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90 posts from June 2018

Black women, white women, crocodile tears & cosmopolitanism

Florence Jaukae Kamel, managing director & principal artist Jaukae Bilum Products, & founder Goroka Bilum Weavers Cooperative


BRISBANE - Some months ago, I observed with a heavy heart the online dissection of an issue concerning talented and accomplished Papua New Guinean women, Ngaiire Joseph and Florence Jaukae Kamel.

As screenshots flooded social media, the perspectives of the international vocal artist and the globally renowned bilum weaver, artist and entrepreneur became fodder for public commentary prosecuted by Papua New Guineans.

Most alarming were the allegations of bullying and threats of violence that surfaced.

And overshadowing this was the futile trope of what is a ‘real’ Papua New Guinean.

It is a point I’ve visited on several occasions in my writing, including in this personal reflection. Short on rational critique and big on anonymity, the tendency of many Papua New Guineans to pounce on this premise of being ‘real’ as rebuttal in argument lies somewhere between the four corners of inane, comic, bitter and aggressive.

Ngaiire’s credibility for inclusion in matters PNG was obliterated on the grounds of her being a member of the diaspora. Deemed as not being a ‘true’ Papua New Guinean, inflammatory chatter raged whilst little attention was given to the true circumstances. Ngaiire was met with unwarranted hostility and atrocious online ridicule from her PNG compatriots.

Continue reading "Black women, white women, crocodile tears & cosmopolitanism" »

PNGns welcome to Oz.... We'll just put another snag on the barbie

Sangas and barbiesCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I do not think that the current concern about the expansion of Chinese influence in the Pacific arises because of fears of a possible invasion of Australia or anywhere else for that matter.

They stem from the fact that China is ruled by an authoritarian government that has no democratic legitimacy. The Communist Party of China achieved power through the barrel of a gun and remains in power because of that fact to this day.

While the Chinese government apparently is not bent upon world conquest or the pursuit of lebensraum, at least at the moment, its true ambitions in the Pacific remain opaque.

Continue reading "PNGns welcome to Oz.... We'll just put another snag on the barbie" »

For domestic abuse victims, human rights defenders offer safety

Linda Tule
Linda Tule looks at the document she helped Cathy Umba (left) obtain - a protective order against her abusive former husband. Umba carries the papers with her at all times


HUNTSVILLE, USA - Cathy Umba carries a camouflage-print backpack everywhere she goes. The mother of four can't read or write, but a stack of papers inside the backpack are her shield — they're proof that she has a court order protecting her from her ex-husband.

Umba, who puts her age near 42, got the court order last year, after her abusive husband tried to force her to return to him. "He hasn't bothered me since," she says in Tok Pisin, one of the national languages of Papua New Guinea.

The journey to those documents was long. It took Umba almost 20 years to feel safe, and she couldn't have done it without a network of volunteers working with survivors of domestic abuse in Port Moresby.

Two out of three women in PNG experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, according to aid groups and the World Health Organisation. It's one of the highest rates of domestic abuse in the world.

Continue reading "For domestic abuse victims, human rights defenders offer safety" »

PNG govt must exercise better control over its own resources

First aircraft at Frieda River
A Britten Norman Islander, the first plane to land at Frieda River in 1970. Kiap John Pasquarelli had discovered gold and copper in 1963. Now, 55 years later, the mine is still undeveloped and the object of great controversy


WEWAK – Resources firm Pan Aust (wholly owned by the Chinese state company, Guangdong Rising Assets Management, GRAM), has lost its way with the Frieda River copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea’s Sandaun Province.

It is now time for the PNG government to exercise leadership and rein in control over the Frieda asset if the PNG is to sustain its free education and health policies and lift the rest of the country out of poverty, disease and ignorance.

The view from Frieda is now very different compared with the corporate carnage of 2013 following Glencore’s hostile takeover of Xstrata Mining. In that epic battle for world copper supremacy, Mike Davis’s Xstrata lost to Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore and with it went a chunk of PNG’s national asset, the K260 billion Frieda mine.

Glasenberg has gone on to become the king of copper and head of the number one mining house in the world.

