Thursday 22 Feb 2018 | 05:34 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Pacific Islands

Unblocking money flows in the Pacific

The modern focus on terrorism has galvanized efforts to stop the global financial system being used to launder money and fund terrorist activity. This effort is crucial and should continue. But the crackdown has had unintended negative consequences in developing countries. Tighter

Pacific Islands links: Papua tweets, logging in PNG, and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern with the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program. Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor is in Canberra to discuss Australia’s new Foreign Policy White Paper and Biketawa Plus, the expanded agreement on collective responses to

Vanuatu: flailing, not drowning

On Monday The Australian published an article titled “Pacific nations drowning in Chinese debt”. It suggests that a large number of recent “white elephant” projects are becoming an unsustainable burden on Pacific Islands countries. Although this contains a kernel of

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

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

Pages