days later, after polling staff went on strike and the election manager was arrested. According to the ABC, Candidates say voters in areas hostile to the Government have been taken off the electoral roll, and there are documented incidents of ballot papers stolen and boxes destroyed. The Guardian adds that In the highlands ballot boxes had been stolen and destroyed, people were casting their votes without privacy in plain sight of officials and other voters, and fighting had broken out between rival clan groups and also between voters and police.
The electoral commissioner is quoted as saying that voting is progressing well and that the election cannot be said to have failed because for that there would have to be reports of gross violence, and a majority of people prevented from voting which seems an extraordinarily lenient standard.
Opposition candidates allege that the problems have been mostly engineered to the advantage of the government of prime minister Peter ONeill, which is not implausible, but poor management and poor infrastructure on their own could easily bear much of the responsibility.
Most of us are used to thinking of the evils of colonialism as being comfortably remote. Papua New Guinea challenges that complacency: it was Australias responsibility for most of the twentieth century, and we did a poor job.
Thats not to suggest that colonial administrators were not, in general, people of goodwill, or to understate the challenges that they faced. Papua New Guinea is difficult terrain on anyones account,....
World War Two (WWII) passed through our land, along the rugged, inhospitable terrains of the now iconic Kokoda Track, and the tales we read and heard were all about foreign armies who came, fought the war to leave a legend.
70 years on and little to nothing was heard of our own heroes and heroines who played important roles during the war. Even eyewitness accounts of the hostilities brought by the war are much welcome tales to decorate our heroes and heroines.
It is now a thing of the past given this publication entitled Voices From The War Papua New Guinean stories of the Kokoda Campaign, World War Two (2015). Indeed, the publication not only gives a permanent imprint on the fast-fading local war tales but it sets the stage for many more accounts of the war, told by our own, that was experienced right across this majestic land.
In an attempt to record and preserve the rich oral history of the Kokoda Campaign a group of Papua New Guinean and Australian researchers collectively put together this account of 80-plus interviews carried out.
This 53-page document printed on 140gsm photo glossy on a tanned cover is metaphoric. The red-room atmosphere of negative film coming out of washing emits the language of there is more to come.
Gaining political will by being co-sponsored by the PNG Government, through the Department of Environment, Conservation & Climate Change, and Australias Department of the Environment shows how important this publication is. It reaffirms the ongoing governmental support in protecting the Kokoda Track, Brown River Catchment and Owen Stanley Ranges while improving the lives of the people living along the track.
Expounding on the political will, Dr Andrew Moutu, then Director of the National Museum & Art Gallery, in his foreword message reveals that this Oral History Project was originally conceived as a vital element in the management of the Kokoda Track.
Dr Moutu elaborates that this first of its kind publication received and captures to preserve before all is lost to history and to memory. To date, people who are not from Papua New Guinea, notably Australians, Americans, and Japanese, have dominated these stories (p. v):
Those stories of many Papua New Guineans who were involved in the war along the track have become marginalised, muted, suppressed or repressed and are often not brought into mainstream history or public light. It was as if the war is not theirs and they are incidental actors.
Dr Moutu is all applause to the Australian Government for providing funding and professional expertise. He sets the hope of this initiative by encouraging students, war history enthusiasts....
Since 2012 the Australian government has detained thousands of
refugees in a concentration camp in Papua New Guinea. The refugees
denied medical care, and subjected to
cruel and inhumane conditions in an effort to encourage them to
withdraw their asylum claims and return to the countries which
persecuted them. Throughout this, the Australian government has
publicly denied that it is doing anything wrong or illegal. But now
in an implicit admission of guilt, they've
agreed to compensate their victims:
The Australian government has agreed to compensate 1900 asylum seekers currently or formerly held at the Manus Island detention centre, in what may be Australia's largest ever human rights-related settlement.
Lawyers Slater and Gordon confirmed the Commonwealth had agreed to reach a conditional settlement of $70 million plus costs, to be distributed to asylum seekers based partly on the length of their detention.
The Victorian Supreme Court this morning heard the parties had reached an in-principle agreement to settle the claim on behalf of 1905 current former detainees, though the settlement was not yet formally approved.
In settling the case, the government will avoid a long and potentially damaging trial, which was set to last about six months and reveal explosive claims about life at the Manus Island regional processing centre.
Port Moresby settlers evicted to make way for Australian-backed development abandoned
Source: Heath Aston in Sydney Morning Herald
A majority of settlers evicted from a headland shanty town in Port Moresby to make way for a gated tourism and casino precinct backed by Australian property developers have been simply abandoned, with some now sleeping rough, according to human rights investigators.
Two Australian-run companies involved in moving squatters from waterfront Paga Hill and its foreshore between 2012 and 2014 dispute the numbers of people affected, but charities Aid Watch and Jubilee Australia claim 2000 of an estimated 3000 squatters were given no resettlement and in many cases no compensation, and up to 500 of those could be living on the streets of the capital.
Papua New Guinea enters its 2017 national election at the back of one of the most contentious periods of its democracy. Prime Minister Peter ONeills reign began unexpectedly in August 2011 after the then Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare was ousted by the PNG parliament following his long absence from the country due to illness.
The Supreme Court later reinstated Somare on 12 December 2011 only to be rejected by the ONeill led parliament a few hours later, commencing a dark period of PNGs democracy where the country appeared to have two prime ministers for nearly seven months ONeill operated from the Parliament House and Somare from the Ela Beach Hotel. It was a period marked by a decline in public confidence in the judiciary, a divided police and armed forces and a perplexed public service.
The 2012 national election provided the ultimate showdown for the two warring factions. However, with an assurance to deliver the country from the misfortunes of Somares National Alliance government, ONeill and his coalition partners found favour with the people. The 2011 constitutional impasse appeared to represent a change of the old guard in PNG politics and an undesirable initiation for the new crop of leadership with Peter ONeill hoisted to symbolise this transition.
Prime Minister ONeill appeared at that time to represent the long awaited hope for the country. His government immediately appealed to the people through its flagship policies for free health and education services, and infrastructural development backed by a strong anti-corruption focus in the form of the Investigative Task Force Sweep (ITFS).
Projected revenues from the billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and other resource developments in the country provided the assurances that his welfare policies would be sustained and effectively delivered. On the anti-corruption front, ONeill pledged to support the ITFS to systematically weed out corruption in PNG.
What has happened since?
Five years later, the people are called upon to judge the performance....
In April this year, trade ministers from Australia, New Zealand and 12 independent Pacific island states agreed to a regional trade agreement, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus, to be signed in Junethereby bringing to an end almost a decade of sometimes acrimonious negotiations.
Dampening the celebrations somewhat was the fact that Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Fijithe two largest Pacific island countriesdid not attend. PNG had already signalled it would not sign the agreement, preferring to pursue bilateral deals with Australia and New Zealand, as well as a multilateral trade deal already negotiated with other Melanesian states (Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu). Fijis inclusion remains uncertain. After some initial confusion, Fijis Trade Minister clarified that Fiji has not withdrawn from the agreement, but neither has it agreed to sign it in its present form, with ongoing concerns regarding infant industry protection and most favoured nation measures.
Since the outset of negotiations, commentary in relation to PACER Plus has been polarised. The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), which has featured prominently in the regional press, describes the agreement as unbalanced in favour of Australia and New Zealand. The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that the agreement will result in loss of government revenue, loss of policy space to support ni-Vanuatu industries, and the loss of the right to protect its people and natural resources.
Listen to the governments of signatory countries and the narrative is very different. The Chief Trade Adviser for the Pacific islands, Edwini Kessie, said in a recent interview that PACER Plus offers a unique opportunity for the Pacific island countries to deepen their trade and economic links with Australia and New Zealand and enhance their participation in international trade to achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development.
Such polarisation is not uncommon when trade agreements are negotiated. In the case of PACER Plus, there are a number of reasons to think that claims by both advocates and critics are overstated.
PACER Plus is an agreement between two (relatively) large developed economiesAustralia and New Zealandand a collection of small...
[Important note: This article (series of articles) was originally written last year. Since then, the Prime Minister Hon. Peter ONeill has made a historic announcement in Parliament about Ok Tedi. On Wednesday 17 August 2016, the Prime Minister informed Parliament: The National Executive Council has endorsed the decision of our Government to transfer 33 per cent, one third of Ok Tedi Mine Limiteds equities to the people of Western Province including landowners, mining affected villages and the provincial government.]
Prior to the enactment of the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013, PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) owned 52% of Ok Tedi Mining Limited, the State owned 30% and Inmet Mining Corporation owned 18%.
The State now owns 87.8 % of Ok Tedi Mining Limited which became a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) in 2013 following the enactment of the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013.
Inmet Mining Corporation shares were bought off by OTML according to OTML.
Does PNG Sustainable Development Programs (PNGSDPs) Articles of Association carry more weight, importance and legal effect than the laws of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea? Of course not.
Can PNGSDP be wound up and in the event that it is wound up, can its supposed USD1.46 Billion assets [2012 Audited figure] be transferred to some other institution or company? Under PNGSDPs Articles of Association the liability of the members of PNGSDP is limited to only ten Singapore dollars.
Clause 11 and Clause 12 of PNGSDPs Articles of Association allows for the winding up of PNGSDP.
11. Every member of the Company undertakes to contribute to the assets of the Company in the event of the same being wound up while he is a member, or within one year after he ceases to be a member, for payment of the debts and liabilities of the Company contracted before he ceases to be a member, and of the costs, charges and expenses of winding up, and for the adjustment of the rights of the contributories among themselves, such amount as may be required not exceeding the sum of ten Singapore Dollars ($10.00).
12. If upon the winding up or dissolution of the Company there remains after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, the same shall not be paid to or distributed among the members of the Company but shall be given or transferred to some other institution or company of a charitable or public character having purposes similar to the objects set out in clause 3 of this Memorandum.
If you read all the in-depth information provided on PNGSDP, then why do you think PNGSDP under the current Chairmanship of Sir Mekere Morauta commenced legal proceedings against the Independent State of PNG?
Ms Beatrice Mahuru is head of the Digicel Foundation in Papua New Guinea (PNG). As part of the Pacific Conversations series, she spoke to Dr Amanda Watson about the organisations areas of focus, its relationship to the Digicel business and her heart-warming experiences in the role.
Amanda: You were previously in corporate roles. Was it an adjustment to join the Digicel Foundation?
Beatrice: Moving into the development space was very new, but one of the things I brought was a corporate approach, so a no-nonsense, get your business done, report on the outcome approach.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role?
We have 34 projects at present, plus eight in collaboration with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). My role is to watch over the foundations operations to ensure that our finances are managed well against our targets. Im very hands-on, making sure program impacts are documented and that projects are progressing to the agreed timelines, because we have PNG Board and Global Board meetings every month and they are kept across our investments. I have a small team and sometimes development work can be overwhelming so I want to be there for them, to motivate them and keep them committed to the cause. I continue to build and foster relations with Digicel every day and grow goodwill with our marginalised communities. And every other day, Im connecting with members of parliament or corporate organisations to seek possibilities for public-private partnerships.
You mentioned building goodwill is that the main aim of the Digicel Foundation?
Prior to last year (FY14/15), we responded to community applications and we operated very separately to the business. Were still a separate entity but our strategy is to work more collaboratively with Digicel. Although Digicel has invested in many towers across PNG, the business still receives negative feedback, especially through social media, on the cost of service. We grow goodwill through our development impact projects and lay the foundation on which business can follow. Last year, we probably put 40% of our investment into promoting goodwill and the rest was responding to applications received.
Some may be unclear as to the relationship between the Digicel Foundation and the Digicel company. Could you please explain the governance arrangements and the relationship between the two entities?
Although were funded by Digicel, were a separate entity because...
The largest ever generation of girls are entering a critical time in their education as they move into adolescence. Challenges in managing their reproductive health, however, can pose significant barriers to educational attainment. This limits girls social and economic prospects and perpetuates gender inequality.
Adolescent pregnancy is a major factor in poor school attendance, as last years Guttmacher Institute report highlights. More alarmingly, it is a leading cause of death and disability for girls aged 15-19. In Timor-Leste, less than 1% of girls aged 15-19 have used contraception, and 20% of 19-year-olds have begun childbearing, according to their 2010 DHS report. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), 22% of girls have had at least one child, contributing to the countrys high maternal mortality.
Poor menstrual health (MH) poses similar challenges to girls health and education. Menstruation is often shrouded in stigma and taboo, which are perpetuated by poor knowledge. This limits girls ability to manage menstruation in hygienic and dignified ways, resulting in poor health and school absenteeism. A recent Ugandan study found girls missed up to 24 school days per year (11%) due to menstruation.
While evidence on MH and school attendance in the Asia-Pacific is poor, exploratory research in Timor-Leste highlights that understanding of menstruation is limited, with girls unaware of menstruation prior to menarche. Research also shows menstruation can be a deterrent from attending school, but access to appropriate facilities and products can help overcome this. New research is currently being undertaken on these issues in Solomon Islands, Fiji, and PNG with funding from the Australian Government, which will provide further evidence on MH in the Pacific.
The value of customary land when left in local hands and the issue of compensation for the SABL land grab have both been highlighted in a seminar organised by ACT NOW!
The seminar featured Sydney University academic Dr Tim Anderson. Dr Anderson presented his report on assessing compensation for the wrongful loss of customary land.
The event was featured by all the TV networks in their evening news programs - their coverage can be viewed below.
EMTV: Economic Assessment - Customary Landowners Unfairly Compensated
An economic assessment of Customary Land Value, has revealed that customary land owners in PNG are not being properly compensated for the use of their land.
Researcher Dr. Tim Anderson, from the University of Sydney, said the research is an economic assessment of the compensation of customary land use under the Special Agriculture Business Lease or SABL.
Dr Anderson said the research is more of a framework which identifies the importance of land.
TVWAN: Customary Land Compensation
Community advocacy group ACT NOW PNG have invited an economic specialist from Australia to evaluate compensation entitlements for customary landowners affected the Special Agricultural Business Leases.
If the landowners have a case they can successfully sue the government and be compensated accordingly.
A report was presented by Dr Anderson of the University of Sydney, in Port Moresby today.
Dr Anderson stressed that the framework for assessing compensation is not a pricing formula, but to assist landholders look at the variation in damages and lost production values that SABLs have caused.
NBC: SABL Concern
An academic from the University of Sydney has again raised concern the special agriculture business leases or SABL.
Dr. Tim Anderson says, there has to be a proactive approach taken by the government to cancel the SABL's
The SABL's were deemed unlawful by a commission of inquiry in 2013, however no action has been taken by the government to cancel the land details
Rosie Batty (2015 Australian of the Year and anti-violence campaigner) visited Papua New Guinea last month and spoke at public events at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in Port Moresby and the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae. In sharing her story she moved people but also brought to light the challenge of violence, not just being a challenge Papua New Guineans faced, but one the world faces right now. The events were sponsored by Steamships and were jointly organised by Femili PNG, UNITECH, UPNG and The Voice Inc.
Here Lucas Kiak, a Level 3 Nation Builder in The Voice Inc.s Leadership Development Program at UNITECH, gave his thoughts on the challenge, and his pledge to move forward, in his closing speech to Rosie Batty.
On behalf of the audience and sponsors, I would like to take this time to thank Rosie Batty for the wonderful inspirational presentation this afternoon.
You know, coming from a Melanesian culture with the patrimonial practices, family and sexual violence is taken to be a cultural norm. We dont always talk about it, you dont always know about it, but just like you, we are all victims of violence one way or another.
Many times our own advocacy of the matter has been suppressed by the cultural limitations of the norm and despite our passion and energy for change, as young energetic people we find it easier to be like everyone else and blend in than to speak out for what we believe is right. But I take this time to salute you and other survivors for letting your own light to shine. I believe deep down inside that as you let your own light shine you are unconsciously giving us permission to do the same and as you are liberated from your own fears your presence in the frontier of this battle liberates us all.
As a young man I believe that there is a PNG free from family violence and sexual harassment. A PNG where my sons and daughters carry themselves and walk with dignity and respect for each other. I am convinced and I say this with the utmost conviction that my vision for a violence-free PNG is not in the future, not in ten years time, not in 2050, not tomorrow but today. I believe that we can create this violence-free PNG in the everyday things that w...
Australia's entire refugee policy is predicated on harsh
treatment. By imprisoning refugees indefinitely and torturing them
in island camps, they hope to deter others from seeking refuge in
Australia. But the same mindset applies within the camps as well,
with the Australian government
deliberately imposing harsh living conditions in its Manus Island
gulag in an attempt to force refugees to leave:
For more than a year, camp managers and security staff have waged a campaign to make Australias detention centre for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island as inhospitable as possible, leaked documents reveal.
A plan drafted in early 2016 outlines moves to coerce those recognised as refugees into leaving the detention centre and accepting resettlement in Papua New Guinea, while pushing asylum seekers to abandon their protection claims and return home.
One plan mooted was to forcibly remove refugees and asylum seekers from the detention centre into the transit centre in a single day.
Planning documents that proposed moving residents into accommodation with less amenity than they currently have forecast the forced removal raised an extreme risk of violence and protests, and warned of the potentially catastrophic consequences of using the PNG police, whom Australian authorities describe as not trained for the relevant tasks.
About once a month in her
column at The Conversation, Michelle Grattan comes to
the conclusion that Peter Dutton is not a team player and not fully
honest when it comes to the complicated facts and issues of
asylum-seekers. This doesn't deter her from quoting his (what by
now must surely be) worthless assertions: thanks to the wonders of
goldfish journalism, every Dutton stuff-up is a fresh surprise to
someone who sets the standard for the press gallery.
When it came to ministerial responsibility, public accountability, and other key principles underpinning democracy, Peter Dutton never had a chance. He entered parliament in 2001, at the election following hysteria about September 11 and the refugees aboard the MV Tampa. He defeated Labor's Cheryl Kernot, learning the lesson that even high-profile opponents can be brought down with enough dirt. Being a politician in a marginal seat requires a warm personality and a genuine concern for the local community; Dutton learned that fundraising can get around such shortcomings, particularly where Labor largely seemed to direct its energies elsewhere.
By the time Dutton became Assistant Treasurer under Peter Costello, the Howard government had lost its policy reform momentum; Costello had become bitter and twisted at not becoming Prime Minister. Soon afterward the Howard government lost office: any opportunity to teach young Dutton the finer points of vision, negotiation, or any other aspect of policy development and implementation simply went by the board.
He could have learned these lessons from the two Health Ministers he shadowed, Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek. Both ran rings around him, policy-wise and in terms of having things to announce, but Dutton just sat quietly for six years; eventually their job simply fell into his lap. Healthcare professionals rated Dutton the worst Health Minister in a generation, but onward he went.
Like a child raised in poverty and dysfunction who ends up addicted and/or imprisoned, there was never any possibility Peter Dutton would or could have become an effective minister. Grattan and others in the gallery who chide him for falling short of standards impossible for him look like they don't understand the people and environment they've been covering for years.
From Trump and Abbott, Dutton learned that doubling down when wrong appeals to those who confuse obstinacy with fixity of purpose. The events of this week, where Dutton implied that asylum-seekers were pedophiles and shirked responsibility for yet another riot on Manus Island, should not have been as shocking as they apparently were.
Four things arising from this were surprising, however, and none received much coverage from the supposedly alert and diverse press gallery.
With 26 January looming, it is that time of year in Australia when the gatekeepers of the national narrative go into overdrive.
