BY KEITH JACKSON
“PAPUA NEW GUINEA NEEDS FRIENDS in Canberra,” Martyn Namorong observed to me on the phone yesterday after his meeting with foreign affairs sub-committee chairman, Nick Champion MP, and today the writer and blogger will put in hard yards to achieve just that.
His day begins early with a meeting with Ed Vrkic, foreign minister Bob Carr’s adviser on PNG and the Pacific.
The message here will be identical to that which Martyn proposed to parliamentary secretary Richard Marles last night: that more be done to facilitate relationships between young Australian and PNG professionals by the respective governments jointly initiating an exchange program aimed at building better relationships for the future.
Following this meeting, Martyn will talk first with Alan Griffin MP and then with Laurie Ferguson MP, both members of the foreign affairs sub-committee, before meeting with shadow foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop MP.
There will be an informal public get-together at the Hotel Kurrajong from 4-5.30pm (call Ben Jackson on 0417 407 565) before Martyn and Ben have dinner with Senator Anne McEwen, chief government Senate whip and secretary of the Australia-Papua New Guinea parliamentary friendship group.
This pleasant encounter will end a busy two days in Canberra for Martyn, who will have held eight meetings with politicians, hosted two forums and participated in an extensive radio interview on the ABC as well as visiting the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru memorial, to be inaugurated on 1 July.
He will arrive in Brisbane early tomorrow afternoon, where he will be taken on a tour of the city before addressing Toowong Rotary Club in the evening.
If you want to meet Martyn in Brisbane there will be an opportunity to do so informally on Friday from 3pm at the Sherwood Services Club, Corinda, near the railway station. Call Murray Bladwell on 0413 057 673