During his visit to the Federated States of Micronesia for the Pacific Islands Forum summit in September 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government was 'committed to a step change in our engagement [with the Pacific], to be guided by a new Pacific strategy'.
While it’s been a long
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 has been returned for a second term as Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister. No women have been elected into this Parliament. Despite coverage from the ABC and SBS, there has been limited international coverage of the elections in Papua New Guinea. Analysis of the challenges
Last month a combined force from five allied nations, including a fleet of 33 warships and submarines, over 200 aircraft and more than 33,000 military personnel, defeated an ‘enemy force’ in 20 locations across northern Australia.
The enemy, of course, was an imaginary one and the battle was a
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
PNG’s Parliament will sit today for the first time since the election and is expected to vote for Prime Minister and Speaker. Peter O’Neill has said that his coalition has secured 56 members, enough for him to reclaim the position of PM. Stefan Armbruster provides an excellent overview here.&
Greg Colton’s article on Talisman Sabre 2017 highlights Australia’s new amphibious assault capacity through the Landing Helicopter Class (LHD) ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra. Colton states that 'for the first time in three decades, Australia now has the military capability to back up its
Over half the seats in Papua New Guinea's national election are still to be declared after more than two weeks of counting. Four of the country's provinces have seen violent unrest since polling completed – four died over the weekend in Enga Province. Radio New Zealand
The recent news that two-thirds of United Nations member states negotiated a treaty that bans nuclear weapons was undoubtedly met with enthusiasm in much of New Zealand, which reportedly had a leading role in shepherding the talks to success. Alongside the Kiwis, 121 other non-nuclear UN member
Dysfunction in the Papua New Guinea election continues, with claims of suspicious ghost voters turning up on the electoral roll and the resignation of the recently formed Election Advisory Committee. As always, Bill Standish provides an excellent overview. The elections have also taken a
Papua New Guinea elections have frequently been marred by violence, allegations of foul play and complaints regarding electoral roll discrepancies. Against this background, any unusual behaviour in this year’s vote – even tiny deviations – will attract attention. There is, however, a
PNG’s elections continue to attract attention and criticism. The members of the Election Advisory Committee resigned on Sunday, saying the Electoral Commission had not given them the information they needed to fulfil their obligation to assess the legitimacy of the election. Stefan Armbruster
Nearly 14 years after Australian war ships appeared off the coast of Solomon Islands leading the largest expeditionary force in the Pacific since World War Two, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has come to an end. Its success is such that parents have named their children RAMSI in
The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands came to an end last week, after 14 years and at a cost of almost $3 billion. There has been significant coverage on RAMSI, from John Howard, myself, Daniel Evans, Jenny Hayward-Jones and Greg Colton. Elections in Papua New Guinea wrap up this
Almost 14 years ago I stepped off an Air Vanuatu plane in Honiara to the astonishing sight of an airfield covered with khaki army tents and several thousand Solomon Islanders holding up placards with various iterations of greetings, peace and thanks. I was in Honiara to join the RAMSI team, serving
Understanding how and when governments might intervene in failing countries is an art rather than a science. It requires detailed knowledge of the country in question, the resilience of the people and systems in relation to the emerging crisis, and the willingness of the people to accept an
The end of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is being marked with a week of celebrations. Nick O’Malley reports on the end of RAMSI, and the future of the Solomon Islands. The 2017 Lowy Institute Poll shows 77% of Australians believe the use of military forces would
This post is part of the Lowy Institute's South Pacific Fragile States series.
The food security situation in the South Pacific is marked by a paradox. While there is increasing availability of – and demand for – protein-rich and resource-demanding food, such as meat and dairy, imports of
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
In a few days' time, Papua New Guinea will begin a national election with the theme 'Your Choice, Protect the Democracy - Election 2017'. Less than 42 years since independence, PNG's democratic project, while debatably healthy, is in need of review.
The current Papua New Guinea
This post is part of the Lowy Institute's South Pacific Fragile States series.
