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87 posts from July 2018

Controversial Chinese ship arrives in PNG on harmony mission

Daishan Dao
Daishan Dao (aka Peace Ark), now in PNG for eight days, is said by some analysts to be a stalking horse for the Chinese navy's 'blue water' ambitions in the south-west Pacific and beyond


PORT MORESBY – Earlier this week China stepped up its soft power incursion into Papua New Guinea and the Pacific with an announcement that it will pre-empt November’s APEC forum in Port Moresby with a Pacific conference of its own also in the national capital.

And yesterday, as if to reinforce the deal, the Chinese naval hospital ship, Peace Ark, slipped into Fairfax Harbour to begin an eight-day humanitarian mission in PNG.

Peace Ark (as it known when on humanitarian service) is better known in China as Daishan Dao, a Type 920 hospital ship of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, Daishan Dao, with her crew of 430 with about 100 medical staff, does not carry offensive weapons.

Continue reading "Controversial Chinese ship arrives in PNG on harmony mission" »

Now what’s the best puripuri – stuff from Rabaul or from the Gulf?

Sean Dorney
Sean Dorney was an ABC journalist in PNG around the time he captained the national rugby league team


SYDNEY – As you, my more faithful readers, will already know from my previous scribblings, during my time in Papua New Guinea I had the pleasure and privilege of playing rugby league with some highly talented players, both Papua New Guinean and expatriate.

Of the latter group Sean Dorney and Bill Phillips were standouts. In the 1975 season the three of us were the only expats playing for the Port Moresby Club, Paga. The rest of the team was mainly drawn from the New Guinea Islands.

Towards the end of the season we had to play Gulf, a team of big tough players drawn mainly from Gulf Province. A win for us was essential if we were to qualify for the finals.

So to ensure this was the case, one of Paga’s committee was dispatched to Rabaul to obtain a magic potion, or puripuri, which, we were told, if applied to the body would result in certain victory.

Prior to the game we all smeared it on. All over ourselves. Good Rabaul puripuri.

Continue reading "Now what’s the best puripuri – stuff from Rabaul or from the Gulf?" »

PNG govt liabilities could be K1.5 billion higher than admitted

Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan - scrutiny of accounts finds PNG's budget position significantly worse than reported

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited extracts

CANBERRA – When treasurer Charles Abel recently announced how his 2017 budget had worked out (known as the final budget outcome or FBO) it showed the Papua New Guinea government had spent K700 million more than it had estimated.

The two largest areas of expenditure increase were in highly undesirable areas – an increase in debt service costs of K251 million and administrative expenses of K316 million.

But there were also areas in which spending was committed to – and not made.

Let me take a closer look at some of the main areas where the government got its budget very wrong.

Continue reading "PNG govt liabilities could be K1.5 billion higher than admitted" »

Open yer meat pies, sink the slipper & go the biff! Get me?

1974 team
The 1974 New Guinea team that beat Papua in Port Moresby. The game ended in a riot


SYDNEY - Nicknames are common in sport; particularly so in adult male teams. Many rugby league players who graced the playing fields of Port Moresby in the 1960s and 1970s boasted a wide variety of monikers.

Some came to Moresby from ‘down south’ with them already attached by some other body who hadn’t bother to explain them to us.

So we didn’t know why DCA’s James Annand was always referred to as ‘Digger’ or Barry van Heekeren was ‘Mocha’.

But many others were christened after they arrived and, in our usual lazy way, we simply linked. nicknames to surnames.

One more colourful handle I remember was that of Magani lower grade coach Jim Taylor who was called ‘Squizzy’ after the notorious Melbourne criminal.

Continue reading "Open yer meat pies, sink the slipper & go the biff! Get me?" »

Advocates work to revitalise Australia’s voice in the Pacific

A Pacific broadcaster interviews boys in Bougainville (Sue Ahearn, 2012)

NEWSDESK | Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - A group of Australia-based supporters is trying to revitalise Australian broadcasting in the Pacific and Asia region.

