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Biography

Keith migrated with his family from England to Australia in 1949 and grew up on the south coast of New South Wales. After leaving high school he trained as a teacher at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA), arriving in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea in 1963 at age 18.

His first teaching post was at Kundiawa in the Chimbu region, where he also established a local newsletter, the Kundiawa News, and was appointed as a freelance correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the South Pacific Post and Pacific Islands Monthly.

After three years teaching, he was transferred to Port Moresby as editor of school publications, later joining the ABC to write and produce educational broadcasts. He moved to the Government Broadcasting Service in 1970, managing radio stations in Rabaul and Bougainville.

Around the time of PNG's independence in 1975, Keith was appointed head of policy and planning of the new National Broadcasting Commission.

Leaving PNG in 1976, he worked in a range of communications development roles in Indonesia, Maldives, India, Philippines and Fiji. Back in Australia he established and managed radio stations 2ARM-FM Armidale and 2SER-FM Sydney.

Keith lectured in mass communication at ASOPA's successor, the International Training Institute, and was appointed Deputy Principal before rejoining the ABC as the organisation's first General Manager of Corporate Relations, responsible for government, media and community affairs.

He moved to public relations firm Mojo in the late 1980s and soon after, in 1991, established his own communications company. For 20 years Jackson Wells Morris was one of Australia’s leading PR firms. Keith retired from the company in 2012.

Keith has academic credentials in education, a BA in economics and political science from the University of Papua New Guinea and a Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of New England.

He received the PNG Independence Medal in 1976 and, in 2004, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to management and training in media, communications and public relations.

Keith served as President of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia from 2008-09 and as inaugural President of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society from 2009-11. He was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland from 2010 until 2014 and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts & Commerce, and an Honorary Member of the Australian Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

He was the first Australian executive member of the Issue Management Council (USA) and a member of the Australian National Commission of Unesco.

Keith established the PNG Attitude blog in 2006 to enable Australians and Papua New Guineans to engage in public discussion on political, social, economic and literary matters. The blog has spun off the Crocodile Prize literary awards, Pukpuk Publications and the McKinnon-Paga Hill Fellowships for writers. All are not-for-profit enterprises.

The photograph shows Keith taking a "whisper ballot" from a voter during the first PNG general election in February 1964. The election patrol of which he was a member walked through mountainous terrain south of Chuave in the Chimbu region of the highlands gathering votes as part of the massive nationwide operation to bring democratic government to the then Australian territory.