The formation of the PNGAA Reform Group in Brisbane this week brings new hope for an Association that in recent times has never been particularly close to its membership, and a new opportunity to enhance the relationship between the people of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
If it wasn’t for Una Voce, the Association’s journal edited by Andrea Williams, and the untiring efforts of long-serving committee member Ross Johnson, it is arguable that the PNGAA would have had difficulty surviving this long as a viable organisation.
Now a Brisbane-based group has appointed respected Queensland businessman Phil Ainsworth [left] to lead a reform effort aimed at instilling a new spirit in the Association, especially to promote and encourage a close relationship between the people of Australia and the people of Papua New Guinea.
Within the first 48 hours of this group forming, PNGAA members from across Australia had offered to join its cause and more supporters are sought. You can email Phil Ainsworth here or email PNG ATTITUDE.
Phil has made it clear that a reformed organisation will be representative of all members, including people who need support and who want to avail themselves of fellowship and social networking as well as those who want to promote and encourage a close relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
“We want the PNGAA to commit to necessary reform, to be a broad church and to operate in a harmonious way,” Mr Ainsworth said yesterday. “It is imperative that the Association embrace the interests of all its members.”
And, in a move that promises to change the face of the Association for all time and which many members would see to be long overdue, Mr Ainsworth has said the organisation must encourage Papua New Guinean residents of Australia to join and become an important part of the Association. One of the aims of the Reform Group is to include Papua New Guineans on the committee to be elected in April.
The Reform Group also wants to make the national committee a body that is representative of the broad membership of the PNGAA irrespective of factors of geography, vocation and demography. At present, the committee is entirely Sydney-based.
And, in a gesture to current committee members, Mr Ainsworth has encouraged those who “feel comfortable in joining this group to do so.”
The Reform Group is committed to adopt and implement new objectives proposed for the Association, presently formulated as:
· to strengthen the civil relationship between the peoples of Australia and Papua New Guinea;
· to foster and encourage contact and friendship with Papua New Guineans and promote friendly association among members;
· to foster and maintain an interest in contemporary and historical events in Papua New Guinea;
· to provide appropriate financial, material or intellectual assistance to projects of benefit to Papua New Guinea as an Association individually or in conjunction with other agencies;
· to publish journals, magazines, newsletters, websites, books and other media to inform and educate people about Papua New Guinea and to provide a means of communication among members of the Association and others;
· to encourage the preservation of documents, historical and cultural material related to Papua New Guinea, including the production and recording of oral and written histories;
· to continue to safeguard and foster the retirement conditions of superannuated members of the former services in Papua New Guinea.
PNG ATTITUDE encourages readers to show their positive support for the Reform Group’s objectives by contacting Mr Ainsworth, contacting this blog or leaving a comment on this site.