For more than 50 years, ABC-Radio Australia was a trusted and respected friend in the region broadcasting independent news and information, says the group in a media release.

But five years ago, the service was almost silenced by budget cuts.

It has recently been revealed that Radio Australia’s shortwave frequencies into the Pacific and Asia have been taken over by China Radio International.

The supporters group says that now, because of a new political environment in Canberra and across the region, the time is right to propose a major upgrade of ABC radio, television and digital services to the Asia Pacific.

Continue reading "Advocates work to revitalise Australia’s voice in the Pacific" »

2017 decision to kill shortwave a disastrous error of judgement

Chris Overland
Chris Overland

CHRIS OVERLAND’s submission to the Review of Australian Broadcasting in the Asia Pacific *

ADELAIDE - I served as a Patrol Officer in then the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea between 1969 and 1974. During that time I undertook extensive patrolling in some of the most remote parts of the country and lived in a number of very isolated places for extended periods.

These included Baimuru and Kikori in the Gulf Province, Koroba and Kagua in Hela Province and Popondetta and Kokoda in Oro Province.

In those days, which long predated TV, mobile phones and the internet, communication with the outside world was severely restricted. As a consequence, there was an almost total reliance upon radio to maintain contact with what was happening in the wider world.

One of my first purchases in PNG was a short wave transistor radio. This radio was a source of both information and entertainment for me. In those days it was possible to tune into what were the “big 3” short wave radio stations, being the Voice of America, the BBC World Service and, of course, Radio Australia. The latter was the station to which I tuned the radio most of the time.

Continue reading "2017 decision to kill shortwave a disastrous error of judgement" »

I don’t think the student is dumb, it may be the teacher


DAGUA – At a rural evangelical church secondary school in East Sepik, there was a particular student who, despite her best attempt at learning, just could not get things right.

She would sit at the back of the classroom, attentive and well behaved, but, when it came to testing and scores, she was always at the bottom.

Subject teachers would complain, scratch their heads and ask why she couldn’t understand and perform like her classmates. After two years of sitting inside the classroom without any special help, the student failed all her Grade 10 exams and disappeared for good.

Just as in schools around the world, Papua New Guinea has dyslexic students but, because of the ignorance of authorities and teachers, they are not adequately catered for.

Continue reading "I don’t think the student is dumb, it may be the teacher" »

Bougainville Day marks formal end of civil war hostilities

Bougainville Revolutionary Army irregulars of the Wirai faction - the peace process continues in the now autonomous province


ARAWA - Thirteen years ago Bougainville made a historic transition into a more flexible self-governing system that is the autonomous arrangement it enjoys today.

And 15 June next year is the date that epitomises the hopes and dreams of Bougainvilleans as, on that day, they progress towards their referendum on self-determination.

This year on 15 June – just one year before this important vote - the celebrations in Bougainville’s former capital, Arawa, were a little different from others held throughout the country.

The highlight was a reconciliation ceremony between North Nasioi ex-combatants of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and ex-members of the Bougainville Resistance Forces.

Continue reading "Bougainville Day marks formal end of civil war hostilities" »

Government honesty needed to address economic challenges

Ian Ling Stuckey MP
Ian Ling Stuckey MP says the government must be honest if it is to develop appropriate policy responses to a seriously ill economy

IAN LING-STUCKEY MP | Edited extracts

You can read the Papua New Guinea shadow treasurer’s complete article here

KAVIENG - At a recent conference in Port Moresby, a striking statistic emerged. Economic academics from both the University of Papua New Guinea and the Australian National University said the non-resource sector of the PNG economy went backwards by 5.9% in 2015.

This extraordinary result confirmed what business people and the people of PNG have known for years – 2015 was a year of severe recession in PNG.

Yet the government continues to hide and delay official accounts from the National Statistics Office which would confirm the recession.

More honesty is needed from the government as a first step in addressing the economic problems facing PNG.

