We had two bren guns in the police armoury, along with several Owen guns and about 200 .303 standard Lee Enfield service rifles.
At that time rifles were on individual issue to native police, who took their guns with them when proceeding on home leave.
At the rear of the barracks was a weapons range and it was there I noticed the skeletal remains of twin gallows: one a wooden structure and the other of wood and steel.
During the 1942-45 war, when Japanese forces captured the
After the war, the Australian War Crimes Commission sat at Rabaul from December 1945 to August 1947 and on Manus from June 1950 to April 1951 and there were two trials at Wewak in late 1945.
In all, 503 Japanese were tried and 92 were convicted, sentenced to death and, after appeals, executed.
With the war crimes trials impending in Rabaul, two gallows were erected by an Australian Army construction unit, probably on the site of the pre-war native police barracks and gallows which had been destroyed during the war.
There were two means of execution: shooting, which was regarded as being an ‘honourable’ death; and hanging, a ‘dishonourable’ death reserved for the very worst the crimes. Many high ranking Japanese officers came into this latter category.
Most executions were carried out by hanging. For these
executions, several experienced pre-war
The first execution by hanging was on 20 March 1946 when a warrant officer of the infamous Kempei Tai was executed. In total, 84 men were hanged on the Rabaul gallows and five in Manus.
On one occasion, as a Japanese about to be hanged, on being asked if he had anything to say, he screamed “Banzai” in an apparent attempt to cause a large number of assembled captive Japanese witnesses to riot. His words were quickly cut short.
It seems likely that the last time one of the gallows was used was for the execution of a native policeman in Rabaul in April 1947 for the bayonet murder of a local woman. There were two subsequent executions by hanging in Lae at the police barracks in December 1954 and November 1957, the last in PNG.
Over the years the corrugated galvanized iron that shielded the gallows was pillaged by nearby shanty town dwellers.
The end of the gallows came in April 1960, when
Photos: Top left – Rabaul gallows 1946 (Captain Joseph Backhouse). Top right – Rabaul gallows 1960 (Inspector Maxwell Hayes)
Australian War Crimes Trials and Investigations (1942-51) DCS Sissons.
ADDRESSING THE annual
conference of the Institute of Internal Auditors in
Mr Nero said leadership tribunals should be empowered to order their restitution.
"As it is, a leader can steal millions of kina and is not be obligated to pay back even though found guilty by the tribunal," he told the conference.
"The public prosecutor, in consultation with the police, [needs to] invoke certain provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act where a guilty verdict is recorded to commence recovery of stolen assets in-country or abroad.
Mr Nero went on to say there was a need for permanent leadership tribunals whose membership could comprise retired judges and magistrates, accountants, lawyers, engineers, business people and the clergy, so members could be drawn at short notice.
This would obviate the strain on judicial and magisterial services in terms of cost and stress on court programs.
He said the chief justice, in consultation with the chief magistrate, should appoint a leadership tribunal within 30 days of receiving a request from the public prosecutor.
Earlier this year the government of the
The previous president, Mr Gayoom, who had held power for 30 years, has now had his extravagant life style audited.
The audit report said in part: "An estimated $9.5
million was spent buying and delivering a luxury yacht from
In PNG’s case, misappropriated funds recovered could be available for health, education, law and order or any one of a number of areas that desperately need assistance.
An effective audit of trust funds would be an excellent place to start. Bulolo MP Sam Basil recently highlighted the operations of government trust funds as an area needing to be audited and tightened up.
I wonder what might be revealed by an effective audit of government expenditure. Surely those charged with safeguarding PNG's public monies must urgently give thought to Mr Basil's and Mr Nero's suggestions. Perhaps the PNG Chief Justice may be considering these suggestions even as you read this.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL Sir Paulias Matane has been rushed to hospital in
Sir Paulias is in the intensive care unit of the
The Governor-General, who in his eightieth year maintains a breakneck program of activity, was recently reappointed for a second term in the vice-regal office in what were exceptionally conflicted and stressful circumstances.
Sir Paulias has spoken out strongly against corruption and poor governance and passionately promotes the virtues of education and literacy.
He was born in 1931 at
His motto as Governor-General is ‘Serving with Love from Government House!’
ONE OF THE PEOPLE I
interviewed for my book about
He told me that, after Saipan had
been secured, the troops were kept on the island in anticipation of the invasion of
the Japanese home islands later in the war, an operation that never came to
pass as a result of
Roland also told me the US military was stockpiling chemical shells for their 155-mm Long Toms for possible use against the Japanese when they invaded. Ever since then, I have been curious about what happened to those shells.
Some years back, I asked the EOD [Explosive Ordnance
Demolition] man operating out of
Fast forward to this past week. I had just finished the last of my on-cruise Pacific War lectures on 25 August, when an Australian, a retired EOD from the Australian Army, approached me.
He said he had attended all my lectures, and then
proceeded to tell me some interesting things about his days in EOD in PNG, the
He said in the area where the battles of Buna and Gona
were fought in
In 1989-1990, in the
After the battle for Buna-Gona, Australian officers reported that some of the Japanese showed signs of having died from gas poisoning.
I think this is worth further investigation; just one more item to add to my list.
There is also some interesting information coming my way
about some Kiwis captured on
More recently, while looking for the missing graves of US
Marines left behind on
I hope the
And that’s it for this cruise from your nondescript-garden-variety white guy. G’day, mates, and Happy Trails.
RECENTLY I WAS a
member of a group of trekkers who completed a trek along the Lark Force
wilderness track on the
I have done a number of walks in
“Will the Australian Soldier’s battles in Papua be freshly remembered and never go by from their day till the ending of the World”. Will their legacy – the still young, vibrant and evolving Australian society, embarking on new directions and challenges, be inspired by these Ghosts? I dearly hope their will.”
In the course of walking this track we were retracing the route taken by members of the 2/22 Bn in January-February 1942 after the Japanese invasion of Rabaul on 23 January. After the order “every man for himself” was given by Colonel Scanlan, the force split into small subgroups at Malabunga Mission and made their way to the north or south coast, where they hoped to be picked up by flying boats.
Four hundred soldiers eventually got to
In the course of our trek, we had a minute’s silence on 1
July to remember the victims of the Montevideo
Maru and had another short service at Tol, where there is a small memorial cairn.
The area around Tol-Waitavalo is now a logging camp. As you look around it is
hard to believe that this area was the scene of a major massacre of
Prior to trekking the Lark Force track, we were all given a packing list of what to bring and we all packed creature comforts: muesli bars, lollies, Staminade. Imagine what it must have been like to be a soldier in Rabaul during the Japanese invasion. Every man for himself. We are leaving in half and hour. The soldiers may have been able to fill haversacks with bully beef and biscuits. Many didn’t have basic camping equipment, groundsheets, tents or mosquito nets. They didn’t know how long the walk would take.
They were tired, having been waiting in battle positions since 22 January. Consider the impact of a large body of soldiers on the local villagers. During the course of our trek, we visited a number of villages. We all commented on how friendly the people were and how they were prepared to share fruit and vegetables with us.
In our group there were seven trekkers plus a support party with their own food supply. With Lark Force there were small and large groups of soldiers without food walking through various villages. In the accounts by survivors of Lark Force, some groups of soldiers spent too much time resting in villages, killing more chickens and pigs than they needed and taking vegetables and fruit. One can understand why some villagers got tired of groups of Australians continually passing through.
Two other points worth considering. The first is group dynamics. In a modern trekking party, you have a leader and fast and slow walkers. You are dealing with a number of personalities. Consider the group dynamics 70 years ago in a small Lark Force unit. Large groups split into smaller groups; some groups decided to surrender, while others continued walking.
Consider how you feel after walking four days in a jungle
environment. You’re tired and dirty but you know there is no more walking to be
done. Imagine what is must have been like for a member of Lark Force back in
1942. They had been walking for weeks and even if they got to Tol Plantation
prior to the massacre, they were still faced with the prospect of getting to
Karlai Mission and a further walk to other points such as
As I looked from Tol across to Karlai Plantation, I was
pleased I was going across by boat. I could only imagine the number of days it
would take to walk around
AT THE SAME TIME as the United Nations Environment Program was checking proofs and preparing press conferences for the launch of its much anticipated report, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, the PNG government was taking steps to silence its people on the issue of environmental devastation of virgin forests, fresh water sources and important fisheries.
Stripping the rights of citizens to discuss amendments to the Environment Act that had been passed just days earlier with its latest edict, the PNG government hoped to shut down debate on the environmental legislation it had quickly drawn up to accommodate members of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, and specifically Australia’s publicly listed Highlands Pacific Limited and the Chinese state-owned Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited in joint venture on the Ramu NiCo nickel mine near Madang.
The new legislation seeks to overthrow an injunction won in the Supreme Court by Tiffany Nonggorr of Nonggorr William Lawyers, representing a diverse group of Rai Coast landowners, that prevents Ramu NiCo from working on the placement of the Submarine Tailings Disposal pipeline, a system of mine waste disposal also known as Deep Sea Tailings Placement.
