BY KEITH JACKSON
MARCH WAS A VINTAGE MONTH in a vintage year for Papua New Guinea-Australia politics, but the story that dominated the month in terms of comment from readers was a personal one.
My father Stan’s death generated a great outpouring of condolence from readers which I found very touching and appreciated a great deal.
This emotional support was capped off by a series of haiku written by Michael Dom recapitulating Stan’s life and reflecting his love of Japanese culture and the Japanese people.
34 comments – Stan Jackson OAM dies after a long adventurous life (Keith Jackson). “My father, Stanley Jackson – teacher, author, environmentalist and marathon bike rider - died on Friday evening at the grand age of 98.”
26 – As Carr stumbles, Bishop announced 2nd visit to PNG (Julie Bishop). “Australia has a deep and enduring relationship with PNG, says shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop, and, while it has challenges, it also holds enormous potential.”
17 – Belden Namah has to be reined in by his colleagues (Keith Jackson). “Belden Namah is a politician out of control - and it is up to his ministerial colleagues, and especially Peter O’Neill, to sort this out quick time and pull him into line.”
16 - Man with no plan: the ‘core business’ of Mr Marles (Keith Jackson). “During Australia Week in Papua New Guinea, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, gave a speech about raising the profile of PNG in Australia.”
15 – Is decolonising the mind a utopian fantasy (Phil Fitzpatrick). ‘The Australians brought to Papua New Guinea a western capitalist mindset that they promulgated through their missions, schools, businesses and administrators. It was a system that had worked for them and they saw no reason why it shouldn’t work in their one and only colony.”
14 - Where women fear to tread: PNG’s national disgrace (Jo Chandler). “As a girl growing up in the Papua New Guinea township of Daru, just across the water from where the northernmost finger of the Australian mainland points into Torres Strait, Ume Wainetti enjoyed great freedom.”
14 – Australia tries to heavy PNG on national elections (Keith Jackson). “Bob Carr once told me that “strategy is bullshit” and yesterday’s casual threat to “isolate Papua New Guinea” should there be a delay in this year’s national elections appears to be an example of Pax Carriana Unstrategica in practice.”
11 – Children’s foundation gets permanent space at last (www.simbuchildrenfoundation.org). “After seven years of perseverance, helping sick children without a proper office, the Simbu Children Foundation has finally got the nod for a permanent office in the children’s ward at Kundiawa General Hospital.”
11 – Fears that PNG is moving to executive dictatorship (Keith Jackson). “Former minister Dame Carol Kidu has spoken out strongly against new laws that give the Papua New Guinea government the power to suspend judges, claiming the country could be moving towards an ‘executive dictatorship’.”
10 – Charles Lepani criticises Carr over sanctions threat (Jessica Wright). “Papua New Guinea's top diplomat in Australia, Charles Lepani, has hit out at new foreign minister Bob Carr. Mr Lepani said the PNG government was surprised and disappointed at the Senator's first foray into diplomacy in the region.”