The conduct of the general elections in Solomon Islands on 19 November appears to have been largely successful. An interim report from the Commonwealth Observer Team led by former Prime Minister of PNG Mekere Morauta has praised the conduct of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, the
Jenny Hayward-Jones is Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program and Philippa Brant is a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute.
Pacific Island leaders have had the rare opportunity to meet the international leader of the moment, Narendra Modi, and the president of the world's
Thirty years ago to the week, New Caledonia was torn apart by violent protests. The pro-independence FLNKS boycotted an election and town halls were burned throughout the country. It provoked a four-year long civil war euphemistically known as 'the events'.
At first, Australia supported the Kanak
A few months ago I stood on a beach in Tarawa, the most populous of islands comprising the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. It's long and thin sliver of land where you can walk from one side of the island to the other in minutes. It has a population density up to twice that of Sydney or New York, but
I was in Fiji last week to get an update on Chinese assistance to the country, as part of a larger project I'm doing mapping Chinese aid activities in the Pacific islands, to be launched in early 2015.
Navua Hospital, built with Chinese aid assistance, Fiji. (Author photo)
Fiji is becoming
Fiji's return to parliamentary government, following elections deemed credible by international observers and the first meeting of the new parliament, is cause for celebration. But much remains to be done to consolidate democracy under the new constitution. Both the incoming Government and the
Catch up with news, commentary & analysis from and about the Pacific island region:
Australia is working hard to normalise relations with Fiji now that the election is over, including the restoration of military ties. But there is still no word as to when the Bainimarama Government will welcome
The Fiji elections have delivered a crushing victory for Rear Admiral (Retd) Bainimarama, author of the 2006 coup.
The victory was crushing not only for FijiFirst, Bainimarama's party, but also for him personally. FijiFirst received 293,714 out of 496,364 votes cast, giving the party 59.20% of the
Now that Fiji has held its first elections in eight years, it is time to take stock of the lessons for Australian diplomacy. These lessons should inform Australia's approach to the Pacific island region, including in responses to future political upheaval, which is all but certain to take place.
Imagine that the most senior leader of one of Australia's neighbours resigns suddenly during a visit by a minister. And that this follows an election where the winners cannot agree on allocating a key economic portfolio, a street protest where two policemen are shot and a boozy lunch where a senior
The count in Fiji's elections is well underway following a smooth, apparently trouble-free poll yesterday. Provisional results are expected today, with the process of allocating seats in parliament to follow. It seems likely that FijiFirst, the party of incumbent Prime Minister
After eight years of Voreqe Bainimarama's military rule in Fiji, there is much excitement about the prospects for Fiji's return to democracy with elections next week. Seven parties and one independent candidate will contest 50 parliamentary seats. 591,095 Fijians have registered to vote; 120,000
The election will only be the first step in Fiji’s transition to democracy after eight years of Voreqe Bainimarama’s military rule. Australia should use its influence to assist the workings of the Fiji Parliament, the development of an unfettered civil society and media and an independent
On 17 September, Fiji goes to the polls for the first time in eight years. This is a notable step forward given that, when I spoke to people in Suva a year ago, they were still phrasing things in terms of 'IF the election happens'. With the first pre-polling stations having opened a few days ago,
People who laud Tony Abbott's surefooted foreign policy never mention his role in the Pacific islands. It's hardly surprising. Following the precedent set by John Howard, the Prime Minister has not shown much interest in Australia's closest neighbours.
Abbott couldn't even spare a day to attend
During the time Fiji has been governed by the military, there has been much discussion about the impact of the political situation on economic performance. Satish Chand has argued that each coup Fiji has experienced has pushed the economy back three years, and that the aggregate erosion of the
By Jojiana Cokanasiga, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program. She is completing a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development at the Australian National University.
Lawyers, entrepreneurs, academics and civil servants are some of the female
In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Jo Chandler presents a devastating picture of the endemic violence against women in Papua New Guinea. She highlights the courageous efforts of PNG civil society to change attitudes and assist the victims, and the role Australia is playing to help PNG address the
Last Friday Fijian Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama began his first visit to Australia since taking power in 2006. In response to the 2006 coup, Canberra had imposed travel bans for all members of the Fijian government. These were abandoned earlier this year by the Abbott Government.
Pacific Island leaders will meet at the annual Pacific Islands Forum meeting next week in Palau. Prime Minister Abbott has cancelled his travel plans in order to focus on the response to the MH17 disaster and is sending Deputy Prime Minister Truss in his stead.