Where I live, in western Sydney, it is easy enough to look around the train carriage or campus or shopping centre and celebrate diversity. It is equally easy to forget, unless venturing into the large and poorly-conceived social housing estates, that western Sydney has the largest Aboriginal population in the country.
And on 26 January, it is impossible to ignore the social fact that white Australia relentlessly, aggressively promotes the dominant agenda: whites are nation-builders, we let the migrants in, we obscure the violence of our own entry, we are the arbiters of what is, and of what is not, Australian.
An early salvo from DIBP
One example of the dominant narrative is how junior minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke stopped Freemantle Council holding a citizenship ceremony on Saturday 28 January. His is the department which the Australian National Audit Office reported has spent $2.2 billion on off-shore detention without authorisation.
This shambolic, cruel, militarised, and eye-wateringly profligate branch of executive government is designed to manufacture and disseminate xenophobic hate. And its 2IC (from the wealthy white northern suburbs of Sydney) confidently told a local government in Western Australia that its citizenship ceremony has got to be apolitical, non-commercial, bipartisan and secular.
Given the rabid politics in which white Australia engages around 26 January, these criteria would be met by changing the date of the first Freemantle citizenship ceremony for 2017.
At no point did Hawke articulate what exactly is political (or commercial, or partisan, or religious) about 28 January. Unlike 26 January, which is obnoxiously white and hideously commercial, 28 January is just another day on the calendar. There was no mention that 28 January is the saints day of Thomas Aquinas, although Hawke is a...
Earlier this year in May, in the National Court of Justice in Papua New Guinea, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika handed down his decision in a case between The State and Janet Oba. Janet Oba as mentioned in Part 1 is Peter Waiengs sister. Around 11 years ago, in 2005 Janet Oba was a Police Prosecutor. She was an Inspector of Police when she ended up being prosecuted by the Public Prosecutor (Ms R Koralyo: Lawyer for the State) under the Criminal Code for the following alleged offences: Forgery, Uttering & Misappropriation of property involving more than 1.2 million Kina.
Janet Oba was represented as a Prisoner by Nidue & Associate Lawyers (Mr C Nidue: Lawyer for the Prisoner).
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, in his decision dated 2 May 2016 against the accused Janet Oba, commenced the proceedings by saying: The accused was charged with one count of forgery, one count of uttering and one count of misappropriation. The charges were brought under S462 (1), S463 (1) and (2) and S383A (1) and (2) of the Criminal Code respectively.
Janet Oba is an inspector of police and is the quarter master of NCD based at the Gordons police Barracks. She was a sole shareholder and a sole director of a company called J & J Constructions Limited and the sole signatory of that companys account held at the Bank South Pacific Ltd Account No. 1001553407.
It was alleged that J & J Constructions Ltd was awarded a contract to construct a jetty at Wutung in West Sepik Province. The contract was for K6.5 million and the State did pay the K6.5 million to the company to construct the jetty. The jetty was never constructed.
During the course of investigation it was discovered that K1, 286,000.00 remained in J & J Construction account from the K6.5 million originally awarded. The account was frozen through an action taken by the Proceeds of Crimes Unit in the Public Prosecutors Office. The accused was restrained from accessing the account of the company and from withdrawing money from that account.
On 19 July 2010, a consent order to forfeit the K1, 286,000.00 to the State was agreed to by the parties and endorsed by the court. While the funds were forfeited to the State they still remained in the J & J Construction Account No. 1001553407 for over 2 years. The State should have taken out the consent orders to that effect and served it on the bank. The State failed its part in respect of that.
The State alleged that on or about 6 August 2012 Janet Oba and a Peter Waieng (now deceased) went to the Bank South Pacific Head Office in Port Moresby and served on the bank a forged court order dated 16 March 2012 which specifically ordered Bank South Pacific to release the money forthwith to J & J Constructions account.
Sometime later the restriction on the account was l...
Peter Waieng was elected to the Sixth Parliament in 1997 and took office on 16 July 1997 at the age of 31, and not 28 as also recently misreported by PNG Blogs. Radio Australia reported in an article which appears to have been originally published on the 10th of March 2001 [Updated 23 March 2012, 17:15 AEDT]:
Another member of the Papua New Guinea Parliament has been referred for possible prosecution for alleged breaches of the countrys Leadership Code.
The member for Kundiawa, Peter Waieng, is the latest to be referred to the Public Prosecutor, following an investigation by the Papua New Guinea Ombudsman Commission. Its alleged Mr Waieng received and used almost 100-thousand dollars of public money from the controversial National Gaming Board between 1998 and 2000. There have been persistent allegations that Gaming Board funds have been misappropriated, and several MPs have already been referred for prosecution.
Several months later, on Wednesday the 3rd of October 2001, The National newspaper reported: Waieng referred to Public Prosecutor.
Quite likely, it seemed, Peter Waieng resigned as the Kundiawa Gembolg Open Member of Parliament after the Public Prosecutor recommended to the Chief Justice that a Leadership Tribunal be convened to prosecute him under the Leadership Code. It also seemed as per the The National newspaper headline that Peter Waieng had been referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission possibly at the beginning of October 2001, after being notified by the Ombudsman Commission possibly just prior to the 10th of March 2001, and then apparently he resigned the next year from Parliament on the 10th of May 2002 (as per Speaker Hon. Theo Zurenuocs speech recorded in the Draft Hansard see Part 1).
In fact, according to information sourced from Ombudsman Commission records, following an investigation by the Ombudsman Commission acting on information initially received in January 2000, a right to be heard notice was served by the Ombudsman Commission on Peter Waieng on the 9th of March 2001. The date of request for appointment of a Leadership Tribunal was 29 January 2002. The date of appointment of the Leadership Tribunal was 19 April 2002, and the date of his referral to a Leadership Tribunal was 8 May 2002 the date when the Leadership Tribunal convened.
The date of Peter Waiengs referral to the Public Prosecutor Chronox Manek, according to a report (see page 50) by the Ombudsman Commission, was 19 April 2001. However, the same Ombudsman Commission report (see page 51) also contains a contradictory date which clashes with the date of 19 April 2001. The Ombudsman Commission report also states: On 1 October 2001 the matter was referred to the Public Prosecutor.
The dates Peter Waieng was referred can be found in publication Chapter...
International development can be a risky business. As a result, its not surprising that many (arguably most) development agencies have bureaucratic cultures that are risk-averse, sometimes excessively so. In 2010, Andrew Natsios (the former head of USAID) complained that aid agencies were under such constant pressure to reduce risk that it undermined their impact and compromised good practice. In recent years, that pressure has continued, with some warning that the emphasis placed on measuring results may further entrench risk-aversion. When staff know that performance will be judged against preset, quantifiable indicators, theres less incentive to pursue risky programs, even when high risk is matched with (potentially) high reward.
Yet things are, slowly, changing. There is an emerging consensus that to produce results, development agencies must take risks, not simply avoid them. A symbolic turning point came in 2014, when the World Bank used its World Development Report to declare its intention to shift from an institutional culture of risk-aversion, to one of informed risk taking. Putting this into practice, however, is not straight-forward.
A variety of obstacles at different levels individual, donor agency, and state can prevent the effective management of clearly identified risks. These include the difficulty of translating knowledge into action and, frequently, a bias towards maintaining the status quo. The scarcity of systematic, program-level research often makes it difficult to work out how risk can or should shape program design.
In a new paper, we tackle this problem by analysing how political risks shape, and are shaped by, program design in the field of democracy assistance: aid programs that aim to facilitate free and fair elections, strengthen legislatures, support political parties, encourage the growth of a robust and vibrant civil society, or spread democratic norms and values among individuals. Such programs are particularly vulnerable to political risks, so they provide a valuable example....
Continued from Part 1 ~
In an apparently wrongly dated, and badly misspelt, article titled Peter Waiengs Murder Suspect Arrested published by EMTV Online (found here: http://www.emtv.com.pg/news/2016/06/peter-waieng-s-murder-suspect-arrested/), the then NCD police Metropolitan Superintendent Andy Bawa in a press conference possibly held on Sunday the 22nd of September 2013 reportedly announced that a 26 year old suspect from Roku village has been arrested and refused bail at the Boroko Police station in connection with the murder of late Peter Waieng outside Port Moresby.
Excerpts from EMTV: Waieng was stabbed with a knife last month (August) after an argument broke out between him and a female companion on Roku beach, just outside Port Moresby. Assistant Commissioner for Police and Commander for NCD and Central, Jim Andrews told EMTV News last month that the suspect who was with the couple, hit Waieng over the head with a stone when Waiang assaulted the female. The suspect then stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. Waieng was said to have died on the scene.
On Tuesday the 27th of A...
Peter Waieng was a Leader described in 2013 by one supporter as a handsome fitman hero- whose brutal death seemingly sent shockwaves rippling and reverberating through Simbu Province in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea leading to an outpouring of grief and anger resulting in alleged mass destruction and an alleged massive riot occurring in Kundiawa town on Friday the 23rd of August 2013. Kundiawa town was under siege this morning. Highway closed from Wandi to Mingende, a commentator on social media said.
He was shot dead in Pom last nightpeople in Kundiawa are going on a riotktaun is closedand highway is also closed between Kundiawa and Mingende, someone else alleged on social media, that Friday morning, at 9.06am.
Late Peter Waiengs Narku people mad with grief and anger over the news of their Leaders murder allegedly had gone on the rampage causing bikpela destruction and chaos in Kundiawa the capital of Chimbu (Simbu) Province.
An eyewitness in Port Moresby posted on social media almost three years ago, before 4am on Fr...
Pictured: The Governor of Morobe Province, Hon. Kelly Naru
delivering his excellent, powerful and historic speech to
Parliament and the People of Papua New Guinea on Friday the 22nd of
PAPUA NEW GUINEA NATIONAL PARLIAMENT
MOTION FOR VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE
AGAINST THE PRIME MINISTER
HON. PETER ONEILL
22ND JULY, 2016
SPEECH BY HON. KASIGA KELLY NARU, MP
GOVERNOR FOR MOROBE
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this motion. Before I proceed to my speech I want to quote from the Bible a statement which I believe is very instructive to all of us in the situation now we are faced with. It is from the Book of Job. Job 36: 15 In our suffering God teaches us in our distress God opens our eyes.
[This excellent, powerful and historic Parliamentary speech by Governor Kelly Naru has been reproduced (by being transcribed in part) after being cross-checked against the PNG Tonight video recording of the 22nd of July 2016 Pa...
On the 24th of October 2013 more than a month after the 122.2 million cancelled shares in Ok Tedi Mining Limited were transferred, allegedly unlawfully, on the 19th of September 2013 without the knowledge and approval of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea from Insinger Trust (Singapore) Limited to TMF Trustees Singapore Limited Papua New Guineas Prime Minister Peter ONeill wrote to PNGSDP Chairman & former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta regarding the termination of all Board Members of PNGSDP.
Prime Minister Peter ONeill formally advised Sir Mekere Morauta that on 23 of October 2013, the National Executive Council approved the removal of all the Directors of PNGSDP and has now appointed the following Transitional team:
Chief Secretary (Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc Kt OBE);
Secretary for Treasury (Dairi Vele); and
Provincial Administrator for Western Province (Dr Modowa Gumoi).
At the time, Dr Modowa Gumoi with impressive educational credentials & past advisory experience to the National Government having obtained his Doctorate from Lincoln University in New Zealand, a Diploma from Harvard University in America, a Masters Degree from the University of New England in Australia, and an Honours Degree from UPNG in PNG was already a Director (Ex-Officio) of OTML, having been appointed to the position on the 23rd of September 2013 less than a week after the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013 was passed by parliament.
Current Treasury Secretary, Dairi Vele, who graduated from Australian National University (ANU) with a degree in Economics, was appointed a Director (Ex-Officio) of OTML the following year on the 29th of October 2014.
On the 24th of October 2013, Prime Minister Peter ONeill also wrote to the Managing Director of PNGSDP, David Sode, formally advising him that in accordance with Section 6 of the Act (of the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013) the National Executive Council, on 23 October 2013, terminated his appointment as Managing Director of the PNGSDP.
Section 6. OPERATION OF PNGSDP under the MINING (OK TEDI TENTH SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT) ACT 2013 stipulates:
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any Act, the State has all necessary powers to restructure PNGSDP and its operations to ensure that PNGSDP applies its funds for the exclusive benefit of the people of Western Province.
The then Chief Secretary to Government Sir Manasupe Zurenuouc wrote two letters to David Sode also dated 24th October 2013. In the first letter Sir Manasupe advised David Sode:
It has come to the knowledge of Government that PNGSDP has given notice to and is retrenching up to 54 staff. The Government is strongly of the view that this is unnecessary. PNGSDP must...
So who are all the players or key people behind the formation and operation of PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), and were they all made aware of what transpired in Singapore on the 19th of September 2013 when the massive share transfer of 122.2 million cancelled shares took place?? How many of them approved of the massive share transfer?
In Singapore, Stacy Choong described in PNGSDPs Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) as Advocate & Solicitor Singapore witnessed the signatures of LOO LIAN EE (Advocate & solicitor) and JOHN KARL MOLINE (Senior International Lawyer) in PNGSDPs MoA. Both Loo Lian Lee and John Karl Moline provided Singaporean addresses and signed the MoA on the 19th day of October 2001 as being desirous of being formed into a Company In pursuance of this Memorandum of Association.
In Papua New Guinea, the registration of the first PNGSDP entity PNG SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LIMITED (3-44724) [Overseas] with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) on the 21st of December 2001 shows nine current Directors of PNGDSP who were Directors of PNGSDP at the time the massive share transfer of 122.2 million shares took place on the 19th of September 2013.
They are listed as follows:
Six Papua New Guineans: Modowa Trevor Gumoi, Leonad Wilson Fufus Kamit, Donald Wabirao Manoa, Mekere Morauta, Rex Lam Paki & David Sode. Two Australians: Philip James Bainbridge & Patricia Joy Caswell, and one Singaporean: Lim How Teck.
Eight Former Directors of PNGSDP are listed as follows:
Two Papua New Guineans: Lawrence Acanufa & Sir Ebia Olewale. Four Australians: James Joseph Carlton, David Crichton (alternate For William Broughton Smith) Frecker, Ross Gregory Garnaut & William Broughton Smith. One American: John Karl Moline & one Israeli: Jacob Weiss.
All eight former Directors of the PNGSDP were replaced long before the massive share transfer of 122.2 million shares took place on the 19th of September 2013.
The second entity PNG SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LIMITED (90965), which was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority in PNG as a Foreign Enterprise on the 2nd of April 2003, was allocated the first registered entities company number (3-44724) as the company name registered with IPA, and shows shareholding comprised of two Bundles. These bundles are listed as follows:
Bundle 1 Number of shares 50 Percentage 50.00 Shareholder 1 Name Donald Wabirao (for The Indep.state Of Papua New Guinea) MANOA.
Bundle 2 Number of shares 50 Percentage 50.00 Shareholder 1 Name James Joseph (for Trust For Bhp-billiton) CARLTON.
According to Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) records:
Donald Manoa (Nationality Papua New Guinea) and James Joseph C...
TodayI witnessed Awala Primary School Children dance with joy for their newly connected EQTV system courtesy of the Oro Provincial Government.
We merely went to see if the school had put their system in and were pleasantly surprised to see their cultural dancing and expressions of joy at their EQTV and TVWAN system that was funded by their PSIP.
Awala Primary have a sound hard working board and teachers and parents who care and provide a healthy learning environment.
I wish to mention here also the contribution of JICA who developed the EQTV System and roll out for PNG. Truly genuine partners JICA. They do their bit with very little fanfare.
Its moments like this that make the difficult times struggling to get things done for the province and people so worth it..thanks Awala Primary School.
PARLIAMENT MUST BE RECALLED!
From the assessment of situations in these 3 institutions where Oro students are currently studying, a special PEC will be convened Tuesday 26th June 2015 in Popondetta to determine what necessary and urgent steps must be taken to secure the welfare and security of our children studying there and the options for their future education and employment.
Besides repatriation, the PEC will consider engagement of students when and where possible should the academic year be cancelled and whilst they await the situation to return to normalcy.
Meanwhile my office is in touch with UOG, UOT and UPNG and we are moving to secure their safety and welfare.
The Oro Administration has been instructed to fast-track all necessary processes and work double time to expedite however we still face some delays, these are caused by some public servants who simply do not care and are inept and ineffective. We are identifying them and will be dealing with these type of obstinate and inconsiderate public servants.
I ask for calm from all students and parents and for further information please email John Duhube on email@example.com. Further updates will be posted in due time.
Our hopes for the future are to develop our University the UNRE into a premium university so our students can study their courses their in safety and comfort.
Meanwhile I am calling on the Government to recall parliament. They can no longer ignore what is happening. We must debate and discuss these issues of urgency that threaten our national security. This is not politics here just common sense.
Today, we are seeing the unprecedented escalation of violence, the eruption of ethnic wars and the destruction burning and looting of public property throughout the main provinces of PNG. Something is terribly wrong. What is the solution?
Parliament MUST be recalled.
I caught up briefly with Kumul legend Arnold Krewanty, a true leader. I always enjoy discussions with Arnold and hearing about how League is progressing.
He is always well spoken, always professional and always working.
A lot of great work is being done by Kumul legends like Arnold Krewanty and many others who are promoting league and opening career doors for many of our potential league players overseas and here.
Arnolds enthusiasm, hardwork ethic and dedication is truly inspiring and reflects the true spirit of selfless dedication that is the hallmark of true leadershipyou dont need to be elected to be a leaderArnold is living proof..
Registration forms and party constitution ready for interested Papua New Guineans.
LAND and PEOPLEour true resourcestoday, we are in grave danger of losing our landif this happens we are lost as a peopleour dreams of today will be our childrens nightmare tomorrow
Today PNG is in the grip of transnational criminals that control much of the political landscapethey have compromised our mechanisms designed to protect us and have rendered them useless to us and have converted them for their use to facilitate their plunder of our economy
Today while we struggle to save a toea and are anxious about our childrens tomorrow..they funnel their illgotten tax free proceeds of crime profit to overseas banks
These compromised Government entities no longer are capable of giving us quality servicesthey are no longer able to protect and promote our intereststhey cannot protect our jobs and business opportunities
What type of future are we leaving out children if they have no decent jobs and no opportunities?
What hope do they have of we allow that hope to be crushed by transnational criminals and their elected puppets who betray our beloved Papua New Guinea?
Yes indeed, what will be our childrens tomorrow?
Will they be in charge of their own economy and determine their own future or will they be subservient slaves struggling to generate profits for the transnational criminals that have taken over our economy with the help of those who have been elected to protect PNG but are instead selling it out?
Only you can decide that. Only you can determine their future.
Here is the opportunity to fight for our jobs..our opportunitiesour economy and our futureto fight for PNGour PNGa PNG we should leave firmly in control of the hands of our children
Join us today and help #TakeBackPNG
They are called FREE TRADE AGREEMENTSbecause we give them free access to our resources and our economythis means resourcesjobsbusinesseswhat is not included in these agreements are the substantial difficulties and obstacles for reciprocationin other words..no access to their markets and their economieswell except to pick fruit..
The changes recommended by the Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Services Reform to the Government in order to modernize the public service machinery and make it a more accountable effective system promoting good governance and transparency stagnate and collect dust in Cabinetmeanwhile..Members have two choices..try to do things the right way and be delayed at nearly every process needing public service effort or break the law and be forced to circumvent most of the procurement laws simply to get anything done and thus be often seen running around like project managers delivering projects and diverted from their true functions as legislators.