This disposal system would dump hundreds of millions of
tonnes of a heavy metal and chemical cocktail of mine waste into Astrolabe and
Just days later, amid allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government, the Environment Act Amendment Bill was pushed through with three readings in one sitting of Parliament, ignoring constitutional requirements that it be read and debated in three separate sittings of Parliament.
The resulting law removes the rights of landowners to mount any legal challenge against any mining or development application approved by the government; it infers that environmental damage will happen in the course of doing business as an inevitable consequence of business, and explicitly excuses corporations from damage, removing any responsibility or obligation for clean-up and restoration, and for recompense.
It absolves corporations of any environmental devastation
and accompanying social upheaval and detrimental health outcomes, as has
already been incurred by tens of thousands of indigenous landowners along the
Fly and Ok Tedi rivers, on
It condones business practices banned in other nations – specifically the home nations of the corporate icons currently dumping their mine tailings directly into the rivers and oceans of PNG and denuding the country of ancient and rare rainforest.
It shuts them out of the country’s legal process and removes all rights of landowners whose previously untouched rivers and coastal waters have been or will be turned into grey sludge dead zones stretching thousands of square kilometres; whose ancestral lands are now or will be uninhabitable and fisheries inedible.
This is not emotive rhetoric – such environmental destruction is the factual documented history of Australian, British, American and Canadian companies, and apparently soon to be that of Chinese corporations, operating in this third world country to our north.
It will be the fate of the entire nation in just a decade if the landowners are indeed silenced, and we [Australians] continue to ignore and not question the conduct of the companies we call our own, and the undemocratic behaviour of a government we tacitly support.
You can read the full article in the Reputation Report blog here.
While in the
She won the Chicago Women in Publishing award in 1994 and the National Association of Women Business Owners New Venture Award in 1995.
After returning to
It was here that the blog Reputation Report was born.
Alex is passionate about the issues of corporate social responsibility, business ethics, sustainable capitalism, reputation strategy, leadership and the links between them.
These issues have made her particularly concerned about the impacts of big resource projects and it is in this context that her interest in PNG has been rejuvenated.
Today Alex is an author, public image risk consultant, speaker and editor of the Reputation Report. She is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a member of the Queensland Writers Association, and a Trustee of Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
LET’S THINK THROUGH the current resources boom in PNG. Some interesting scenarios present themselves.
For instance, the influx of Chinese money and of Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian workers.
It doesn’t stretch the imagination much to envisage PNG, in the not too distant future, becoming part of the Asian economic and cultural sphere.
It is just this prospect that has informed the resistance
movement over the border in
Something similar happened in
Asianisation is a touchy subject, and one that runs the risk of the ‘racist’ label – even to discuss it. But I suspect this is something PNG will have to confront at some stage.
Are the people of PNG ready to cast off their links to the Pacific, cast their lot with the west, and possibly subsume their Melanesian identity in the process?
The Irish had the happy knack of absorbing and subtly
converting invaders and immigrants.
If such a transition is inevitable, it might be something PNG needs to start thinking about now.
Multiculturalism, as it has been termed in
Our Parliament has sat for just 30 days in the last year and has been adjourned, in very controversial circumstances, until November
Faced with mounting opposition of its amendments to the Environment Act, its failure to stamp out chronic corruption, its waste of public money and a vote of no confidence, the government shut down Parliament and ran off to hide.
This was another attack on our democracy from an increasingly autocratic government.
Legal opinion says the adjournment of Parliament is undemocratic and unlawful. Tgis is because the Constitution makes it mandatory for Parliament to sit for at least 63 days a year.
The penalty for Parliament not sitting for the required number of days could be ten years in prison. But the Ombudsman Commission is doing nothing about this because it says it lacks the resources to investigate all 109 MPs.
We need to tell the Ombudsman Commission this is wrong.
The Ombudsman doesn't need to investigate all 109 MPs. It was the Prime Minister, Leader of the House and Speaker who orchestrated the adjournment - against the wishes of the majority of MPs who were present.
It is these three who should be investigated.
Please email the Chief Ombudsman right now and tell him you want him to investigate the Prime Minister and the Speaker for shutting down Parliament
If there is no accountability for Parliament not sitting then PNG’s democracy is dead.
Sign the petition here.
BY DONALD HOOK
overwhelmingly approved by Lihir shareholders at a meeting in
In accordance with
the court order, Lihir shares will be suspended from trading on the Australian
The new Newcrest shares to be issued under the scheme will start trading on the two exchanges on a deferred settlement basis on the following day – next Tuesday, 31 August.
Lihir chairman, Dr
Ross Garnaut, has said the Lihir gold mine in
Earlier this year, Lihir announced it planned to increase the mine’s production by about 50 percent over the next ten years.
BY DONALD HOOK
Her work has been described as ‘exceptional’, ‘truly ground- breaking’ and ‘a technical tour de force’.
For more than 50 years, chloroquine was widely used in the fight against malaria. It was cheap, safe and highly effective.
But in the late 1990s scientists noticed the drug was losing potency, and it’s now been rendered almost useless by the spread of chloroquine-resistant parasites.
Dr Rowena Martin, principal
investigator at the
Her research has won
her a Eureka Prize worth $10,000, sponsored by
Judges said Dr Martin had offered a way forward in malaria treatment through excellent research and a breadth of technical skills rare in such a young scientist - just 35 years of age.
At her secondary schools
in Tamworth and
“I really love the problem solving, lateral thinking, and creativity involved in scientific research. And the excitement when you make the big discovery in the small hours of the morning. It’s a great feeling.”
It wasn’t until working on her honours project that she learned that the ancient scourge of malaria was on the march again. This year it will infect about 300 million people and kill about one million of them.
“Malaria places an immense economic burden on a country. It isn’t just associated with poverty, it is a cause of poverty.
“The parasite’s ability to develop resistance to drugs appears to be inexhaustible, so we constantly need to look for novel compounds and new ways to use the existing ones.”
Dr Martin told PNG Attitude she had read a great deal about malaria but had never visited malarial areas. She is interested in finding out more about malaria in PNG.
Outside the research lab, Rowena is a keen soccer player. She gives her other interests as sewing - and her engineer boyfriend.
SO THE PNG mining minister has called for a government agency to control non-government organisations (NGOs) in PNG.
In case you don’t know ‘NGOs’, they are bodies like Médecins Sans Frontières, Transparency International, the Red Cross, the Scouts and Care International.
The minister’s statement appears to be a classic dummy spit from someone who surely cannot claim moral ascendancy.
If the minister has been correctly quoted, his conjecture is that NGOs should be muzzled and kept under the control of the current government.
If that was the case, who would help the people in cases like the current government fiasco over the Ramu mine?
If the minister is just running the flag up the pole to see who salutes, perhaps Opposition should publicly state just how ludicrous this statement is and how it reflects poorly on the minister's integrity.
Clearly the minister is unable to effectively look after his people's interests and is trying to shoot an irritating messenger.
THE PNG SUPREME Court has again adjourned its decision on the re-election of Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane.
The case was brought by the Morobe Provincial Government under Section 19 of the Constitution and seeks the court’s interpretation of the legitimacy of the recent election for the Governor-General’s post in parliament.
Three candidates who contested the office lost to Sir Paulias Matane who was voted into a second term by a majority on the floor of parliament.
It has been alleged that the vote was supposed to render Sir Paulias eligible to stand for a second term, whereupon he would have faced a contested ballot, not to elect him to a second term.
It has been claimed that the Prime Minister, Speaker and the clerk of parliament had breached certain provisions of the Governor-General Act in relation to how the elections should be carried out.
Yesterday, in Part 1 – The Rabaul Strategy, Neville Threlfall wrote how the Menzies Government did not intend Lark Force to defend Rabaul against invasion. It was there mainly to provide protection for the RAAF.
DURING 1941 THE Japanese
had moved armed forces into French Indo-China, threatening Malaya, the
It seemed like good sense to develop
Agreement was reached for the
A team of US officers visited Rabaul in November 1941, and an element of farce entered into their discussions with the head of Lark Force when a heavily sealed envelope, just delivered by air, was brought to him.
Apologising for the interruption, he broke it open, paused, then read the contents aloud: “Upon receipt of this you will proceed with the construction of six pan latrines according to the enclosed specifications.”
By this time, Lark Force had a new Commanding Officer, Colonel JJ Scanlan, a veteran of the trench warfare of World War I. His plan for defence was to hold fixed positions at the likely landing beaches.
When it was suggested that supplies should be placed inland to provide for a fighting withdrawal and bush warfare, he condemned it as a defeatist suggestion, and boasted that “Rabaul will be defended to the last man. There will be no surrender.”
There was no attempt to give the soldiers any knowledge of conditions inland or of bushcraft, nor of relations with the New Guinean people. Nor was there any discussion with Administration officials of preparations for evacuation or of demolition of vital supplies and installations. The civil authorities found this very frustrating.
