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25 March 2009

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I refer to the letter 'Time for PNG to pay tribute to kiaps' (The National, Dec 10) from Reginald Renagi.

It was a timely call to the PNG governmentg to pay tribute to the kiaps.

I commend the writer for his support of kiaps’ plight to be recognised by the government.

It is time for the government and parliament to pay tribute to the work of Australian and local kiaps during the pre-Independence era.

The local kiaps trained at ASOPA and Adcol turned out to be among the best. They were powerful and inspiring kiaps who tirelessly sacrificed, alongside their Australian counterparts, to shape this nation into what it is now.

They conquered the unknown and uncivilised people and ended primitive warring among the inhabitants and slowly exposed these people to modern civilisation.

Many of the kiaps have passed away, some are alive, while a number continued as legislators in the PNG parliament. I urge the government and parliament to consider paying tribute to these forgotten pillars of the nation.

What is the latest development? A worthy cause. Why not a service medal or eligibility for service pension?

Nice to read the piece in yesterday’s National. Thanks.

Recognition of kiaps gets promising response
______________

THE Australian government is considering how to officially recognise the pioneering work of its patrol officers in Papua New Guinea during the colonial administration.

From 1949 to 1974, patrol officers or kiaps brought law and order to PNG’s remote tribal areas so Australian teachers, agricultural officers, infrastructure and health workers could follow and aid local development.

Campaigners seeking formal recognition for up to 1,000 Australians who worked in PNG met with advisers for the special minister of state John Faulkner and staff from the prime minister’s department in Canberra on Monday.

Former kiap Chris Viner-Smith and former PNG Association of Australia president Keith Jackson said the talks were positive.
“The goodwill is there, the first chunk of the battle has been won,” Mr Jackson said.

“The government believes that kiaps deserve recognition and should be rewarded with something tangible.

“They will come back to us with an idea as to how to achieve this.

“It’s a bit tricky because the kiaps don’t fit into a specific group, he added.

Mr Jackson said about 1,000 people along with widows would be eligible under their proposal to acknowledge work in the former Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

A spokesman for Mr Faulkner confirmed the government was investigating how the kiaps’ work could be formally recognised.

“The meeting went well and it’s with the government now,” he said. – AAP

Source: PNG National

Great news.

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