The outdated and defunct public service system simply does not function effectively. I am sure we all agree.
Even the most capable public servants are unable to get much done. They often leave frustrated for greener pastures or are cast aside by public serpents who have found loopholes in the system that allows them to crawl in and occupy key positions and work for themselves at the expense of the people. These sinister public serpents enter through nepotism or fraud and push out genuine hardworking public servants.
The system is designed it seems to fail in delivery and promote bureaucratic red tape that sees substantial public funds misapplied, misused and diverted elsewhere. Good efforts are NOT rewarded and bad officers are NOT punished.
This situation creates a chaotic environment where very little is actually achieved by elected leaders or the administration.
It is why I proposed the reforms and had the Special Committee created and nominated Bire Kimisopa to be the Chair. I am the Deputy. I could not be the Chair because the laws on parliamentary committees do not allow for a Governor to be Chair of a Committee. Regardless, under Hon. Kimisopa, the Committee consisting of Hon. JOE LELANG, HON. GOVERNOR Sasindran Muthuvel, HON. MERA KIPEFA, HON. PHILLIP UNDIYALU has done a fabulous job and produced substantial recommendations from extensive research and review of public service machineries in Australia New Zealand Samoa and Fiji.
The reforms will improve professional commitment, ensure recruitment, promotions and appointments are transparent and based on merit. It will pay wages and benefits fitting for the position and ensure that discipline and rewards can be delivered in a timely manner, in a nutshell it will corporatize the public service.
Now the PM and most of the NEC are in agreement reforms are needed. Yet there are some Government MPs in parliament who do not want these reforms.
It seems they like the inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
One wonders why.
Sadly this lack of political will, this apathy and inconsideration is a major impediment to any tru...
To dateCriminal Fugitive Djoko Tjandras suspect citizenship remains uninvestigatedjustice in PNG is selective..there are those who have the means to deter, defer or delay its delivery.with just a little help.from their friends
Gary Juffa June 19, 2014
IS A COVER UP LOOMING?
Can the new Attorney General Ano PALA guarantee that his association with long time friend and INDONESIAN fugitive Djoko Tjandra will NOT adversely influence his tabling of the recently completed report into the matter of Djoko Tjandra completed by former AG Kerenga Kua? According to reliable sources the report recommends that TJANDRAs PNG passport be cancelled, his citizenship be revoked and he be extradited to INDONESIA.
Will this happen now under new AG ANO PALA?
We shall see
PNG plunges headfirst into a financial crisisits people face an uncertain and anxious futurecosts rise and basic services are threatened
Papua New Guineans blame one another and their Government who in turn blames international commodity price slumpsthe tension has resulted in bloody demonstrations and bitter and violent hostility amongst Papua New Guineans..
Meanwhile a cartel of transnational criminals are still bleeding the nation dry..operating virtually at whim and will
Unmolested and undetected, these sinister and clever entities have escaped the imagination of ordinary Papua New Guineans by manipulating a system ineffective in protecting the peoples monies evading taxesusing clever transfer pricing mechanisms and keeping proceeds of payments offshoreproceeds of inflated Government contracts cleverly secured through international loans, proceeds of timber and fish, proceeds of products highly inflated -two to even three times the actual true book value and some of these highly priced assets are even second hand discardsthe cartel is a well oiled giant money milking machine..
An Israeli firm, a Pakistani businessman, a Malaysian logging giant..a Chino Filipino fishing giantare some of the examplesand they all continue unfazed..while a nation reels and tottersits people dying in unrecorded numbers in rural PNG from lack of basic services
Why should they care..? Their families and that of their puppet facilitators are feeding well..their bank accounts are healthytheir options vast
Yes, these entities are still making money hand over fist unabated.
genuine companies who pay their taxes and follow the law hoping for a level playing field suffer and consider the prospect of scaling down costs..laying off staff..even selling off assets andshutting shop..
Many small PNG businesses have folded. Many homes have had to be sold by the banks..
But the transnational criminal cartel moves on relentless..their members employing a ruthless two pronged assaultmilking a developing nation of much needed limited funds via inflated contracts and simultaneously denying said nation its right to revenues via tax evasion and transfer pricing
And all these efforts are facilitated by members of a Government that does not seem to care for its peopleendorsement mechanisms to protect the interests of the people are neuteredthey now aid political leaders package and facilitate PNG to the cartel and its agents
Yet the blame is not primarily the cartels as much as it is that of those who are facilitatorsthe nations very own elected guardianshave abandoned their dutiesand the gatesare wide open.
The Government.. is no longer a Government of the people for the people...
On 6 March 2018, PNGs Prime Minister Peter ONeill reportedly announced a shift from limited preferential voting (LPV) back to the first past the post voting (FPTP) system in PNGs national elections. This announcement will likely spark intense debates about the pros and cons of each voting system. It also raises questions about womens political representation in PNG. For decades, debates about womens political representation have waxed and waned depending on who is in parliament, who constitutes the womens lobbying group, the state of the national womens machinery, funding availability and because most funding is from donors the priorities and direction that donors choose.
Early debates revolved around a proposal to invoke a provision in the PNG Constitution to nominate a womans representative. This debate culminated in 2009 when the Somare-led government backed Dame Carol Kidu, who was then a member of the cabinet, to put a motion to parliament for women to be nominated as representatives of parliament, based on this constitutional provision.
The parliament rejected the proposal, but it was an important moment because it deepened the debate about legislative reform and paved the way for progressing the drafting of the Equality and Participation Bill (also referred to as the Womens Bill). After many months of sustained national debate, consultations, lobbying and drafting, women scored another victory on 22 November 2011 when the parliament voted to allow the 22 reserved seats for women under this bill. Leading up to the 2012 national elections, the leaders summit agreed to support reserved seats for women in parliament.
The process involved a concerted effort, with the sole woman MP Dame Carol Kidu as the champion, pulling together a diverse range of stakeholders and securing the support of a significant number of male members of Parliament. Some argue that this national backdrop may have contributed to three women winning seats in the 2012 national elections.
During the next parliamentary term, debates waned. Dame Carol Kidu retired. The passing away of the late Scholar Kakas, the President of the National Council of Women (NCW) and a vocal supporter, created another vacuum in advocacy. The three women members of parliament reportedly...
In his affidavit, dated 27th October 2013, filed in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore, the then and current Chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), Sir Mekere Morauta, described the Plaintiff PNGSDP as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee incorporated and domiciled in Singapore, and is registered and operating in Papua New Guinea as an overseas company.
PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), originally incorporated in Singapore on the 20th of October 2001, was initially registered in Papua New Guinea as an overseas company on the 21st of December 2001 under the Companies Act 1997 and later registered as a Foreign Enterprise in Papua New Guinea on the 2nd of April 2003.
On the 20th of November 2001, around one month after PNGSDP was incorporated in Singapore and around two months before PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) was registered in PNG on the 21st of December 2001 an attorney called Gary T Evans signed a Share Transfer Form in the presence of D C Frecker effectively transferring 122.2 million Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) shares (which were purportedly originally bequeathed by BHP Billiton to PNGSDP) from PNGSDP to Insinger Trust (Singapore) Limited.
D C Frecker (full name: David Crichton Frecker) an Australian was appointed a Director of PNGSDP on the 7th of February 2002 and ceased being a Director of PNGSDP on the 22nd of February 2002. He was named as an alternate for another Australian, William Broughton Smith, who was appointed a Director of PNGSDP on the 21st of December 2001 but ceased being a Director of PNGSDP on the 20th of May 2002.
Basically PNGSDP was BHPs escape clause enacted when the Morauta Government passed the Ok Tedi Mine Continuation Ninth Supplemental Agreement Act 2001 (Ninth Supplemental Agreement Act) in December 2001. PNGSDP was set up specifically to enable BHP to withdraw from Ok Tedi Mining Limited (the mine) without incurring or facing any risk of liability of potentially having to pay possibly hundreds of billions in dollars in compensation to Ok Tedi landowners or to the people of pollution affected parts of Western Province in Papua New Guinea.
One estimate of the potential cost of compensation payable to Ok Tedi landowners over a 50 year period for environmental damage amounts to more than 350 Billion Dollars.
In an article published on the 9th of April 2002 by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), writer Will Marshall reported:
Facing the possibility of legal liabilities amounting to billions of dollars due to environmental damage, BHP-Billiton secured a deal from the PNG government that indemnifies the company against all future compensation claims.
The PNG parliament passed legislation last December to rubberstamp an agr...
This is seriously the greatest injustice of the 21st century, a source claimed last year when commenting on the massive share transfer of 122.2 million Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) shares which purportedly took place at 11.27am on the morning of the 19th of September 2013 in Singapore on the same date that the MINING (OK TEDI TENTH SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT) ACT 2013 was certified in Port Moresby after it was passed the previous day on the 18th of September 2013 by an absolute majority in accordance with the Papua New Guinea Constitution by the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea.
The massive share transfer was effected allegedly unlawfully the day after the Independent State of Papua New Guinea had already decreed that (a) all ordinary shares held by PNGSDP in the share capital of OTML shall be cancelled and cease to exist; and (b) 122,200,000 new, fully paid ordinary shares in the share capital of OTML free of any encumbrance, charge or equitable interest shall be issued to the State.
In particular by virtue of laws contained in the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013, passed on the 18th of September 2013 by the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea in accordance with the Constitution, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea has all necessary powers to restructure PNGSDP and its operations to ensure that PNGSDP applies its funds for the exclusive benefit of the people of Western Province. BHP Billiton Ltds immunity from prosecution was also removed, and the charge (mortgage) held over the 122.2 million shares was voided.
HOWEVER, the very day after the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013 was passed and on the very day the Act was certified, an attorney by the name of Carolyn Mary Parkes at 11.27am on the morning of 19th of September 2013 purportedly effected the transfer of 122.2 million shares previously held by mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd in Ok Tedi Mining Limited by purportedly transferring 122.2 million shares from Insinger Trust (Singapore) Limited to TMF Trustees Singapore Limited in front of a witness called Lim Xue Nuo in Singapore.
[See copy of the share transfer attached]
HOOD Lagoon community in Rigo, Central Province, have welcomed the construction of a new K5 million jetty project. Work on the project began late last month. Hood Lagoon comprising of three villages of Keapara, Alukuni and Karawa were thankful of their local member and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Ano Pala, for the initiative. They
Stability vs Justice Stability is the excuse the weak will use because they fear for themselves more then they care for others enough to demand Justice. No Ghandi didnt say that nor did Martin Luther King, I did because it is relevant here and today. You may sleep well and claim that all is fine
Media Statement by Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta Port Moresby 29 October 2015 Papua New Guinea needs to take urgent action to save itself from a looming economic and financial storm, former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said today. Sir Mekere, an economist and former head of Treasury, the Bank of Papua New Guinea and
Many have succumbed their fate to a future of subservience and miserythey have accepted their future as designed by an uncaring and selfish Government hellbent on selling PNG to sinister foreign interests and their puppets.ask yourself Why has the Government failed to prepare for this El Nino a disaster that is costing lives every day?
The previous post generated a lot of comments at the original site at which it was posted. One of them touched on a key factor of politics in PNG. Money.
That response comment to Vergil Narokobis post has been re-posted verbatim below for the benefit of the non-FB readership.
succinctly put; although one must clearly guard against mischievous, opportunistic or politicised actions against the government of the day from within the police or any other institution, clearly the rules need to be universal, whatever ones position. So it it critical that mechanisms are not abused to circumvent due process. But this does bring one back to the question of how governments are formed in PNG and how majorities are gained and retained. Unfortunately, with little or no ideological basis for parties (as in Australia and most places) PNG has ended up with government by dint of personality, but increasingly the use of money. Would an inspiring leader like Nelson Mandela have been able to become PM in PNG if he was to remain honest and not participate in pork barrel or money politics, or would he have just been sidelined by the man with access to logging money? And lets face it this case is partly about thatthe assumption is that public funds were laundered through a law firms accounts to be able to be used by a party for gaining office for funding campaigns and winning over other parties and independentsand if that was the assumption, what were the other parties and leaders doing? similar sorts of things, using SABLs and other land allocations, logging permits, DSIP funds, RESE funds, fish or petroleum licenses, exclusive rice concessions, citizenship awards, construction or commercial contracts, trust funds etc So if this scenario has some truth, the question is, how does one halt it, and halt it across the board, so that no party or group is left with a special advantage, with exclusive access to public or other improperly-gained funds, leaving the others high and dry? how does one rid elections and post election formation of government of the current money element (from vote buy, to rigging electoral lists, to buying parties and members etc)? Many politicians would prefer that, but feel dragged into the current corrupt practices as the only way to play the gamethese are some of the challenges, and it requires active involvement by the parties themselves, think tanks etc but also the wider public to help find the solutions, as clearly the voters are widely accepting and even demanding electoral bribes (in cash or kind)
By Paul Barker
I cannot remember the last time I was here. It was certainly a long while back as I see the shelves here have been collecting dust. There were a few factors that led to this rather lengthy hiatus, but lets not get into that now.
I am here simply to re-post verbatim a commentary that I came across on Facebook for the benefit of the portion of readership out there who may not subscribe to this social media.
In any case, I feel that this man has pretty much summed up and articulated what most likely must be running through peoples mind as they try to make sense of the latest developments in Papua New Guineas rather vibrant national political stage.
Its time for Papua New Guineans to call an ace an ace and a spade a spade!
The call for the resignation by the Prime Minister is a political question, not so much a legal question. The Prime Minister, like any body who goes through the criminal justice system is innocent until proven guilty. Here are some matters the Prime Minister should consider when making that decision.
Kua was Somares lawyer in the misconduct allegations against Somare. They went through the judicial process to challenge the OC. They failed. But they fronted up at the Leadership Tribunal, went through the process, found guilty by the Tribunal, paid the fine and life goes on. Skate resigned as Prime Minister paving the way for Sir Mekere to come in an atmosphere of serious allegations leveled against him. Julius Chan resigned when public opinion against him was overwhelming in the Sandline Affair. We hold public office as custodians for the people. If they are wrong in their convictions, they stand to suffer. That is the nature of our democracy. We have nothing to lose. Its their office.
There are important national matters that the Prime Minister must attend to. There are roads to be built, hospitals to maintain, doctors to be trained, borders to be protected, investors to meet and the list goes on. If one is busy fighting a criminal matter, looking over ones shoulder when the next counter move will be made, attending a Commission of Inquiry, sacking disobedient ministers and servants of the state, how can one give their 100% level best to serve the interest of the country? Ones time and attention is divided. One cannot serve two masters. To be or not to be, that is the question.
Whilst one serve office, they enjoy the confidence of the people. If that confidence is no longer apparent in ones leadership, and we are a democracy, it is an irreconcilable position to be in and one must do the honourable thing and resign...
|SIP materials being presented to the staff and officials of the Office of the PNG Vision 2030|
|PM & NEC Security official wearing a uniform with the PNG Vision 2050 logo on|
|SIP Training for New Guinea Islands SIP Officials in Kavieng 2013|
|Daniel Yekari- BOG Chairman of Passam National High School|
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|Rosie Aize Johnson (L) and Rosemary Koimo|
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When looking at the multiple challenges many developing countries face, it is easy to think that any aid is good aid. This thinking underpins donors desire to use aid to achieve their close geopolitical, commercial and security interests: any aid will help, so why not get some short-term domestic benefit too?. At a cursory glance, it seems like everyone can win.
Yet, from over seventy years of experience, we know that doing development properly is simply not that simple. Aid dollars are scarce, achieving development outcomes difficult. For these reasons, decisions about how to spend aid have to be carefully considered. This includes analysing opportunity costs. If aid gets spent on x, it does not get spent on y. This blog works through one example of potential opportunity costs to women and children, arising from the decision to spend aid to advance New Zealands commercial interests, while also assisting dairy farmers in Myanmar.
In 2012, the New Zealand Government Aid Programme decided to implement an agricultural project in Myanmar. The funding was to be given in the broader context of ASEAN agricultural diplomacy, the overall purpose of which was to support growth and development in selected ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, through providing relevant New Zealand agricultural expertise, and therefore increasing linkages between New Zealand and ASEAN agricultural agencies, organisations and businesses.
Alongside potential development gains, the scoping document for the Myanmar agricultural project examined what New Zealand was good at and had a competitive edge in, opportunities for New Zealand businesses or organisations, and areas where New Zealand would receive recognition for its work, have a niche advantage, skills and experience, and could make an impact (p. 5). The scoping document identified activities, such as investing in fruit and vegetable value chains, or apiculture, that had potentially solid development outcomes in the short to medium term, including substantial employment opportunities and poverty reduction amongst landless farmers.
What was finally recommended was investment in small-scale dairy farming, despite the fact that [d]evelopment outcomes and impacts will be limited to a relatively small number of relatively well-off direct beneficiaries in the short-term, until scaling up occurs (p. 2). The project invested NZ$5-6 million over five years, for 20-25 local farmers, each with ten cows a total of 250 cows. This works out to cost approximately NZ$48,000 for each farmer each year: $4,800 per cow, per year.
The development impacts identified from this project included potential longer-term employment opportunities along the value chain. In...
Source: Scott Waide, My Land My Country
A group of customary landowners in Papua New Guinea have regained access to their land following a significant legal victory against supporters of a logging company.
Seven people from Pomio in East New Britain were barred from entering their land for the last six years after restraining ordered were issued to them in 2012.
The landowners include Paul Pavol Palusualrea and Nobert Pames who have been vocal against land grabbing and widespread deforestation in the remote district.
The National Court in Kokopo set aside the restraining orders after finding that there was a lack of evidence.
The landowners were represented by lawyers from the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR).
We are happy to have won the case for our clients who are from the forested communities of West Pomio, whose resources have been exploited through SABL. They are now able to move freely on the land that is rightly theirs and continue the SABL campaigns of ridding the logging giants, said lawyer Everlyn Wohuinangu.
The Pomio District is the site of a controversial Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) where large tracts of rainforest have been logged and replaced by oil palm plantations.
The dispute over the logging and land grabbing triggered the six year long legal battle between the landowners and local companies sponsored by the Malaysian logging company.
The court victory is also important for customary landowners in other parts of the country who are battling multi-national loggers.
The restraining orders were nothing more than intimidation of local people, said CELCOR Director, Peter Bosip. It stopped them from accessing land to grow food and to hunt.
There has also been instances of police intimidation and intimidation by other parties.
Other landowners should see this and stand firm in pursuing recognition of their rights. This was, simply, a suppression of their constitutional...
In recent years, a number of newspaper articles have suggested that Pacific workers are being exploited, if not enslaved, by unscrupulous employers in the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), under which Pacific Islanders can be employed for up to six months a year to work on farms. Fairfax journalist Nick McKenzie compared the SWP to 19th-century blackbirding, that is, slavery. Ben Dohertys Guardian article was headlined Modern-day slavery in focus. Hungry, poor exploited: alarm over Australias import of farm workers. He also made the link from the SWP to blackbirding.
At the time (here and here) I was sceptical about these general claims. Clearly there were some incidents of exploitation, but there was no evidence that it was widespread. And the fact that the scheme is highly regulated made this unlikely. And now my scepticism has been shown to be justified, with the publication of the new World Bank report on the SWP.
Among other things, the report details the results of a 2015 survey of Pacific workers in Australia, which asked 389 workers from nine Pacific countries how much they made and spent in Australia, and what they thought about their experience. Workers were selected randomly either in Australia or in the host country to avoid selection bias (i.e. the risk of only interviewing happy workers).
