While the global community struggles to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, Samoa is embroiled in a constitutional crisis. The South Pacific nation is frequently lauded for its good governance and regional leadership. The current crisis, however, has exposed fault lines around race and identity that
Health v growth
The language of lockdown has certainly undergone a change, from Prime Minister Scott Morrison advocating six months of hibernation only a month ago to now warning the country cannot stay under the doona much longer.
But it is no surprise the government's rhetoric has shifted to
The success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic in both Australia and New Zealand has led to a novel idea – the opening up of trans-Tasman travel as long as each country is able to keep infections under control. It would be a ray of hope and normalcy, and an economic plus for both parties. While
One of Papua New Guinea’s most prominent social media users is also one of its most prominent politicians. Police Minister Bryan Kramer etched out a profile as one of the country’s most recognisable figures first as a blogger, then as a vocal opposition MP, and now as a member of the
Since 2004, the US Air Force has rotated heavy bombers through the Western Pacific island of Guam. But no more. The Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP), which started in President George W. Bush’s first term and continued through President Barack Obama’s two terms, has now been abruptly terminated
Proposed changes to Samoa’s Constitution have provoked fierce debate. The views of the Prime Minister, the former Head of State, the judiciary, chiefly leaders, current and former government officials, the Samoa Law Society, and many others have been widely reported in the Samoan media. At the
Jon Philp, who commenced as Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea early this month, is the 16th to serve as Australia’s lead diplomatic representative in Port Moresby. I know from experience that the role is unlike any other in the Australian foreign service. The incumbent has the
West Papuans continue to fight for independence with the support of many Pacific nations. Despite Indonesia’s opposition and the recent impact of COVID-19 on the region, the resolution of West Papuan grievances may have stalled but nationalist sentiment has not been quelled.
Wind speeds over 215 kilometres per hour, more than 180,000 people affected, communities and their infrastructure hit hard, and countries in lockdown – Cyclone Harold is the most recent climate-fuelled calamity to wreak havoc in the Pacific islands. Combined with the Covid-19 pandemic, this
Earlier this week, New Zealand moved out of total lockdown into a phase of continuing control on social movement, but with an opening of widespread economic activity. Schools reopened partially. It is estimated that about half a million people returned to work after a stand down of five weeks.
Big boys time
From media baron Rupert Murdoch to leadership rival Peter Dutton, Malcolm Turnbull’s new memoir* released this week is partly built on his self-assessment that he can size up a bully better than most.
“The one thing I’d learned with bullies is that sucking up to them is
For a few weeks it has seemed like PNG might have been engaged in a “phony war” against coronavirus.
Only two cases had been confirmed across the nation of around nine million people. One was a foreign mine worker who was quickly sent out of the country once his positive test was confirmed.
Of all the regions in the world, the twin health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have the potential to hit the Pacific the hardest.
Pacific Island nations supported Australia during our bushfire crisis, sending members of their defence forces and making donations to communities
Where are we in the fourth week of lockdown in New Zealand?
The borders are sealed. As I was writing this, the Flight Radar 24 app had only two domestic flights taking place across the entire country. There were no outbound international flights, and only three aircraft heading in.
There is a growing recognition that Australia will need to do a lot to help the Pacific get through the Covid-19 pandemic. Like everywhere, big sums of money are needed. The question is how to finance it. Many advanced economies are rolling out budget packages of 10% of GDP or more. The Pacific
As borders close and globalisation contracts, consider the impact on the Pacific Island neighbours. Many countries in the region rely on labour mobility, with workers sent to Australian and New Zealand to help with fruit picking and work in regional areas. Workers on these schemes send around A$9,
COVIDcast is a Lowy Institute pop-up podcast for anyone interested in understanding the effect of coronavirus on global politics. Each week for the next few weeks, Lowy Institute experts will sit down to discuss the implications of coronavirus for the world.
In Episode 5, Lowy Institute’s
Six locations across the Pacific Islands region now have confirmed cases of Covid-19. Many of these countries are already ravaged with major diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, diabetes, and occasionally even polio. So Pacific politicians are all too conscious of the potential of any
In episode 5 of COVIDcast, Lowy Institute’s Director of Research, Alex Oliver, sat down with Jonathan Pryke and Shane McLeod to discuss how the crisis of coronavirus is affecting Australia’s immediate neighbourhood, the Pacific Islands. Jonathan is the Director of Lowy’s Pacific Islands
Tumultuous times. Along with every other country, New Zealand faces an uncertain period. Remoteness might mitigate some impact of Covid-19, but it does not provide protection from the consequences of global disruption.
It is hard to imagine in late January as the disease took hold in Wuhan that
Airlines are cancelling up to 90% of flights due to the rapid decline in travel brought on by Covid-19. Most of the world is being encouraged, or ordered, not to fly, and mandatory self-isolation is increasing common anyone arriving in more and more countries. That’s if they are allowed to enter
Is development aid an effective solution to lifting countries out of poverty? Roland Rajah, Director of the International Economy Program, and Research Fellow Alexandre Dayant write on aid and corruption. Originally published in the Devpolicy Blog
It’s been a volatile week for the PNG Hunters.