But then, for a deposit of just K80 million, little known Australian miner Pan Aust Ltd moved in and acquired Frieda from Glencore while PNG government advisers and ministers slept on the job despite warnings from industry that the government should exercise control and reclaim ownership over its strategic asset.

Pan Aust went on to the sell out to GRAM in 2015 for a reported K1.2 billion although officially the deal was closed at K450 million.

Continue reading "PNG govt must exercise better control over its own resources" »

Charlie Lynn receives Order of Australia for going the extra mile

Charlie Lynn
Charlie Lynn - "“I had seen many beautiful memorials at battlefields but there was nothing at Kokoda”

KAYLA OSBORNE | Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser (NSW)

CAMDEN - Charlie Lynn has crossed the strenuous Kokoda Track 92 times, served in NSW parliament and been awarded Papua New Guinea’s second highest honour.

Yesterday he added another achievement to his list as a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Mr Lynn was given the prestigious title for service to the people and parliament of NSW.

The Camden resident said he was humbled to receive the Queen’s Birthday Honour.

“I was greatly honoured to receive the Officer of the Order of Logohu in Papua New Guinea two years ago and I feel greatly honoured again,” Mr Lynn said. “Honestly it was a real surprise – there are people out there who have done much more than me.”

Continue reading "Charlie Lynn receives Order of Australia for going the extra mile" »


On the streetWARDLEY BARRY

She hangs around the sidewalk
right under the streetlight
on Second 22nd Street

where she’s seeable
and sellable.

She wears a skirt
too short for her legs,
and a top
to squeeze out her breasts;
her Daddy recommended it.

She tucks her bum out
and thumbs passing SUVs;
used to be Mummy’s trick.

Continue reading "Agatha" »

Yielding to another culture isn’t all bad. They can become like us

Winners are grinners
We're a fair people with an interesting culture - invade Australia and in exchange we'll give you some tips about how to win at the Brisbane cockroach races


TUMBY BAY - The current paranoia among Australia’s political class about Chinese expansionism in the south Pacific region is interesting to watch.

The politicians seem to be developing a kind of siege mentality much like they did during the war with Japan, except with an emphasis on economic and social matters rather than the military, although that’s there too.

Australia has only ever been invaded once as far as we know, and that was well over 200 years ago. That invasion was ruthless and overwhelming, and changed life for the original indigenous inhabitants absolutely and completely.

If you believe the politicians the incursion we are now facing is going to be subtle and nuanced, a kind of invasion by stealth that many of us will not even notice.

It wasn’t that long ago when one of our prime ministers was telling us the exact opposite. He said we had to stop trying to be so European and look towards Asia.

Continue reading "Yielding to another culture isn’t all bad. They can become like us" »

Independence from PNG: A core belief for many Bougainvilleans

BRF guerillas
Bougainville Resistance Force fighters guard the coffin of a boy shot dead by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (Ben Bohane)

Extract from a talk by ANTHONY REGAN to last week’s Bougainville referendum conference in Port Moresby. You can read here the full Bougainville News coverage of the conference

PORT MORESBY - The impacts of the Bougainville conflict were severe. Varying estimates of the numbers of conflict-related deaths have been made from 3,000 up to 20,000.

When it is realised that Bougainville’s population immediately before the conflict was about 150,000, and that 10,000 to 15,000 left Bougainville as a result of the conflict during 1989 and the first half of 1990, then even 3,000 deaths was an appalling outcome.

The deaths include perhaps 1,000 or more from conflict, inclusive of both Bougainvilleans and several hundred PNGDF and RPNGC personnel.

In addition, there were many extra-judicial killings by all groups involved in the conflict, as well as unknown numbers caused or contributed to by the Papua New Guinea blockade of Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA)-controlled areas.

These deaths, and the many more injuries that occurred, caused grave trauma for Bougainville and also for the rest of PNG.

Continue reading "Independence from PNG: A core belief for many Bougainvilleans" »

Transparency urges govt to ditch plans for first-past-post voting

Lawrence Stephens
Lawrence Stephens

MEDIA STATEMENT | Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is gravely concerned by a recent statement by prime minister Peter O’Neill who has told parliament PNG should go back to the first-past-the-post voting system and abandon the limited preferential voting (LPV) used in the 2012 and 2017 national elections.

