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Pacific links: PNG politics, Fiji economy looks good, regional security shifts and more

Pacific links: PNG politics, Fiji economy looks good, regional security shifts and more
Published 27 Jul 2016 

By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program

  • After surviving a vote of no-confidence last week, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has reshuffled his cabinet. O'Neill has pledged stable government until next year's national election but opposition leader Don Polye wants another vote of no confidence.
  •  In this Interpreter post, the Lowy Insititute's Jonathan Pryke traces the arc of the O'Neill government, from its promising start to now.
  • Former PNG Attorney-General Kerenga Kua has called for an end to the political camp systems that played a central role in the vote of no-confidence, saying the practice is outmoded and reflects badly on the country’s democratic development.
  • The PNG Supreme Court has adjourned a case brought by  five refugees at the Australian-run detention centre. The case was based on a Supreme Court ruling in April that found the Manus facility was unlawful and unconstitutional. The five refugees want  to resettle in Australia.
  • Australia's minister for international development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has announced a partnership with the Solomon Islands business community to strengthen the role of women in the economy. 
  • Speakers at the Pacific Update conference were optimistic about the  Fijian economy, noting economic resurgence reflected in the country's 2016-17 budget.
  • Fiji’s police commissioner opened the fourth in a series of workshops on gender-based violence (run by the Women’s Crisis Centre), saying it was essential police learn how to tackle this endemic issue.
  • A new Lowy Institute Analysis by Dr Anna Powles and Jose Sousa-Santos, 'Principled Engagement: Rebuilding Defence Ties with Fiji', argues Russia’s sale of arms to Fiji demonstrates how the security orthodoxy in the Pacific Islands region is changing. Unless Australia and New Zealand adapt to these changing strategic circumstances, the authors argue they will lose influence in the region to external players.
  • A recent documentary Haka and Guitars examines the role of Maori culture in the peace process on Bougainville.
  • A 12-year-old Samoan, Lupe Va’ai, has become a published author, recently travelling to London to launch her book The Voice of an Island, which examines the impact humans have on the environment.

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