John Curtin became Prime Minister of Australia on 7
October 1941, inheriting domestic problems and the responsibility for widespread
Australian forces in the Middle East, Malaya and the
The promise of a
At last Lark Force had an active air base to defend. But Scanlan wrote a review claiming that for adequate defence against an attack on the scale that could be expected, at least 4,000 infantry would be needed, together with trucks to rush them to threatened points; plus field artillery, anti-tank guns, three more coastal batteries and twenty armoured cars.
He dated this review 5 December 1941 and dispatched it to
higher authorities; but on that date a Japanese carrier-based strike force was
already moving towards the
The successful Japanese attacks on
It lacked the troops and weaponry to reinforce Rabaul as
Scanlan declared necessary. To withdraw Lark Force and the RAAF planes would
make a present to the Japanese of a valuable site for military purposes, and
would be bad for morale in
The choice was made: to leave what was plainly an inadequate force in place, so that if the Japanese wanted Rabaul they would have to fight for it.
Although Curtin is usually held responsible for this decision, it was made on the advice of the Chiefs of Staff of Australia’s armed services, and they too must take their share of the responsibility. And they were responsible for the inadequate equipment of Lark Force, and the failure to respond to the appeals of Carr and Scanlan.
Hasty arrangements were made to evacuate women and
children of European race, by sea and later by air. Apart from a few invalids,
civilian men were not considered; and Rabaul’s Asian population was left to its
own devices. (Ironically, the only Asians sent to safety in
Prior to 8 December 1941, the reconnaissance patrols of
the Catalinas and the Hudsons had only gone as far as the Equator, the boundary
But with the outbreak of war with
Truk was too far for the
These raids stung the Japanese into retaliatory air raids
on Rabaul from 4 January 1942 onwards, and may have accelerated the timing of
their invasion of New Ireland and
So, neither reinforced nor withdrawn, an inadequate Lark Force awaited the inevitable onslaught.
WHILE THE ACTIVITIES of unscrupulous 'carbon cowboys' have attracted much attention in PNG over recent years, a confidential proposal shows the PNG government trying to carry off the biggest scam of all.
The government has submitted a proposal to the Norwegian government that would see up to USD1 billion flow into PNG.
The Somare government came into power in 2002 promising to fast-track ten large-scale logging projects. Since then it has also sanctioned more than 2.5 million hectares of forest clearance for spurious 'agriculture projects'.
But now it is claiming it will change its ways and bring this forest rape under control if the Norwegians deposit anything between $750 million and $1 billion in its coffers.
The PNG government's proposal to the Norwegians in truth lacks any meaningful political, social or ecological analysis. This is despite the fact that it was put together at a cost of over $1 million by international consultancy McKinsey and Company.
According to the proposal PNG "subscribes to principles of transparency and equitability" - about as weak a statement about endemic corruption as you could hope to see.
And what will the PNG government do in return for $1 billion?
Well, almost nothing.
It is promising to revoke 50-100 thousand hectares of illegal agroforestry projects (the other 2.4 million hectares will be untouched); introduce reduced impact logging across 500,000 of the 5 million hectares currently allocated for large-scale logging; and establish 30,000 hectares of oil palm on degraded land.
Surely the cash rich Norwegians are not going to be conned by Somare and his American carbon ambassador Kevin Conrad into funding their carbon scam?
You can link to the PNG Exposed website here.
The MP elected by parliament to become the CEO of PNG Inc represents the people as well as being head of government. As Prime Minister, he alone must take responsibility for the way our country’s national business is conducted.
PNG's early vision was good and noble in its intentions. The national interests clearly stated in our constitution are enduring and still valid today. but unfulfilled by the state and its agencies over the years.
Had we followed our earlier plans diligently, then PNG
would be a better country and a just society. This unfortunately is not the
case 35 years after becoming independent from
Many reasons contributed to PNG’s present woes. However, the main factor must be directly attributed to political leaders since independence.
Successive PMs, as captains of the ship of state, never really stuck to one course. And they failed to ensure the ship’s business was managed by competent crew. They also failed to ensure the officers were fit and up to the task.
The PNG ship was not ready for sea in 1975. The then Australian
administration failed to diligently prepare the ship for sea.
Also, the captain was in a hurry to go to sea, so perhaps saw no need for more preparation.
Sadly, the then and current captain - in his quiet moments - is probably regretful that he has not made a very good job of captaincy as he contemplates life after retirement.
The man at the helm should know what is wrong with our ship. Is he able to fix the problems now, before it is too late? The writer and many other PNG observers have great reservations about this prospect. Father Time waits for no man.
PNG is where it is today because of leadership failure. Many bad things have happened in PNG because of inaction by its many captains over the years.
The passenger’s have been ignored and they are angry, frustrated and rebellious.
The solution is obvious. Activate our leadership succession plan now. The time is right to make a change and it is needed today before the ship runs aground.
PNG needs fresh, new, competent political leadership. The leader must be someone with a heart for PNG who knows what the job entails and can do it well without compromise.
So, in review, PNG had a good vision at independence. But through poor political leadership, the country is not where it planned to be 35 years ago.
Whether it is Julia or Tony in charge does not really matter to PNG. What matters is how the new Australian leadership will constructively deal with PNG and its errant political leadership and with the country's difficult development challenges.
Reginald Renagi is a former senior PNG naval officer. He also trained and served on many different classes of warship in the Royal Australian Navy and he remains a trainer of seafarers.
THERE WILL clearly
be significant fallout from the latest decision by the
National Court judge David Canning opted for caution when in refusing to grant Ramu Nickel’s application to lift the interim injunction he granted in March to stop offshore construction of the deep sea tailings system.
The company is now claiming thousands of people will be affected by the delay in the mine's opening.
Government officials are also claiming the delay will affect the national economy and future investment.
Pressure is mounting on the plaintiffs and the magistrate to give in. However both have been resolute in maintaining their strong stance against the tailings system.
The real issue the government and the mine's owners should be addressing is why they themselves didn't initially ensure that the mine's proposed operations were safe for today's and future generations of Papua New Guineans?
To now blame the people who are trying to prevent what is, in the court's view, operations of unproven safety is merely disinformation.
The current whining, er sorry, mining minister's claims that NGO's (who are assisting with the injunction) should be under tighter government control is trying to shoot the messenger and deflect responsibility away from those who should be held accountable.
VARIOUS LANDOWNER groups yesterday renewed their opposition to the deep sea tailings placement system planned for the waters off Madang.
A group of disgruntled leaders met at the seafront of
Coastwatchers Hotel as the
In a media statement, the group, backed by plaintiffs Farina Siga, Sama Melambo, Eddie Tarsie and Peter Sel, said that the simple message was "there will be no deep sea tailings placement in Madang".
"We call on mining minister John Pundari, who, a few days ago, visited Bongu village in Rai Coast and made an undertaking of 'looking into things' and who recently deviated from that speech, to stop drawing attention away from the real issue confronting us - listen to the people."
Leader George Ireng said they were not against nickel mining or any other mining activity but wanted the government to find an alternate method of tailings disposal.
He said that deep sea tailings were banned in other countries and PNG should follow suit.
The group noted the failure by the Lands Titles Commission to sit and identify genuine landowners along in the project impact areas.
Bagbag islander John Simoi said the Bismarck and Solomon
seas were famous for their unique biodiversity and home to half of the world's
coral, leatherback turtles, various seagrass and tuna breeding ground in what
is known as the
MUCH HAS BEEN written about the fall of Rabaul in January
1942 and the consequent tragic loss of life when over a thousand prisoners went
down in the prison ship
These are believed to have included 845 soldier POWs, members of the Rabaul garrison known as Lark Force.
The question has been raised and discussed: why did the
Australian Government, under Prime Minister John Curtin, leave Lark Force in
But nothing has been raised about the reasons why an earlier Government - that of Robert G Menzies, Prime Minister from 26 April 1939 to 29 August 1941 - originally sent Lark Force to Rabaul, and what was its true reason for being there.
The files in the Australian War Memorial reveal a surprising story, and one in which military blunders of supply and training are ironically mixed with flashes of humour.
The New Guinea Administration and the inhabitants of Rabaul began their own defence measures late in 1939. At that time the main concern was the possibility of German raiding vessels landing armed sailors to destroy communications facilities (as the Australians had done in August 1914), or even bombarding the town.
A volunteer military force, the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, was quickly formed to oppose any armed landing party, and deep gullies on the slopes of Namanula Hill were cleared and equipped with shelters, water tanks and supply depots, to provide a refuge for townsfolk in case of a bombardment.
In the event, German raiders passed through
But there was another source of potential danger.
The terms of the mandate forbade military installations
except for defence, but in the early 1930s
In October 1940 the Commanding Officer of the NGVR and
senior military officer in the
In that month Field wrote to military headquarters in
In a further letter Field reviewed the possibility of a large-scale attack on Rabaul. If the military authorities felt this could not be resisted, the Administration should be warned and advised to prepare evacuation plans for civilians and for removing or destroying supplies and records. Depots of food, water and ammunition should be placed inland, for the use of defenders withdrawing from the town. All this was sound advice; but it fell on deaf ears.
