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09 April 2015

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Chris Overland's comment on the 09th April 2015 is well thought and expressed given the challenges that national security poses.

Each nation need to demonstrate leadership and care for their own citizens first before any Samaritan endeavors.This is not being diplomatic, but it's the reality. The world leaders are facing that reality on a daily basis.

Having said that, I find it somewhat perplexing and startling to fathom what Australia does to her colony of more than 60 years (PNG) in her visa policy.

The PNG Government stopped offering visas on arrivals to Australians last year (bulk of them who come here for business.

Lately, the PNG government has been pressed hard to rescind that decision, citing Pacific Games convenience and all the rest.

We have just done that, as reported on the daily papers today.

Now we're waiting to hear when those visa reciprocal arrangements will kick into effect.

We've heard the "non-compliance excuse" long enough to categorically say, it will not cut any more.

Oops, thanks Geoff - other left!

I better warn my besties.

Rudyard Kipling said East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet...

Michael if your Aussie friends ever visit PNG they may well end up in West Papua given your explanation of where it is!

PNG occupies the eastern half of the big island at the top of Australia...but you know that.

A guard at the Manus Island detention centre who posted links on Facebook to Reclaim Australia and a boycott of halal certified foods has been stood down pending an investigation.

John Akrigg was contracted by Wilson Security on behalf of Transfield Services to work on Nauru in February 2014, and recently listed a change in his employment to the Manus Island detention centre.

Over the past 12 months he has posted several articles and comments that appear to indicate support for a campaign to boycott halal food and stem Islamic immigration to Australia.

Several posts are images sourced from pages hosted by Reclaim Australia, which recently led protests across the country against halal certification, sharia law and increased Muslim immigration.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/apr/13/manus-island-guard-expresses-reclaim-australia-and-anti-halal-sentiment

And in case you aren't aware of who Reclaim Australia really are, they are basically neo-nazis who take the Murdoch press' constant vilification of blacks, muslims and jews as a call to arms to rid Australia of such pernicious non-white foreign influences.

And many have swastikas tatooed on their necks.

http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/immigration/2015/04/11/reclaim-australia-protests-threaten-more-division/14286744001739

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/04/06/cant-reason-people-swastikas-necks/

No wonder Australia has lost it's moral compass in the South Pacific.

I value the people-to-people touch. Our program at UPNG and Monash in Melbourne had a partnership program funded through AusAID under the Go8 Project a few years back.

After funding lapsed two years ago, this partnership between academics at Monash and our program at UPNG is still vibrant, with continued joint research, publications in journals and sharing of ideas on new projects and so forth.

A lot of talk is cheap. Chip away at what needs to be done between PNG and Australia, a brick at a time. I find people to people partnerships and joint-projects one of the surest ways of strengthening ties between the two countries and maybe in a way make the dollar go a bit further in any project.

And politicians wonder why we are cynical about them?

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist”
― George Carlin

Corney makes a good point. I seem to remember a few years back Julie Bishop was asking sites like PNG Attitude for ideas to improve relationships between PNG and Australia.

Better-focussed aid to grass-roots groups was one idea, expanding teacher and student exchange visits another, and teaching Tok Pisin in Aussie schools yet another.

What became of these? And Ms Bishop, where are your ideas for a better relationship now?
__________

Well that was before the Federal election, the imposition of the Abbott-led trashing of Australia's foreign aid budget and the massive diversion of funds to detaining asylum seekers in concentration camps - KJ

Papua New Guineans speak better English than some of your fastest growing ethnic groups in Australia.

About 200 Geography and History teachers will be willing to come down, like next month and teach your youngsters.

Spread the word and let's have some serious talk please.

I think that Mark Evenhuis may be correct about generational differences in knowledge about PNG.

The Boomers of my generation do tend to know where PNG is at least, although far fewer know that it was effectively governed by Australia for more than half a century.

Post independence, I think that PNG faded quickly from political and media interest beyond the odd story about the Kokoda Track on Anzac Day, so the lack of awareness on the part of younger people is understandable.

