• Another scandal on Manus Island. Local employees at the Australian-funded immigration centres, managed by Paladin, have walked off the job due to pay and poor working conditions. Paladin is already under scrutiny due to its $423 million contract with the federal government.
     
  • Papua New Guinea is commemorating the anniversary of the massive earthquake that hit the Highlands last year. Community workers say there are still thousands of people displaced, while many people continue to struggle with the mental health impact of the quake. On a positive note, local police say the disruption of the earthquake has resulted in many communities becoming stronger and more united.
     
  • Nice piece by Geoff Heriot retracing the mandate the Australian Broadcasting Corporation once had and underlining how the broadcaster should take its international broadcasting more seriously, especially in the Pacific.
     
  • From 13–14 June, the 2018 PNG Update will be held at UPNG in Port Moresby with the theme “Development and Diversity”. The call for papers for the Update has been extended to Friday 31 March.
     
  • Australian Senator Anne Ruston, the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, went to the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit in Palau last week and discussed climate change, new diplomatic postings, and the rising role of China in the region.
     
  • A cyclone is forming in the Pacific and could hit Fiji and Tonga in the next 24 hours.
     
  • Brilliant analysis of the past Fijian elections by Kerryn Baker, who looks at the changing role of women, both voters and candidates, in the process, that has led Fiji to be among the highest-performing Pacific island countries for women’s political representation.
     
  • Vanuatu banned single-use plastic bags, drinking straws, and styrofoam food containers last July in a dramatic attempt to stem the flow of trash from the country’s coasts into the ocean. Now, the prime minister is thinking about extending the ban. Nick Visser explains how the country became a leader in plastic management.

The Lowy Institute is part of the  Pacific Research Program