Military authorities in
Rabaul was the chosen site for this, but the RAAF chiefs insisted their planes and personnel must have a military garrison to protect them.
It was decided to send a battalion group (an infantry battalion with supporting specialist units) to protect the RAAF base. A small advance party arrived in Rabaul in early March 1941 to prepare the camp for the main force, which arrived in March and April.
This comprised the 2/22nd Battalion of the 2nd AIF, with units of the Army Service Corps and the Army Medical Corps Members of Signals, Engineers and Artillery units came later. The whole group was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel HH Carr and was code-named ‘Lark Force’.
The sight of over a thousand soldiers coming to Rabaul was reassuring to the town’s residents and to the Administration, as they assumed this was for their defence.
But Carr, who was now the senior military officer in the
Territory, knew otherwise. He had quickly realised that the force under his
command was too small and lacked the equipment to defend Rabaul and the nearby
landing beaches against any sizeable attacking force; and said this in a
situation report which he sent to
This was passed to the military authorities in
The “fixed defences” comprised only two old 15cm guns which had been sent to Rabaul but were not at that time in position. They were later placed at Praed Point.
No RAAF base had yet been established; an occasional visit by a PBY Catalina flying boat for refuelling during reconnaissance was the only sign of the Air Force’s presence.
The Rabaul townsfolk must therefore be excused for thinking Lark Force was there for their benefit. Military discipline would have prevented Carr from telling them otherwise. But his requests for additional arms and equipment were ignored, or only fulfilled in dribs and drabs months later. He was even refused a supply of blank rifle ammunition, which he requested to enable the troops to practice combat more realistically.
The Menzies Government was now under increasing
Tomorrow: The strategy unravels
The Coastwatchers’ exploits in the south-west Pacific more than validate this succinct tribute to this small group that had a major impact on the conflict in the New Guinea Islands in World War II.
“I’ve been fascinated by the Coastwatchers since I first heard of their legendary deeds while on a TV assignment in Rabaul in 1983,” says Patrick Lindsay, commenting on the publication of his new book, The Coast Watchers.
This tiny band of men - and one woman - stayed behind after the Japanese occupation. Assisted by loyal islanders, they warned of enemy movements while the Japanese hunted them down.
Capture meant death and, before war’s end, more than 30 had been executed, most by beheading.
Patrick Lindsay tells how these Australians - with some British, New Zealand and Americans - hid in the jungle, constantly moving to evade enemy patrols and communicating using cumbersome tele-radios that took a dozen men to carry.
The Coastwatchers reported on Japanese troop movements, warned of sea and air attacks and saved countless civilians and service personnel, including the future US President John F Kennedy.
What made their valour more laudable was that they did all this at a time when there was no certainty that the Allies would prevail against the seemingly unstoppable invaders.As the tide of the war turned, many took an offensive role, leading guerrilla bands that greatly hampered the Japanese retreat.
They performed extraordinary feats. For example, Paul Mason and Jack Read worked on Bougainville and their warnings played a critical role in the American triumph on Guadalcanal.
After a long career as a journalist, Patrick is now one of Australia's leading non-fiction authors. Among his bestsellers are The Spirit of Kokoda, Back From the Dead and Fromelles.
details: ISBN: 9781741669244. 416 pp. William
Talks and book signings: Thursday 16 September, 6.30pm, Concord Library 60 Flavelle Street Concord NSW [$7 includes refreshments, 02 9911 6210]. Sunday 19 September, 2pm, Australian National Maritime Museum 2 Murray Street Darling Harbour NSW [$25 includes afternoon tea and Coral Sea wines, 02 9298 3644 or email@example.com]
BY DONALD HOOK
LIHIR GOLD LTD shareholders have overwhelmingly approved a merger with Newcrest Mining, to create the world’s fourth largest producer of gold.
approval was passed by 99.86 percent of the total votes cast at a meeting in
The final hurdle to
the merger is approval by the
If approved, the merger will become effective on 30 August and is due to be implemented on 13 September.
Lihir chairman, Dr Ross Garnaut, told shareholders the merger would create a $25 billion company with a portfolio of long-life, high margin, tier one gold assets.
He said the Lihir
gold mine in
Earlier this year, Lihir announced it planned to increase the mine’s production by about 50 percent over the next 10 years.
Some 4,250 people are employed directly or indirectly by the mine.
It is very broad in its scope and for the most part refreshing in its outlook (definitely not Eurocentric!), but marred by an excess of political correctness and almost oblivious to the role of cultural differences and individuals in the shaping of history.
Jared Diamond has done extensive field work in
Dr Diamond rephrases this question: why did white Eurasians dominate over other cultures by means of superior guns, population-destroying germs, steel, and food-producing capability?
His main thesis is that this occurred not because of racial differences in intelligence etc but rather because of environmental differences. He wishes to play down Eurocentric thinking and racist explanations because they are loathsome and wrong.
Modern stone age peoples "are on the average probably more intelligent, not less intelligent, than industrialised peoples."
New Guineans are "more intelligent, more alert, more expressive, and more interested in things and people around them than the average European or American is", traits which he attributes to survival of the fittest.
The answer to Yali's question is that accidents of geography and environment brought about the domination of whites of Eurasian origin.
In making this argument, Jared Diamond refers to differences in (1) animal and plant domestication, (2) rates of diffusion and migration due to ecological and geographical barriers including between continents, and (3) continental differences in population and areal size.
He acknowledges his view is one of geographical determinism, in which Europeans were favored merely by having more starting materials and more favourable conditions.
THE MURUK, or cassowary, is a powerful creature. It can reach two metres in height and travel long distances. Although unable to fly because of its body weight, this animal has nevertheless adapted well.
With powerful claws and muscular hindquarters, it defends aggressively and effectively overpowers its prey. Even in the presence of a hunting party, it can easily overcome arrows and buckshot. It is indeed a powerful animal.
Meticulous planning and surveillance must be carried out before hunting the cassowary.
The conventional way many PNG tribes hunt them is by chasing a herd into dense scrub and then to burn the forest. The cassowary is left with little option but to hide. But the hunt is virtually over, as the big bird is fully exposed. However, it is still alive, and extreme caution must be taken, and from afar, before the final blow is struck.
The PNG Finance Commission of Inquiry Report is burning through the cyber-forest and has driven the crooked muruks to hide in the dense scrub. The rumours of siphoned resources as a result of institutional corruption at the Finance Department have been confirmed.
From inflammatory deed settlements to ridiculous retainer contracts, the report makes it clear that a bunch of folks stole a whole heap of money.
But, as we sharpen our spears and stalk these crooked muruks, we have to respect their ability to strike first and therefore we must plan with care. The gag orders will be coming and the defamation suits will be prepared as ways of found to try to kill the hounds.
But the great news for PNG is that the muruks are are so busted. You see, the investigation team has the paper trail. That’s right, sufficient evidence to throw the muruks into jail.
Evidence cited in the Inquiry Report indicated fraud, false pretences and misappropriation. As such, the Police Commissioner, Chief Ombudsman and Public Prosecutor have the basis to move into enforcement and indictment mode.
Usually, the muruk would apply a gag order. But here there are two main limitations: time and specificity. The latter is of particular interest. If the muruks want to stop publication, they may do so.
But the evidence derived from the report cannot be stopped. It is out there. It is now essential that the Police Commissioner commences a clandestine operation to commence an investigation and attain evidence.
The following needs to take place. The Police Commissioner needs to instruct the Fraud Squad to consider all evidence from the Inquiry and to commence building indictments of the people implicated.
The beauty is that the Fraud Squad hardly has to do anything, as the evidence is already catalogued and clearly cited in the report.
The investigative officers than need to liaise with the Ombudsman Commission and the Public Prosecutor to identify the appropriate charge. Once this is determined, the Public Prosecutor can issue a Nolle prosequi to issue indictments. With the evidence in hand, the objective is for the police to immediately issue charges.
The leaders should first be subjected to a Leadership Tribunal. The tribunal will remove them as leaders which, in theory, will deny them the ability to hold any leadership position.
In a similar approach, all lawyers cited in the report should be referred to the Lawyers Statutory Committee. This committee of the PNG Law Society is responsible for penalising lawyers for misconduct. After this process has been exhausted, the Public Prosecutor should issue a Nolle as well.
There are several crucial factors. First, the Fraud Squad needs to do this in a clandestine manner. No public announcements, no statements that will attract challenges. You see, unlike previous inquiries, the evidence is not prima facie but substantive.
Expert witnesses in the fields of forensic accounting, cyber crime experts and conventional investigators have done an exceptional job in compiling and cataloguing the evidence.
The second factor is that the Public Prosecutor needs to ensure the evidence is tight. From the looks of things it is. So when the Nolle is issued, charges occur simultaneously. The rest is mere procedure.
