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The Melanesia Program

The Melanesia Program’s research focuses on geo-strategic and economic competition in the Pacific Islands, technology-inspired development, governance, leadership, growth and poverty alleviation in Melanesia. The Institute hosts a number of forums that promote dialogue between Australian and Pacific government leaders, ministers and officials, the private sector and civil society representatives.

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Experts

Latest Publications

Papua New Guinea's election surprises

This is the first of several articles for The Interpreter by Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow and former long-time Papua New Guinea correspondent Sean Dorney, who was in PNG for the elections as part of the Commonwealth's PNG Election Observer Mission. The most surprising thing for me about

Peter O’Neill returns for a second term

Papua New Guinea’s Parliament has today returned Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister for a second five-year term, defeating a spirited coalition of parties known as ‘The Alliance’ in a vote 60 to 46. The returning Prime Minister will have many questions to answer for the general conduct of

Predicting PNG’s election

The PNG national elections are upon us, and for a brief moment the attention of regional and global media will be focused on this vibrant and costly celebration of democracy. The issues leading into the elections have been well documented by myself and others. Bal Kama's recent piece for The

Australian aid budget: It could have been worse

A $300 million cut. That’s what the headlines will say about the impact of this year’s budget on the Australian aid program. But that cut won't happen for another two years and there will be an election between now and then. In the meantime, this year the Federal government's spend on aid will

Harnessing Papua New Guinea’s rugby league obsession

You don't have to spend much time in Papua New Guinea to realise that the country is obsessed with rugby league. The atmosphere in Port Moresby on a State of Origin night could rival the most devout regions of New South Wales or Queensland. Rugby league is considered PNG's national sport. In a

The benefits and challenges of ICT in PNG

Access to information and increased communications capacity bring major benefits to a society. New business opportunities emerge, as do opportunities for education. Access to ICT can broaden opportunities for capacity building and increase workforce productivity. The adoption and use of

How the ABC can avoid tuning out the Pacific

This week the ABC announced it would end shortwave transmission services to the Pacific region early next year, delivering an estimated $2.8 million in savings. It’s unclear exactly how much of these savings will be ring-fenced for the ABC’s already stripped-back Pacific services. I have a lot

Pacific links: NZ quake, PNG budget, Palau election and more

By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia program New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the cost of damage caused by this week's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the nation's South Island, which killed two people, may reach over a billion dollars. New Zealand is part of the

Australia's marriage-equality debate reverberates through the Pacific

Harriet Smith is an intern in the Melanesia Program, Lowy Institute. As the LGBTQ+ community in Australia continues the struggle for marriage equality, some are asking what impact this will have for our neighbours, especially in nations which still criminalise homosexuality. With the bill to hold

PNG shootings are not a Tiananmen moment

The reporting on the tragic confrontation between students and police at the gates of the University of Papua New Guinea on Wednesday reminded me of a comment made some years ago when I was covering a landslide in the PNG Highlands. Initial reports out of Port Moresby this week quoted students as

Australian aid tumbled in 2015

With the first Turnbull Government budget this week, it is important to take stock of the impact the Coalition government has had to date on Australia's aid program.  Perhaps the largest foreign policy legacy of the Abbott Government has been the impact it had upon Australian aid.

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