Continue reading "Government honesty needed to address economic challenges" »

Please restore our lifeline, Australia. You removed a necessity

Ben Lovo & family  Vanuatu (RNZI)VANESSA GORDON

BRISBANE - There are villagers in remote parts of Papua New Guinea and other parts of the Pacific who rely on radio as their only source of news, information and vital breaking news on matters that directly impact their livelihood.

I am half Papua New Guinean and have witnessed firsthand how the ABC has added value to the lives of my own people who live in remote parts of PNG.

Broadcasting services into the region are a necessity. Period.

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

Continue reading "Please restore our lifeline, Australia. You removed a necessity" »

Australia, PNG and the coming war with China

From the cover of the novella by Justin Sheedy, available from Amazon as an ebook 


TUMBY BAY - Australia has always had an unfortunate predilection for getting involved in other people’s wars.

If there’s a war on somewhere, we seem to scrabble to be part of it. For some reason we think our involvement is a measure of our relevance as a nation.

We march off with great fanfare, get ourselves mauled and killed and then come home to congratulate ourselves in a never ending and macabre pantomime that seems to grow bigger each year.

Forget Christianity, war is quickly becoming the official religion of Australia.

Immanuel Kant and others have observed that war, with occasional outbreaks of short-lived peace, is the natural default position for human society.

In Australia we go to war because of the very dubious assumption that getting involved in the military adventurism of the big powers will somehow obligate them to come to our aid if we ever get into trouble.

This is a false hope and we know they will only get involved on our behalf if there is some advantage to them, usually economic.

Continue reading "Australia, PNG and the coming war with China" »

We are Dying One by One

Community Christian Fellowship‘KASSANDRA KOMPLEX’

We are dying one by one, on this island in the sun
Some call us sister, some call us aunt
Most call us mother, mummy, mums or mum

We are dying one by one, on this island in the sun
Some say we’re witches, some say we’re whores
Most days we feed and care for everyone

We are dying one by one, on this island in the sun
Some are good neighbours; some thrill your dreams
Most go through their life being grabbed by their bum

We are dying one by one, on this island in the sun
Some go to church, some like to flirt
Most usually hear men call them a kan

Continue reading "We are Dying One by One" »

Here’s how YOU can help revive ABC services to PNG


Jemima Garrett
Jemima Garrett - "Radio is still the best way to reach people with news and debate. Let's rebuild Australian broadcasting in the region on a new partnership model"

If you - or anyone you know - would like to make a submission to the Review of Australian Broadcasting in the Asia Pacific, it is taking submissions here until Friday 3 August. Background information, including on broadcast technology options is available from Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific.  Members of this group include Jemima Garrett, Sean Dorney, Max Uechtritz, Tess Newton-Cain, Sue Ahearn, Peter Marks, Jioji Ravulo and others. 

Sean , Sue and and Jemima are happy to help you prepare a submission to the Review if you need a helping hand. You can contact them here:
Jemima Garrett 0408 163 226
Sean Dorney 0409 468 559
Sue Ahearn 0439 474 444

BRISBANE - Despite the antipathy of some members of Australia's Liberal and National parties to the ABC, a curious confluence of events has made possible the best opportunity since 2014 for revamping the ABC’s Asia Pacific broadcasting, including Papua New Guinea.

The Australian government is currently conducting a review of Australian broadcasting in the Asia Pacific and it wants submissions from PNG and the region as well as from Australia.

It has wide terms of reference so has left the way open to hear what the audience really wants from Australian broadcasting.

Of all the countries the ABC reaches with its overseas service, PNG is the most important and the most difficult. The difficulty lies not in politics in Canberra or Port Moresby but in finding technology that can cope with the terrain.

Continue reading "Here’s how YOU can help revive ABC services to PNG" »

Get the ABC back broadcasting to PNG: my words to the Oz govt

Radio 1As we encourage PNG Attitude readers to join in reviving Radio Australia in PNG, PHIL FITZPATRICK has been quick off the mark in making his views known to the Australian government review of Australian broadcasting to PNG and the Pacific, When you have emailed your words of advice to the review, long or short, why don't you copy your words to us for publication - email it to us here.