However for many muruks, their lawyers will probably tell them to enter verdict of guilty as this will give them some wriggle room for a plea bargain which may mean a lesser conviction and more lenient sentencing. The public should monitor this exercise as the crooks may cut deals to expose other deals.
As we move into the kill zone to catch the muruk, spare a thought for the great men and women who are fighting the fight.
Many have endured assassination attempts, rape, marital problems and whispered damage. In spite of these travesties, they plan to complete the inquiry.
May their passion to do right endure for generations to come. And may God give us leaders who will never emulate these crooked muruks.
* ‘Countryside’ is the nom de plume of a senior Papua New Guinea public servant
THE INDETERMINATE outcome of yesterday’s Australian general election – with neither major party able to form a government in its own right – means that PNG is likely to remain on the Aussie back burner for some time to come.
Australian politicians will be totally distracted by domestic political issues for some months, and there may even be another election in the first half of next year.
This means that pressing issues in the
bilateral relationship – particularly PNG’s slow drift away from
Of course, if the Liberal-National Coalition is able to form a government, its views on the bilateral relationship with PNG will take on a new importance.
As will High Commissioner Lepani’s pre-election statement that the Coalition had made little effort to repair relations that had been “severely damaged” in the time of the former Howard government.
Despite these views, the Coalition does recognise the need to improve the relationship with PNG and the Pacific region.
It has said it will appoint a Minister for Aid if it is able to form a government and claims this is a measure of its commitment to the Pacific.
“Our greatest level of engagement with the Pacific islands
is in relation to development assistance,” says Foreign Affairs spokeswoman
Julie Bishop, who also says the Asia Pacific and the
During a campaign foreign policy debate in
“With the elevation of the [aid] issue to ministerial
level, I believe that the
In recent discussions I have had with senior Federal Liberals, the view has also been expressed that corruption in PNG is a big issue for the Coalition. There is a feeling that the Howard government’s concern with this area was one reason for its poor relationship with PNG.
A former Labor Minister also expressed the view to me that the Australian government was anxious about what he termed “the next generation of PNG politicians”.
“They could be good guys, but there are some real bad ones there as well,” I was told.
But policy outcomes of such assessments will need to wait while
With both parties struggling to form what will be a fragile coalition, there will be little attention given to PNG issues – no matter how pressing they may seem to be.
WITH THEIR TRAINING completed at Canungra the Australian troops of 2/4 and 9 Division and Corporal Ralph Coyne now promoted to a Sergeant of Signals joined 26 Brigade and were now ready to go into action.
In August 1943, seven months after
returning from Timor we were on our way to
The troops of the Brigade engaged in training exercises, firing and testing weapons, patrols, unloading stores, suffering lectures and physical exercises. For relaxation, the troops packed into the makeshift open air picture theatre and watched the only film available, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers starring Kathryn Grayson.
On 4 September, the day of departure for Lae, Sgt Coyne was attached to ‘A’ Platoon and found his unit divided into three and boarded along with other troops of the Brigade, LST’s officially known as ‘Landing Ship Tank’ but nicknamed ‘Large Slow Targets’ by many of the American crews.
As their ship, the USS LST 471 cleared
The Allied planning and preparation for the capture of Lae involved a drive by 9 Australian Division westward along the coastal plains from selected beaches approximately 26 km east of the objective together with a thrust by 7 Australian Division south-east from Nadzab along the Markham Valley to Lae.
The estimated strength of enemy troops in the Lae area was between 6400 and 7250 with a further 7000 believed to be in the Salamaua area.
The men resigned themselves to the heat,
humidity and cramped conditions aboard the LST’s ploughing a course around the
eastern tip of
The US 503 Parachute Infantry Regiment was to capture and develop the landing strips in the Nadzab area in preparation for airborne operations.
On board the LST’s, some of the Australians soldiers were no doubt aware they were taking part in the first opposed amphibious landing undertaken by Australian troops since their fathers’ WW1 historic landing on Anzac Cove at Gallipoli 28 years earlier.
Download the complete version of Ken Wright’s short history of the 2/4 Independent Company, The Dark Blue Double Diamond ... here
IN A RECENT media
The article is of special interest as it seems to convey
what may see as a 'big brother' relationship developing between PNG and
At the signing of the construction agreement, Jason
Mr Bohua said: "The Chinese have been here for 120 years and that speaks of a very long and enduring bilateral relationship that we have shared with PNG."
The Ambassador implied that the Chinese nation has had formal ties with PNG for 120 years.
To speak of the then German administration’s importation
of Chinese labourers from the
"In geography, PNG and
Mr Bohua didn't elaborate on whose development this might refer to.
"In the years to come, our connections will become fruitful because we will bring Chinese companies to PNG and contribute meaningfully by following the laws of PNG in making business and providing more job opportunities for the locals," Mr Bohua said.
That statement must be a relief to many Papua New Guineans who may have feared the worst over the latest revelation that the PNG government has reportedly told its public servants to “give the Chinese what they want” in relation to the Ramu nickel mine.
The Ambassador went on to say: "Currently our largest investment in PNG is the Ramu nickel mine in Madang, but we are looking forward for more opportunities to work with the development of PNG as the largest island nation in the Pacific.”
Perhaps the new Convention Centre will end up being the new Parliament House when the old building, reportedly in need of major repairs, is finally condemned.
"There are none so blind as those that will not see" - Attributed to Mao Zedong
Mal was born in
He later applied for a teaching job in PNG and from 1957-59 taught at Daru and Kiunga primary schools, moving to Port Moresby and teacher training in 1960.
By 1962 he was acting principal of
Their daughter Jenny was born in
In 1965 Mal was transferred to Sohano in the Bougainville District as District Inspector. His son, David, was born in Sohano in May 1965.
In 1968, the family moved to Goroka where they spent eight wonderful years. Mal was promoted to District Superintendent Grade 2.
In June 1976, Mal's 20 year career in PNG education came
to an end when he took his “golden handshake” and moved back to
The family initially settled in Armidale, NSW, but soon
When the colleges were being amalgamated with the universities, Mal took the opportunity of early retirement at age 55.
It was fitting that, when he retired on the 4 May 1990, his colleagues awarded him an honorary degree - a ‘Master of Admissions’, with majors in Punning and Malorisms.
The first ten years of retirement were spent travelling
Mal's life changed dramatically at the end of October 1999 when he suffered a massive stroke. Fortunately he did not lose his sense of humour and coped remarkably well with his life, now confined to a wheelchair.
During the nearly 11 years Mal spent in a wheelchair, he managed assembled four grandchildren and played a significant part in their lives.
The last six months were more difficult and it was a blessing that Mal passed away quietly in his sleep last Monday.
Sources: Ian Robertson and Murray Bladwell
But there’s a condition - only when Sir Michael Somare steps down.
In a show of solidarity,
He explained that the sacking of former deputy PM Sir Puka Temu was not designed to change the government, saying it was as an internal leadership issue, adding that the opposition created political instability when it pushed for a vote of no-confidence in the government.
Meanwhile, prime minister Sir Michael Somare has put off his Mt Hagen trip at the eleventh hour for the second time, frustrating organisers and demeaning the leadership of Governor Tom Olga.
It is not known why the Grand Chief changed his mind at the last minute, but it was speculated Sir Michael could have abandoned the trip to attend an in-law’s funeral and for a medical checkup in Singapore.
Local MPs appealed for calm saying “this is not our fault but the PM’s timing”
THE PNG GOVERNMENT has stood down two lawyers from the Ramu mine injunction case for refusing to follow orders from the Chinese mine owners.
The lawyers had been representing the Department of Conservation but were removed after they insisted that the Department’s interests as a regulator were not the same as those of the Chinese government and its mining company.
The issue came to a head when the lawyers refused to agree to modify an affidavit they were preparing on behalf of the PNG government.
Their replacement, a junior lawyer, has since briefed an Australian barrister who until now has been representing the Chinese in the court case!
It was been known for some weeks that the original lawyers were unhappy with what was described as “Chinese bullying” in the court case. They were strongly defending the Department’s interests.
Observers believe the two men were removed with the knowledge of the Somare government.
Meanwhile, it is alleged that public servants have been told by the government to “give the Chinese whatever they want” in respect of the Ramu nickel mine, an instruction which is causing resentment at the Mineral Resource Authority.
The Authority was established to keep the mining regulation independent from political interference!
Authority and Department of Conservation employees say they are “sick and tired of being told what to do by the Chinese.”
One officer said: “It is bad enough being told to do what these people say, but the manner in which the Chinese just boss us around and the obvious lack of respect for us is making more and more of us angry. It can’t continue.
“There is no attempt by either the government or the Chinese to hide what is going on or who is in control. Everyone in the public service is talking about it. To say PNG is an independent country at the moment is a joke – and we all know it.”
“There is a resentment building, not just in the public service, but all across the country – and why shouldn’t there be,” said one higher ranking official. “The Chinese are furious with what is happening up in Madang. They have no idea of customary land tenure in PNG nor of the PNG legal system.