“The LPV system has increased the democratic mandate of elected leaders and any step back to first-past-the-post will risk diminishing the voices of the people of Papua New Guinea in our national elections,” said TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens.

“The voting system is a non-issue in comparison to other more pressing administrative challenges to ensuring the integrity of national elections that should represent the views of Papua New Guineans.”

Preferential voting systems like LPV are seen to be more democratic than first-past-the-post as they allow voters the opportunity to spread their votes amongst multiple candidates with the winner of a majority of votes after elimination and redistribution of votes being quantitatively more representative – especially in electorates with many candidates.

Continue reading "Transparency urges govt to ditch plans for first-past-post voting" »

I try to know why my ‘being swamped’ piece was so popular


TUMBY BAY - My first reaction to the unusual interest shown in my article about Australia being swamped by Papua New Guineans (which had reached 984 ‘likes’ this mornng) was that I had inadvertently alerted Australia’s hard-right nationalists to another group of innocent people to whom they could direct their hubris.

That didn’t make a lot of sense, however, they weren’t the sort of people who read PNG Attitude.

Perhaps I’d just tapped into the paranoia about refugees and people who don’t look like us that our conservative governments have been carefully cultivating since the Howard years.

No, they weren’t PNG Attitude readers either.

Continue reading "I try to know why my ‘being swamped’ piece was so popular" »

FB reaches out to PNG over concerns about free speech

FacebookMONG PALATINO | Global Voices

AMSTERDAM - Papua New Guinea’s reported plan to ban Facebook for a month has raised concerns about government suppression of free speech.

And one outcome has been that Facebook has reportedly "reached out" o PNG about the issue.

On 29 May 2018, the Post-Courier newspaper reported on a proposal of the Communications and Information Technology Department to ban the social network in order to analyse its use and protect the safety of users. The article quoted Communications Minister Sam Basil as follows:

“The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed…We cannot allow the abuse of Facebook to continue in the country.”

Continue reading "FB reaches out to PNG over concerns about free speech " »

Bougainville Day events gain momentum as referendum nears


ARAWA – This town will come alive late this week as the former capital commemorates Bougainville Day on Friday 15 June.

The initiative is largely a communal effort with backing by local business houses and the Kieta District Administration.

The celebrations are aimed at encouraging economic recovery, reconciliation and celebrating Bougainville’s achievements on its path to next year’s referendum and the ultimate political goal of independence.

Tonny Moera, chairman of the Central Bougainville Events Committee, said in previous years there was not much emphasis on celebrations.

Continue reading "Bougainville Day events gain momentum as referendum nears" »

Facebook ban would stifle dissent of the people’s parliament

Alan Bird MP
Alan Bird MP says Facebook is the 'people's parliament' which gives citizens a voice

BEN PACKHAM The Australian

CANBERRA - The Papua New Guinea government has been accused of trying to stifle dissent in the lead-up to this year’s APEC conference with a plan to take Facebook offline in the country for a month.

Free press organisation Reporters without Borders this week condemned the plan as a move by the government to silence online critics, particularly those sounding the alarm over corruption.

Amid growing criticism of the ban, opposition MP Allan Bird warned it would alarm APEC nations as PNG prepared to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leader’s week in November.

Communications minister Sam Basil announced the ban late last month, saying it was to identify “fake accounts” and users who posted “false, misleading information”.

“This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly,” he said.

PNG’s roughly 900,000 internet consumers are big users of Facebook, which has become the primary means of sharing sensitive political stories that mainstream media would be reluctant to report.

Continue reading "Facebook ban would stifle dissent of the people’s parliament" »

ADB grants K635 million loan to support PNG health programs

HospitalSTAFF REPORTER | Xinhua | Edited

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of K635 million to support the delivery of accessible, affordable and high quality health services in Papua New Guinea.

The financing package comprises two regular loans and a concessional loan to help PNG's efforts in achieving universal health coverage.

Despite a period of high economic growth in recent years, averaging 6% from 2006-15 but declining in recent years, the ADB said PNG failed to achieve its millennium development targets for maternal and child health.

Life expectancy is low at 65 years and diseases including stroke, heart disease, pneumonia and neonatal conditions are chronic.