On average, Pacific workers saved $8,680, which they either remitted while in Australia or took home with them. 78% of workers said that their earnings met their expectations.
Workers were also asked how satisfied they were with their experience in Australia. On a scale of 1 to 10, the average score was 8.6. Even more tellingly, workers were asked if they would recommend the scheme to a friend. 98% said they would. And more tellingly still, workers were asked if they wanted to return themselves: 95% said yes. 85% said they wanted to come back, not just for another year or two but for as many years as possible.
Indeed, increasingly it seems that workers are not looking to the SWP as a one-off temporary migration opportunity but as a career. Tonga and Vanuatu are the two biggest sending count...
Image: Samuel Kuku, a beekeeper in the Eastern Highlands.
Source: Scott Waide / EMTV news
For more than 30 years, Tella Loie, worked in the public service as a honeybee specialist.
His entire career was dedicated to building the capacity of beekeepers in the Eastern Highlands. While he was presented with opportunities to go into business, he turned them down and continued to help beekeepers in the Eastern Highlands.
In 2016, Tella Loie quit the public service and, in an old government warehouse, he started a small business.
The opportunities have always been there, he said. But I couldnt take advantage of it because I was a government worker.
What dreams I had, slowly began to come outeverything that was in me in being put into creating more opportunities for bee farmers.
With costs rising, it has been difficult for bee farmers who import beehives from New Zealand.
Taking his 38 years of beekeeping and management experience, Mr. Loie is now helping farmers reduce their equipment costs.
Tella Loie has spent over three decades helping those in the beekeeping industry.
In Goroka, he is singlehandedly reducing the need for imports by making beehives and repairing honey trays used by bees to create honeycombs. This month alone, his small team of workers made over 100 beehives from local timber.
Being Papua New Guineans, we all have our challenges. The question we should be asking is what can I do to help my country in terms of developmentin terms of employment for our people?
I am happy because at least in a little way, Im contributing positively to my people and my country despite receiving no support from the government.
Tella Loie is one of a handful of self-ta...
Lester Seri speaking at the SABL petition presentation in 2017
Two customary landowners have been served with a defamation lawsuit and a gagging order application by Malaysian owned logging company, Northern Forest Products Limited.
Lester Seri and Christian Maravis are being sued over two letters written to government departments and an article published on the internet in which they question the legality of logging operations in the Collingwood Bay area of Oro Province.
Seri and Maravis have claimed the logging operations do not have the informed consent of local people and have not been through the full, proper legal process.
These claims are vigorously denied by Northern Forest Products, the company behind the new logging operation.
Northern Forest Products says it is establishing a legitimate and lawful integrated agriculture project. The company says it has a partnership agreement with a local company, Aisor Development Corporation, and has been granted a lawful and legitimate Environmental Permit and Forest Clearance Authority. The company says it currently has over 5,000 cubic metres of logs awaiting export to China and an Export Permit signed by the Forest Minister.
Meanwhile, Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, has also stated his belief that the logging is illegal. He has recently overseen a police operation at the logging site and says the logging equipment and cut logs have been impounded. Illegal Logging Site Shut-Down, Asians Jailed" was a March 16 headline in the Post Courier reporting on the police action.
Despite the highly publicised actions by the Governor and the police and Juffa's unequivocal statements about the illegality of the logging operations which have been published in a daily newspaper and other media sites, it is Seri and Maravis who have been served with a writ claiming damages for defamation and an application for an injunction gaging them from any interference in the export of logs.
A lot can change within the space of a decade. In February 2009, the first group of Tongan workers set off from Tongatapu for the almond farms in Victorias north-west. Since then, Australias Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) has gone from a pilot of fewer than 100 arrivals annually to a program attracting over 6,000 workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste each year. The SWP now offers more employment opportunities than the entire formal sectors of several of its participating countries.
Over the past three years, the World Bank has been monitoring what this growth means for the Pacific region. This has included extensive household and community surveys in the two largest sending countries Tonga and Vanuatu along with hundreds of on-site surveys with seasonal workers from all participating countries.
Some participating workers are employed prior to departure, but the majority are not. The income gains vary by country, but in all cases represent a significant factor increase on their earning potential back home. The...
Donors should adopt a positive and constructive attitude towards disclosures of wrongdoing in NGOs, argues Angela Crack.
A smart new open access paper in World Development uses aid project data and health survey data to look at the impact of aid on infant mortality in Nigeria. The main finding: in the Nigerian context aid projects help reduce infant mortality.
Here is an open letter to The Global Fund about its decision to end its malaria and TB projects in North Korea.
Bottled water is the fastest-growing beverage market in the world, but the WHO has launched a health review after a new study showed that more than 90% contained microplastics.
CGD conducted a study on the gender gap in US global development nonprofits do they practice what they preach?
The conflict in Iraq has had deeper consequences for the people within its zone, with a toxic legacy of not only environmental sabotage, but also chronic disease, reports the Washington Post.
Papua New Guineas Prime Minister Peter ONeil [sic] instantly offered 100,000 hectares for planting even starting tomorrow, but can develop easily 2 million hectares in government lands for rice farming with irrigation.
The problem is, the PNG government doesnt have even 100,000 hectares of land, let alone 2 million hectares. So whose land are they going to use and how many Filipino rice farmers are we going to allow into the country?
Indonesia is the most linguistically diverse nation in Asia, yet unfortunately its education system does not reflect this rich linguistic multiplicity. Indonesias constitution mandates Bahasa Indonesia as the sole language of instruction in formal education. Bahasa Indonesia, which was selected in 1928 as the countrys official language in an effort to promote national unity and identity, is the mother tongue of less than ten per cent of the population. This means that the vast majority of Indonesian students begin their schooling in an education system that they cannot fully understand or participate in.
An Australian Government-funded education program, Innovation for Indonesias School Children (INOVASI), is working to address this issue through a pilot called GEMBIRA (Gerakan menggunakan Bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar) in the West Nusa Tenggara district of Bima. Working with a range of teachers, INOVASI is designing locally-driven ways to improve learning outcomes for students whose first language is not Bahasa Indonesia.
The Indonesian experience
It is estimated that less than ten per cent of the Indonesian population has access to education in their first language among the lowest percentage in Asia. Despite significant investments in education spending over the last twenty years, learning outcomes have not improved at the rate expected, and Indonesia still lags behind its regional and global peers.
Students and teachers in the remote Indonesian district of Bima face challenges on many fronts. Wider issues of teacher training, remoteness, and lack of resources are compounded by a high prevalence of local languages in homes and communities, resulting in extremely low learning outcomes for students. Bima scored the lowest of all districts in the province for reading, mathematics, and science, and more than one standard deviation below the national average for all subject areas.
Although the Indonesian constitution does allow for local languages to be used in an auxiliary function during the early years, few teachers are trained in second language acquisition and teaching methodologies. The default strategy we observed teachers using in Bima when students didnt understand the message in Bahasa Indonesia or materials, was to directly translate or code switch an unsustainable strategy long-term as local languages are no longer permitted beyond early grades.
Further complicating matters for students and teachers is the fact that many local languages in Indonesia, including Bahasa Mbojo in Bima, do not have a standardised alphabet or existin...
A key aim of my Disaster Capitalism film with director Thor Neureiter is to highlight the darker sides of aid (without arguing that aid should stop). There are currently many screenings of the film around the world from Australia to the US and UK (with many more to follow).
Aid Watch is a wonderful group that challenges the often wasteful and opaque nature of aid theyre sponsoring a film screening in May alongside Jubilee Australia and theyve written an insightful overview of the movie:
Ever wondered why some societies seem to exist in a permanent disaster? Some would have us believe its their fault. This film lays blame squarely at what it calls disaster capitalism an aid-industrial complex that solidifies vulture capital, aid agencies, donor governments and local cronies. The bloc is shored-up by the military but mainly works at the level of policy. Its genius is in converting disaster into opportunity, exploiting vulnerabilities to force a permanent transformation.
The idea is not new. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 the World Bank saw its opportunity for shock therapy, as WB official Jeffrey Sachs called it. Naomi Klein named the concept back in 2007, most graphically focusing on the aftermath of the 2005 New Orleans flood. In 2015 Antony Loewenstein extended the concept, with a focus on profit and securitisation, and now his film takes the concept further, into the murky world of development assistance.
Best-selling journalist and author Antony Loewenstein joins award-winning filmmaker Thor Neureiter, along with co-producers Media Stockade, on a six-year investigation into this world and the ramifications of disaster capitalism in Afghanistan, Haiti and Papua New Guinea.
The film takes us along todays global frontiers of disaster capitalism, from Afghanistan, to Haiti to Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In Afghanistan we encounter the disaster of the US hearts and minds reconstruction effort, larger than the Marshall Plan. The film exposes new US efforts to control the countrys corrupted and coercive mining sector, ironically to compensate for US beneficence as occupier. In Haiti, aid inflows seal deals between the government and post-disaster carpet-bagging investors. The film shows how local people are compulsorily shunted from shanties to industrial estates, to capture their labour for world factories, at knock-down wages. And finally, the film takes us to PNG, the largest recipient of Australias aid...
The surprise finding that remittances were Timor-Lestes largest source of foreign revenue after oil and aid in 2017 is further confirmed by new data to hand, provided by the Labour Market Information Directorate, Secretary of State for Youth and Labour, Timor-Leste. Information from the ANZ Bank shows an additional USD$3.1 million was remitted from Australia in 2017. The estimated total amount remitted to Timor-Leste in 2017 through three conduits: Western Union, BNU (Banco Nacional Ultramarino) and ANZ Bank, now stands at USD$43.78 million.
This is an update to a previous blog on remittances to Timor-Leste.
The sheer length of Ai Wei Weis documentary on refugees and the global humanitarian crisis 140 minutes means that it is not for the faint-hearted. Human Flow is long because it combines stunning zooms (often drone-mounted) and action shots (often at sea) with close-up encounters of asylum-seekers several of whom are reduced to tears. On top of that, the film strives to be comprehensive with footage from Asia, Africa and Latin America in addition to its main focus on the Middle East and Europe and rigorous, with interviews with experts and authorities.
Its an achievement that, despite its length, Human Flow retains the viewers attention throughout or at least it did mine. That said, it certainly could have done with a good edit. The brief coverage of the Rohingya crisis and of Gaza I found particularly confusing, and both would have been better omitted. At times the film goes beyond refugees to comment on migration more generally, especially at the end when it visits the Mexico-US border. By this stage, all cross-border movement of people seems to have become problematic, whereas in fact migration has been in many ways a great post-war success.
Particularly irritating is the footage of the director himself: Ai Wei Wei having his hair cut, or buying food, or pretending to swap passports with a Syrian, or (repeatedly) of him filming on his smart phone. Before this film, I knew of Ai Wei Wei as an artist and dissident. I wasnt aware of his long-standing interest in refugees, or of his career as a film maker. Its great that he has made this movie, but at times it is just too much about him.
Europe emerges as the villain of the piece. The movie was shot in 2016 when Europe closed its doors to asylum seekers, not in 2015, when it opened them. Instead of shots of refugees moving through open borders, we see them stranded at Greeces border, and eventually turned back. There is a brief segment on refugee camps in Berlin, but even here Europe comes off badly, with complaints of boredom from refugees and impressions of crowding. This seems rather unfair. After all, Europe did take in one million refugees. Not as many as front-line countries such as Lebanon, Jordon and Turkey, but still an impressive exercise in generosity.
Manus and Nauru dont rate a mention, which is surprising, because youd think that if you wanted to study inhumanity to asylum seekers Australias off-shore processing would be international exhibit number one.
Also missing from the film are the countries that wont go anywhere near the refugee problem, such as Japan and Ai Wei Weis own China. Yet if we are serious about solutions, we cant only press those countries asylum seekers can reach to take them. The incentive fo...
Commentary by By Aloysius Otmar on PNG Today
PM Peter O'Neill and Treasury Minister Charles Abel are saying PNG will benefit from the APEC 2018. Like many right thinking and concerned PNGeans, I doubt it very much. This event will only be a major gain for many politically-aligned individuals and not the country as a whole. Why do I need to boast about the APEC 2018 when;
1. There is shortage of drugs in all hospitals and clinics from major towns and cities to the rural aidposts and health centers,
2. There are 60-70 students cramped in one classroom that has less that 15 desks and one poor teacher who is lowly paid with no leave entitlements,
3. The kina value is depreciating by the day against the USD and AUD with limited forex at the BPNG and other commercial banks,
4. The ordinary citizens are heavily taxed on their salaries as well as GST, inflation etc. amidst the high cost of living,
5. When tertiary education fees have increased to a level where the child of a middle working class family or from a rural-based family can't afford,
6. When retired public servants who have given their productive days to contribute to the nation's development are still waiting to get their life savings from POSF or Nambawan Super or other funds. Some have already died without receiving a toea.
7. The list is just too long, and etc etc.
In other words, we've been fooled a million times over by foreigners and we have not realized or just realizing it now!!!
Let's not be so optimistic about the 2018 APEC Summit. Definitely people like the US president and all other world leaders for that matter will be making decisions based on their nations' interests depending on what they can offer.
What can PNG offer to the international community when;
1. All our mines and Oil & Gas fields (including the exploration permits) are owned by foreigners. Talking about the extractive industry, the O...
Early this year, the Hon. Powes Parkop, Governor for PNGs National Capital District Commission (NCDC), sent social media into a frenzy when he announced that he would re-introduce the infamous and ill-fated buai (betel nut) ban on the public sale and consumption of betel nut if betel nut chewers and vendors do not clean-up their act. Since then, the announcement has taken a new twist, with the Commission coming out recently to explain that it is imposing a partial ban instead of the originally planned total ban on betel nut. The partial ban will target both the chewers and sellers of betel nut, and will restrict sales of buai to particular areas, rather than banning it outright. Boroko will be used as a model to trial out the partial ban. The Commission was forced to explain its stance on the betel nut ban after a few incidents occurred: the first in Hohola, where a tear gas canister used by police to disperse betel nut vendors almost became fatal when it made its way into the nearby school (Scared Heart Primary School); and the second an allegation that police stripped betel nut vendors in Port Moresby as a form of punishment. While the APEC Summit has created an urgency to clean up the city, these incidents and previous experience points to the critical need for the government to take a sensible and different approach.
It is already clear that the last time the ban was imposed (in October 2013), it not only cost the tax payers millions of kina but also led to the loss of human lives, destruction of thousands of kina worth of private properties, and the abuse of power by police and betel nut rangers the very people responsible for enforcing the law. The cleanliness of the city did improve, but at the cost of the livelihoods of thousands of its citizens. In fact, a review conducted in 2017 by the NCDC on the betel nut ban found that a total ban on betel nut was not the best way forward for all stakeholders, including chewers and vendors. Even the partial lifting of the ban with the introduction of a number of markets designated for the sale of buai has had very little impact. Confrontations between vendors and buai city rangers is a major concern....
Police action squad dealing to illegal loggers in Oro Province. Image: Gary Juffa/FB
OPINION: By Gary Juffa
In the ongoing saga of stopping illegal logging in Papua New Guineas Oro province, our facts reveal that the PNG Forest Authority is failing our people.
A network exists whereby a few corrupt public servants in both Oro and the PNG Forest Authority have helped facilitate fraud and theft of resources worth millions. This network exists in every province where there is illegal logging occurring.
In Oro we have identified those involved and they shall be dealt with.
Meanwhile, our investigations reveal that PNGFA is negligent in its efforts and has been facilitating the theft of our forest resources for decades, it is complicit in the transnational crimes being committed and those who process the paperwork are in fact accomplices.
Despite all the government rhetoric about stopping illegal logging such as the SABLs and being concerned about the environment, the truth is, that this government entity, designed and created for the purpose of protecting PNG interests PNG resources is in fact failing miserably in its mandate and is assisting transnational criminal cartels steal our forest reources.
What is the point of an organisation we pay for with our taxes to serve transnational criminal cartels and sell us out?
Pretext and fraud
Every month, shipments worth millions leave our shores forest resources obtained under pretext and fraud, leaving behind destroyed landscapes, polluted waterways, and miserable landowners who have either been fooled or contemptuously mistreated and intimidated by corrupt elements of the public service and police.
But we can stop it.
Yes, you and I.
If we know about it and do nothing, we too are complicit.
I am doing something about it. I need you to stand with me and demand that the PNGFA and its Chairman, David Dotaona and its minister, Douglas Tomuriesa, and its entire department act to stop these crimes against Papua New Guinea and our people and protect our forest resources....
BY NELLIE SETEPANO, Post Courier
AN illegal logging company operating in Northern Province was shut down and 13 Asians without work permits were locked up at the Popondetta cells.
Northern Province Police have confirmed the shutdown of the illegal logging company known as Northern Forest Products at Collingwood Bay, Wanigela with thousands of logs and heavy equipment impounded. All logs and equipment will be moved to Oro Bay.
Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector Lincoln Gerari said police had acted on advise from National Forest Authority to move onto the site and shut it down after its illegal operations on 45,000 hectares state land that consists of portions 135, 136 and 137.
We moved in last Friday and caught them off guard, the Asians were cooking pumpkins, and then fled into the bushes and our men went after them, Gerari said.
When caught, the men complained that they were never fed properly and or paid by the site manager since arriving last September.
Police said the loggers...
Chris Owen passed away last week on March 9 in Canberra, aged 73. He was born in 1944 in Birmingham, UK, and was educated in both the UK and Australia, in particular at the Birmingham College of Art and Design where he received a Graduate Diploma in Visual Communication.
He moved to Papua New Guinea in 1973, initially employed as cinematographer by the Tourist Board, but joined the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies as resident filmmaker in 1976. He was tasked with designing and initiating an ethnographic filmmaking program that documented and preserved PNG cultures on film, and providing professional training for PNG filmmakers. He would be devoted to these tasks until his retirement in 2010.
In 2000 Chris became the Head (and later the Director) of the National Film Institute (formerly, Skul bilong Wokim Piksa) in Goroka, where he rebuilt the institution and its functions after it was destroyed by fire in 1996. At the time of his retirement, he had spent 37 years working at PNG government institutions: 34 of those years at bodies under what is today called the National Cultural Commission.
Chris Owens many years of productivity, dedication, and commitment to the people of PNG have resulted in an extraordinary rich and prolific output. Many of his films document spectacular aspects of traditional culture, such as The Red Bowmen, Malangan Labadama, and Bridewealth for a Goddess.
Other films focus on the ways individuals and groups have found to deal with potential conflicts between traditional and modern value systems, such as Man without Pigs, GogodalaA Cultural Revival?, and Betelnut Bisnis. Chris directed one of the best known and most widely seen PNG contemporary dramas written for the screen, TukanaHusat i Asua? He also focussed on developmental issues and initiatives, such as Ramu Pawa, Re-Forestation Naturally, and the two films in the Real Options series.
Chriss films have been shown at film festivals in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, France, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Russia, UK, USA, and Uzbekistan, and have received countless international awards. His films have also been shown on television in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, and Thailand, as well as PNG. They are used as course materials at numerous universities and museums in the US, Australia, and France.
While Chris was the filmmaker of least 16 films, he is credited in more than 33 others with various roles in the filmmaking process. Indeed, Andrew Pike, film historian and Managing Director of Ronin Films, has noted that Chris has contributed directly or indirectly to almost every significant documentary made in Papua New Guinea over the last three decades whether as director, cinematographer, editor,...