“All they are doing is demanding that PNG ‘get their nickel mine going’. They are issuing threats – including pulling the plug on other projects if the Ramu Nickel issue is not taken care of quickly.”
Another official said: “The Chinese simply do not care about anything except their agenda. Any suggestion or any criticism is seen as being ‘anti-Chinese’. There is simply no dialogue with them – and this is partly because so few speak English, Tok Pisin or Motu, nor do they make any attempt.”
Spotter: Charles Roche, Executive Director, Mineral Policy Institute
THE PNG-INDONESIA land
border in the
It is estimated that each day about K1.8 million is
transacted between Indonesian vendors and PNG buyers around the
border town of
Many people from Vanimo and surrounding villages flock to Wuting to buy cheap Indonesian food and household goods, clothes and electrical items.
The trading has resulted in many Vanimo businesses closing because they cannot compete with cheap Indonesian products.
The local branch of Bank South Pacific is permitting a maximum withdrawal of only K100 a day so it doesn’t run out of cash.
Government officers say they need more resources to better monitor the border.
Meanwhile, the people of
Community leaders say this was a 'smokescreen' for money diverted elsewhere.
“We have not seen that money,” one leader said, and Vanimo MP Belden Namah also said he had no knowledge of the funds.
He said he would ask the Ombudsman Commission and Transparency International to visit Vanimo to find out where the money went to.
Source: ‘Millions ‘lost’ in cross border trade’ and ‘Border authority a joke, says Namah’ by Jeffrey Elapa, Post-Courier, 16 August 2010
TWO RED FLAGS were raised in PNG recently: one with much pomp and ceremony and the other that barely managed to register on the radar.
Two Chinese warships visited PNG on a goodwill visit on what the media explained as "a three-day intensive exchange program between technical naval staff of the two countries".
Rear Admiral Leng Zhenging, deputy chief of staff of the Chinese Navy commented that “this was a milestone not only in military cooperation but also economically and socially."
The visit by the warships came soon after comments by Fijian
leader Frank Bainimarama who publicly announced he would be seeking closer ties
The second red flag was metaphorical and received considerably less publicity.
Dr Israel Sembajwe of the National Research Institute spoke of concerns about the population drift to urban centres in PNG.
He said the growth rate of settlements in
The search for employment and income were forcing men to move to urban areas, Dr Sembajwe said.
"The human development index suggests that PNG is gradually sliding from middle-income countries to low-income countries."
AAP - THERE ARE concerns in PNG that Qantas flights to Port Moresby are threatening the survival of PNG's second biggest carrier Airlines PNG.
Qantas entered into the PNG market in July hoping to capitalise on the country's $16 billion Exxon Mobil-led liquefied natural gas project.
A subsequent price war resulted and Airlines PNG has reduced its daily Cairns-Port Moresby service to two a week.
Qantas, which has a codeshare agreement with national airline Air Niugini on flights to Sydney and Brisbane, declined to comment on how this has affected APNG.
But a government letter sighted by AAP, said there is “grave concern” about Qantas, which is “forcing both national carriers out of the market and there could be removal of competition and higher prices as a result".
Meanwhile, government sources have told AAP that APNG is seeking a merger with Air Niugini.
Airlines PNG CEO, Geoff Toomey declined to comment and a spokeswoman said the airline would not discuss "speculation and rumour".
Air Niugini CEO, Wasantha Kumarasiri, said a merger was not under consideration. "(Sir Michael Somare) and our minister (Arthur Somare) have assured us they are dedicated to Air Niugini," he said.
A spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office also played down the merger talk. "We hope sense will prevail," he said.
In 2008, the Cairns-based Wild family sold a 50 per cent
stake in Airlines PNG through a public float on the
John Wild remains the largest APNG shareholder with 47 percent. Since the float the shares have dropped from one kina (40c) to 63 toea (25c).
In the APNG 2009 annual report Mr Wild blamed the company's $9.8 million loss on the global economic downturn, the Kokoda crash and even the Icelandic volcanic eruption that grounded planes in the northern hemisphere.
For the same period Air Niugini declared a profit of $27.2 million.
WHILE RESEARCHING A
recent writing assignment I have had to re-read a number of books published by
Papua New Guinean writers just before and just after
Among other things it describes Michael Somare’s vision for melding the myriad cultures and interests of PNG into something new and unique.
Like most other third world countries that have thrown off colonial rule and been faced with the problem of forging numerous language groups and cultural traditions into one nation state we are faced with two options.
We could create an all-powerful central government and force dissident groups to fall into line, using force if necessary. Our other option is to adopt a tolerant attitude towards local interests and to recognise the existing variety of patterns.
The first alternative is relatively easy for a government willing to rely on force. But it is highly undesirable because it means imposing on the people a way of life based on some abstract ideology that is alien to them. The government would necessarily remain remote from the people.
The second alternative is far more difficult, but it is the only possible way for this country. It is a difficult way because the central government may often appear weak.
It puts the central government into the awkward position of having to arbitrate constantly between different local interest groups and between different regions of the country. It involves the danger that, if the government cannot resolve the issues and local pressure groups become too strong, the country could fall apart.
However, it is the wise way to take and the one congenial to our traditions. It allows the government to decentralise many of its powers. It enables people in the villages to make decisions on issues that are going to affect their lives directly.
It allows for a good deal of experimentation with local government structures, and the government is in a position to accept and support patterns of village government alternative to the Australian-introduced council system…
I believe that the pragmatism displayed by our village elders and leaders in the past will also allow us to solve the problems of the future.
Our country must, of course, change. But many of the values our varied communities shared in the past will remain with us as guiding principles in the future.
Despite the pressures on us from the outside world, Papua New Guineans will succeed, in the end, in building a society believing in the sharing of wealth rather than possessed by the mad spirit of competition characteristic of the Western world.
Upon reflecting upon these wise words a thought occurred to me. In some ways it turns around the vociferous outcry that the government has let the people down.
I wonder, perhaps, have the people of PNG let down Michael Somare?
THE PNG-INDONESIA land
border in the
The government estimates that about K1.8 million is
transacted between Indonesian vendors and PNG buyers every day around the
border town of
Many people from Vanimo and surrounding villages flock to Wutung to buy cheap Indonesian food and household goods, clothes and electrical items.
The trading has resulted in Vanimo running low on cash and many businesses are closing because they cannot compete with the cheap Indonesian products.
The local branch of Bank South Pacific BSP is allowing a maximum withdrawal of K100 a day so they won’t run out of cash.
Government officers say the border could be better monitored if they had more manpower and improved living and working conditions.
Meanwhile, the people of
Community leaders say the province’s name was used as a smokescreen, so the money would be diverted elsewhere.
“We have not seen that money,” one leader said. Vanimo MP Belden Namah also said he had no knowledge of the funds.
He said he would ask the Ombudsman Commission and Transparency International to visit Vanimo to find out where this money went to.
Source: ‘Millions ‘lost’ in cross border trade’ and ‘Border authority a joke, says Namah’ by Jeffrey Elapa, Post-Courier, 16 August 2010
But only when Sir Michael Somare steps down.
In a show of solidarity,
Mr Polye said he was ready to take over the party’s leadership when Sir Michael steps down.
He explained that the sacking of former deputy PM Sir Puka Temu was not designed to change the government, saying it was as an internal leadership issue.
He said the opposition created political instability when it pushed for a vote of no-confidence in the government.
Source: ‘Polye: I am ready to be PM’ by Isaac Nicholas, Post-Courier, 16 August 2010
THIS YEAR MARKS the centenary of Westpac’s involvement in PNG and, in 2010, 95 percent of its staff are Papua New Guineans.
In the early days, the then Bank of
KITTEL: In PNG more and more we're seeing the importance
of having women take roles in business. I think we've certainly seen that women
have the capability, and given the opportunity to develop really do well in
GARRETT: Women are not doing so well in PNG politics. Do you think that makes banking and the private sector all the more important for women?
KITTEL: In banking we've already seen much larger numbers of women. So there's already a path that's been trodden. But in other areas we've just got to work all that much harder to try and make those opportunities available to women.
GARRETT: When Westpac first went to PNG it had a two-room shop and it issued its own bank notes. Now you're a multinational finance institution with links from the grassroots to the huge resource companies. What are the bank's priorities for the future in PNG?
KITTEL: We remain absolutely committed to PNG and our priority in the more recent years and continuing is really about bringing the best of banking to PNG so it continues to have a world class banking sector and finance system. We’re looking at how we can leverage the advance of the mobile phone in PNG and also how we can leverage the use of our EFTPOS merchant network.
GARRETT: What are the challenges women face in PNG as the country moves into the gas boom?
KITTEL: There are numerous challenges for women in PNG. I think issues around security and access to medical care are at the forefront. As PNG goes into this next boom period, everybody needs to be focussing on how to address those types of issues.
