Sunday 25 Aug 2019 | 12:13 | SYDNEY
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Pacific Islands

Waitangi Day and Australia Day: contrasting symbolism

In a little more than a week, New Zealand will celebrate its national day, Waitangi Day. This year will mark the 178th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi, the agreement between the British Crown and New Zealand Maori rangatira (chiefs) that led to New Zealand becoming a British colony

Worry ahead of New Caledonia’s independence vote

Last month, a year before the deadline for the referendum on independence from France, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe visited the semi-autonomous territory of New Caledonia. Philippe is anxious about potential unrest. In October, a special delegation of New Caledonians expressed

Favourites of 2017: PNG speaks

As a close observer of Australia’s nearest neighbour, I often lament how little commentary there is on Papua New Guinea's short history from a local perspective. The most contemporary example is former prime minister Julius Chan’s autobiography, which gilds the lily on a few too many

Pacific island links: deep-sea mines and searching for life on Mars

By Euan Moyle, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program. The Lowy Institute’s series of papers on Papua New Guinea, Seven Snapshots of a Nation, looked at the challenges of PNG’s recent elections and the effectiveness of its government. ABC’s Pacific Beat discussed

Taiwan and its South Pacific allies

With fleeting news coverage, President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China last month concluded official visits to Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, three diplomatic allies of Taiwan in the South Pacific. No surprises occurred during her South Pacific trip, which was based on

No zero-sum game in greater Pacific ties

For many commentators with an interest in the Pacific, the emphasis on the region in the Foreign Policy White Paper has been welcomed as long overdue. Yet it has also raised some questions about the manner in which Australia engages in the region. James Batley has questioned whether Australia has

New Caledonia: the future takes shape

A visit to New Caledonia last week highlighted the momentous discussions that are taking place to determine the future of Australia's closest eastern neighbour.  Amid profound differences, two opposing leaders have released ambit claims. On 13 November, independence Palika party leader

What next for Papua New Guinea?

It has been a tumultuous year for Australia's nearest neighbour. The protracted and controversial elections in Papua New Guinea took up most of 2017, with Peter O'Neill winning a second term and cementing his position as the most formidable politician of his generation. The government

Dodging the hard questions in the Pacific

The Foreign Policy White Paper calls for enhanced engagement with the Pacific islands, a welcome priority that was echoed in Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles' recent speech to the Lowy Institute. But the framing of this engagement as a policy of strategic denial avoids some of the complex

Australia’s coal-fired diplomacy burns Pacific friends

Australia likes to pride itself as a Pacific power, one that shares common values with Pacific island neighbours to work towards what the new Foreign Policy White Paper calls 'a shared agenda for security and prosperity'. But Australia's pursuit of its own prosperity through the promotion

No course correction in PNG budget

It is no secret that the Papua New Guinea economy is facing some very tough times. The collapse of global commodity prices, a severe drought, an ongoing foreign exchange crisis, and questionable government spending have all contributed to a dramatic reversal of fortunes for a country that just four

A manifesto to build Australia’s Pacific connection

Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles delivered a speech at the Lowy Institute on Tuesday demanding an enhanced strategy and guiding philosophy for Australia’s role in the Pacific. It is a timely speech, delivered with clear conviction from a long-time and often lonely advocate in Parliament

Australia makes a welcome Pacific connection

In a week when same-sex marriage, dual-citizenship and Manus Island dominated the news cycle, Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Peter O’Neill still found time on the sidelines of the APEC summit to strike a deal that should not go overlooked. Turnbull announced that Australia will majority-fund

Pacific needs a voice in international arbitration

The Pacific is one of the few places without a legal framework to resolve cross-border commercial disputes through international arbitration. This stifles the growth of its economies, as a credible dispute resolution and enforcement regime is fundamental to their ability to attract foreign direct

Pacific air patrols will do more than combat illegal fishing

Protecting fish stocks from illegal fishing is of critical importance to the economy, food security and stability of Pacific Island countries. This makes Australia’s efforts to bolster the aerial surveillance capability of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) a particularly valuable

Pacific island links: Sogavare out, COP23, Manus and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been ousted after a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. He has said the mass resignations last week that preceded the vote were due to the reintroduction of an anti-

Cleaning up the Manus damage

Last Tuesday saw the official closure of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, the Australian-funded and managed detention centre for unauthorised boat arrivals in Papua New Guinea. Originally opened in 2001 as part of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, the centre was closed by the

The Ardern ascendancy

When New Zealand’s 37-year-old Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern is formally sworn in as Prime Minister there will be some, on both sides of the Tasman, who will try to question her legitimacy. Those doing so will reveal they do not understand New Zealand’s proportional representation system. This

Pacific island links: PNG politics, Ambae, Tsai’s visit and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program. Sam Basil, leader of the Pangu Pati, has been appointed a Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy in the PNG Government, several weeks after he defected from opposition. PNG opposition MP Bryan

Pacific Islands links: Oil Search, Bougainville, Tonga and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia program. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has suggested that the Bougainville independence referendum, due in 2019, may not go ahead as the autonomous region must meet certain criteria first, including fiscal stability, establishment of

Lessons from the PNG elections

This is the fourth of several articles for The Interpreter by Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow and former long-term Papua New Guinea correspondent, Sean Dorney who was in PNG for the elections as part of the Commonwealth's PNG Election Observer Mission. You can find part one here, part

New Zealand’s election: Winds of change

New Zealand has not had a change election since 2008 when John Key swept into power. His reliable successor, Bill English, is locked in a tight contest with Labour’s charismatic new leader Jacinda Ardern. Whichever one of them ends up Prime Minister after Saturday’s contest will occupy the apex

New Zealand election: Another victory salute from Winston?

Two months ago, the New Zealand National Party appeared to be cruising towards a fourth term at this Saturday's election. After the surprise retirement in late 2016 of popular Prime Minister John Key, there was a smooth leadership transition to his deputy, Finance Minister Bill English. English led

Perfidious New Zealand

It's fair to say that the Lowy Institute is not a bastion of rabid rugby supporters. And for the most part that doesn’t matter, but when you're talking trans-Tasman relations, you know nothing if you don’t know rugby. And I’ve stuck my head in enough rucks and mauls to recognise a rugby

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