Source: Martyn Namarong / Namarong Report
The International Justice and Human Rights (IJHR) Clinic at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia has released a manual that explores the novel idea of prosecuting land grabbing as a crime against humanity.
IJHR found that between 2002 and 2011, the PNG government distributed at least 5.2 million hectares of customary landaround 12 percent of PNGs total landmassthrough the SABLs to a number of private companies for large-scale agricultural development, without the free, prior and informed consent of all affected landowners.
It found that nearly one-third of PNGs 46 million hectares is now in the hands of foreign corporations, predominantly for logging. Since most of the SABLs last for 99 years, they effectively extinguish customary land rights.
IJHR noted that as communities have lost their principle source of livelihood and security, protests and attempts to defend land rights have often been met with force and violent crackdowns by police forces commonly designated to serve the interests of the logging industry.
Vulnerable communities in low governance regions have typically had little recourse or remedy when their land has been seized, often for corporate development of agricultural resources, said Nicole Barrett, Director of Allard IJHR Clinic.
While some land seizures are legitimate expropriations, many are not, resulting in significant human rights violationswith disproportionate effects on indigenous groups, women, children and ethnic minorities.
In 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC stated that it would consider giving special consideration to Rome Statute crimes committed by or resulting in the illegal dispossession of land, exploitation of natural resources, and environmental destruction.
Driven by this new policy direction, Breaking New Ground lays out the steps to prosecute illegal land grabbing as a crime against humanity, briefly examining land seizures in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Myanmar, and Cambodia, as well as the laws surrounding forcible transfer and issues related to jurisdiction, defendant selection and corporate liability.
By prosecuting even a few of the most serious instances...
West Papuans have it much harder than Scots or Catalans. In West Papua it is illegal to fly the independence flag. Espaol
In guidebooks it is referred to as the countrys final frontier. It is a vast territory consisting of mostly unspoiled wilderness and a relatively sparse population. There are immense forests and soaring, glacier-capped mountains.
When traveling to the region from the countrys populated core, it is common to see settlers and contractors who work for mining and logging companies. One cannot help but notice the presence of soldiers that are there to offer protection from the natives.
This description sounds, to the American ear, like the development of the western frontier. It has an old world ring to it, and is resonant with the frontier stories of Australia, Canada, Russia, and numerous settings around the globe. But the subject of the description is West Papua, a contemporary frontier region in Indonesia.
West Papua, roughly the size of California, is the colloquial name given to the western half of the island of New Guinea (the eastern half of the island is the sovereign state of Papua New Guinea). It is an extraordinarily diverse place with hundreds of languages and cultural groups.
The very concept of West Papua is in many ways the product of colonialism. It was once known as Dutch New Guinea, a region within the Dutch East Indies. Between 1949 and 1963 it was a stand-alone Dutch colony. It was later called Irian Jaya after it came under Indonesian control in the 1960s. Since that time it has been the scene of an independence struggle against the Indonesian government.
The independence effort, or Free Papua Movement, is now 60 years old. It is thought that 100.000 people have died in the resulting conflict, although estimates vary widely. Reports of torture, extrajudicial killing, and human rights abuse...
Photo: MCC dumps waste from the Ramu mine into Basamuk Bay
Ditch Ocean Dumping coalition calls on Citigroup to divest from mines tied to the practice
Today an international coalition of environmental and human rights groups announced the start of a new campaign to end the submarine disposal of hazardous mine waste, known as tailings. The practice smothers seabed floors and coral reefs, threatens fisheries, and harms human and wildlife health.
Mining companies dump 220 million tonnes of mine waste directly into our oceans, rivers and lakes every year: more waste than the United States puts into its landfills. The result: polluted water, illness and disease, and a loss of livelihoods. The Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign is calling on Citigroup and other financial institutions to divest from any project or company that employs the practice.
Ocean dumping is dirty, unnecessary and wrong, said Ellen Moore of Earthworks, who is coordinating the campaign. Yet some companies still use it, some governments still allow it, and some of the worlds largest banks and investment firms still profit from it. Its high time we ditched ocean dumping once and for all.
Commercial and subsistence fishermen have seen fisheries decline as a consequence of ocean dumping. For many indigenous communities, water is the heart of their cultural heritage and spiritual practice. In Norway, two proposed mines escaped a recent moratorium on submarine dumping permits, jeopardizing the fish-rich...
The worlds most common childhood disease affects over 90% of the worlds children. It is chronic, non-communicable, neglected, and the most common cause of pain (80% of children will experience pain from it).
What disease am I referring to? Dental disease, usually from tooth decay.
Many Pacific nations, including Papua New Guinea, are experiencing the growing problem of dental pain, which can be alleviated through the control of dental disease.
One survey of six villages in the Western Province showed that there were three untreated diseased teeth person. There is only one dentist per 90,000 people in PNG, an overwhelming number of patients for PNG dentists. During my time in PNG, I removed twelve abscessed teeth from the mouth of one four year old girl, who was in so much pain that she could only eat bananas, which clearly affects her general health. She had already been in pain for half of her life, as there was no local dentist..
This burden is only set to increase as PNGs population is expected to double in the next twelve years. PNG needs effective and permanent prevention of dental disease, and they need it soon.
Worldwide, there are three preventative methods for reducing dental disease. However, only one is practical for PNG: salt fluoridation, or the addition of fluoride to commonly-consumed table salt. This method has been effective for 300 million people in 30 countries across Europe and America, and benefits a wide variety of people: children, adults, the rural disadvantaged, and the urban poor. The cost-benefit ratio of salt fluoridation is 1:240, which means that for every $1 invested in prevention, $240 is saved in future fillings and tooth extractions. In addition, it only costs less than ten cents per person per year.
Salt fluoridation results in the rapid reduction of tooth decay, of 10% per year, which is a massive permanent reduction of 50-65% in just five years. This would be a fantastic public health achievement, and its safety has been proven by research, particularly as it does not increase the consumption of salt.
So how does this prevention of dental disease enhance Australias development impact?
Australia provides substantial support to education and health in PNG. Australias educational development impact is reduced by dental disease because children miss school due to the pain they are experiencing, and their education suffers. Adults with strong pain cannot work or are less productive at work due to the pain. This results in an ongoing loss to the economy and extra costs to the health system for pain relief. Reduced dental disease would increase school attendance and productivity at workplaces, enhancing Australias aid impact.
I make three recommendations for this to work....
Media in the Philippines is reporting see below their Agriculture Secretary is in Port Moresby this week to sign a deal with the PNG government allowing Filipino farmers to plant rice on 1 million hectares of land. Is nobody concerned about this huge land grab and the influx of foreign workers?
Papua New Guinea rice-planting deal expected this week
Source: Business World
THE Philippines will sign this week an agricultural agreement allowing Filipino companies to expand their rice planting operations in Papua New Guinea.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piol said he will be flying to Papua New Guinea on Wednesday to fin...
The documentary Disaster Capitalism opens with the earthquake in Haiti, 2010. Through the ghostly fog of CCTV video, we see the ground furiously shake buildings into dust. Fronted by Australian journalist and writer Antony Loewenstein and shot over six years, in collaboration with director Thor Neureiter, Director of Video at Columbia University, the film visits and revisits three countries Haiti, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea riven by various crises and trapped in a cycle of dependence on Western aid. This cycle, Loewenstein tells Crikey, is no accident.
I thought it was important to look at how these countries are connected politically and financially, in other words, how certain conditions are designed to keep poor countries poor, he said.
Filming began in 2011, when Loewenstein was working on a book of the same name.
The aim wasnt to spend six years making the film, Loewenstein said. But there is something to be said for seeing how these countries evolve over six years. All thats really changed is that PMs or presidents have come and gone, but they remain economically broken and I thought it was important to look at why.
Cycle of dependency
A key factor in the Disaster Capitalism is that these countries are not, and never have been, without the resources to pay their own way. Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan in particular are rich in minerals. Loewenstein says this is part of the problem.
Trump has been very keen to really harness and expand the mining industry if Afghanistan, and theyre tying aid to that So aid is being used to not help people, but to enrich foreign businesses. Look at PNG, it has huge resources, and after several decades of those being exploited, it hasnt helped the locals one bit.
Aid not only enriches Australian business interests, Loewenstein says, but backs up political aims.
Aid to PNG has been increased, in my view, to provide a bribe to the PNG government to house the refugees we dont want, he said. Obviously not all of the aid money is related to the pacific solution, but aid has gone up since it was revitalised under Labor.
And the oversight ensuring that aid isnt misspent or funnelled towards corruption, he says, is weak.
As Sean Dorney pointed out, its not usual for journalists to be surrounded by people saying nice things about them. But on Saturday night in Brisbane, 150 people got together to do just that. In response to the announcement that he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, friends, colleagues and former rivals came together to eat, drink (some more than others), and tell stories.
There were many stories and they are only the tip of the iceberg. Riots, volcanic eruptions, political intrigue, rugby league, and erotic dancing all got their fair share of the limelight. But they all centred around one man: Dorney.
Getting to know Sean and spend time with him has been one of the highlights of moving to Brisbane. After our first meeting last year, he gave me a copy of The Embarrassed Colonialist. He had recently returned from PNG, where he had been part of the Commonwealth Observers Group during the elections. We had spent an hour or so discussing PNG politics, the success of the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup, and much more besides. His detailed knowledge of Papua New Guinea and his passion for the country were writ large during our conversation. Just as they are in the book. And on Saturday evening, his commitment to PNG was equally evident, as was the continuing presence he has in that country. There were messages of support from Peter ONeill and two former prime ministers. And Tania Nugent spoke of how Sean had planted the seed for a generation of journalists, not just in PNG but across the region.
Of course, Seans relationship with PNG is one that spans many years and has several facets to it. He first went there in 1974, just before independence, to work for the newly-established National Broadcasting Commission. It was during that first three-year stint that he met his wife, Pauline. This was one of three postings to PNG, including a period of 17 years as the ABCs PNG correspondent. A keen sportsman, Sean is well remembered as having captained the national rugby league side, the PNG Kumuls. On handing over the PNG desk to Liam Fox, Sean took on the role of Pacific Affairs correspondent for the ABC until 2014. He is currently a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute.
The Embarrassed Colonialist was commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of PNG gaining independence from Australia. It came at a timely juncture and has made an important contribution to the conversation about the nature of Australias relationship with it...
Last week in Sydney was the first public screening of my film, Disaster Capitalism. Director Thor Neureiter was in New York but co-producers Media Stockade were there along with a solid audience. There will be many more public screenings in Australia, the US and beyond soon. After the film, we held a Q&A around aid and development plus journalism in conflict zones. It was recorded by Sky News TV and broadcast last weekend. Heres how they described the event:
The Walkley Foundation has held its first Walkley Talk for the year at the State Library of NSW. The event featured a screening of independent documentary film Disaster Capitalism by journalist Antony Loewenstein. The screening was followed by a robust discussion on aid in conflict zones, revealing how the supply of aid to those in need isnt always as transparent and ethical as it seems. The panel included the filmmaker himself, along with head of journalism at Macleay College and former foreign correspondent Monica Attard, and journalists Hugh Riminton and Yaara Bou Melhem.
The conversation touched on the role of journalists in delivering accurate public interest news from war zones, and holding NGOs and aid organisations accountable when bringing the reporters on the ground in the first place. It explored the corruption and conflict rampant in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, and Lebanon, and implications for the media and global community, who may all too often be switching off the television to avoid distressing news. The discussion also offered an insight into the world of freelancing and war reporting, while challenging the concepts of international assistance and development through the perspectives of investigative journalists.
IMAGE: Map showing new logging roads and tree cover loss in 2017
SOURCE: Global Witness
The Papua New Guinean (PNG) government has disregarded a decision by its Supreme Court and allowed loggers found guilty of flouting PNG law to continue operating, new research by Global Witness reveals. The revelations come as APEC countries meet in Port Moresby this weekend, February 24-25, to discuss measures to tackle illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber. Global Witness is calling on the PNG government, this years APEC host, to show leadership on the issue by following through on past commitments to shut down illegal logging operations.
Hosting the 2018 APEC Summit is a historic moment for PNG, but this risks being overshadowed by land grabbing and deforestation driven by the governments failure to enforce its own laws, said Lela Stanley of Global Witness. The PNG government has been promising for years to crack down on illegal logging but continues to turn a blind eye while its forests are raided by foreign logging interests.
New Global Witness analysis of satellite imagery and export data reveals loggers have recently extended a major forest clearance operation declared illegal by PNGs Supreme Court. The Court ruled in August 2016 that a land lease used as a pretext to clear forest in East Sepik Province was invalid, and that any associated logging and oil palm development was illegal. It found that the logging operation violated the legal rights of indigenous communities to their land and forests by failing to gain their consent.
However, the PNG government failed to stop the logging, and in February 2017 its National Forest Board quietly granted a new forest clearance permit to the Malaysian loggers responsible, allowing them to continue cutting down the same forests. Global Witness findings show that by the time the new permit was issued around 930 km of logging roads had been built and logs valued at roughly US$65 million exported under the illegal operation. In 2017, more than 70 km of new roads were added and at least US$5 million of timber exported under the new permit....
Prime Minister Peter ONeill and Agriculture Minister Benny Allan have promised the Philippines government at least one million hectares of land in Papua New Guinea for Filipino farmers to grow rice, according to media reports.
The 1 million hectares [10,000 square kilometres] will be leased to Filipino companies and thousands of Filipino farmers and agriculture graduates are expected to head to PNG, according to the countrys Agriculture Secretary, Emmanuel F. Piol.
February 21st is the first anniversary of the presentation of a 10,000 signature petition to the Department of Lands demanding the cancellation of the SABL leases. 2018, also marks five-years since the SABL Commission of Inquiry exposed the full extent of the illegal land grab, which affects more than 10% of the whole country.
But despite repeated promises from the ONeill government to cancel the leases, stretching back to 2013, almost nothing has been done.
ACT NOW! believes the governments response to the illegal SABL land grab is the greatest scandal this country has ever seen.
Even the brave landowners who have struggled through the courts to have leases declared illegal, without any help or support from the government, or have stood up and defied the logging companies despite attacks from the police, still have foreign companies occupying their soil.
A list released two weeks ago by the Lands Department revealed that of 75 SABL leases examined in the Commission of Inquiry, only 10 have been cancelled and 5 of those were on the direction of the courts and four voluntarily surrendered.
Meanwhile, as the government delays get ever longer, most of the SABL files have disappeared from the Department of Lands.
Fifty thousand square kilometres of land, more than 10% of the entire nation given away illegally yet the government does almost nothing to undo the wrong and indeed is still allowing logging companies to plunder the forests.
With APEC leaders now preparing to visit PNG, the SABL land grab is a huge embarrassment for the nation.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the PNG government over its failure to protect its own citizens during his visit two-weeks ago, saying many communities have been forcibly evicted from their homes, often reportedly violently, with impunity and allegedly sometimes with the complicity of local police.
It seems the whole w...
Pepetua Marangona, Tavolo village, Pomio
Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country
Tavolo village in Pomio, East New Britain, is a place not many in Waigani know about.
Its tucked away along a patch of sandy beaches in between rocky shorelines that mark the border of East and West New Britain.
The people go on with their lives knowing very well not to expect any help from the National or provincial government. On the maps held by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Tavolo is part of a Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) in the Melkoi Local Level Government area.
Those who are pushing for the SABL to be implemented on Tavolo land, have probably had no contact at all with the people who own 18,000 hectares of land. They dont understand the peoples aspirations and they will probably defend the SABLs as a sound development option needed for the Tavolo people.
The Tavolo community is small. They have a population of 600 men women and children.
The ward councillor, Peter Kikeleng and another senior community member, Pepetua Marangona, asked me to take their message to those who authorised the Melkoi SABL.
The people dont want a 99-year Special Agriculture Business Lease over their land. They dont want the logging and the oil palm that is expected to come with it. They say that if any development is to come, they must remain in control of their land and that they have to receive direct benefits from the project NOT the crumbs.
When the police come, they beat the landowners because we speak out a lot about land issues, she says in Tok Pisin. What answers does the government have for the shortage of land that we will face?
They have seen the situation in Pomio where large tracts of land have been logged and land taken away from customary landowners through SABLs. They know about the communities that are being broken by the greed and court battles against each other.
They dont want that....
by ALBERT SCHRAM
On 15 February, the Council of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT) decided to terminate my services, and gave me and my wife 7 days to ship out, and leave our residence on campus, where we have lived more than 6 years.
On 19 January I was given a mere 7 days to answer the allegations, and I managed to hand in my answers though incomplete before the deadline. I returned on campus from an engagement elsewhere with my wife on 23 January, and that same day the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Ora Renagi wrote
that I should stay away from the office. I was also denied an extension to prepare myself, and neither was I given access to important files in the Registry and Bursary regarding this case.
Council itself, however, acknowledged that the main ground for dismissal was that allegedly I did not present a certified copy of my original doctoral degree from the European University Institute. Here is a link to my thesis on the Institutes website http://cadmus.eui.eu//handle/1814/5972. This had been a
condition for my contract renewal in 2015. In an email dated 13 January 2015, I requested the renowned European University Institute, established by an international treaty, to send me two hard copies, one to my office in Lae and one to Cairns. Upon receiving the document in Lae, I handed it over to the Registrar. The other original I kept. Why would I do otherwise and self-sabotage
myself? And, why was this matter not brought up by the Registrar when later on 26 August 2016 I submitted myself to the Annual Performance Assessment, which lasted one whole day and was supported by an independent consultant?
I was interrogated by Council on 15 February, but without being told previously whether I was just to receive the decision of the council, had to answer questions or was allowed to give a presentation. I did not know what was going to happen. At no stage in this process, which started in October 2017, did the Acting Chancellor Jean Kekedo ensure I was involved in or consulted over Council proceedings? An investigation was launched, without a Council resolution and without my involvement. As a result, only convenient information was included in the report. Sam Koim reputedly is specialised in
fighting corruption, but he has no experience with the operation of a large organization or the running of a University. This is a clear breach of due process.
When crucial physical evidenc...
Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country
Chief William Ape Hawa is a straight shooter and a wise old fella who presents me with a shell necklace used as the local currency during important ceremonies. He apologizes for not giving me the gift the day before when I arrived at his Tavolo village on the border of East and West New Britain.
When new visitors come, he says in Tok Pisin, We give them a tanget headdress. That tells you that you shouldnt be afraid or shy. It means you are welcome.
Then before you go, we give you the necklace which means, go in peace.
Chief William speaks with a lot of wisdom and understanding spiced with wicked, truthful humor. He talks a bit about life and marriage of the young and then our conversation leads on to the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) issued by the Government.
Tavolo is in the Melkoi LLG area of Pomio District, East New Britain. For the people here, the term Special Agriculture Business Lease triggers a lot of anger.
What kind of laws do we have? says Chief William. They tell us that our land is part of a SABL and we had no part in that decision!
Like many other SABL areas, other people signed on their behalf.
The Tavolo people who number about 600 own 18 thousand hectares of land. They have no intention of giving up the pristine rainforest over to the Malaysian company that intends to log their land and plant oil palm.
But Chief William and his people are under immense pressure to surrender their land.
There is oil palm development in neighbouring West New Britain. In the next local level government area which includes the district headquarters of Palmalmal, large areas of customary land have been logged out. Landownership is now being disputed in court. Much of trouble has come about because of agreements that were hastily signed.