Continue reading "ADB grants K635 million loan to support PNG health programs" »

We Have Shredded Our Feathers

Huli child drinking Coca-ColaWARD BARRY

We have shredded our feathers for leather.
We have coloured our skins with yellow ink,
but we can’t face the ferocious weather.

We have thrown ourselves headlong to the brink
of the Earth. We are now dangling mid-air,
groping frantically for hope as we sink.

We’ve set up camps and built houses somewhere
between Nowhere and Anywhere, while our
children are scattered about Everywhere.

Continue reading "We Have Shredded Our Feathers" »

The long conversation: I miss it Kurt, & I miss you my friend

Kurt Pfund  Switzerland 1993
Artist Kurt Pfund at home in Switzerland, 1993. He established a close, long & perhaps unlikely friendship with eminent kiap Bill Brown


SYDNEY - Professor David Goodall’s assisted death in Switzerland on 10 May was a searing reminder of my friend the artist Kurt Pfund’s similar departure from this world late last year.

Kurt was suffering the ravages of incurable cancer and he too died at the time of his choosing courtesy of Swiss Exit.

Goodall's death brought the memories flooding back to me: Kurt’s long, thoughtful letters carefully typed in English; his short, pithy emails; and the sporadic “Switzerland Calling” telephone calls.

He was a better correspondent than I but he ignored my lapses and kept our exchange alive and flowing.

One particular memory kept recurring. At the end of 1999, Kurt and his lady, Marlies, came to stay with us in Sydney.

We had watched the turn of the millennium fireworks at midnight from a penthouse overlooking Sydney Harbour and, in the afterglow, Kurt reminisced about his sojourn on a Polynesian outlier about 220 kilometres north-east of Bougainville.

The Mortlocks are 22 small atolls—some only small rocky outcrops—with a population of some 465 people including a number of men absent working on ships at sea.

Continue reading "The long conversation: I miss it Kurt, & I miss you my friend" »

Major publishing innovation provides PNG authors with a big boost

Jordan Dean - selfie at KLCC Twin Towers
Jordan Dean - “A whole new reading experience for authors and book lovers”


PORT MORESBY – In the most important development in Papua New Guinea publishing since the advent of the Crocodile Prize seven years ago, author Jordan Dean has established a company to produce the work of emerging writers and present a new generation of literary talent to an international audience.

JDT Publications Ltd was established to provide an avenue for PNG and Pacific writers to publish their writing in the form of quality paperbacks and e-books.

“I believe that our literature survives in great books,” Dean says. “JDT gives a whole new reading experience for authors and book lovers.”

The company offers a range of products for writers including its ‘basic package’ for K100 which provides basic editing and proofreading, cover design and production supervision for a standard book size publication produced as a paperback and e-book and including a free copy for the author.

Other products - the wantok, premium and children’s storybook packages – range in price up to K500, each offering successively increasing benefits. You can download the JDT prospectus here. 

Continue reading "Major publishing innovation provides PNG authors with a big boost" »

Malnutrition - the silent killer stalking PNG's provinces

The top part of Adaline's arm - measured the whole way round with a malnutrition armband - is only 10.9 cm


WELLINGTON, NZ - Cradled in the arms of her mother, baby Adaline is too feeble even to crawl. Her legs and arms are malformed, the ribs visible through her skin. The bones of her jaw protrude, the mouth locked perpetually in an expression like agony.

Julie Myron, the girl's mother, looks on with concern. The top part of her baby's arm - measured the whole way round with a malnutrition armband - is only 10.9cm, roughly the girth of a thin branch from the pandanus tree.

Her daughter is in the red zone, red that represents danger; red that indicates severe acute malnutrition.

The family lives on the bank of a rambling creek in Kiburu Village, not far outside Mendi in Papua New Guinea. They are fortunate not to be far from Mendi Provincial Hospital.

Continue reading "Malnutrition - the silent killer stalking PNG's provinces" »

Information wanted about Beverley (Withers) Barlow. ASOPA Student. Early 1960s

Beverley Barlow (her maiden name was Withers) trained at the Australian School of Pacific Administration at Middle Head in Sydney around 1960-1961 and later taught in Papua New Guinea. Bev died last year and now the Barlow Foundation – which she established - wants to honour her by disseminating the history of her charity work. Bev began the Foundation to focus on education and provide grants to charitable organisations seeking to foster self-reliance and self-empowerment in women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

If you can provide any information or photographs about Bev (Withers) Barlow, her history as a teacher and particularly her time teaching in Papua New Guinea, you can contact the Foundation’s Martine Gow here.