After the US withdrawal from both the Paris Accord and Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Pacific Islands region is looking for reassurance from Australia and the US. The recent AUSMIN summit did produce a joint statement
The results of the French legislative elections are both good and bad news for New Caledonia but it's mainly good. While uncertainties remain at the national level, locally the hand of the strongest and most conciliatory pro-France group in New Caledonia has been strengthened, with a respectable
Jenny Hayward-Jones discusses the limitations of resilience in the Pacific Islands context. Greg Colton cautions that President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may be the beginning of the end of US influence in the Pacific Isands region. The first Pasifika musical to be staged
Over the next 12 months, the Lowy Institute will release a series of research papers and Interpreter posts examining drivers of instability, and their impact on resilience and fragility, in the South Pacific. Please follow on Twitter: @Lowyinstitute #spfsproject
'Building resilience' has been one
Hugh Govern argues for the rights and contributions of coastal communities in the Pacific in light of the upcoming UN Oceans’ Conference to be co-hosted by Sweden and Fiji. The full PACER Plus trade deal has been released, detailing the trade and economic integration agreement that aims to
After 49 years representing the people of the East Sepik Province in the Papua New Guinea Parliament, the man who led PNG to Independence, the Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare, has retired. In this interview, recorded after Sir Michael’s farewell address to the Papua New Guinea Press Club, Sir
As Papua New Guinea’s general elections approach, observers of the country are watching closely for signs the polls will trigger conflict, particularly in the volatile Highlands. This is understandable, given the pattern discernible from previous elections. But this narrative – of polling
On the East Asia Forum Bill Standish has provided a primer on the Papua New Guinea election season, in which some campaigning politicians are making the most of social media. Also on the East Asia Forum, Kerryn Baker breaks down what the election of President Macron means for the French Pacific
In this Devpolicy post, David Morris offers proposals for the Pacific region as it considers its place in the Asia Pacific and relationship with China. The same David Morris, in his role representing the Pacific Islands Forum was at Beijing's One Belt, One Road summit earlier this week, along
It didn’t take long for the post-McCully era in New Zealand foreign policy to have an effect. Last week, just a couple of days into his new portfolio, Gerry Brownlee branded as ‘premature’ the UN Security Council Resolution on Israeli settlements that New Zealand had sponsored in December.
Security concerns about external subversion of national elections show no sign of abating. On 3 May, James Comey, then still Director of the FBI, testified to the US Senate Judiciary Committee that the Russian government was attempting to influence American politics, going so far as to say that
The Australian Budget has been released and the foreign aid budget has been cut again, but funding for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific remains largely unchanged. Here is the detailed breakdown of the numbers for the Pacific region. The ABC has opposed a bill that would
Macron’s election to the Presidency creates increased uncertainty in the French Pacific territories, with developments on the eve of the vote potentially undermining stability in New Caledonia, Australia’s close neighbour.
The legislative elections in June are the main game for France’s
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
Given the general gloom that seems to dominate contemporary Australian perceptions about Papua New Guinea’s ability to govern itself, it is refreshing to learn how mournfully doubtful successive Australian Cabinets in the late 1960s through to PNG’s independence in 1975 were about our former
The results of the first round of the French presidential elections create new uncertainties for the French Pacific, particularly for Australia’s close neighbour New Caledonia, which is facing a critical independence referendum by the end of 2018.
As in past presidential elections, in the
After eight years, negotiations for PACER Plus have concluded with Fiji and PNG dropping out of the trade agreement. Voters in the French Pacific have flouted mainland voting trends, with turnout at a record low. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has published 'Crowded and Complex
Following on from Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the Pacific region is slated to experience storm activity for the next few weeks. The Pacific has said a sad farewell to trailblazing scholar and poet Dr Teresia Teawia, who passed away last week. Dr Teawia was widely known for her research on Pacific
DevPolicy has launched a PNG Elections Database providing downloadable datasets of past election results. It also includes an interactive map and analysis of electoral trends in PNG. The Pacific Islands Forum has called on the United Nations to recognise the unique impact that regional climate
With Papua New Guinea's national elections just over three months away, attention has turned to the government's legislative record. Last August the Papua New Guinean government passed the Cybercrime Act into law (despite the act being passed into law six months ago, it is not yet available for
Asylum seekers who have fled states that outlaw their sexuality or gender identity are escaping the threat of abuse, imprisonment and even murder, but the public debate over asylum seekers and offshore detention centres largely overlooks their plight.
LGBTQ+ asylum seekers detained in centres
Papua New Guinea has lost its United Nations General Assembly voting rights as it has failed to pay its annual contributions, joining Vanuatu as one of six countries suspended for non-payment. Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato said the non-payment was an administrative error that had been
By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program
Rebuilding and recovery continues in Fiji a year after Cyclone Winston, the category five cyclone that devastated the nation and killed 44 people.Five political parties in Fiji have called for the removal of the elections
Papua New Guineans head to the polls on the 24 June in a national election which will be as fiercely contested as its precedents. Five years ago, intense candidate rivalry, carnival showmanship and controversy about electoral roll discrepancies were the hallmarks of a drawn-out contest between
By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.
New research has shown that droughts and flooding rains in the Pacific are likely to increase as a result of climate change, as the greenhouse gas emission cuts in the Paris Agreement are not enough to stop the risk of these