GARRETT: In 20 years time where do you expect Westpac to be positioned in PNG and how will women figure in that?
KITTEL: Westpac certainly has an aspiration to be the leading bank in PNG and that's where we're aiming. A key plank is to have women in more leadership positions.
GARRETT: Westpac has always had the reputation of being the bank of the corporates, whereas ANZ has had a more grassroots face. Do you expect that to change at all?
KITTEL: I absolutely expect that that will change. There's a perception we need to overcome in PNG and across the Pacific that we’re seen as a bank for business. That is a segment we want to continue to service, but we also need to make sure we bring banking services to the broader community.
I LIVE AT THE Weigh Inn Hotel in Konedobu, where I am Manager. Last Friday 13 August for me seemed to be aptly ordained.
Invariably I wake at 4 am or thereabouts and have time to have a cup of tea and my tablet before beginning work at 5 am.
Last Friday I had to forego both tablet and tea as I slept in till just after 5.
A quick shower and shave and dressed and down to the front desk by 5.15 where again the two copies of the Post-Courier failed to arrive. Tried to fax complaint but unable to connect. Eventually sent email which I had done the day before and received an assurance that everything had been fixed.
Opened the office and storeroom and began counting the floats and recounting but eventually got them right. Muddled through most of the day with only the usual mild hiccups.
Friday is our busiest evening as we have a raffle, a patron draw and a key draw prize for those members who belong to the Jigsaw Club. Everyone in the bar is invited to put their name into a hat for the patron Draw and one name is plucked out at 7.30 p.m. The patron is given K100 – hopefully to spend here and not take home.
The TV had been turned on in anticipation of the match between the Broncos and the Eels. Just before 7 pm John Young drew my attention to the ceiling over the entrance to the Marsden Room which was getting very damp.
So I raced upstairs to Room 22 to be greeted by Paul Kipau whose wife was busy mopping the flooded floor. Paul apologised and explained that their young son had, turned on the hand basin tap and water from the partially blocked basin had poured on to the floor.
Back downstairs, the water had flooded into the control room behind the TV and spilled on to the 4-socket extension lead, causing everything to short out.
About the same time, Toddy and Doug Booker had turned up and I appealed to them to come to the rescue.
We eventually managed to find a substitute 4 socket extension lead which Toddy and Doug took control of and – bingo! - TV and rugby league match were back in operation.
But there was further strife as Doug and Toddy told me water was still leaking so back to Room 22. Now the toilet cistern had jammed and water was spilling out. We closed the inlet tap and Paul was advised to turn on the tap on, let the cistern fill and turn it off when he wanted to use the toilet.
This half an hour of high stress preceded the usual raffle and patron and key draw. Geoff Balfour’s name was drawn as the winner of K1300 but he had left a couple of days before and you have to be present to win the prize.
All was not lost, however, as yours truly won a leg of ham in the raffle!
The remainder of the evening was uneventful, everyone enjoying a sing along after the other bad happening which was that Broncos lost to the Eels.
Fearful of more trouble I decamped to my room at 9 pm and managed the rest of the night without further ills.
I have just noticed that in 2011 there will be another Friday 13th. I’ll be wary!
FIJI'S MILITARY LEADER Frank Bainimarama wants to ditch ties with Australia and New Zealand and align his nation with China.
Speaking to a
Since Commodore Bainimarama seized power in 2006,
Bainimarama said he was prepared to trade with
“I think we need to forget about the Forum, about
He said Pacific island nations need to “break the shackles” of their colonial past.
The highly-regarded website reminds its readers of the “deep
matter of our location” - remote from the major metropolitan powers and
adjacent to Asia whose main powers are either historically hostile to “white
fellas down under” or disinclined to have much consideration for
The website reports a Chinese admiral advising an American
“International investors would need to be confident that
Some big players like South African company, Sasol (they sponsor the Springboks) and Canadian company, Talisman, are moving in and gobbling up the little guys.
Competition is fierce among local PNG-based field service outfits which are bidding to build the camps, run the labour lines and otherwise smooth the way for the new guys on the block.
This sort of work has always been tough and competitive and every kina counts. Local people have seen their expectations dashed when these entrepreneurs get what they want and pack up never to return.
So the help to repair the leaking roof on the local school or get supplies for the local aid post and maybe fix the buggered UHF radio in the Councillor’s house never eventuates. “We’re not the government,” the camp manager says, “contact them - that’s their job.”
The people at Kawito on the
When the next lot arrived in 2008 everyone expected the same treatment. What they didn’t know was that in the intervening years a subtle change has been occurring in these big companies.
Their shareholders have become more socially aware and environmentally conscious. They know that killing people with toxic fumes from your battery factory or dumping tons of crude oil on to pristine beaches from your ruptured bulk oil carrier doesn’t do your share price much good any more.
So when it started building the new camp at Wakali, field service provider, Firewall Logistics, was aware of this change in attitude. It was also interested in running its camps using skilled local people instead of the more expensive imports. It placed a lot of emphasis on establishing good local relationships with the locals as early as possible.
Sister Sagiato Suli didn’t know all this when she decided to have a crack at getting the latest lot of explorers in her area to help build the health clinic her people desperately needed.
Sister Suli and a couple of local unemployed nurses had been running de facto clinics out of their own homes at Kawito ever since the ECPNG missionaries had packed up and left.
The women collected money or paid for medical supplies out of their own pockets and often bought fuel to get snakebite victims and other patients to the hospital at Awaba for treatment.
Sister Suli timed her bid to perfection. She had got a job running the small aid post for the camp when one day a group of exhausted villagers staggered in piggy-backing a man who had been stung by hundreds of wasps while clearing a garden.
Sister Suli’s swift and effective treatment was impressive. When she had him stabilised and under observation, she said to the camp manager, who had come out of his office to see what the fuss was about: “You know, this happens all the time, mostly the patient has a really hard time because we haven’t got the right drugs here, sometimes they can even die.”
She was also a little surprised that the security guards on the camp gate hadn’t turned the man away like had happened on previous occasions.
Later that day she sat down with the camp manager and they drew up a plan for a new village clinic to be located near the village airstrip.
The idea was that the clinic would service both the men out in the bush on the seismic lines and the people in the villages without compromising the strict occupational, health and safety rules of the camp.
With the clinic near the airstrip, injured workers coming in on choppers could be assessed quickly and, if needed, quickly evacuated by plane to a pre-designated hospital.
Sasol was a bit wary at first because its management wondered what would happen to the clinic if it left the area. The company hopes it is around for the long haul but, hey, exploration is exploration.
Sister Suli pointed out that the villagers had met and thought they could take care of that aspect; all they wanted was a decent building to get started.
In the end, with Sasol’s blessing, Firewall negotiated with the ECPNG and renovated one of the old mission buildings near the airstrip and converted it into a permanent clinic.
So far it is working well. The outlay for the explorers has been small but the goodwill engendered has repaid the effort many times over.
Photo: Sister Suli at the new Kawito clinic [Philip Fitzpatrick]
THE TONY ABBOTT-led Coalition plans to create a separate international development department if it wins government on 21 August.
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says the new department will be headed by a junior minister and operate within the existing Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
She made the commitment during a televised foreign affairs
They were both asked whether they’d replace the retiring
parliamentary secretaries for the
Ms Bishop said focusing foreign aid within the Asia-Pacific region will require the attention of more than a parliamentary secretary.
“With the elevation of issues to ministerial level, I
Mr Smith talked up Labor’s engagement in the Pacific and said both parliamentary secretary positions would be filled after the elections.
“Our structure would generally be a comparable continuation of what we’ve had in this term,” he said.
BY KEITH JACKSON
THE SYDNEY Morning Herald reports this morning that PNG’s high
In an unprecedented intervention into domestic politics, and one that might jeopardise his position in the event of a Coalition victory, Charles Lepani has strongly endorsed the Gillard Labor government.
Mr Lepani told the Herald that relations between his country and the Coalition had been severely damaged by the former Howard government, and that the Opposition had made little effort to repair them since its defeat in 2007.
He was speaking after a debate at the National Press Club between Deputy Liberal leader, Julie Bishop, and Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, in which Ms Bishop committed a Coalition government to repair relations with PNG.
Mr Lepani said the Labor government had reached out to PNG and the Pacific islands in a way that did not make them feel they were being preached to or regarded simply as aid recipients.
''We want to get away from aid to a relationship of sovereign nations equally dealing with each other on trade and investment,'' he said.
His comments come after a year in which the Labor government has been strongly criticised by the Melanesian states including PNG, seen its aid agency AusAID come under sustained attack for not delivering effective outcomes in PNG, and left languishing the key position of Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs.
PRIME MINISTER Somare
and his son Arthur arranged for members of their government coalition to be paid
The payments were claimed to be District Support Improvement Program grants, yet it is reported that the Finance Department was instructed not to pay Opposition members these funds.
When challenged by MP Sam Basil, sources at the Finance Department confirmed that an unequal disbursement had been made in direct contravention of the PNG Constitution.