TUMBY BAY - 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. 

Continue reading "Get the ABC back broadcasting to PNG: my words to the Oz govt" »

NZ warns of security risk from China's influence in Pacific

Aid-chinaCOLIN PACKHAM | US News & World Report | Edited extract

You can read the complete article by Colin Packham here

SYDNEY - New Zealand warned in a defence report on Friday that China's rising influence in the South Pacific could undermine regional stability, in comments likely to stoke bilateral tension.

New Zealand and Australia have traditionally held the most influence in the South Pacific, but the NZ government said in the report it was now losing its sway over small island nations to China.

"New Zealand's national security remains directly tied to the stability of the Pacific. As Pacific Island countries develop ... traditional partners such as New Zealand and Australia will be challenged to maintain influence," the government report read.

"China holds views on human rights and freedom of information that stand in contrast to those that prevail in New Zealand."

Continue reading "NZ warns of security risk from China's influence in Pacific" »

A plea from PNG Attitude to people committed to our neighbours

How you can help restore the ABC’s broadcasting services to PNG & the Pacific

A group of eminent Australian journalists associated with Papua New Guinea and the Pacific have come together to persuade the Australian government to rebuild the ABC’s once great broadcasting services to the region. They include well-known names such as Sean Dorney, Jemima Garrett, Max Uechtritz, Tess Newton-Cain, Sue Ahearn, Peter Marks and Jioji Ravulo. They have the full support of me personally and PNG Attitude with its 5,000 followers.

The Australian government is at present conducting a review of Australian broadcasting in the region. It is taking submissions until Friday 3 August (read about it here). This is a great opportunity to change Australian policy on this important issue. I strongly urge you to make a submission. And, if you need a helping hand, you’ve got three expert journalists to provide it: Sean Dorney (, Jemima Garrett ( and Sue Ahearn (

I ask you to act now, wherever you live. Your voice deserves - and needs - to be heard

Playing with numbers: Cheap politics trumps bad economics

Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan - making sense of the PNG budget numbers (and the political spin) for our readers

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - The O’Neill-Abel government continues to refer to how new loans from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank will help with Papua New Guinea’s budget and foreign exchange problems.

But why have they let K418 million in cheap loans slip through their fingers, especially for good projects already approved under PNG’s planning processes?

This is one of many questions raised by Treasurer Abel’s 2017 fascinating and worrying final budget outcome (FBO) report which, given the number of errors it contains, was clearly rushed.

When looking at the claimed total levels of government expenditure and revenue, it is interesting that the 2017 budget outcomes match those of Abel’s predecessor, now opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch.

Continue reading "Playing with numbers: Cheap politics trumps bad economics" »

ABC appoints Natalie Whiting as new PNG correspondent

Natalie Whiting
Natalie Whiting

KEITH JACKSON | Media Week, ABC & Sources

SYDNEY - Hobart-based Natalie Whiting has been appointed as the ABC’s Papua New Guinea correspondent, taking over the key post from Eric Tlozek, who has spent three years in the role.

Tlozek has been re-assigned as one of the ABC’s Middle East correspondents, based in Jerusalem.

Whiting currently reports for ABC News and the 7.30 current affairs program in Tasmania.

Before moving to Hobart, she was the South Australian reporter for AM, The World Today and PM. In Adelaide she won several media awards, including best radio broadcaster and was an Andrew Olle scholar and twice a finalist in the Young Walkley Awards.

Continue reading "ABC appoints Natalie Whiting as new PNG correspondent" »

The day the sport of kings took on an entirely new meaning

Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty with Midge Didham aboard wins the 1980 Caulfield Cup at 66/1 - lucky for some


SYDNEY - Occasionally I like to have a small flutter on the horses, usually with little success. But it’s a pleasant pursuit I continued through my PNG days and the infrequent win was always a cause of great delight.

The only time I won anything worthwhile was when former Papua New Guinea colonial politician John Pasquarelli (later Pauline Hansen's controversial adviser) advised me to back his horse, Luddenham Lass, which won.