The long history of Australia’s hypocrisy on PNG corruption

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - 'If Australia took aggressive action against corruption instead of going along with it, PNG & its people would be big beneficiaries'


SYDNEY - It’s illegal for Australian entities to bribe foreign entities, but apparently we’re perfectly happy to take dirty money from bribed foreigners and consort with corrupt leaders.

Malaysia’s prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim called us out last Friday, expressing a view that Australia has been “completely dishonest” about ousted leader Najib Razak, and “complicit” in Malaysian corruption.

Hard on the heels of that attack, Fairfax Media on Monday reported on Singaporean court documents claiming a Chinese telecommunications company paid $1 million to Papua New Guinea’s then-prime minister, Sir Michael Somare.

As part of Fairfax’s anti-China campaign, the PNG story was pitched as an example of Beijing trying to exert greater influence in our region, rather than a rather unsurprising example of PNG corruption over a mobile phone contract.

There’s a long history of Australia seemingly turning an official blind eye to the questionable behaviour of our developing neighbours.

Continue reading "The long history of Australia’s hypocrisy on PNG corruption" »

Poor policy choices, & budgets based on hope, curse PNG

Peter-oneillPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited

CANBERRA - The Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project is having a very negative impact on the PNG economy during the current production phase that began in 2014 and is expected to end around 2035.

The most likely explanation for this outcome is the poor “resource curse” economic policies by the O’Neill government induced by the project.

The resource curse phenomenon occurs where countries like PNG with plentiful natural resources frequently have less economic growth, less democracy and worse development outcomes than countries not so blessed.

Continue reading "Poor policy choices, & budgets based on hope, curse PNG" »

Speak up & protect your voice: An open letter to Papua New Guinea


DEAR PAPUA NEW GUINEA - In recent weeks, we have seen members of parliament questioning the integrity of the mainstream media in Papua New Guinea.

In our biggest year as international hosts to some of the most powerful nations on the planet - under a theme of harnessing inclusive opportunities and embracing a digital future - we find this disheartening.

We have also seen what we feel is the start to leaders censoring public access to avenues of public expression. It is something we cannot sit idly by, and let continue without challenge.

The first instance was that of a statement made by the Information, Communication and Technology Minister regarding the potential restriction of popular social media platform Facebook in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Speak up & protect your voice: An open letter to Papua New Guinea" »

Hitting the bull’s eye: Educating the inmates of Bihute prison camp

Inside the prison camp
Inmates working at their educational tasks during an unusual encounter inside the Bihute prison camp


GOROKA – At the University of Goroka the professional and liaison office headed by senior lecturer Joseph Kerpei has been busy organising schools around Papua New Guinea to enable trainee teachers to gain practical experience in addition to their classroom learning.

The program includes private schools, technical and vocational schools and primary and secondary schools. And, in the case of two other supervisors and me, it included Bihute Correctional Service Institute.

Dr Luke Apa, Joram Seth and I were deployed to Bihute prison camp - 30 minutes’ drive from the university - to supervise a group of trainee students who would be teaching inmates.

But we were being educated too. The first thing I learned was that Bihute is not a formal school. There is neither formal curriculum, no established class structure and no planned content to teach. And as you might expect the inmates had widely varying education and literacy levels.

Continue reading "Hitting the bull’s eye: Educating the inmates of Bihute prison camp" »

Our own worst enemy: Australia needs to reset its Pacific policy

No more brushoffs please – an arrogant Australia should cut out the snubs and show respect for the sovereignty, equality and strategic importance of South Pacific states

JOANNE WALLIS | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - Australia’s response to reports that China was in talks to build a military base in Vanuatu (reports that were denied by Vanuatu and China) typifies its approach to the region.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed his ‘great concern’, there was a flurry of media commentary, and then the region slipped from the headlines shortly after.