The Papua New Guinea rugby league team was celebrating on Sunday after staging a late comeback to clinch a 32-30 win against the Souths Logan Magpies in the first round of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup last weekend.
The Hunters were supposed to
With the confirmation of a coronavirus case in French Polynesia, the Pacific has officially joined the pandemic. The Covid-19 crisis could have dramatic impacts on the small island states.
Understanding and managing critical risks, as well as strengthening the resilience of these small and
Ambullua is a remote community located in upper Jimi District, Jiwaka Province, in the Highlands Region of Papua New Guinea. The population of approximately 7000 is almost entirely reliant on the Catholic Church for basic services, with minimal government or donor assistance.
The journey to
A review is underway into Australian aid policy, with consultations run across the country, and the public, scholars, and aid groups alike offering submissions – some of which are expected to be released in the coming weeks. Early indications from the Minister for International Development and
While novel coronavirus Covid-19 is spreading around the world, Pacific nations are ramping up on precautions. Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna has declared his country will not compromise the wellbeing of its people for economic gains, referring to cancellations of cruise ship visits and the
Third turn lucky
It is no surprise that Mahathir Mohamad appears to be savouring a third coming as Malaysia’s prime minister since all three of the country’s broad political groupings appear to need his support to form a government.
But the parallel question hanging over regional diplomacy is
Bougainville’s president John Momis has long been a towering figure in local politics. President for two consecutive terms since 2010, he was a leading instigator of the archipelago’s early secessionist movement in the 1970s while still a Catholic priest, then an important facilitator during the
The recent announcement of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government to cease all negotiations with one of the United States’ largest oil and gas companies, Exxon Mobil, over the P’nyang LNG project, a new gas field in PNG, has broader implications for the US and Papua New Guinea.
At first glance
The Australasian Aid Conference is on, covering a broad range of topics. Among them, the “Pacific Perspectives on the World” draws on conversations extracted from focus groups and one-on-one interviews with 150 Pacific Islanders, looking at their perception of Australia and the world. Here is a
After 47 years of a chaotic marriage, and more than three years of debates and negotiations that have cost two prime ministers, the United Kingdom has finally separated from the European Union.
The current conversations on the global consequences of this rupture have largely ignored the Pacific,
The coronavirus outbreak is being felt across the Pacific. Both the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands issued expanded travel bans last week, after the World Health Organization declared the virus to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. Similarly, Kiribati
In a referendum to decide on a future political relationship with Papua New Guinea, a 97.7% majority of Bougainvillean voters have chosen independence. The referendum voting process is now formally closed. A 40-day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and international observer
In September, the Solomon Islands government led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare severed its 36-year diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and switched to the People’s Republic of China (China). In the months since, dissenting voices have kept bubbling up. Most prominently,
China remains a hot topic of conversation across the Pacific. In Solomon Islands, the visiting Deputy Head of Mission of the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby reiterated that China’s support to Solomon Islands for the 2023 Pacific Games is a grant, not a loan. This support includes funding for the
At the dawn of 2020, the world is waking up on a pillow of uncertainty. The trade war between the United States and China has weakened the global economy, instabilities in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America intensify public anxiety, and the impact of climate change is becoming ever more
The bushfires have ravaged Australia over the Christmas and New Year period, leading Pacific nations to lend their supported by sending aid or even emergency personnel to assist in dealing with the disaster. Here is also a moving video of Kiwi firefighters performing the haka after helping
The “Australia–China–Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project” is one of the most famous aid projects in the Pacific.
It is not a large project. Indeed, at $1.3 million per year it represents only about 0.2% of Australia’s bilateral aid spending in PNG. Its fame
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films, or TV programs this year. Or in this case, a destination…
As far as capital-cities-as-a-bubble go, Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby is probably the world’s most effectively en-
Australia and China cooperating in the Pacific Islands? At first glance it seems absurd.
Australia-China relations are hardly warm and glowing right now. Just in the last few weeks, there’s been a focus on alleged espionage courtesy of Wang Liqiang, claims of attempted political
Australia’s depleted international broadcasting is impairing the projection of Australia’s soft power at a time when government is seeking to increase its regional influence, particularly in the Pacific
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films, or TV programs this year.
Earlier this month, Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, hosted its flagship Monday night program Q&A in Suva, Fiji. For Australian political
Piled into the back of an overcrowded ute – appropriately named the “Highway Slave”, although formally known as a Public Motor Vehicle – we made the nine-hour expedition across bumpy, unsealed roads and through rivers without bridges to the district of Siwai to act as observers in
“Joyous” and “excited” aren’t the first adjectives I normally reach for to describe Buka town, but they are the ones that best encompass the mood here these referendum days.
Buka is the administrative capital of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and centre of operations of the two-
Reports of a planned Chinese naval base on a Pacific island nation’s territory in 2018 helped supercharge policy makers’ attention on China’s strategic intentions and rapidly growing economic influence in the island nations of the south Pacific: what Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison
Regional museums and arts centres in Australia and Papua New Guinea are, in general, underfunded or insecurely funded. Yet these places offer significant opportunities for cultural, social, and economic development in remote and regional areas. The cultural heritage and arts sectors hold unrealised