People I talk to about PNG often express surprise that it is literally on our doorstep and has a population exceeding 7 million.

For most, it is a small island country somewhere in the north, along with Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

I guess that unless someone is especially curious about the wider world we live in, they tend to stay focussed on the largely parochial issues that matter to them.

Thus, so I read, more than 40% of Americans cannot identify the USA in an Atlas.

I would guess that, at the very least, a similar proportion of Australians could not identify PNG.

It seems that despite living in an ostensibly "joined up" world, with internet access to a vast pool of information about pretty much any topic, many of us contrive to remain startlingly unaware of even pretty basic geography.

I think most Australians over 30 know very well where PNG is and have memories and stories to tell. (Not so sure about the young whippersnappers though).

We've had a dozen or so tradesmen around to our house in NSW recently to fix various things (electrics, plumbing, pests etc.) and they were all pretty knowledgeable about PNG and admired our artefacts. One told us about the Bougainville conflict, another said he recognised our Malagan carving from New Ireland, a third said he grew up in Arawa, a fourth said he had a Kundu drum given to him by his father.

Some young buggers may be ignorant, but many older Australians know something about and value PNG. As an example consider Rose's experience in a Brisbane pub where she took vocal exception to someone making loud racist comments. She confronted him and said "My uncle supported your father at Kokoda, and you say this about black people?"

The pub drinkers rallied around and supported her. He was forced to apologise and had to leave in a hurry.

No violence was done.

It's worth bearing in mind that the Australian Government (both Lab and Lib) have contracted out their responsibilities to manage immigration detention to private multi-national corporations, who then sub-contract various lesser services to companies like Wilson Security, an Australian company who provide security at Manus and Nauru and who were in charge when alleged murder, torture and child abuse took place.

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/subcontract_details_between_tran

Here's a handy guide to the three multinationals (Serco, G4S, Transfield) who appear to operate a useful cartel for operating just about anything the gullible Australian Government wants to throw to their corporate buddies in worship of the all-powerful god of economic rationalism.

http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/02/25/meet-the-companies-that-run-our-immigration-detention-camps/

Sounds suspiciously like the Australians are using a web of contractors and sub-contractors to evade responsibility.

Hey Ed, maybe it's a generation thing. I'm in my early 30s and I keep on meeting young Australians who don't know where PNG is. I've also met a lot of Papua New Guineans who have encountered a similar level of ignorance.

Although I think Bougainvilleans have the toughest time. My generation has no idea about what happened during the conflict or that Bougainville actually exists.

A Bougainvillean friend who visited recently was understandably frustrated that no one my age had heard of the place and just assumed she was African....

I agree with Ed. Most people in Australia know where PNG is - it's the soft tissue between us and Indonesia.

And more scandal here. 'Immigration Department aware of sexual abuse allegations against children for 17 months but failed to act, say former Nauru workers' -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-07/nauru-letter-of-concern-demands-royal-commission/6374680#letter

Same for Manus where The Immigration Department chose to vilify and slander Save the Children workers, the Salvation Army, and the Australian Human Rights Commission (Gillian Triggs) for daring to report on child sexual abuse.

What level of mendacity, hypocrisy and downright lying can this Australian Government sink too?

You may think I'm exaggerating, but check the sources. You'll find that Abbott, O'Neill and Co are on a level with Richard Nixon or Bill Skate.

Phil - 'whatshisname' is of course Peter Dutton, whose CV includes the glowing recommendation that he was judged by the AMA to be "the worst Health Minister in Australia's history."

And he's now just introduced legislation to grant immunity from prosecution for contractor staff running the Nauru and Manus concentration camps.

So they are effectively protected from any legal action arising from them using excessive force against those subversive poor bloody refugees who might be of a mind to protest about being held in illegal detention and their children subject to institutionalised abuse.

Who cares if a few die and some have their limbs broken? We were just trying to restore socially-acceptable behaviour.

This immunity proposed is greater than that given to Australian police.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/apr/08/government-seeks-immunity-over-use-of-force-in-immigration-detention

So Transfield, Serco and Wilson Security will be above the law. And O'Neil will meekly submit to the Ozzie mastas.