Trevor Downs, owner of the Vanimo Hotel, also tipped me his horse, Binatang. It didn’t win but came second at odds of 100/1 so I still collected.

But my biggest pay-day ever in PNG was purely by accident. Back in the 1970s I used to regularly back a magnificent grey horse, Ming Dynasty and I had wagered on him when he won the Caulfield Cup in 1977.

Continue reading "The day the sport of kings took on an entirely new meaning" »

US government slams PNG for failure to combat people trafficking. Children as young as 10 being forced into prostitution

Trafficking in Persons Report 2018KEITH JACKSON

Read the US State Department’s full 2018 trafficking in persons report here

WASHINGTON DC - The government of Papua New Guinea does not fully meet minimum standards for the elimination of people trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, according to the United States government.

This year’s annual report on trafficking by the US Department of State says that, as a result, PNG has been downgraded to the lowest of four tiers on the trafficking scale, with evidence that children as young as 10 are being forced into prostitution.

The report states PNG has taken some minimal steps to address the problem, including initiating the first investigation of a government official under anti-trafficking law, but that progress is hindered by an acute lack of resources as well as very low awareness of the problem among government officials and the public.

Continue reading "US government slams PNG for failure to combat people trafficking. Children as young as 10 being forced into prostitution" »

Kiaps, national service, Vietnam & military adventurism


An Australian patrol officer with Biami people in the vicinity of Nomad patrol post, 1964

TUMBY BAY - In late 1964 Australia passed the National Service Act. The Act required selected 20-year old men to serve in the army for two years, followed by three years in the Army Reserve.

The Act was amended in 1965 to allow conscripts to serve overseas. The following year the prime minister announced that national servicemen would be sent to Vietnam, where a ferocious war was being fought, to serve with regular Australian army units.

Those eight years when conscription was in force were stressful and confusing for many young men of eligible age, including those in the Territory of Papua New Guinea who weren’t really sure whether they had to register or not.

Young Australian men who were living overseas didn’t have to register. Papua was an Australian territory so young men working there were technically not overseas while New Guinea was a United Nations trust territory and young men there were technically overseas.

Continue reading "Kiaps, national service, Vietnam & military adventurism" »

The long, sad history of cunning plans - & the implications for PNG

Blackadder-quotesCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - In the very funny television series ‘Blackadder’ the eponymous protagonist, played by the hugely talented Rowan Atkinson, has a manservant called Baldrick, played by prominent actor and historian Sir Tony Robinson.

Blackadder is constantly scheming to find ways to enhance his status, wealth or power, usually at the expense of others. In doing so he is assisted or mostly hindered by a cast of characters who manage to manifest the very worst qualities of Britain’s former aristocratic ruling elite.

A running joke throughout the series is that the exceedingly dim Baldrick often tries to help his master achieve his devious ends by devising “cunning plans”. These plans are invariably stupid and destined to fail but Baldrick is always disappointed when Blackadder points out their obvious flaws.

One of the important reasons the series resonates so powerfully with anyone familiar with history is because many of the scenarios it depicts echo the ambitions, attitudes and behaviours of real historic figures.

Continue reading "The long, sad history of cunning plans - & the implications for PNG" »

Betel nut – Papua New Guinea’s social bond & urban curse

The ingredientsRAYMOND SIGIMET

DAGUA - Betel nut chewing has strong Melanesian cultural roots, especially in traditional Papua New Guinea societies in the coastal and island regions. Betel nut, also called areca nut or buai in Tok Pisin, is the seed of the Areca catechu palm tree.

The history of betel nut goes back thousands of years. It has a long history in parts of Asia and the Pacific. It is estimated that 10-20% of the world’s population chews the nut.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 600 million people use some form of betel nut. It is placed fourth as the world’s most popular psychoactive substance after nicotine, alcohol and caffeine.