This reflects the pattern of Australia’s ‘securitised’ approach to the South Pacific — its attention generally sharpens only when the region is perceived as a source of threat.

Tellingly, when New Zealand’s foreign minister Winston Peters announced his country’s ‘Pacific reset’ in a speech in Sydney, he reminded Australia not to ‘forget’ the South Pacific.

Other powers are also remembering the region: the United Kingdom announced its intention to ‘reengage’, and French President Emmanuel Macron visited to emphasise French support for the region (although this was more directed at the referendum on New Caledonia’s political future in November).

Continue reading "Our own worst enemy: Australia needs to reset its Pacific policy" »

From the Field

Lakekamu River (Australian War Memorial)MICHAEL DOM

Lakekamu, you are a fat brown sinek
You turn the moon on its head
And swallow the jungle whole
Into your churning belly
Spitting out karua
Spawned in your juices

When you rattle your scales
Or wriggle your swollen belly
We are all at your mercy
Your fangs are buried deeply
Into Owen's golden flesh
Whose blood keeps the thirsty Kamea alive

Continue reading "From the Field" »

The informal, hardly observed migration of PNGns to Australia

Border check (Brian Cassey)
Australian Border Force officer Harry Davo checks PNG nationals arriving in banana boats at Saibai Island, a northern outpost 4 km from the PNG mainland


ADELAIDE - Phil Fitzpatrick's article on migration to Australia (‘Are we in danger of being swamped by Papua New Guineans’) has certainly provoked great interest.

He touched a hot button issue in Australia, which constantly struggles to reconcile its better instincts about welcoming newcomers with its very worst instincts about fear of outsiders.

My own observation during a visit to Cairns last year was that there were surprisingly large numbers of people around who looked very much like Papua New Guineans.

They could well have been Torres Strait Islanders of course, but more than a few looked very much like the folk I worked with during my time at Kikori and Baimuru.

Continue reading "The informal, hardly observed migration of PNGns to Australia" »

Deception about the state of the economy is not helping PNG

Peter O'Neill's forecast of K100 billion GDP this year has no support from three official estimates of how the country is travelling economically - not even close

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited extracts

CANBERRA – Yesterday the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier published an article indicating that prime minister Peter O’Neill considers the PNG economy could reach K100 billion this year.

Hopefully, this was misreporting because, as an accountant, one would hope the prime minister would understand numbers well enough to know that there is no prospect of GDP reaching this figure in 2018, or even in 2020.

To state that it will is to be deceptive and massively contrary to all previous official estimates from his government and the International Monetary Fund.

Reading this article, I was reminded of the problems created for Greece by its use of fake statistics.

So how does this claim of K100 billion GDP this year compare to other official forecasts?

The PNG Treasury in its budget estimates estimated the size of the economy this year would be K80 billion.

Continue reading "Deception about the state of the economy is not helping PNG" »

Anwar outs Australia on corruption. The issue must be addressed

Anwar Ibrahim - "Australia's foreign policy is perceived as tolerant of corruption"


TUMBY BAY - I’ve long had a theory that the industrial scale corruption now prevalent in Papua New Guinea was originally imported by Malaysian logging companies and that one of the first politicians they corrupted was the then forestry minister.

Many of these logging companies were owned by Malaysian Chinese and this is still the case. Anecdotal evidence related to the recent influx of Chinese companies into PNG also reports a high level of corruption.

What we call bribery and graft, although illegal and in some jurisdictions punishable by death, is regarded as a normal way of doing business in China and many other Asian countries. Greasing the wheels of commerce is a way of life.

It seems to be only when such practises escalate out of control that there is official reaction.

A good example of outrageous and unacceptable behaviour is the current case of recently defeated Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib is facing allegations he looted the state-funded One-Malaysia Development Bank and used the stolen billions to buy everything from real estate to artworks. His wife apparently has a handbag collection on an industrial scale.

Continue reading "Anwar outs Australia on corruption. The issue must be addressed" »

On Mr Speaker referring me to parliament’s privileges committee

BRYAN KRAMER | Facebook | Edited extracts

Bryan Kramer
Bryan Kramer - 'The member is confused about the issues & appears to have been used as a tool'

MADANG – Last Thursday the member for Tewae-Siassi Open in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament, Kobby Bomareo, sought leave from the Speaker to make a personal statement on the floor of parliament.