Pacific leaders will be disappointed
The role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty in the Indo-Pacific region
Dr Tess Newton Cain
Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade
Please click here for full text
Chinese Assistance in the Pacific: Agency, Effectiveness and the Role of Pacific Island Governments
Philippa Brant and Matthew Dornan
Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies
Please click here for full online text
Tobias Haque and Doug Porter have worked on Solomon Islands for the past several years. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employers .
Jenny Hayward-Jones' recent paper (Australia's Costly Investment in Solomon Islands) suggests
On Sunday 11 May elections were held in New Caledonia. They will have a big impact on the future of the French territory.
These were the final elections under the 1998 Noumea Accord. This Accord, building on the 1988 Matignon Accords, put an end to bloodshed over demands for independence. They
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Philippa Brant, a Lowy Institute research associate.
The Abbott Government last night brought down the first annual aid budget since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusAID
The Abbott Government will next week bring down its first aid budget, a budget which itself will contain two interesting firsts: it is the first since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with AusAID, and the first since the transition of the very expensive Regional
Every year over 400,000 tourists flock to the pristine islands of Fiji, its celestial exterior barely revealing a turbulent political past. Fiji has been without an elected government since Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama seized power in a December 2006 military coup.
That coup was the fourth the
It has been standard practice for a while that the interim government of Fiji and its leader, Rear Admiral JV Bainimarama, makes big announcements late in the day or during weekends. Last weekend proved no exception.
On Friday, we learned that the first elections to be held in
The status of the rule of law in Nauru became even more precarious with the recent resignation of Nauru's Chief Justice, Australian Geoffrey Eames. After two months of seeking to have the withdrawal of his visa by the Nauruan Government overturned, he now says his position is untenable.
The nuclear-free antennae worn by many New Zealanders have been bristling at news of a counter-campaign by Australian diplomats at the UN.
At issue is a statement on the humanitarian grounds for disarmament which was presented in November 2013 at the General Assembly's First Committee by New
Almost eight years after assuming power in Fiji, Voreque Bainimarama has fulfilled his own government decree regarding the separation of military and state. On 5 March, Bainimarama stepped down as Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. He remains in power, but that
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop believes PNG is one of Australia's highest foreign policy priorities and is committed to strengthening ties with PNG.
Australia's merchandise trade with our nearest neighbour totals $5.7 billion and Australia's investments in PNG are as high as $18.6 billion. PNG is
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sprang a surprise on Australia's Fiji watchers last Friday. She not only pulled off what looked like a friendly meeting with Fiji's authoritarian prime minister but also revealed she would soon be normalising relations with Fiji, officially in the freezer
This is an important moment for Fiji.
Today Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop makes her first visit to Fiji as part of the Pacific Islands Forum's Ministerial Contact Group. Foreign ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are due to meet Fiji's
On her first visit to Papua New Guinea as Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop has reconfirmed the high priority the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship has for Australian foreign policy and declared her deep affection for the country.
A frequent visitor to PNG as shadow minister,
The Lowy Institute hosted the inaugural Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue on 26 November 2013. The Dialogue was convened with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was an initiative that arose from the 2012 Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum.
In what may be the clearest sign yet that Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama (pictured) intends to make good on his promise to hold elections in 2014, he has announced that he will resign as head of the military on 28 February and stand for election.
Bainimarama has promised that his
China today is using economic statecraft more frequently, more assertively, and in more diverse fashion than ever before. Yet fears of Chinese economic coercion should not be overdrawn. In many cases, China’s use of economic statecraft has been counterproductive.
John Caldeira writes:
Your article on the current Fiji political situation is quite biased and poorly researched. Compared to the racist and corrupt governments of the past, the current government in Fiji has been a godsend. Not perfect. Everyone would like to choose their political leadership by
In an opinion piece in The Australian, Jenny Hayward-Jones writes that instead of speculating on the hidden intentions of China’s growing engagement with the Pacific Islands region, Canberra's priority should be to assist Pacific Island countries maximise the economic benefits of China'
Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Goroka and a Lowy Institute intern.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (pictured) is acutely aware of the need to improve PNG's international reputation. Part of his plan to do this is to step up PNG's activities as a regional
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has released the much anticipated Fiji draft constitution, an extensive revision of the 2012 draft released by the Constitutional Commission, led by international constitutional law scholar Yash Ghai.
The draft constitution marks a milestone in