Over the past 20 years, the people of Tavolo developed a conservation area over the 18 thousand hectares of land. The government recognised this. The decision has come with its benefits. Fish numbers have been rep...
Imagine a company that is in debt, heavily in debt and still racking up more losses.
Imagine a company that in 2016 alone lost over K354 million.
Imagine a company where the total liabilities exceed the total assets by more than K218 million.
Imagine that this is a company set up by the government to manage a nations interests in its abundant mineral resources.
Now imagine no more and say hello to Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, formerly Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.
The two numbers above are from Kumul Minerals Holdings latest Annual Return, which is for the 2016 financial year.
How could a company that,...
Having seemingly already wriggled out of one corruption charge in the criminal courts, Justice Sakora has now resigned as a Judge [see story below] in order to close down formal misconduct investigations against him, by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and a separate Leadership Code Tribunal, instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.
Sakoras criminal charge was in relation to his role in preventing the publication of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance which first revealed the role of Paul Paraka and his law firm in scamming millions of kina from the government. It is alleged Sakora received K100,000 from Paraka in return for granting the injunction.
During the Finance Inquiry hearings, Sakora also granted an injunction to Messr...
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, right, meets PM Peter O'Neill Source: OHCHR
UN High Commissioner highlights key issues including corruption, the SABL land grab and human rights abuses in the extractive industries. Read his full statement here.
SOURCE : Stefan Armbruster, SBS
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein has called on Papua New Guinea to tackle a long list of abuses in the country.
Praising PNGs welcomed openness after inviting him for a one-day visit, the high commissioner issued a to-do list and emphasised the eyes of the world would be on the country during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in November.
After meeting with prime minister Peter ONeill, Mr Zeid said PNG needed to tackle corruption, strengthen the rule of law and hold business accountable for human rights abuses. He also raised the issues of refugees on Manus, resource industry land leases, and associated police brutality, gender-based violence and sorcery.
Papua New Guinea appears to be a country of contradictions. There are exemplary laws and policies in place to protect human rights, but they are reportedly often not enforced, he said.
It is a resource-rich country, but much of its population lives in abject poverty, with acute malnutrition rates in some areas comparable to Yemen and minimal access to quality healthcare and education.
It has strong civil society activists but there is little room for them to influence Government policy.
'Committed' to Human Rights Commission
In a statement issued before the High Commissioners visit, Mr ONeills office thanked him for visiting PNG for the first time.
The observations of the High Commissioner are comforting as this government has made a concerted effort to engage with all stakeholders, particularly civil society, Mr ONeills statement said.
Our Government is commit...
By Lester Seri - Collingwood Bay landowner and Environment Advocate
Our Minister for Mining has made known his support for experimental seabed mining, but he has not given any rational justification for his endorsement of Nautilus Minerals and Solwara 1, especially when there is so much uncertainty and questions being asked about Papua New Guinea being used as a guinea pig.
There are international scientists highlighting likely serious biological / ecological problems that could come about, as there has never been any such seabed mining done before anywhere in the world. Surely, anybody in a responsible position as an elected member of Parliament entrusted with the duty to represent the interest / concerns of his or her electorate and the country, is supposed to, in the midst of citizens concern, take time, assess and evaluate the issues / concerns before taking a decision. Minister Tuke has failed miserably in this regard!
Many people have already raised serious doubts and concerns, but neither the Minister nor the Government have come forward to give an honest and truthful answer to the people. Instead they have made a unilateral decision without taking time to answer or respond to the people's queries. The Minister has taken a dictatorial stand defying the peoples concerns.
The Minister says he is only going by the Government's decision to approve the mining permit but does not give any serious scientific or economic rational for why Solwara 1 has been granted the mining license.
The minister is concerned there have been no new mines been opened recently, and says that he is pursuing the Governments policy to get new mines on stream and operational. This is common government bullshit all over the world.
The question that needs answering (and as citizens we want to know) is, what is the economic rationale and benefits that will accrue to the people and the country now and into the future. I mean how much difference (benefit) in terms of actual money and human development will Solwara 1 effectively contribute to the the country?
We need some indication of the volume and quantity of minerals and value, and the likely benefits that we will be gaining from this mining project. These benefits, whatever they may be, ought to be spelt out, clearly articulated, so we are not only clear but assured of what we...
A PNG potato farmer. Source: EMTEK Multi-Media
Source: Sarah Byrne, Business Advantage PNG
With the focus on major resources projects, Papua New Guinea is missing the opportunity to develop a thriving agri-tourism sector, Papua New Guinea Women in Agricultural Development Foundation (PNGWiADF) President, Maria Linibi tells Business Advantage PNG.
As it stands, many people in the sector in Papua New Guinea think agriculture is limited to growing and selling crops, but Linibi says the industry has potential beyond traditional farming.
There is a big gap in the market for the promotion of traditional crops and farming methods to tourists.
The memorandum of understanding is a step towards an effective agri-tourism sector.
The agricultural sector must broaden their thinking and embrace the opportunity to work with the tourism sector, which will benefit both industries, the economy and the local community, Linibi says.
In October 2017, PNGWiADF and a number of local agricultural organisations signed a memorandum of understanding at the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Vanuatu to strengthen cooperation between the two sectors.
Linibi describes the memorandum of understanding as a step towards an effective agri-tourism sector.
When people travel they want a unique, local experience.
She says the agreement recognises the importance of the agricultural and tourism sectors working together and outlines a way forward for a partnership.
A successful agricultural-tourism sector will be a great benefit for the economy, with potential for farmers to sell fresh produce directly to major cruise ships, hotels and restaurants, she adds.
Tourists will have the opportunity to visit local farms and to taste traditional recipes. The tourism sector is likely to boom.
When people travel they want a unique, local experience, and we...
Rainforest for palm oil land clearance ... new PNG land plan "a licence for banks and others to progressively expropriate traditional lands in the name of "development"
OPINION: By Chris Overland*
Recently, Keith Jacksons PNG Attitude has been publishing a discussion on some of the unhappy events that occurred as the colonial regime extended its control over the tribes of Papua New Guinea.
However, one marvellous and positive legacy Australia left to Papua New Guinea was that it did not allow the alienation of more than a very small area of land.
Even then, the land remained the property of the government as distinct from private individuals, who could only lease it.
The first Administrator of the then Territory of Papua, Sir William McGregor, insisted that only the government could buy land and that the policy of the colonial regime should be to restrict this to very small parcels.
My recollection is that he got this idea from his time in Fiji, where the policy had been put in place when Fiji first became a Crown Colony.
McGregor and his successors realised that, in a subsistence economy like that of Papua (and later New Guinea), land was a precious resource upon which people relied to live.
The administrators believed its alienation could lead to profound and very damaging socio-economic consequences as had been all too graphically demonstrated in Africa.
Anyone familiar with the history of, say, Kenya, South Africa or Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) will understand that the native peoples were ruthlessly dispossessed of their land and suffered greatly as a result.
Now, amazingly, the government of Prime Minister Peter ONeill has developed a cunning plan articulated by minister Justin Tkatchenko.
This plan must, by its very nature, result in the loss of control over communally held land for those Papua New Guineans foolish enough to allow its use as collateral for a loan.
This is a scheme that I thi...
Image: Alliance of Solwara Warriors
Source: Caritas Papua New Guinea
Deep sea bed mining is the extraction of metals such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, lead nickel, cadmium, silver, platinum gold and rare earths from the sea floor.
The Parliament decision for granting license to Nautilus (Under Sea Bed Mining) in Papua New Guinea waters is a disgraceful act of genocide on all levels of life in PNG history.
According to Caritas Co-ordinator, Chairman of the Indigenous priest association, Kokopo, Fr Mathias Lopa, the awarding license to Nautilus Sea Bed Mining is a preferential choice for more money over the indigenous livelihood.
He said that in a diagnostic view, we should say that, it is political preferential choice for ecological destruction of natural environment and sustainability of livelihood.
He stated that it is a shame for the authorities not listening to the peoples voice and no considerable attention given to the result of the independent scientific research study on the fragility and venerability of life under the sea. The scientific study proves the imminent destructive impact on human life and the natural coexistence as an eventual consequence of such an economic venture.
He said that should there be any rational thinking Papua New Guinean could explain to all citizens of this nation, why Papua New Guinea has many major mining operations by foreign investors as well as reaping of the virgin forest and grabbing land to make millions of kina as revenue over night and yet our rural population still lack basic services.
Fr Lopa added that concurrently signing of agreement between Papua New Guinea (NEC) and Nautilus, Sea Bed mining company is ethically questionable.
He said that the people of the NGI region considered the parliamentary decision on sea bed mining as pre mature, short-sighted and imprudent decision.
He stated that it is a common knowledge that PNG as a nation has no skill and knowledge on how to restore and rebuild the lives of the sea living organism when imposing of an unimaginable and pre-mediative act of crime against nature by an affluent nation....
The government has yet to cancel all the illegal SABL leases, used to defraud communities of more than 5 million hectares of land but they are already pressing ahead with plans for another land grab; this time with the commercial banks as the beneficiaries.
Last week the APEC Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, met with the CEOs from BSP, Westpac and ANZ banks and their lawyers to find a way to make customary land acceptable as security for cash loans.
The Minister claims this is necessary to free-up idle customary land for investment. But it is simply not true for the Minister to claim the 80% of land in PNG under customary control is idle or unused.
Customary land supports a huge economy, conservatively estimated to be worth more than K40 billion a year, in subsistence lifestyles and small-scale agriculture.
There are also three million farmers, many of whom are skilled agronomists, who depend on customary land for employment and an income.
The current population explosion and climate change impacts are only going to increase these values.
The fact is, customary land is vital to the health and well being of rural communities and the government should not allow customary landowners to pledge their land with the banks to get cash loans.
Many customary landholders could use their loans for short-term consumption and be unable to repay the money. The bank will then move in to evict communities and sell the land which was used as security for the loan.
There will also be a huge risk from corruption, with ILG Chairman able to do their own deals with the banks just as they did with logging companies in the SABL land grab..
Allowing loans and mortgages over customary land is a typical foreign agenda to benefit rich corporations at the expense of indigenous communities and rural people; shifting yet more wealth into fewer and fewer hands.
Customary land is too important and too valuable to be used as the collateral for loans....
Part One of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini. Introduction: Head of will Sahul In the Pleistocene-era what are modern Australia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste on a single continent: Sahul. Some 80,000 years ago, the water having receded, the Indigenous People began to arrive.
Source: Joanita Nonwo, EMTV
The interests in mining the deep seas for its riches date as far as the 1960s with research vessels discovering hydrothermal vents that spew out rich minerals from the earths crust. These vents are very rare, being found only where there are active volcanic and tectonic movements under the sea.
Hydrothermal vents in simple, are openings in the earths crust of the ocean floor where extremely high temperatures exits, spewing out chemical water rich with minerals.
Scientists first discovered hydrothermal vents in 1977 while exploring an oceanic spreading ridge near the Galapagos Islands, and to their surprise, found the area to be teeming with very rare marine biodiversity large numbers of organisms that had never been seen before. Flourishing with life in total darkness, toxic chemicals, and extreme water pressure where no life thought to exist.
It was in the 1980s that the ocean floors of Papua New Guinea was included as a potential underwater mining site off the north-eastern waters of PNG, contained highly graded minerals of copper and gold. The project site, Solwara 1 sits on the sea floor at a water depth of about 1600 meters, containing very high grades of copper and gold those that are much higher than those from the land.
Although there were high costs and engineering challenges that faced the possibility of having the first world under-water mine here in PNG then, there were also questions and concerns raised over the terms of operation and the safety of the ocean against pollution and destruction.
Nautilus, the company who will mine the PNG sea floor was granted the Environmental Permit in 2009 with its first mining lease in January 2011.
In a recent radio interview with PNGs Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, the Minister stated that PNG Government has been open about the project and that Nautilus has released a thorough environmental impact statement.
This government is responsible. The environment context of it has to be taken on board, and proper due diligence has been conducted already, I suppose... Im really not a marine biologist who has got a preview for you but to the layman understanding, and from what I learnt over the years with Nautilus, Nautilus has given us a feasibility study. That is the reason why the licens...
BY TONY SII, Post Courier
LAWYER Paul Parakas bid to stop criminal proceedings against him at the committal court has failed yesterday.
This was after magistrate Cosmas Bidar refused an application by Parakas lawyer seeking orders for the court to stay the committal court proceedings in relation to the much-publicised Paul Paraka saga pending hearing and determination of a related matter in the National Court.
The application filed under section 5, 9, and 22 of the District Court Act was described as a delay tactic in advancing the criminal case against Paraka an...
The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has vowed to use its hosting status of the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to put climate change at the forefront of the regional agenda. The move supports broader attempts by Pacific Island leaders to take a lead role on climate change. This includes calls to halt Australias Adani coal mine and Fijis co-hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany, dubbed the Islands COP.
PNG has good reason to take a leadership role in facilitating dialogue on climate change. A recent Caritas report found that in 2017 alone, 2000 households across 30-35 coastal communities in PNG were displaced by rising sea levels, flooding, and erosion.
Projections made by the Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP) suggest further effects of climate change, including increasing intensity of cyclones, rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise, increasing ocean acidification, and pressures on food security. As part of the Engaging Communities and Government in Biodiveristy Conservation and Climate Change Adapation project, the authors conducted 15 interviews with provincial government representatives in Madang and Goroka in October 2017, which revealed a number of other impacts.
Provincial government authorities across Papua New Guinea are concerned that climate change will exacerbate existing threats to vulnerable communities.
The majority of Papua New Guineas 7.9 million population live in rural areas and approximately 75% of households depend on subsistence agriculture. Impacts such as severe drought, frosts, heat and changing rainfall patterns have already reduced yields of staple foods (including sweet potato), and other garden produce and cash crops.
Women and c...
> STATEMENT ABOUT MY DEAR BROTHER, FRIEND AND FELLOW COMPATRIOT, THE LATE MR VINCENT SIMINGO WARAKAI
That is where life began, and that we should be destroying these things [hydrothermal vents] is so deeply tragic Sir David Attenborough
Source: David Shukman, BBC News
Plans for the worlds first deep sea mine are taking shape in the waters off Papua New Guinea. The ocean floor is rich in gold, copper and other minerals in big demand around the world. But some scientists warn that digging up the seabed will destroy marine life, and Sir David Attenborough is among those objecting. BBC News science editor David Shukman reports.
Prime Minister Peter ONeill has been vocal in the media recently telling anti-corruption warriors to be patient and wait for the results of an administrative inquiry into the alleged illegal Manumanu land deals transactions involving millions of kina in state funds and hundreds of hectares of land.
Development Policy Centre staff offer our condolences to the family and friends of the late Kenneth Stanley Inglis, Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University, who passed away peacefully, and in the presence of family, in early December 2017.
An eminent historian of Australia, Inglis was also an inspiration to many young Papua New Guineans.
He moved to PNG with his wife Amirah and their six children in 1967 to take up the Foundation Chair in History at the fledgling University of Papua New Guinea. There he and other colleagues, including the late Hank Nelson, Bill Gammage, and Jack Golson (in prehistory), worked to dismantle the myth, fostered by Europeans, that nothing happened in their societies before the white man came. The list of his early students reads like an honour role of PNGs political and intellectual elite Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir Mekere Morauta, Sir Vincent Eri, John Kasaipwalova, and others.
Inglis served as the second Vice Chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea from 1972-1975, guiding the university through the many challenges of the late colonial era. He left PNG in 1975 to take up an appointment in history at the ANU, where he remained as a staff member and later as an Emeritus Professor, until he passed away earlier this month.
Papua New Guineans who knew him well, like Sir Rabbie, remember Inglis as a brilliant teacher of history who left students yearning to learn and know more. Sir Mekere recently stated that Kens ability to teach history by telling stories was extraordinary and had all of us enthralled. He was such a good storyteller. We all wanted to listen to him, whatever the topic. In a country where oral traditions are strong and oratory skills are decisive, that is high praise indeed.
Postscript: Many ANU academics have ongoing associations with UPNG. The Development Policy Centre has five seconded staff members teaching economics and public policy at the university under our ANU-UPNG partnership.
Unattributed quotes in this post are from Taim Bilong Uni: Ken Inglis at the University of Papua New Guinea (Maddocks and Sparks). It is suggested readers interested in the early history of UPNG refer to...
When the militarized interests of the nation trump the rights of citizens to challenge the actions of our government towards vulnerable Others, we are moving in a Nazi direction.
The international trend in first world countries towards right wing populist politics is symptomatic of rising insecurity and inequality. Each context has its own specific topography whilst there are underlying dynamics that seem common to all. It may surprise you to learn how far down this trajectory Australia has gone this century. Observers of international human rights know about this, as do figures like Donald Trump who looks on Australias inhumane treatment of illegal refugees with envy. Alas, the story needs to be told such that hopefully Australians will develop a conscience and the rest of the world might be warned.
The title I gave this piece Nazi Australia was deliberately provocative. This is a function of desperation, but, alas, also of reality. For there are hundreds of men on Manus Island (PNG) whom the Australian government has placed in interminable limbo, and psychological and physical danger, so as to maintain an absolute deterrence against illegal asylum seekers. The Australian government simply stonewalls all calls by outraged citizens for humane action. So, there is need to call out this stonewalling in very shrill terms. Even so, the claims I am making are very serious, and this will require me to set the argument up carefully.
Tyson is an English name. My fathers family were craftsmen from York who received assisted travel to go to Van Diemens Land in 1852. My family were economic migrants looking for a better life. My mothers family were Irish Kennedys whose origins in Australia are conveniently unknown by my family; likely criminal offshore indefinite detainees tossed to the other side of the world as part of a no compromise law and order push.
In other words, I am a classic British Ilse origin seve...
When the militarized interests of the nation trump the rights of citizens to challenge the actions of our government towards vulnerable Others, we are moving in a Nazi direction.
The international trend in first world countries towards right wing populist politics is symptomatic of rising insecurity and inequality. Each context has its own specific topography whilst there are underlying dynamics that seem common to all. It may surprise you to learn how far down this trajectory Australia has gone this century. Observers of international human rights know about this, as do figures like Donald Trump who looks on Australias inhumane treatment of illegal refugees with envy. Alas, the story needs to be told such that hopefully Australians will develop a conscience and the rest of the world might be warned.
The title I gave this piece Nazi Australia was deliberately provocative. This is a function of desperation, but, alas, also of reality. For there are hundreds of men on Manus Island (PNG) whom the Australian government has placed in interminable limbo, and psychological and physical danger, so as to maintain an absolute deterrence against illegal asylum seekers. The Australian government simply stonewalls all calls by outraged citizens for humane action. So, there is need to call out this stonewalling in very shrill terms. Even so, the claims I am making are very serious, and this will require me to set the argument up carefully.
Tyson is an English name. My fathers family were craftsmen from York who received assisted travel to go to Van Diemens Land in 1852. My family were economic migrants looking for a better life. My mothers family were Irish Kennedys whose origins in Australia are conveniently unknown by my family; likely criminal offshore indefinite detainees tossed to the other side of the world as part of a no compromise law and order push.
In other words, I am a classic British Ilse origin seve...
This is a prayer I wrote to use in my church. Feel free to use it in yours.
We come to you who once was a refugee,
To plead the cause of those who today are refugees.
We come to you as the One who hears the cry of the poor & oppressed,
And call you to hear the cry of the Rohingya of Myanmar
And the despairing on Manus Island.
We pray for the Rohingya, fleeing military violence in
Our hearts ache for every girl who is raped,
Every woman who is beaten,
Every man who is shot.