Bomareo’s statement was in relation to my Facebook post, "Did Dumb Just Get Dumber" [ see PNG Attitude story here].

He took issue with the article suggesting it labelled his Pangu Party leader and minister of communications and energy Sam Basil as ‘dumb’.

Bomareo called for leaders to have respect, dignity and be responsible in their conduct, writing and speech both in and outside parliament.

“The MP for Bulolo is definitely not dumb but because of [sic] the MP for Madang’s post on Facebook which is demeaning,” Bomareo said.

“The MP for Madang is a first-timer charging that the people of Bulolo have been electing a dumb MP for the third time. That’s not on.

Continue reading "On Mr Speaker referring me to parliament’s privileges committee" »

Any Facebook shutdown would be dangerous on many levels

Scott Waide
Scott Waide - 'Facebook is an integral part of policing & a primary disaster reporting tool'

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country | Asia Pacific Report | Edited

LAE - Maybe it was a slip of the tongue or a misinterpreted statement. But there is no doubt whatever it was Papua New Guinea’s minister responsible for communications and information technology (ICT) Sam Basil last week created a storm domestically and in the global media.

What gave this statement its legitimacy was its publication in one of Papua New Guinea’s two dailies – the Post-Courier. The online version of the story has been quoted numerous times and became the top story out of Papua New Guinea.

The country doesn’t usually make it into the tech pages of websites, but it has:

Matt Novak from Gizmodo wrote: “The (PNG) government also said that it’s exploring the creation of its own social media site to replace Facebook.”

John Russell from Techcrunch: “… the Facebook ban — however delicious it may sound given recent events — is not confirmed for Papua New Guinea. It remains a possibility once Basil has liaised with police.”

Continue reading "Any Facebook shutdown would be dangerous on many levels" »

Did dumb just get dumber & Sam Basil just dig himself a hole?

Sam Basil & Peter O'Neill
Sam Basil with Peter O'Neill - worried about the well- being of PNG or just politicians feelings being hurt?


NOOSA – Samuel H Basil, the man who might ban Papua New Guineans from Facebook, was not always such a stern opponent of the social media platform he now despises - a platform used by nearly a million of  his fellow citizens.

Indeed it was only 18 months ago that Basil – who is now communications minister - posted on his own Facebook page: “FB users in PNG have used the medium to their advantage exposing corruption in government.... Everything is changing; people are taking their bloggers seriously and their politicians as comedians.”

Yes, bloggers serious; politicians comic.

Then last week, having defected not only from his political base but seemingly from his former progressive and liberal ideas, Basil felt able to announce that Facebook could be banned for a month for some mysterious “research” – and maybe disposed of permanently, perhaps to be replaced by Basbook.

Continue reading "Did dumb just get dumber & Sam Basil just dig himself a hole?" »

The Kramer censoring: Another attack on freedom of speech

Governor Gary Juffa

GARY JUFFA | Facebook | Edited

POPONDETTA - The Papua New Guinea government’s move to refer Bryan Kramer to the parliamentary privileges committee is nothing but another attack on freedom of free speech.

We politicians, rather than being hurt by what people say about us, should be hurt by deteriorating health, education, and law and order; and the loss of PNG jobs, businesses, forests and marine resources.

We should be hurt by the stealing by transnational criminal cartels and the worsening economic conditions that affect our people.

Criticism comes with the territory we occupy as politicians. We all get attacked for various reasons. When you put yourself in the public's eye you are agreeing to the reality of being criticised. We need to develop a thick skin and rise above it. That's leadership. To try to stifle and suppress criticism is the exact opposite of leadership – it is dictatorship.

Continue reading "The Kramer censoring: Another attack on freedom of speech" »

Why Peter Numu wants Facebook banned (& how we’ll stop him)

Peter Numu & Sam Basil
Peter Numu and Sam Basil


GOROKA – I’ve previously expressed my disgust at Sam Basil’s deliberate efforts to silence freedom of speech through banning Facebook.

Basil’s call was unmistakably a ‘good news trumpet’ for most politicians who are not only afraid of what Facebook can do to their corrupt rule but also afraid to take public criticism.