Continue reading "Betel nut – Papua New Guinea’s social bond & urban curse" »

CEO survey shows seven years of surprises for PNG business

Stephen Howes
Stephen Howes - 'foreign exchange woes'

Director of the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre, STEPHEN HOWES, has analysed the results of the most recent Business Advantage International’s long-running annual ‘PNG 100 CEO Survey’. Here are his conclusions…..

CANBERRA - Every year since 2012, Business Advantage International has run a survey of Papua New Guinea business executives.

Called the ‘PNG 100 CEO Survey’, it is said to be a survey of ‘senior executives from a representative sample of PNG’s largest companies, across all sectors of the economy.’

While I am not in a position to judge how representative is the sample surveyed, the results are certainly illuminating. This article summarises the trends from these surveys, and draws out three lessons.

Continue reading "CEO survey shows seven years of surprises for PNG business" »

ABC denies it but seems to be crab-walking away from the Pacific


Keith Jackson - 'Chinese want to make the Pacific  a sphere of influence'

SYDNEY - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat morning program has undergone some format changes, causing concern that there have been more cuts to the national broadcaster’s international radio service.

And, in another change, announced internally today, esteemed Pacific Affairs reporter Bruce Hill will be leaving the ABC.

The format changes “are not cuts,” according to Radio Australia manager Cath Dwyer, who has told Radioinfo the format of the morning sequence was rearranged to make it sound better.

At the beginning of this year, before Cath Dwyer took up her current position, the ABC announced that “listeners in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific will get an additional two hours of live morning weekday programming with the launch of a new morning news, talk and entertainment show.”

Continue reading "ABC denies it but seems to be crab-walking away from the Pacific" »

Those gun wielding thugs can do untold harm to all of us


ADELAIDE - As the world continues to regress towards an approximation of the state of affairs that existed at the end of the 19th century, Phil Fitzpatrick has rightly drawn attention to one of the dubious blessings that modernity has given to developing countries such as PNG.

It is a sad fact of human existence that our aggressive nature, inherent fear of the other and instinct towards tribalism frequently combines to create a state of animosity and sometimes war.

Worse still, we have proved marvellously adept at creating new technologies with to wage war more efficiently and effectively.

The developed world has now achieved mastery over methods of killing that are capable of threatening the very survival of our species.

Fortunately, thus far at least, we have felt constrained from using those technologies, mostly owing to the fear of mutually assured destruction, which has generated the exceedingly apt acronym MAD.

Less fortunately, we have enthusiastically provided vast numbers of lesser weapons to societies such as that of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Those gun wielding thugs can do untold harm to all of us" »

Pomio logging & oil palm damage estimated to be ‘billions’

Pomio logging
Pomio wasteland - "Before we lost our land we could provide support to our relatives in times of hardship, providing them with land to garden, housing materials and cash crops. Now all that is lost"


PORT MORESBY - Communities affected by three Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs) in the West Pomio District of East New Britain Province have assessed the economic damage caused by logging and oil palm planting at more than K2.4 billion.

The damage assessment was compiled by 17 communities that have lost 42,400 hectares of customary land under the Pomata, Ralopal and Nakiura leases.

The total assessment of K2.4 billion comprises both the damage already suffered since the leases were issued and the future loss that will accrue through to 2110 if the leases are not cancelled and the land returned.

Community spokesperson Ana Sipona says the communities never agreed to the loss of their customary land or the logging and oil palm planting.

Continue reading "Pomio logging & oil palm damage estimated to be ‘billions’" »

‘If Australia fails to listen to PNG, we won’t have a good outcome’

Ben Doherty

BEN DOHERTY | The Guardian | Extract

An extract from a thoughtful piece by Ben Doherty on the Australia-PNG-China relationship. You can read the entire article here

SYDNEY - China’s aid spending in Papua New Guinea – with its focus on infrastructure and “few-strings-attached” concessional loans – risks eroding Australia’s influence in the country, with Australian aid sometimes viewed as paternalistic and unwieldy.

A Deakin University submission to a parliamentary inquiry, based on interviews with Papua New Guinean business, political, academic and community leaders argues Australia risks being diminished by rising Chinese spending.