Every child whose tender heart is filled with terror.
Our Peacemaker, we pray for a pathway for peace in Myanmar.
May the flicker of hope that the world felt with the release and election of Aung San Suu Kyi
Fan into a flame of justice.
Strengthen those who would see justice for Myanmars ethnic minorities,
And tear down from power those who refuse to turn their hearts and minds to justice.
Our Refuge, we pray for refuge for the Rohingya who have
Open the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi government toward them,
That they might grant the Rohingya who have sought their aid
spaces that are safe and resources that are sufficient for their time of exile.
Lord Jesus, our minds turn to the refugees on Manus Island,
Their hopes for safety from persecution and violence
in their home countries are shattered.
And they now live with fear of violence on Manus.
In the depths of their despair,
May they find a flicker of hope.
In the grip of their fear,
May they find Papuans who will be their shelter.
Forgive us for being deaf to their cries.
They came to Australia seeking our help
And our solution has turned out to be their nightmare.
Rouse our government to action,
And our nation to mercy.
Fill our hearts with a righteous anger,
that leaves us restless until every refugee now on Manus is safe.
Another twist in the farce over the stained treatment of refugees on Papua New Guineas Manus Island has surfaced. New Zealand has been insisting for some time that it is more than willing to welcome some 150 to its shores. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, much to the irritation of Australias Turnbull government, has been particularly
The post The Veiled Threat: Australias Campaign Against New Zealand Refugee Policy appeared first on The AIM Network.
Australia can end this human rights tragedy. Wherever they end up eventually, the Australian government needs to immediately bring these men to safety.
SYDNEY Since October 31, hundreds of men have barricaded themselves in an abandoned complex on a naval base where security forces have previously shot at and attacked them. Exhausted, with no power and no running water in the tropical heat, they stockpiled food, dug water wells, and collected rainwater in trash cans to drink. Now, they are dehydrated, starving, and scared.
These men are not in a war zone, though many of them have fled war in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. They are refugees and asylum seekers trapped on remote Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. They are there because of Australias harsh refugee policies.
The UN has described the situation as an "unfolding humanitarian emergency." On October 31, the Australian and PNG governments closed the regional processing center where these men have lived for the last four years. Other less-secure facilities are available in a town a 30-minute drive from their current location. But these men, refugees and asylum seekers, refused to leave, terrified by escalating violence against them by some local residents in the town and frustrated by the lack of a long-term solution to their predicament.
Since July 2013, male asylum seekers traveling by boat to Australia have been sent to Manus Island, while men, women and children have been sent to the isolated Pacific island nation of Nauru. As Paul Tyson wrote for openDemocracy, in real terms, it is the boat people themselves the Australian government has criminalized, dehumanized and demonized, and it is against them that Australian politicians on both sides of party power...
An interest in supporting people with HIV/AIDS took Heni Mekes career from the frontlines as an army nurse to working in government. Now she heads Anglicare PNG, one of Papua New Guineas biggest NGOs, which has grown over the years with support from the Australian aid program. Anglicare runs a large HIV clinic in Port Moresby, which keeps 1,300 HIV-positive patients alive through anti-retroviral treatment. It also manages a nationwide adult literacy program and other development programs.
In the latest in our 2017 Aid Profiles series, Heni speaks to Stephen Howes about the challenges of running a complex national NGO, the impact of recent Australian aid funding cuts, and what drives her to keep going in a role that is sometimes just sleeping and work.
Catch up on all the Aid Profiles here.
Jacinda Ardern has again approached Australia with New Zealand's
offer to save refugees from their concentration camp on Manus
Island - and again been rejected. So instead,
we're giving aid to Papua New Guinea to help them:
New Zealand will give Papua New Guinea and aid agencies up to $3 million to help care for Manus Island refugees.
"We intend to work with PNG and other agencies like the International Red Cross to financially support them with any additional needs that may need to be met while those refugees remain on the island."
Peter ONeills cash strapped government is moving it Conservation and Environment Protection Authority into plush new office accommodation in one of Port Moresbys premier real estate developments.
The Savannah Heights complex on Waigani Drive is the new home for both CEPA and its sister organisation, the Climate Change Development Authority.
The two organisations will occupy the whole eight floors in one Savannah Heights tower; quite a step up from CEPAs old accommodation in the B-Mobile building further down Waigani Drive.
The new accommodation costs are clouded in secrecy, but it is believed the government is paying at least K1,200 per square metre per month. With CEPA and CCDA spread over eight luxurious floors that could mean a bill of around K2 million a month or K24 million a year.
Other estimates have put the costs as high as K3.5 million a month or K42 million each year.
CEPA staff are rather bewildered by the move as CEPA relies on generous grants from aid donors like the United Nations and Japanese and Australian governments to maintain many of...
Last week, Jacinda Ardern
rolled over for Australia on refugees, accepting their bullshit
story that Donald Trump would somehow take them. Now, she's going
to use the East Asia Summit in Manila to
offer them a new home in New Zealand:
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces further pressure from Jacinda Ardern as the New Zealand leader repeats her offer to take 150 refugees from Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and Nauru.Good. Because what Australia and its PNG proxies are doing here is horrific: torturing people for years, then abandoning them to starve to death in the jungle or be murdered by hostile locals. Its a human rights disaster, contra Gerry Brownlee, we need to help.
"I will be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have great concerns over the situation on Manus Island but also for the refugees on Nauru."
She saw no difference in principle between the cases on the two islands.
"Our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation."
There are many ways to build a house. One way is to choose your own architect, surveyor, plumber, electrician, carpenter. You will get your family a great house, but it will take lots of your time, progress may be slower and you may not be able to control for costs. Another option is to work on the design and simply find a contractor to deal with the details and deliver the house to you at a cost you can afford, while you keep an eye on whether they are delivering on time and on budget.
A debate is emerging in Australian aid circles about different ways of delivering aid programs. Drawing on the analogy above should Australias Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) manage lots of smaller separate contracts to deliver development outcomes, or should it combine numerous small projects into a single large contract, managed by a single firm. These big multi sector programs, which are increasingly in use in DFATs larger aid relationships, are often called facilities. They were the subject of questions by Opposition Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Senator Claire Moore in Australias Parliament on 26 October (p.53-59).
The firm I work for, Abt Associates, is implementing three facility type programs for the Australian aid program, all at various stages of implementation the KOMPAK program in Indonesia, the Partnership for Human Development in Timor Leste and the Papua New Guinea Governance Facility. I would like to share what we have we learned about facilities in addressing complex development problems.
To assess the merits of this approach it is helpful to recall why DFAT started down the facility path.
The first rationale is to improve efficiency in aid delivery to spend less on the management (car fleets, financial management, procurement and HR systems) so that more scarce aid funds can go into the programs themselves. It is assumed that one slightly larger finance team can do the job that three of four finance teams used to do when the contracts were all separately managed.
The second rationale is to free the relatively fewer aid management staff in DFAT to focus on strategy, relationships and performance, rather than tying up their time in managing lots of smaller contracts......
The annual PNG Update is the premier forum for the discussion of research and analysis relating to contemporary economic and public policy issues in PNG.
Organised by the University of Papua New Guineas School of Business and Public Policy and the Australian National Universitys Development Policy Centre, the 2018 PNG Update will be held in Port Moresby on 14-15 June 2018. Following the success of the 2017 Update, speakers will be invited to present in four parallel sessions at venues across the University of Papua New Guinea. Participation is free and open to the public.
The Update is multi-disciplinary in nature. Under the general theme of PNG in the year of APEC conference presenters will address the following broad issues:
Abstracts are to be no longer than 300 words and should be submitted online here. All abstracts will be reviewed by the organising committee and you will be notified whether your abstract has been accepted or not shortly after the deadline for submissions has closed.
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 1 February 2018.
UPNGs School of Business and Public Policy and ANUs Development Policy Centre would like to acknowledge the generous funding support from The University of Papua New Guinea, The Australian National University, and the Australian Aid Program.
To make inquiries about the Update, please contact Dr Michael Cookson at ANUs Development Policy Centre or Dr Albert Prabhakar at UPNGs School of Business and Public Policy. More information can be found here.
Health services in Papua New Guinea are mainly provided by Community Health Workers (CHWs), who have 2 years of training provided by Health Colleges, after which they are allocated their aid post roles, usually to rural or remote areas. Encouragingly, many of the young graduates I have had the pleasure of working with are eager to serve the communities of PNG and have a genuine passion for their work. However, once working in the rural aid post, CHWs find themselves battling with an irregular and unreliable supply of health care products, lack of access to continued professional development, professional isolation and lack of support.
The rural communities in which CHWs are stationed commonly have limited electricity, sanitation via dug toileting and water provided by the local creek in which bathing, washing and cooking all take place. Nevertheless, even in the most remote locations one modern gadget seems omnipresent the mobile phone.
In the past, short wave radio has often been relied upon in PNG, especially to support and connect health care services. One particularly good example is that of Rumginae Hospital where Dr Brandon conducts weekly meetings with workers from 5 health centers and 10 aid posts. Through these meetings Dr Sharon Brandon is able to provide pastoral support, education, medical advice, and collect crucial epidemiological information regarding disease in the region. However this opportunity to converse directly with a doctor is not available for many rural health care workers.
When a woman is laboring, obstructed in the middle of the night, a CHW needs urgent advice they cannot rely on a nurse or doctor to conveniently be next to a large, bulky and difficult-to-transport radio system. When a small child has an unfamiliar rash and fever the health care worker worries enough to consider meningitis versus the typical childhood exanthem, but how can they seek a timely opinion via radio when this is a clinical sign best photographed and reviewed? In a country with a limited number of specialists, imagine the immense benefit of being able to call one in their offices in Port Moresby to seek advice, or perform a tele-health consult for specialist expertise which would otherwise never reach these remote areas.
Professor Suwamaru of Divine Word University Madang interviewed health care workers from seven provinces and found that practitioners were using mobile phones for ordering medical supplies, receiving calls from the community about women laboring, using the calculator function...
Currently, the Australian government has abandoned the inmates
of its Manus island concentration camp without food, water, or
power in a tropical hellhole. Their minions the PNG Army are
preventing people from delivering food to those in need. The
intention is clear: to starve them into leaving and force them into
even worse conditions in a new concentration camp or in the PNG
This is a clear human rights abuse and humanitarian emergency, and the natural instinct of many New Zealanders is to step in, help out, and offer a home to those Australia is trying to murder. Jacinda Ardern went to Australia over the weekend promising to raise the issue again. Instead, she rolled over for the Aussies:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out negotiating directly with Papua New Guinea over taking Manus Island detainees, despite New Zealand's offer to Australia to take 150 refugees being turned down.
Mr Turnbull said Australia was concentrating on an agreement to resettle 1250 people in the United States, an agreement that would cover hundreds more people than New Zealand was offering to take.
But he did not shut the door completely, saying "in the wake" of that, Australia could then "consider other ones".
Ms Ardern said she considered the deal very much still on the table, while acknowledging Australia clearly was not going to act on it anytime soon.
She was asked whether she'd put the offer to PNG instead.
"No, no, because the offer is still under active consideration by Australia so there is no need to do so."
By Terence Mills The agreement that Kevin Rudd signed with the PNG government in 2013 includes the provision: Commencing on the day of announcement, any unauthorized maritime arrival entering Australian waters will be liable for transfer to Papua New Guinea (in the first instance, Manus Island) for processing and resettlement in Papua New Guinea and
What a weekend it has been. The Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea may well have closed, but the protests, and those resident at the camp, continue to defy and prevaricate. At a protest in Melbourne on Saturday, Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt decided to get down and indignant with his calls to
Inspection of Ifane Agro Forestry Project
Update by Gary Juffa via FaceBook
As usual as has been the case with such dubious projects done without the approval of my Office and the Provincial Executive Committee.
This is the other Forestry scam besides SABL: FCA FOREST CLEARING AUTHORITY.
Here public servants in provinces corroborate with PNGFA officials and dubious landowners to award permits via the PNGFA BOARD to log chunks of land of 500 hectares to logging pirates on the pretext of tree growing and agricultural projects.
Thing is.. these are the same plunderers who pay no taxes and have planted no trees or a single agricultural species of plant or animal life for the last 20 30 years
My inspection in reaction to landowner petitions revealed massive breaches of various laws including environmental, trespassing, labo...
Papua New Guinea appears to have decided that it
no longer wants to host refugee concentration camps for
Refugees held on Manus Island who do not want to resettle in Papua New Guinea will not be forced to, and Australia must find them somewhere else to go, the PNG government has warned.
In a reflection of PNGs growing frustration with Australias offshore processing policy the countrys minister for immigration and border protection, Petrus Thomas, issued an unprecedentedly forceful statement late on Sunday, telling Australia it held legal, financial and moral responsibility for the refugees held on Manus.
The statement was released publicly, but is clearly aimed at officials in Canberra, as the two governments negotiate this week on managing the refugee population beyond the slated closure of the Manus detention centre on Tuesday.
Written by Sharafat Ali Sharfi, and light editing by Janet Galbraith of Writing Through Fences. Today is the 1516th day of my life in a camp called the Manus Island Regional Processing Center (MIRPC) run by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea. We were brought here against our will, told that we would be
In April 2016, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Supreme Court, ruled that Australias detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was illegal. Their detention breached the PNG constitution, and their right to personal liberty. Theyre detained on Lombrum naval base, thirty-minutes away from the nearest town, Lorengau. After three-years of being held on the guarded
Industry observer: This is a complete nonsense a cocoa project simply doesnt need a massive hectarage, involving massive forestry clearance and equipment Its clearly another completely fraudulent exercise, made easier by the lack of penalties imposed upon the existing SABL perpetrators
By Lester Seri
The National Forest Authority has granted permission for logging in the Collingwood Bay area of Northern Province despite the strong opposition of local people.
This is the third attempt at large-scale commercial logging in the area, the two previous attempts having been successfully defeated through the courts.
It is understood Northern Forest Products Ltd and Aisor Development Corporation have been issued a Forest Clearance Authority (FCA) to log Portions 136, 137 and up to Baruga lands and to the Musa river.
According to the maps seen, its seems the entire Collingwood Bay area is to be consumed by logging under the pretext of planting cocoa.
Local people have be...
Australia is planning to
cut off food, water and electricity supplies to its Manus Island
concentration camp next week, and (despite
PNG government assurances) has
brought in a notoriously brutal police unit to clear the camp
by force and force the detainees into other camps. While their
detention has been ruled illegal, the refugees do not want to move
because the new camps are unsafe - refugees have been assaulted and
even killed by locals, and there have been
explicit threats if they move. Australia's response to this has
simply been to shrug their shoulders and deny responsibility.
Having kidnapped these people, rendered them to Papua New Guinea,
and detained them illeglaly for years in appalling conditions,
they're now pretending that they have no responsibility for what
This is simply bullshit, and there's an obvious solution: PNG should return the refugees to Australia, where they belong in the first place. If they won't (or can't, because they're basicly an Australian vassal), then there's another alternative: us. New Zealand has offered to take these refugees, and our offer is still open. Australia opposes this, because we eventually give refugees citizenship, which means they could then in theory visit or even move to Australia (as if anyone would want to go to the society which rejected, abused and tortured them). But Australia can't have it both ways and deny responsibility while also claiming the right to determine these people's fates. And to be honest, we shouldn't be talking to them about it anyway. Instead, we should be making our offer directly to the government of Papua New Guinea.
Still many questions unanswered about how demonetized Kina came to leave PNG and is now in Korean hands in the Philippines
Source: Rey Galupo \ The Philippine Star
The Korean tried to exchange 50,000 kina, the demonetized Papua New Guinea currency, into pesos when he was arrested.
A Korean man was arrested and charged with estafa after he exchanged P160,000 worth of a demonetized currency in Binondo, Manila on Wednesday.
Kim Jae Song went to the moneychanger stall of businessman Johnny Hao, 71, at the basement of 999 Mall at around 11 a.m. and had his 10,000 kina (Papua New Guinea currency) changed into pesos, which is equivalent to P160,120.87.
Kim introduced himself as Rey Lee during the transaction and hurriedly left.
However, Haos nephew, Bryon Pedelos, later learned that the Papua New Guinea currency that the suspect swapped was no longer accepted as legal tender after he tried to sell it to other moneychangers.
They learned that the currency had bee...
Yadav plays the PNG Politicians very well. He knows the political dynamics well too so he plays all of them against each other. He gets information from one Politician and goes and sells it to another where he feels he will gain more. Except for Belden Namah, with whom he has incredible loyalty to, Yadav buys and sells all the politicians all day, every day, even the PM.
Yadav knows the 2 most important ways to get into the confidences of the Politicians; money, and women. Yadav pimps for politicians and will play fetch for them. He will pay top dollar to get foreign prostitutes and even procuring married women in Port Moresby for Ministers, Chairmen, and CEOs of State-owned enterprises. He is the cause of several marriage breakdowns already in Port Moresby. He gets State Minister's women and money, and he slithers into their confidence first, and once there, he starts demanding what he wants, and they cannot say NO.
When they dont give him what he wants he goes and spills the beans on what he gave and to whom.
For example, recently a certain Chairman didnt give him what he wanted, so he started spreading the word that he arranged a beautiful Indian prostitute for the Chairman when he visited India, and began to mimic the Chairmans behavior on the day after, to the hilarity of his listeners. In his wallet, he carries a wad of passport sized photos of prostitutes he uses to bait the poor hapless PNG politicians.
Papua New Guineans shouldn't be easily lured into slavery overseas, as Paul was in the article below. We should work our own land and reap the benefits, the true value of our land, instead of looking for fast/easy money.
They say our customary land is idle, undeveloped, a wasted resource because it has no value. A LIE ! Our customary land sustains over 7 million people in thousands of communities. Our land supports an economy worth K40 BILLION a year and provides jobs and cash incomes for our people who work it. It is the resource on which we must build our development on.
Source: ABC Rural
Australia is being urged to take steps to stamp out farm labour conditions described as being akin to modern slavery, with the horticulture industry thought to be most ripe for exploitation.
An Australian Parliamentary Inquiry has been told that consistent cross-border regulation of labour hire contractors should be adopted across industries.
It also heard that broader investigative powers should be granted to the Fair Work Authority.
The inquiry is investigating the United Kingdom's lead in adopting a Modern Slavery Act and is nearing completion with the one and only regional hearing at Mildura, Victoria, to be held on October 30.
A report is slated for release next month.
"Paul" was lured to Cairns from Papua New Guinea, with the promise of a TAFE education and good work but was conned by a Far North Queensland banana farmer.
"I was working 6:00am to 6:00pm driving tractors and eating bread and cordial for breakfast and lunch, and boiled mince meat for dinner. I lived in the shed with a dog," he said.
He did not see a cent in pay and instead, when Paul asked the farmer for his pay, he was told it was being saved up to pay for the TAFE course.
After six months Paul discovered dozens of other foreign workers on the farm in the same trouble.
By Julie Grint The death of a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee in Papua New Guinea is the sixth fatality on Manus Island in just four years. Australias Department of Immigration and Border protection (DIBP) confirmed the death at Lorengau Hospital but handballed all inquiries to the PNG authorities. Its believed the 32-year-old man took his
The release of the 2016 Australian national census data allows comparisons with data from the 2006 and 2011 censuses. What do the data reveal about Pacific Islander communities in Australia?
