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18 May 2015


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Gibson Ngibe's comments are rather bemusing to me. So far as I am aware, Australia has never sought to prevent PNG from establishing good bilateral relations with Indonesia.

However, rather than crowing about this as evidence of PNG's new found maturity and ability to withstand pressure from an arrogant Australia, Mr Ngibe might care to reflect on PNG's history with its new BFF.

During the 1960's, Australia had to take on the burden of repelling repeated Indonesian Army incursions into PNG territory as it sought to hunt down West Papuan nationalists and, at the same time, test Australia's ability and willingness to defend PNG's territorial integrity.

This was occurring at about the same time as Djakarta was engaged in its "konfrontasi" with Singapore and the then British Malaya, during which it used military force in an effort to prevent or forestall the creation of Malaysia.

Its preferred plan was to incorporate these countries into a Greater Indonesia ruled, naturally, from Djakarta.

Inconveniently, Singapore, Malaya and British Borneo (Sarawak) preferred otherwise and Indonesian threats and bullying had to be met with force until they abandoned their baseless territorial claims.

Later, PNG's new BFF simply took over East Timor by conquest and only relinquished control in the face of near universal international condemnation and not without considerable bloodshed.

Mr Ngibe needs to see PNG's developing relationship with Indonesia for what it actually is, as distinct from being a way to give the proverbial finger to nasty, arrogant Australia.

PNG needs good relations with its powerful and sometimes unpredictable neighbour because its new BFF has an adjoining border and a vital interest in Melanesian affairs, especially the suppression of incipient Melanesian nationalism that might impact upon its control of Irian Jaya.

So, be careful Mr Ngibe, behind the smiling diplomacy of President Joko Widodo is a superficially democratic but still instinctively authoritarian regime that has previously shown a willingness to use force to achieve its national objectives.

We'll accept the soft definition of BFF as 'best friend forever' - KJ

Australia is known for arrogance. It's now uneasy after a country (PNG), considered its backyard, has invited and established bilateral ties with Indonesia - a country with population 10 times that of Australia.

Now PNG is no longer Aussies "buffer zone", the back door has been ripped open and Port Moresby now repositions to bolster more trade and diplomatic relations with Jakarta.

The recent announcement of visas on arrival for PNG citizens visiting Indonesia signals a positive sign in that direction.

Waigani has been requesting this from Australia whose citizens enjoyed visa on arrival in PNG while Australia continued to ignore the repeated call for reciprocity on its part.

Now it's time Canberra woke up to the reality that a foreign threat is in your backyard. The announcement of a diplomatic mission was simply a desperate reaction in response to Joko's invite to PNG in a frantic effort to pressurise PNG to abandon the further bilateral negotiations with Indonesia.

Cutting 40% of aid to Indonesia and 5% to PNG is another reaction and this well outlines Canberra's intention.

For too long PNG has been manipulated and has never had a chance to create bilateral relations with our very nearest neighbour, Indonesia.

Now we have found an ally with whom we can negotiate for mutual and reciprocal benefit. We should never cede our national sovereignty to such reactive pressures; but rather deepen our ties with Indonesia and Asian nations.

PNG already has observer status in ASEAN and we can lobby Indonesia and other member states to support our application for full membership in the regional body. Indonesia has willing expressed its support for that. Thus we can gradually loosen Aussies grip on PNG and retain full independence.

Using aid to pull strings and control us is over as Australian aid has no significant impact in PNG. We can slowly handle West Papuan issue diplomatically and with maturity instead of reacting to emotion.

For the duck, aka Rimbink Pato, to call anyone else's actions but his own as mischievous and outrageous is the height of hypocrisy I reckon!

Robin - don't want to play the emotional card too strongly, but Rose has a fairly major operation in hospital in two weeks, and we have being trying for the last two months to get her sisters and mum from PNG to be with her.

Nogat. My bank account doesn't show a high enough balance (I'm a pensioner), they don't have enough income and Mana doesn't have a birth certificate. See if you can find one if you're over 60 in PNG.

The cards are stacked against us, and Australia doesn't care.

What a wonderful time for Australia to sweeten the relationship by attending to the festering sore of visas for PNGeans visiting Australia.

Make them easier to obtain, and rewrite the memorandums concerning both parties regional interests.

Whimsically too; if Ms Bishop really tried hard to stabilise the situation, make a one-off compensatory payment to Rose Kranz for the indignities she experienced working under the Australian administered farm labour scheme.

A possible aftermath of the Indonesian President's visit.

Australia needs to tread carefully because there is a lot a stake here including the offshore deterrence policy.

PNG is is the land of the unexpected evident in the latest ban.

I concur with Mr Kin.

Bougainville is a forward-moving island and people of the Solomons.

We have and will not remain in a same place as Papuans and New Guineans.

Australia has absolutely no right to interfere in internal affairs of PNG. Bougainville issue is PNG's business, not yours. Stay clear.

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