Sickening.

I don't much pander to the morality of it either - it was simply a stupid idea, made without consent of parliament, committing my country to an international problem we were not prepared to handle.

That we are paid for this job may be considered something akin to prostitution, but in today's world of course economic imperatives take the lead.

The dirty deal is done. Now we have to handle the repercussions, most of which are heavily censored in the media.

Public opinion polls seem to reflect the notion that 'so long as they're not on my turf, they ain't my problem'. Is that what Aussies really think?

I think the 'Pacific Solution' was originally John Howard's idea, Michael.

Then Kevin Rudd refined it by adding the 'thou shalt never set foot in Australia' clause.

Abbott and Morrison (and now whatshisname) added the secrecy clause and tightened the thumb screw.

Bill Shorten still likes the idea but reckons the accommodation and tucker needs an upgrade.

That is, they're all culpable.

That's why I vote for the Greens these days.

While some Australians have genuine concerns about the moral and legal legitimacy of placing a Detention Centre on Manus, repeated public opinion surveys reveal that there is overwhelming public support for the current government's "Sovereign Borders" operation, which has effectively stopped people smuggling in its tracks.

As a direct consequence, the large number of deaths at sea which were a feature of the previous government's "humanitarian" approach have also ceased.

Australia's necessarily hard nosed approach to illegal immigration undertaken by a large scale criminal conspiracy has indeed been criticised, notably by those countries which do not have the same problem.

Those same countries often have been remarkably reluctant to help when it comes to finding permanent places for the thousands of people fleeing the endemic violence in places like North Africa, with a mostly unaided Italy bearing the brunt of this flood of humanity.

In places like the UK, so serious is public anger about uncontrolled immigration that it has become the dominant policy issue in the current election campaign and will very probably determine its outcome.

It will heavily influence the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on UK membership of the EU, where the political elites have belated realised that the public may very well decide to opt out rather than endure the impositions of a remote European bureaucracy.

What has happened on Manus Island therefore needs to be viewed as part of a much larger international problem where morality invariably plays second fiddle to what is expedient and practical.

Australia has a long tradition of absorbing people from many different cultures and nationalities, with over 200 nationalities now represented in the country.

Net immigration is now running at over 200,000 per year and will remain at this level for the indefinite future.

The majority of the intake are from non-English speaking backgrounds, notably the Indian sub-continent, South East Asia and China.

Australia resettles around 14,000 refugees each year, ranking third in the world for this process behind the USA and Canada.

The extent to which Australia's "moral authority" has been compromised by negotiating the placement of the Detention Centre on Manus Island is a moot point.

The principal valid objection to the current arrangement is that, ostensibly at least, it requires PNG to resettle any detainees deemed to be genuine refugees.

This flies in the face of PNG's culture and traditions and I cannot see that it will ever be realistically possible.

So, the whole policy debate lumbers on, with everyone claiming the high moral ground.

But the boats have stopped, for the time being at least, and PNG (especially Manus Island) is the beneficiary of substantial additional financial largesse.

Bribery? Immoral? Maybe, but it all depends on your perspective.
__________

Chris is right about where Australians stand on asylum seekers. In a February 2015 poll, 60% basically agreed with the government's treatment of refugees and 26% said they are badly treated. The rest didn't know. A big majority but a significant minority - KJ


It's a dirty game Tony and Peter put us up to, and both nations will come away stained with the guilt of it.

We are our brothers' keepers. We killed the Samaritan. Our God is not their God.

At the end of their political careers we should tie Manus (and Nauru) around their necks and sink both culprits into the Atlantic - not the Pacific, because that's our shared place.

And about the map thing, Ed - grain of salt. I had to explain to a few friends I met in Australia (not all Aussies) that PNG was "you know the big island at the top end of Australia? Well, PNG is the western half of it".

Either that or, "keep walking north up Cape York Peninsula and you'll be looking right at it".

'...many Australians would struggle to locate PNG on a map...'? I don't think so.

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