The following analysis is derived from census data on individuals claiming Pacific Islands ancestry (categorised by the ABS as Micronesian, Melanesian and Papuan, and Polynesian).[i] It does not include persons claiming New Zealand (including Mori) ancestry nor does it include persons claiming Fiji-Indian ancestry.[ii] Following the ABS taxonomy, Fiji is included in the Polynesian category. This analysis draws on ancestry rather than place of birth statistics as the latter captures only first generation migrants, rather than the totality of multi-generational Pacific Islander communities, and may also include the children of expatriates born in Pacific Island countries who do not identify as persons of Pacific Islands ancestry. In addition, as noted by Pryke, place of birth data masks the role of New Zealand as a waystation for migration to Australia from countries such as Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands.
What are the headline trends?
1. The number of people in Australia claiming Pacific Islands ancestry (excluding Mori) is growing strongly both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the total population (Figure 1). Those claiming Pacific Islands ancestry went from 112,133 in 2006 to 150,068 in 2011 to 206,673 in 2016. (The number of those claiming Mori heritage is a further 128,430 on top of this.) As a proportion of the total population of Australia this group went from 0.56% in 2006 to 0.69% in 2011 to 0.88% in 2016.
Figure 1: Growth in population claiming Pacific ancestry
Source for all data: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
2. The rate of increase of people claiming Pacific ancestry is much higher than for the total population (Figure 2)...
A series of big earthquakes in less than 24 hours could have been caused by seismic waves travelling along fault lines and triggering ruptures.
All were along the Ring of Fire that stretches around the Pacific from New Zealand to Chile through Indonesia, Japan, and California, in which 90 per cent of quakes happen.
Earthquakes in New Zealand, Japan, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Tonga, Taiwan, and Papua New Guinea over past 24 hours could be caused by seismic waves travelling along fault lines
There was also a big earthquake in Mexico that killed more than 230, but despite the country falling in the Ring, experts ruled out a connection to the other quakes.
Seismologists admitted the cluster of quakes, along with others near Tonga (5.0), Taiwan (5.3), and Papua New Guinea (5.2), on the same day was unusual.
It is unusual, theres no doubt about that, its been really busy, University of Melbournes Gary Gibson told Daily Mail Australia.
I must say these unusual clusters happen fairly often and it seems they are not totally random, we just dont know why.
Phil Cummins at Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University suggested seismic waves cascading along fault lines could be responsible.
He said waves could also jump between nearby fault lines and....
Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of
ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya
minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying
to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to
return to persecution:
Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority.
Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guineas Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, even if they face violence.
Returning Rohingya to their country could put their lives at risk. Myanmar does not recognise the ethnic minority and has conducted military operations in Rohingya villages that the United Nations top human rights official branded a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
Close to 400,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, many with bullet wounds and stories of mass killings, as their villages burn.
On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea. Seven of us were there for the month of August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.
The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response form the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect. We werent there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.
As Australians we were warmly received everywhere. Australia was the PNG administrator for decades and has left many good things in place. The Australian influence was there in diverse ways, including an inspired wooden Hills Hoist and outdoor bench setting at Boagis village, way out at the extreme end of PNG territory.
For decades Australia has been at the centre of international efforts to improve elections in Papua New Guinea. Australia has spent almost US$60 million since 2002. Despite this, the 2017 elections were blighted by a frightening pack of problems. Given PNGs electoral woes it is tempting to conclude aid hasnt helped. Tempting, but mistaken. Elections may not be good in PNG but good is not the right yardstick for aid success in this area. The appropriate yardstick is vis--vis a counterfactual of no international help. As I described in my first post, Papua New Guineas domestic political economy produces forces that are at odds with well-run elections. As I discuss in this paper, international engagement has served as a countervailing force against these. Because of this, it is very likely that elections in PNG would be worse still without Australian involvement.
This doesnt mean that Australian efforts cant be improved though. Here are some suggestions. Because this is a blog post they are, by necessity, broad. I hope many others will offer a lot more in coming months; for now, treat these ideas as a start.
First up, recognise the road to the next elections starts today. Improving them will be an ongoing effort. It will require engagement, pressure and assistance, every year from now to 2022. The chart below shows my estimates of Australian aid spending devoted to elections in PNG since 2002 (data and sources here). As you can see, the post-2012 effort was inconsistent and less than previous elections. This isnt the aid programs fault. In between aid cuts and the death of AusAID, it was a tumultuous time. Even so, theres still a lesson from 2017: improving elections requires substantial, sustained engagement. It requires staff devoted to the task and it requires the steady accumulation of contextual knowledge.
Estimated Australian aid for elections 2002-2017
Last week the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting was held in Apia, Samoa. The meetings theme, the Blue Pacific, was unsurprising given this years focus on oceans. But it was interesting nonetheless, given the increasing use of terms like the blue economy (PIDF) or blue Pacific (PIFS) to define Pacific regionalism much as the Pacific Way was used in the past.
This year was the first since the establishment of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism not to include a process through which the public are invited to make submissions on what leaders should discuss. That process, which sees proposals assessed by a Specialist Sub Committee on Regionalism (the SSCR), was never intended to occur every year. Its absence this year might therefore be explained in terms of needing to take stock of issues raised previously. Except, many issues identified through the process previously, and which we would expect to see followed up, have seemingly been set aside. They are cervical cancer, ICT, and improved business processes for the private sector.
Another likely explanation for the absence of a public submission process is political. The public consultation process in previous years has raised contentious issues time and time again. Last year, 13 of 48 submissions concerned West Papua much to the dissatisfaction of the Australian, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinean governments. This year, in contrast, discussion of West Papua was limited to one un-critical line in the Forum Communiqu.
Climate change was still prominent, but in terms agreeable to all. Well, almost all. The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, vented his frustration after the Forum both at its failure to endorse Tuvalus proposal for climate change insurance, and at its focus on issues not directly relevant to the Forum members, such as North Korea: The Forum is supposed to discuss issues from its members and small island states Why should they come to a Forum that only supports political wishes of the big countries?
Notwithstanding this outburst, the Forum Leaders meeting this year did f...
The new ambassador of the Solomon Islands to the United States, Robert Sisilo, presented his credentials to President Donald Trump on July 21, 2017. Sisilo is a career diplomat who is also serving as the Melanesian nations ambassador to the United Nations (since January) and Canada (since April). Solomon Islands has a population of about 600,000.
Born in 1956, Robert Sisilo grew up in Sikaiana, a small atoll in Malaita Province, and graduated King George VI National High School in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in 1978. He went on to earn a B.A. in History and Politics at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, in 1982.
Sisilo joined the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983, serving early career assignments as desk officer, chief desk officer, and senior desk officer from January 1983 to September 1985.
He also continued his education by earning graduate degrees at universities in three different continents over the next 11 years. He earned a Certificate in Diplomacy at Oxford University in 1986; an M.A. in International Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1989; and an M.A. in International Relations at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia, in 1994.
From 1986 to 1991, Sisilo was charg daffaires at his countrys Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
While serving as his nations deputy secretary of foreign affairs in 1996, Sisilo was reportedly part of a government delegation that was briefly abducted at gunpoint by Papua New Guineans who had crossed into Solomon Islands territory.
From 1996 to 2005, Sisilo was ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as permanent representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
From May 2005 to July 2008, Sisilo served as permanent representative of the Pacific Islands Forum, an organization comprised of 18 Pacific Island countries, to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. The members of the Forum are Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuva...
PNGi has released the first instalment of a three-part investigation into the abusive commercial transactions that are leading to the circulation of overpriced and substandard medicines and medical supplies and the waste of millions of Kina in desperately needed funding.
Life expectancy in PNG is twenty years lower than in Australia and the lowest in the region. Eight million people in Papua New Guinea live without access to decent health care and everyone feels the impacts.
If ever there was a sector which should be safeguarded by political leaders to ensure that services are provided in an effective and efficient manner, free from malfeasance, it is public health, but as the the PNGi investigation reveals, that is far from reality.
Profiting from Sickness focuses on controversial medical goods supplier, Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Limited, its principal, S...
The new ambassador to the United States from Ghana, Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, who previously served as Ghanas ambassador to Japan, Australia, and three other countries, presented his credentials to President Donald Trump on July 21, 2017, succeeding Joseph Henry Smith, who represented Ghana in Washington since September 2014.
Born December 15, 1942, in Kumasi, Ghana (then a British colony), Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah graduated Prempeh College in 1962. He went on to earn a B.A. in Geography at the University of Ghana Legon in 1965, an M.S. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 1968, and a PhD in Geography at Indiana University in 1972, with a dissertation entitled, Socio-economic regions in the Louisville ghetto. He also co-authored "Some comparative aspects of the West African Zongo and the Black American Ghetto.
Upon his return to Ghana, Adjei-Barwuah became a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Ghana, while also working as a part-time television host with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation from 1972 to 1975.
In 1975, Adjei-Barwuah was named executive director of the Ghana Tourist Board, which is located in Ghanas capital and largest city, Accra. He stayed there for eight years, until 1983.
Sometime after 1983, Adjei-Barwuah left Ghana and went to live in the United Kingdom. He worked as a community liaison officer in Kent, England, from 1987 to 1988. He also earned a certificate in counselling from the Center for Advancement in Counselling in London in 1989.
Adjei-Barwuah worked in the field of adult education, first as a senior lecturer at Bexley College in London from 1988 to 1991, and as head of faculty access and development at Hackney Community College from 1991 to 1993. From 1993 to 2001, he was lead adviser at the Learning and Skills Development Agency, a publicly-funded organization that supported continuing education in England.
A member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is Ghanas center-right party, Adjei-Barwuah returned to Ghana in 2001, not long after his partys candidate for the presidency, John Kufuor, won the December 2000 presidential election. Kufuor soon appointed Adjei-Barwuah to a plum diplomatic postambassador to Japan, with concurrent accreditation to Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore. Adjei-Barwuah served seven years in the post, leaving temporarily in September 2007 in order to...
The Australian government is currently trying to close its Manus
Island concentration camp and abandon its victims (who they should
be giving homes in Australia) to persecution in Papua New Guinea.
a group of refugees who face extra persecution there: gay
For gay men who fled persecution in their homelands to seek asylum in Australia, detention on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island offers a special kind of torture.
Homosexuality is illegal in PNG.
A detainee advocating for gay men on the island said there were about 20 in the prison camp.
Amir Taghinia said it was clear there were no options for these men on Manus, or in other parts of PNG, if Australia forced them to stay.
"We have witnessed many of these guys have been very very badly traumatised. They have been assaulted, they have been insulted," he said.
"These people will face a very harsh life. They will be abused in Papua New Guinea. They will very likely get into trouble and they will eventually be persecuted by the Papua New Guinea government."
Papua New Guineas new investigative website, PNGi Central, has published an in-depth examination of the career of Peter ONeill that has largely escaped notice in the chaos of the elections.
Published in three parts Secret Millionaire; The Big Skim; and Lift Off The Midas Touch lifts the lid on how corruption thrives in Papua New Guinea and how politicians abuse their positions and milk the system to build considerable private fortunes.
The Midas Touch shows Papua New Guinea as a classic kleptocratic state ruled by a small elite or oligarchy, who exploit the nations natural resources and steal. They enrich themselves at the expense of the majority. This kleptocracy is currently led by Prime Minister Peter ONeill.
Over the last twenty-years, ONeill has a...
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is facing a nutrition crisis. Alarmingly, almost one in two children in PNG have stunted growth from chronic malnutrition.[i] PNG has the fourth highest child stunting rate in the world a rate that is more than double the global average.
Not only does malnutrition pose a threat to the survival and development of children in PNG, it also poses a major threat to sustainable economic growth. Evidence shows that if a child is malnourished during the first 1000-day period from conception to their second birthday, they will suffer cognitive and physical impairments that are permanent and irreversible. These impairments limit a childs education and employment prospects. Reduced individual earnings translate into reduced economic productivity at the national level. This is how malnutrition can trap children in an intergenerational cycle of poverty.
Not only does undernutrition rob children of their growth and earning potential, it also threatens their very survival. According to national data in PNG, approximately 33% of all hospital deaths of children under five are either directly or indirectly caused by malnutrition. However, in a new report commissioned by Save the Children, Frontier Economics estimates that malnutrition could be the underlying cause of up to 76% of total deaths of children under five across community and health facilities combined[ii] a figure significantly higher than the global estimate of deaths of children under five associated with malnutrition at 45%. Evidence als...
by Grant Walton and Husnia Hushang on DevPolicy Blog
In Papua New Guinea, government responses to corruption have received a great deal of media attention over the past de...
PNG is as foundational to Australias role in the world as Australia is to PNGs role in the world.
As the colonising power, Australia brought globalisation, war and then independence to PNG. By the same token, PNG and the broader Pacific stimulated federation, independence and a global role for Australia.
Neville Meaney writes that geopolitics was the determining condition of Australian nationalism. In April 1883, Queensland proclaimed the annexation of eastern New Guinea in the name of Queen Victoria. Britain refused to recognise the annexation and made a secret deal with Germany instead infuriating the Australian colonies. The episode made it clear to Australians that Britain couldnt be trusted with Australian security, and that the colonies needed an independent foreign policy.
Australians were adamant that the only thing that would stop the British trading away their sense of security was if they took over the running of the Pacific. They insisted that the British accept Australia as the dominant voice in imperial dealings in the Pacific, and badgered the British to hand over the administration of Papua to Australia as one of the first acts of the federal Parliament.
For the next half century, they tried to get the British to hand over the administration of Solomon Islands and the British portion of New Hebrides to Australia, and even talked to the Dutch about ceding control of West New Guinea.
At the core of the Australian Monroe Doctrine was a deal: that Australia would assume responsibility for the stability, order and development of the Pacific as a condition for unwelcome interests staying out of the region. The unspoken assumption here was that instability and underdevelopment in the Pacific is the necessary and sufficient condition for the intrusion of unwelcome interests.
This is a strain of thinking embedded deep in Australias view of the world, and it continues to exert a powerful impact on Australian foreign policy in the Pacific.
At the end of the Second World War, Australias dreams came true. With Germany and Japan defeated, Britain and France preoccupied with internal rebuilding, and th...
Oxfam Great Britain has produced a commitment to reducing inequality index based on the inequality-reducing policies countries adopt. Many Pacific countries, including Australia and New Zealand, are covered.
Oxfam GB also have some interesting blogs on the art of influencing.
If PNGs recent electoral woes have had you pondering the merits of democracy in ethnically fragmented states, you can cease your pondering. Recent cross-country research (pay-walled, but the abstract tells you what you need to know) provides clear evidence that, on average, elections reduce the risk of major instability in ethnically fragmented countries. To put it another way, a counter-factual PNG which didnt hold elections would be unlikely to be more stable than PNG as a democratic state.
You probably dont want to know about Haitis sewage problems. But in the event that you do, this piece by Rebecca Hersher provides some excellent (and disturbing) insights.
Lastly, a couple of links for the sports fans out there: IRIN compared the size of funded UN OCHA appeals to football star Neymars buyout clause, while on FP2P Kartik Akileswaran reflects on NBA superteams and doing private sector development differently.
The post Fortnightly links: inequality, democracy, Haiti, Neymar, and more appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.
Spears to semi-automatics: The human cost of tribal conflict in Papua New Guinea is a short film produced by the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC). Released in June 2017, and now available online, the film is set in the Highlands Region of PNG and documents the humanitarian consequences of sustained tribal violence. Drawing on stories from many impacted by the violence including displaced persons, health workers, community leaders, fighters, and ICRC staff the film documents the pervasive destruction that comes about when tribes go to war. It also highlights the work that many people in communities are doing to establish peace and mitigate the harmful impacts of the violence.
In an interview with Michelle Rooney and Grant Walton the head of ICRC PNG, Mark Kessler, reflected on the deeper issues associated with tribal violence (their interview can be found here). At the end of their interview Mark and ICRC Mission in Australia Communications Officer Andrea Lunt spoke more specifically about what motivated the documentary and what considerations went into its production.
According to Mark, the purpose of the documentary was improve awareness of the issue beyond PNG: We would like to show people whats happening and what [tribal war] means for everyday life.
Mark and Andrea understood the need for a nuanced depiction of the reasons for tribal conflict. PNG is often negatively portrayed in mainstream media, which often exclusively focuses on sensational issues, such as sorcery and attacks on tourists. Given this, Andrea said care was taken not to resort to stereotypes:
We wanted it to be nuanced [and] have the voices of people who were actually involved in a conflict, and those local NGOs that are responding. I think we found it tricky in the editing stage to take so much and put it into [a short documentary] We cant really afford to make an hour-long piece and due to our neutral, impartial mandate as a humanitarian organisation we dont have the flexibility that a journalist might have when it comes to covering an issue or situation thats why we wanted to use the film to primarily highlight the humanitarian issues. I think its a good conversation starter. Why is this happening? Lets explore it more.
The film has reportedly had positive reviews. At the Aus...
Meanwhile on Manus Island, Australia is trying to force refugees
out of its concentration camp and into the community by
cutting off power and water supplies. Strangely, the refugees
don't want to go. Why not? Because if they leave,
this will happen:
A Sudanese man and another from Iran were brutally attacked with machetes in two separate incidents over the weekend before an Afghan refugee was mugged on Sunday morning.
The Refugee Action Coalition said that at about 10pm on Saturday night, up to eight local men entered a house in Lorengau town and attacked the Sudanese refugee, slashing his leg with a bush knife.
The coaltion says in the second attack, about six hours later on Sunday morning, the same people responsible for the first assault, robbed an Iranian refugee before hacking his wrist open, cutting veins and tendons.
It said later that morning, while refugees were assisting the two men at Lorengau hospital, the Afghan refugee was robbed of his phone and belongings by another group of locals.
These days, one often hears that policies should be based on evidence. Its a proposition that is hard to argue with, but also one that is easier said than done. Thats true even for a country like Australia, rich in capacity and resources, but what about for a poor country such as Papua New Guinea?
In our new Devpolicy Discussion Paper, we explore the challenges facing and the prospects for evidence-based policy making in developing countries. We draw on the development literature and cross-country comparisons more generally, but also, for concreteness on the Australia-PNG comparison.
Of course, one should be wary of generalizations based on comparisons between two countries or even two categories of countries. Poor or developing countries differ from each other, and in many cases it is better to think of countries as facing various degrees of challenge, rather than either facing a challenge or not. Nevertheless, we do think developing countries are different, and that careful scrutiny of the challenges they face when it comes to evidence-based policy making will pay dividends.
We focus on four main differences. The first is institutions. You dont have to be an institutionalist to recognize that institutions in richer countries are generally better and stronger than those in poorer ones. With weaker institutions, the incentives to find and use the evidence to improve policies will be weaker, if not absent. Academic research is more likely to remain just that. The upside for developing countries is that there is huge scope to improve institutions, but institutions respond more to political interests than analytical heft, and tend to improve only slowly.
The second difference is informality. Citizens of developing countries work mainly in the informal sector; those of developed countries mainly in the formal sector. By definition, the informal sector is less subject to government regulation. The result is that governments of poorer countries have fewer policy options, both on the taxation and expenditure side. Thats why on average developing countries have a lower tax/GDP ratio, and one reason why they have a weaker safety net. When unemployment is unverifiable, unemployment benefits are unfeasible. Fewer policy options means a smaller role for evidence to influence government policy.
These two differences affect the demand for policy options. A third influences the supply. Here the differences are perhaps the most striking. We estimate that PNG spends only $6 per person on university education; Australia more than $1,000. According to the two leading global rankings of universities, at most four of the worlds top 100 universities are in developing countries and they are a...