Friday 26 Apr 2019 | 21:46 | SYDNEY
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Pacific Islands

Australia-PNG relations: Decades of missed opportunities

Last year Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Australia, H. E. Charles Lepani — who was one of the first Papua New Guinean heads of a government department at independence — observed in Reflections: 39 years of Sovereign Statehood in Papua New Guinea that, despite the two

Vanuatu's neglected international airport

By Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program and Matthew Dornan, Deputy Director of the Development Policy Centre Vanuatu is the 9th most tourism-dependent country in the world. The tourism sector accounts for between 40% and 65% of GDP (measures vary by year and

Fiji regroups: Coordination key to effective Cyclone Winston response

This first-hand account from strategic communications adviser Vani Vulaca tells what it was like when Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji, looks at which areas are in most need of aid, and explains the challenging logistics of coordinating disaster relief. Fiji has had its fair share of tropical

PNG is changing and we need to keep up

Sean Dorney is right when he says that Australians should take a stronger interest in Papua New Guinea. Sean is a consistent advocate of this cause. He is one of the leaders of a special Australian ‘tribe’; those who have been touched by PNG, and who will have it in their blood forever. I'm a

The Embarrassed Colonialist

Forty years after independence, Papua New Guinea is the largest single recipient of aid from Australia. Yet Australians seem to be largely ambivalent about the country. Few Australians know the history of our colonial rule in PNG and our ties to the country are being forgotten.    

Fiji's democracy takes a hit

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Alastair Davis, an intern in the Melanesia Program. The process of rebuilding democracy in Fiji after eight years of military rule has taken a hit in recent weeks. Elections in 2014 engendered a sense of optimism for a

New Caledonia: Slow progress on defining its future

The latest meeting of those charged with steering New Caledonia into its next stage of governance went some small way to resolving sensitive political issues but also demonstrated just how deep divisions run regarding the possibility of independence. The Committee of Signatories that met in

Russia ships arms to Fiji: What will be the quid pro quo?

By Anna Powles and Jose Sousa-Santos When the MV Saint Confidence and MV Solidat arrived in Suva Harbour last week to deliver a consignment of donated Russian weapons and equipment to Fiji, it sparked an immediate reaction. opposition MPs and security analysts have made several claims including:

Vanuatu election may bring generational change

Vanuatu goes to the polls today in a snap election brought about by a parliamentary bribery scandal, which culminated in the jailing of 14 MPs in October last year. The MPs, including the Deputy Prime Minister, lost their seats as a result and early elections were announced on 7 December 2015.

New Caledonia census raises thorny political questions

The 2014 census results for New Caledonia have been published, showing changes in the ethnic composition of a growing population. These changes are central to the political differences which led to civil war in the 1980s, and which continue now as New Caledonia considers its status after the 1998

Trouble in New Caledonia over links with China

Nickel mine at Thio, Southern Province, New Caledonia Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images In August the economy of the nickel-rich French territory of New Caledonia ground to a halt as truck drivers set up barricades preventing movement at strategic points around the main island. The drivers called for

Vanuatu: Bribery scandal might yet improve politics

The saga over bribery and pardons in Vanuatu has brought out the worst and the best in the Pacific island nation's political-legal class. Vanuatu's Supreme Court found 14 members of parliament guilty of the criminal charge of bribery on 9 October. Later that day, in flagrant disregard for the

PNG's budget in urgent need of repair

Part 1 of this series on the PNG economy looked at the double dilemma of an overvalued currency and falling foreign reserves. This second and final part examines the urgent need to reset fiscal policy. When Papua New Guinea's budget for 2015 was handed down in November last year it contained many

Turnbull's new cabinet is great news for the Pacific

On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government. Steven Ciobo

Australia–Papua New Guinea relations: Could do better

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Papua New Guinea: Keep calm and muddle through?

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact

Australia's PNG solution: The seeds of sectarianism?

As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those

Papua's education malaise

This is part 3 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. Here is the introduction, part 1 and part 2.  One sunny November school day at a school in Tagime, hundreds of primary and secondary students are outside having a whale of a time. They're playing

For Australians, is PNG a partner or an obligation?

Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:   There are challenges and

How government is failing the people of Papua

This is part 2 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here, and here' part 1. Gaad Piranid Tabuni grew up in a village in the Papuan highlands of Indonesia too remote for any government – colonial Dutch or

With the missionaries of Papua

This is part 1 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. Here is the introduction to the series is here.  On a chilly Sunday evening in Wamena, the highlands capital of Indonesian Papua, a small group of white Christian missionaries worship together in an

Australia-PNG diplomatic spat needs swift resolution

Papua New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province. This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also

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