The funds were "to keep the government in power”, staff were reported as saying.
It seems public funds now clearly and openly are being used as bribes to keep Somare and his family in power.
Nau igat wanpla lida,
I tok, 'Nau mi lukim ples klia,
Bai mi baim ol lain,
Na stap longpla taim,'
Tasol husat igiamon yumi a?
VETERANS OF THE
The 1942 sinking of the Montevideo Maru – carrying over
1,000 Australian troops and civilians captured by the Japanese in Rabaul, then
the capital of
Today Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, and Shadow Veteran's Affairs Minister, Louise Markus, committed $100,000 in the 2011-12 Federal budget to help build the memorial.
“This is a generous offer by the Coalition and it will go a long way to making sure a permanent memorial is built at the Australian War Memorial,” said Keith Jackson, President of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society.
“For nearly 70 years, the relatives of the men who died
“The sinking of this hellship was a terrible event that most Australians had not heard of.
“In June this year, the Federal Labor Government granted $100,000 to the memorial and the statement that the Coalition will match this if elected to office is great news.
“Also in June, for the first time, Parliament expressed regret and sorrow at the loss.
“After all these years, the relatives and the few remaining veterans who escaped from Rabaul, are overwhelmed that the nation has given them the recognition they have been waiting for.
“They are really feeling a sense of resolution and closure.”
Australians go to the polls at a general election in nine days time. The two main parties - Labor and Liberal/National - are running neck and neck.
SOMARE’S leadership has been brought to its knees and is in a questionable
state after nine years of National
It is neither a family estate nor a family business where a family member has the right to inherit or pass on the leadership.
This is despite the view amongst some people that PNG’s prime ministership is personal business and can be passed down the line.
Sir Michael has promised that he will hand over the NA leadership and the PM prime ministership to someone in the party caucus before 2012.
That said, deputy prime minister, highlander Don Polye, is the right candidate for both posts.
Not Arthur Somare, as he is held by the throat by the
The intention of Sir Michael and his cleaners from the
highlands - namely Polye's own countrymen Peter Ipatas, Sam Abal, Anderson
Angiru, and Peter O’Neil - shows how ill-minded and greedy people can become
when they have a meeting in
All this served to do was to breach the solidity of the National Alliance in the highlands.
These self-serving leaders need to put away this
mentality. After Paius Wingti was hailed as the first prime minister from the
highlands region, there has been no other as many highlands cleaners supported the
households of successive PMs from Momase,
As far as we know, Polye is the right man for the job. He has maintained his integrity through political obstacles and has proven himself a true leader in tough times. Papua New Guineans have seen this.
He is a man of integrity and dignity, unlike the creeds who crawled into Sir Mike's house to oppose Polye’s appointment as PNG’s prime minister.
This is ridiculous and utter nonsense. These people should blow away this mentality and work in union for a better highlands and PNG.
A HELICOPTER VIEW
While I'm not an apologist for Indonesia, her current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo has to cope with perhaps the most populous and the most diverse nation on earth.
His country is situated in a strategic position where it
commands transit routes between the Pacific and
People may also have forgotten that
To draw parallels between East Timor and
But, having removed the Indonesians, it could be said that a Portuguese speaking elite slid into the power vacuum. This new country hardly seems able to manage and needs massive amounts of overseas assistance.
So what might happen to
And would an independent
So before we gallop down an unmapped road with
ROBIN MCKAY, who had been a Coastwatcher on New Britain in 1942 and also served in Wewak with Z-Special Force, died last Saturday at the grand age of 93.
He lived in PNG from the mid 1930s to 1964 and was well
With his wife Laurie, who died in 1997, Robin established a beautiful home and the couple were known for their great hospitality and keen interest in the RSL and other community activities.
Later, the McKay's home in Alstonville NSW became a popular port of call for many former PNG residents.
Robin McKay had taken over Aropa Plantation fromWM Greer who first tendered for Aropa from the Expropriation Board in 1927.
He eventually sold the plantation to the New Guinea Biological Foundation.
His funeral, with RSL involvement, will be held in Lismore tomorrow.
I HATE JARGON and gobbledegook and I think OBE (outcomes-based education) or OBC (the outcomes-based curriculum) are full of them.
A good teacher could probably do a good job with OBE if they had a belief in the educational philosophy behind it - but then again, this teacher could probably do a good job under the traditional set curriculum approach as well.
When I was asked to use OBE I realised I would be spending all my time testing and have no time teaching - so I just went ahead with the teaching and when it came to the testing - well, I cheated (made it up!).
My students did very well in their HSC. That was what they and their parents wanted and it was what I wanted. They went on to higher studies and are now happy in their various types of employment.
I was teaching at one of the new small co-educational Christian schools and I'm sure that my pupils learnt many things beyond the set syllabi during their time there.
This school also initiated the integration of handicapped children in the mainstream classes and was a pioneer in ways of seeing that these children would cope with life after school.
These children were happy to be helped by the gifted and talented kids who finished their work early. Some of these have left their mark on Australian society today!
I went on to teach at one of
I fear that in PNG the OBE outlook will allow standards to fall to the lowest common denominator and that students will not be extended. It will be "education for the masses" - the gifted and talented will not be extended.
That is why PNG needs Schools of Excellence like the
future Keravat, where the gifted and talented children can be extended and rise
to high academic levels which can be compared to the top levels in
These students can then go on to university to become the doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, economists and other professionals needed in PNG.
I know PNG students are capable of this as I taught there for 13 years and I was always amazed at the ability levels of these young men and women.
PNG might need help from expatriate teachers to get back to these levels of teaching which we had at the National High Schools in the past.
Further reading: ‘Outcomes-Based Education
and the Death of Knowledge’ by Richard G Berlach,
BY ILYA GRIDNEFF
AAP - A LEGAL EXPERT has questioned the
Australian Federal Police's use of witness payments in the ongoing child sex
case involving one-time
Director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Barns, said the AFP could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by using a video link for witness evidence in the case.
Instead, the girl who accused Mr Moti of rape, and her family, have received close to $200,000 in AFP payments and continue to live at AFP expense in both Brisbane and Vanuatu.
Neither the AFP nor Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Conner would confirm whether a review had begun into the payments as promised more than eight months ago by AFP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Zuccato.
"As legal proceedings are ongoing it would not be appropriate for the AFP to comment," a spokeswoman said.
was deported from the Solomons and arrested at
A key criticism of the AFP case was that the organisation knew about the original charges before 2001 but did not act until 2004 when Australian High Commissioner to the Solomons, Patrick Cole, reported Mr Moti was harming Australian interests in the Pacific.
political nature of the case damaged diplomatic relations between
Last December, Supreme Court judge Debra Mullins permanently stayed proceedings against Mr Moti saying AFP witness payments were an "affront to the public conscience" and had brought "the administration of justice into disrepute".
In response, Mr Zuccato said the AFP was "conducting an internal review" into witness expenses in this "unusual and complex" case.
But no findings have been released and the AFP continues to pay the Moti witnesses thousands of dollars a month in living expenses.
In July, the Queensland Court of Appeal quashed Justice Mullins' order and found the AFP had not breached its guidelines.
So on 23 July
commonwealth prosecutor Glen Rice SC presented a fresh indictment in the
Supreme Court in
Mr Moti is expected to stand trial early next year.
In June, the family of the girl accusing Moti told AAP they regretted their involvement with the AFP.
"They told us this was about justice for our daughter, but over time different things came about; it was politics," the mother said.
Writing in last weekend's
"We didn't see a single other tourist all week and the only other non-locals we came across were missionaries," she said. "There aren't many places you can say that about these days."
The heat stripped away anything extraneous leaving just what was essential which on the first day of the five-day island journey meant paddling from Kavieng to Kabotteron, the first village campsite.
Snorkelling just offshore and looking through water as clear as glass anemone fish, parrot fish, hard and soft corals and three brown-skinned boys came into view.
A 10-year-old boy, David, showed the visitors how the village lads use their handmade spearguns. David demonstrated to the visitors how fish spearing was done, standing barefoot on a sea-smoothed coral head and spotting his prey.
He dived deep and the watchers heard a clink as David's spear hit a rock, pinning a pretty reef fish to the sea floor.
When he resurfaced David bit it around the gills ("to kill it") before tossing it to one of the other village boys to be placed in one of the canoes.
The Age writer and her companions were met at Kavieng airport by their Australian guide, a 67-year-old former Army SAS commando with a decade of experience as a Kokoda guide.
New Irelanders Wotlom and Levi, who grew up paddling their home waters in dugout canoes, were also among the guides.
Southerden reported a few rough edges on the trip. The paddlers were dependent on villages for lunches and dinners and a few times arrived at spots only to find the 'coconut telegraph' out of order: the villagers hadn't been expecting them.
That was part of the adventure of travelling in PNG they agreed and it was easy for a few people dispatched in canoes to catch the fish for the meals. The fish was supplemented with canned peas and instant noodles, a PNG staple.
The allure of
Read Louise's full story here