In this context, it is not surprising that Peter Numu, the governor of Eastern Highlands Province, couldn't hold his patience and publicly embarrassed himself in parliament when he jumped on Basil’s bandwagon.

Let me tell you why Peter Numu is one of the MPs who wish to ban Facebook.

Continue reading "Why Peter Numu wants Facebook banned (& how we’ll stop him)" »

A tale of two boxers, the Queen and a happy ending

The bout
A grainy screenshot of Tumat Sogolik fighting Barry McGuigan in the controversial Commonwealth Games gold medal bout in Edmonton in 1978


SYDNEY - Boxing can be a cruel game. Not only do boxers suffer in the ring but many, even after successful careers, end up destitute; some with severe health problems.

There are few happy endings in this so called sport.

This story, however, is one of them. It involves two amateur boxers, one from Ireland and the other from a remote province of Papua New Guinea who battled out the final of the bantamweight division at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.

Barry McGuigan was a tough 17 year old from Cloves, Ireland, although he represented Northern Ireland at the Games.

Tumat Sogolik was 23 and a customs officer born in New Ireland. He was an experienced amateur having won gold at two regional boxing championships in the Pacific and was something of a national hero in PNG.

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Are we in danger of being swamped by Papua New Guineans?

Papua New Guineans living in Cairns
Papua New Guineans living in the north Queensland city of Cairns, an hour's flight from Port Moresby


TUMBY BAY - There are now large numbers of Papua New Guineans living in Australia, mainly in Queensland and New South Wales but with numbers sufficient to form small communities in most capital cities.

We even have a family living here in Tumby Bay, a town of about 2,000 people on the relatively remote Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.

According to the 2016 Census, there were 28,802 people born in Papua New Guinea living in Australia (an increase of 11.5% from 2006).

That’s just an official figure. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of Papua New Guinean expatriates living in Australia is much higher, possibly up to 50,000, and is growing at a rapid rate.

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Paralysed 4 years ago, I now desperately need my compensation


KUNDIAWA - My name is Thomas Kuman, I’m 26 and I’m a chronic patient at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital here in Kundiawa.

My home village is Wara Sua in the remote Salt Nomane Karimui district.

On 15 June 2014, I was working with New Britain Palm Oil Ltd as a fruit loader at Walupai in West New Britain Province when I was thrown off the tractor in which I was travelling in a freak accident which left me permanently paralysed.

I spent five months at Kimbe Hospital before returning to Simbu Province near the end of 2014 and have been here since.

There was an assessment of my injuries by QBE Insurance (PNG) Ltd on behalf of New Britain Oil Palm Ltd in consultation with the Office of Workers Compensation and I was made an offer of settlement, which I accepted. It had been a long wait.

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Fraud scandal triggers suspension of PNG visa services

PNG business visaSTAFF REPORTER | PNG Today

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has indefinitely suspended services provided by passport and visa agents amid a visa fraud scandal.

The suspension, effective from today, was announced by immigration and border security minister Petrus Thomas.

The action followed police investigations into a passport and visa service agent and a Chinese national recently charged with bribery.

“All clients will have to lodge their applications directly with the Immigration and Citizenship Authority,” Thomas said.

“There will be no more new applications accepted from visa agents. This indefinite suspension will be in place until a policy regulating registration and monitoring of all agents is developed and put in place.

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The battle of Kokoda: Fairness or exploitation on the Trail?

Charlie Lynn
Charlie Lynn
Sue Fitcher
Sue Fitcher


Spectator Editor’s note: After publishing the Charlie Lynn article ‘Losing Kokoda, we received a letter in response from Sue Fitcher, president of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association. Ms Fitcher did not respond to an offer to author an item in reply, so we are publishing her correspondence in the interest of fairness, along with a follow-up comment from Charlie.

Ms Fitcher (Kokoda Tour Operators Association) to The Spectator:

THE BASIN, VIC - I write after reading an article published by and in my role as president of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA), an organisation representing just under 70% of the Kokoda trekking industry.

My first question is, do you have any sort of fact checker on articles put to you before you publish? This is an article big on allegation and extremely short on substance. Where are the examples, where is the verification?

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