PNG is Australia’s closest neighbour, and for reasons of proximity and a shared history – PNG was under Australian administration until 1975 – Australia has been its most significant international partner.

But China has recently dramatically increased its aid spending in PNG, with a particular focus on signature pieces of infrastructure and concessional loans.

Continue reading "‘If Australia fails to listen to PNG, we won’t have a good outcome’" »

Do Australians want Papua New Guinea to fail? And why?


TUMBY BAY - We humans tend to form many of our opinions based on what we read, hear and watch in the media. Sometimes we even adopt what we believe directly from the media, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Media owners and producers know this and tailor the information they disseminate accordingly.

And because the bottom line for most media outlets is the number of sales they make and the profit that generates, they tend to give us what we want.

Even non-profit outlets, including social media, tend to present material in line with what they think audiences want so they can maintain interest.

What this means is that most media, rather than being leaders in shaping ideas and opinion, are actually captives of their audience.

Conservative media caters for conservative consumers and progressive media caters for progressive consumers.

Continue reading "Do Australians want Papua New Guinea to fail? And why?" »

‘Montevideo Maru’ – Australia’s biggest maritime tragedy

Montevideo Maru
Montevideo Maru - the freighter's sinking was Australia's worst ever maritime disaster

GRANTLEE KIEZA | The Courier-Mail (Brisbane)

BRISBANE - They were herded onto the cargo vessel and into the hot, dark, airless hold. Beaten, bullied and bedraggled, they were slaves of the merciless Japanese army during the darkest days of Australia’s history and were treated worse than animals.

It was 22 June 1942 at the tropical outpost of Rabaul, a port on New Britain, part of the Australian mandated territory of New Guinea.

The great volcano there had erupted five years earlier but that disaster was nothing compared with the man-made carnage as Japanese soldiers thrust bayonets toward their prisoners or beat them with bamboo rods.

Soon these men — numbering more than 1,000 and including at least 49 Queenslanders — would become casualties in Australia’s worst ever maritime disaster.

Continue reading "‘Montevideo Maru’ – Australia’s biggest maritime tragedy" »

There’s a new breed of ruthless killer at large in PNG today


Velma Ninjipa
Velma Ninjipa shot in the face - robbery is not enough, now gunmen shoot to kill

TUMBY BAY – ABC journalist Eric Tlozek filed a story on Saturday about Velma Ninjipa who was held up by gunmen outside a motel in Port Moresby and blasted in the face with a shotgun.

Tlozek was pointing out how dangerous Port Moresby has become and how money and resources are being thrown into security for the upcoming APEC meeting in November.

The ferocity of the attack on the woman and the patent disregard for human life by her attacker reminded me of an incident in which I was involved in the Southern Highlands in 2003.

In that case we were victims of a set up. A company helicopter was supposed to meet us at a remote airstrip to pick up a payroll and whisk it away to safety. But workers on a seismic line had engineered a fake medical emergency to divert the aircraft to another location.

The inexperienced chief of the seismic camp fell for the ruse, sent the chopper elsewhere and left us on the airstrip with the payroll and no alternative but to make a run for it in our truck.

Continue reading "There’s a new breed of ruthless killer at large in PNG today" »

A long day's flying around some of PNG's backblocks

Siobhain and Ryan Cole and the beloved GA8 Airvan - keeping the people of PNG connected

SIOBHAIN COLE | MAF Papua New Guinea

Being a Missionary Aviation Fellowship pilot family based at a remote outstation like Telefomin or Rumginae includes aircraft maintenance and grocery shopping trips for the family every third month to MAF’s main base at Mt Hagen. After coming back as a married couple from an extended time of leave and home assignment, Siobhain Cole traded her role as MAF PNG’s ground operations manager to being a pilot’s wife at an outstation.

She still does operations project work and flight bookings for the department she previously led, but she also has to look after the wellbeing of her pilot husband, Ryan, who flies the Twin Otter as a first officer and also the single crew GA8 Airvan, both out of Telefomin where they are one of three pilot families.

