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07 July 2018

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It is of greatest importance that our friends in PNG continue to hear our nation's efforts to build and maintain stable relationships via the airwaves.

The continuity will, unlike party politics, help the myriad people groups to hear a common voice, and help dispel the isolation and fear often wrought in today's stressed environment.

It is likely also to be important that programming decisions be tied to executive and advisory parties with demonstrated experience in PNG.

Kids in a Thai cave need to stay connected with people beyond their present reach.

People confined to lesser known tracts of PNG yearn to learn of matters beyond their vales.

This is not just a political issue...it is of the essence of humanitarianism's exemplar.

Likewise for folk confined to isles of the Pacific.
My father was 40 years in ship-to-shore radio (OTC), a telegraphic technology now superseded.

That which is to 'succeed' short wave technology is still to be agreed and freely available.

Wake up ABC and Aus politicians. This is a humanitarian issue Australians ought support.

Done. I wrote:

"There are villagers in remote parts of PNG and other parts of the Pacific that rely on radio as their only source of news, information and vital breaking news that directly impacts their livelihood.

"I am half Papua New Guinean and have witnessed first hand how ABC has added value to the lives of my own people that live in remote parts of Papua New Guinea.

"Broadcasting services into the region are a necessity. Period.

"News delivered to regions that are isolated and disconnected from the rest of this technology driven world is a necessity.

"Literacy is an issue in PNG sadly not all villagers can read and write or they have limited literacy skills. Radio is their only source of being informed. Literacy is critical for economic development however being informed is just as powerful and critical.

"Taking away this medium from those that rely on it’s service is detrimental -it’s cutting off a life line!

"Not being able to read does not mean one has no opinion or right to information being illiterate or having limited literacy skills does NOT mean one is lacking intelligence.

"So in simple terms do not underestimate the people listening to this programming. They want it. They need it and they deserve it. They deserve to be informed about what is happening in Australia and the Pacific neighbourhood.

"They deserve to be connected to the rest of the world.

"It is a necessity."

Done.

This is what I said - short and simple.

"This short submission relates mainly to Papua New Guinea and the now defunct shortwave radio service.

"I have had a long association with Papua New Guinea that began in 1967 and has been maintained to the present.

"In that time I have visited and worked in some of the remoter parts of the country, both on the mainland and in the islands.

"From this experience I can attest to the extreme reliance that people in those areas had on the shortwave service.

"This included things like shipping, weather and disaster reports and news about their own country. In the latter case people often preferred the unbiased views of the shortwave service to their own local stations.

"News services in Papua New Guinea have now been captured by commercial media with questionable agendas and by the government as propaganda arms for their spin.

"In my time in Papua New Guinea I also observed the appalling rubbish that was broadcast on television going into the country when the contract was held by an Australian commercial television station. This rubbish was not only inappropriate but embarrassing to me as an Australian.

"Most remote villages still use shortwave radios. When the Australian service stopped they were mystified and extremely disappointed. The message they received was that Australia didn’t care about them anymore.

"Most Papua New Guineans have a strong affinity to Australia, even if the sentiment is rarely returned by our politicians and media, so the cutting off of the service was a real blow.

"Now the Chinese have picked up the abandoned shortwave bands. That fact must be really puzzling the Papua New Guineans. They are probably asking themselves whether this means shifting their allegiance from Australia to China.

"I hope that as an outcome of this enquiry the grossly stupid decision to stop the service will be reversed and it will be reinstated under the control of the ABC."

I fully support this. Without the likes of Sean, the Liams and Eric, Australians would have but an imperfect knowledge of Papua New Guinea.

And without Radio Australia, PNG people would have less knowledge of Australia. I know first hand how important this can be. I have experienced first hand how it can change lives

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