In the past, Siobhain orchestrated other pilot families’ schedules to come and go out of Mt Hagen for shopping and aircraft maintenance trips. Now she is experiencing the joys and challenges of such trips, like unexpectedly getting stuck in Mt Hagen for an extra night or two and not necessarily getting home in one go. Here she shares some of her experiences of a recent trip to Mt Hagen and back home to Telefomin, a good 90 minutes flight away, close to the western border of PNG.

Continue reading "A long day's flying around some of PNG's backblocks" »

'All dressed up like a pox doctor's clerk' - a personal quest


SYDNEY - One of my favourite Australian novels is David Ireland’s ‘The Glass Canoe’. It is set in a mythical suburban West Sydney pub, The Mead, during the 1960s.

It featured the usual cast of misfits, characters and odd balls that seemed to frequent suburban hotels in that era.

The term ‘glass canoe’ referred to a schooner of beer. The regulars would escape the dismal reality of the outside world for the warmth and companionship of the public bar and, once inside, they would slip into a glass canoe and drift off into oblivion.

Naturally the novel contains a lot of swearing and frequent use of Australian slang. Most of the latter I could understand but there was one phrase that completely baffled me.

My quest to find its meaning puzzled me for a long time until the mystery ended in the convivial surroundings of the Boroko Sports Club in Port Moresby many years later.

Continue reading "'All dressed up like a pox doctor's clerk' - a personal quest" »

A billion kina owed, no referendum question – is it a PNG go-slow?

John Momis & Peter O'Neill
John Momis & Peter O'Neill at the referendum conference in Arawa, Bougainville - the main decision was to meet again next month


ARAWA – Friday’s top level meeting between Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville president John Momis deferred the crucial issue of what questions will be put to the Bougainville people who will vote on their political future in a referendum on Saturday 15 June next year.

The joint PNG-Bougainville supervisory body agreed to postpone this and other crucial matters until its next meeting in Port Moresby at the end of this month.

It was a further instance of the PNG government’s longstanding tardiness – whether deliberate or because of institutional inefficiency – in handling almost every issue relating to Bougainville.

At the meeting Dr Momis stressed that PNG was still not providing Bougainville with the grant committed to enable its public service to operate effectively, including meeting salary costs.

He said the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) is “in extreme budget crisis” due to the national government’s failure to make a range of payments.

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In praise of that old colonial public service suburb of Boroko

Contemporary Boroko home
Contemporary Boroko home


PORT MORESBY – It’s not always easy to find the ideal location to rent or buy in the National Capital District. Not that there isn’t overwhelming choice; but there are so many price tags, wantoks and road conditions to consider when searching for a place.

We all want our homes to be affordable, accessible, versatile, secure and have aesthetic appeal but, aside from your own house, you should always carefully consider the neighbourhood and the suburb before you begin your search.

According to the 2018 PNG Real Estate Survey, most people think that Boroko and Waigani have attractive neighbourhoods because the majority of people opted for these two as the most sought after suburbs to live in.

So in this article let me explore reasons why Boroko is such a cool suburb for your home.

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Public comments sought on proposal for electoral reform


Robert Atiyafa
Robert Atiyafa

PORT MORESBY - The Chairman of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, Robert Atiyafa MP, has just bought a two-page advertisement in each of the two national daily newspapers to publicise reforms in Papua New Guinea’s electoral laws.

Papua New Guineans have over the years voiced concerns on problems associated with electoral laws and processes and this is our chance to put in our own ideas for reform. I encourage everyone to contribute to the process.

There are twelve terms of reference indicated under the headings of pre-election, casting votes, limited preferential voting and electronic counting.

You can find more detail by going to the Commission’s Facebook page here and browsing through the information provided. It covers electronic voter registration, national identity cards, extra time for polling and more choices for preferential voting.

You can also find more information by emailing or or writing to the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission at PO Box 3439, Boroko, National Capital District.