How I started www.pngcars.com

Author: Jaive Smare

My name is Jaive. I’m a scribe like many of my friends but since my dream job at the old Independent newspaper disappeared one day, I’ve been wondering the vast wasteland of journalism of PNG (sorry, that is way melodramatic and far from the truth, but I’ve been wanting use it:)) looking for a small place in the media to curl up. Eventually I sold my journalistic soul to be a PR guy (often referred to as spin doctor or corporate bs artist).

Where it really begun….

When I was 24 yrs old I started a Sports Magazine in Lae call Squad; Lae Sports Magazine, ran it for three issues and attracted advertising. But I was young and not confident and it was tough cold calling people for advertising (thanks Coke, Panamex and Papindo for the first adverts). I folded it all up one day, cashed the cheques and headed to POM to see if I could cut with Public Relations.

Though I now have a new career here in POM, the viral ‘itch’ is already in my blood – I want to be journo again and publish something. After the first experience of the magazine and also having a full time  job, I decided to sit down and right out a model I would focus on if I was to make a return to journalism and self publishing.

This is the model
1.    Low Cost:  Cause publishing is expensive, I had to produce something that was low cost.

2.    Special Interest: I had to choose a topic or topics that were special interest and not covered by the media.

3.    Self Marketing: Being a special interest product for a special interest group, it would be self marketing.

4.    It must not take up a lot of my time. Simply because I have a full time job.

So considering all of this, I began to relook at my ideas for publishing a new magazine.  But increasingly, I began to see that I did not have enough saved up and this would be an expensive exercise (as all magazines are).

It was around this time, I began to look seriously at the internet, websites and a new fangled thing sparkly thing called blogging.

(oops sorry an interlude first)….
Before I get into part 2, there are somethings I did that were important then and are still important now, some more so for the lessons learnt.

1.    *Wrote a Business Plan:*  I did a full on business plan because that was what all the ‘start your business websites’ say; the most important thing is to ‘write your business plan.’ So I did one. It was pretty full on (and full of seriously whacked out shit). I did research, costs, quotes, cash flow projects (trust me it was more like imagination gone crazy projections), marketing strategies, sales plan, I did sales letters, I listed targets and phone numbers on and on and on and on. I swear that business plan got me worked up into a delusional fantasy of me rolling in cash, it was ludicrous!!
What I learnt from this: It is better to have simple plan, just a simple one. Its better to say I am starting this, I want to earn only this from it, and this is how I’ll do it. Business Plans are complicated and most things that are complicated are a waste of time and energy. But still, learning how to do one is very important. You can visit this website  for more details on business plan
*http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html*<http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html>

2.    *Registered a Business Name:* I registered a business name with the Investment Promotion Authority. It costs K50 and it took ten days. It was great because I could write invoices to that name. And I could also open up a business account. The process of registering a business name or a business has not changed much. You can visit the IPA website and grab a guide or download a form and register your own business name or company with IPA.
*http://www.ipa.gov.pg/> –  This is the IPA website http://www.ipa.gov.pg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=199&Itemid=149 – This will take you straight to the links page

3.    *Opened a small business account*. After I got my business name paper from IPA, a went to ANZ, Westpac and BSP to open a business account.
Back then I think things may have been more complicated to do, because I had to get references, and commissioner of oath stamps and proof of identity etc, etc. After a while I got turned away from the other two banks but ANZ said it was OK and I got a small business account, which was awesome.
Nowadays, with the growth of the small business class in PNG, I don’t think its hard to open a business account with ANZ, BSP or Westpac.
BSP – http://www.bsp.com.pg
ANZ PNG – http://www.anz.com/papuanewguinea
Westpac PNG – http://www.westpac.com.pg/

4.    *I met some great people.* My friend Jason Kaut helped me develop the Sports Magazine and it was during this time I met Dino Naing, a really smart bloke with a degree in Computer Science from Unitech.  These two guys, plus Frank Genia, Marlene Samar, Papu Kais are important in part II.

5.    *Learnt the power of the internet*: I did a lot of online work on starting a small business and learnt about ideas like niches, forecasting, marketing, branding, design etc, etc. Back then, (which is not so long ago) the internet was an easier place to find great stuff. Nowadays, there is all this SEO marketing and other stuff going on, it’s hard to find the really good stuff.  But I’ll recommend you the following sites if you are looking at starting a business.

http://www.businessknowhow.com  – Great Resource. My absolute favourite.

http://www.entrepreneurship.org  – Good Resource for small business thoughts, practices, ideas.

http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/company_list.php – Some Great Case Studies

http://www.smallscalebusiness.com  – Lots of Ideas

http://www.springwise.com  – For Great Ideas

http://www.toolkit.com  – A great resource

http://www.smallbusiness.co.uk – This website wil give you some great insights

From Magazines to blogging

So I was looking at blogging and the internet as a meduim for publishing. The more research i did the more i came across ‘I make money online’ websites. Famous one is John Chows blog (just type in John Chow on google, you should find him). These were blogging sites of people who claim to make thousands in dollars online.

The use of the internet as a legitimate avenue for publishing did not dawn on me, as I was (and still am) pretty dumb and wanted to do a blog or a website in conjuction with a (costly) printed magazine. I was focused on doing a magazine that i forgot my model of a product being low Cost to produce, for a special interest group, could market itself and did not take alot of time to produce.

Anyway, I brainstormed with a freind of mine Frank Genaia and we came up with several ideas.Two of the ideas were a resource magazine and a car magazine.

I remember from a conversation i had with a journo Roselyn Albaniel years ago where she mentioned that she used to write car reviews for the Independent newspaper and how it was not being done here in PNG. Hence this gave birth to the idea of doing a car review and news magazine supported by a blog. I like cars, who doesnt? I love driving, i like ‘ooh’ and ‘ahhing’ at pictures of cool cars and watching F1 racing and Top Gear on TV. Doing a car publication would be a good fit.

As for the resource magazine, I thought i’d follow the Henry Luce model (Time Magazine) and every month produce a massive digest of all the resource industry news in PNG, reducing all stories to 150 – 200 summaries with a main feature in the middle.

About this time Franks missus had their first baby and i felt i didnt want to put him under any financial strain to produce the magazines. So i struck out by myself, producing the Resource Magazine and its complimentary blog with daily updates.

I figured that even though it would attract advertising, it would take a while and from tests I ran with people on the streets, having the digest form of a magazine was quite interesting and would help sell the magazine each month and turn a profit or at least make enough for the next print run.

At the same time i used blogger.com to create the complimentary blog with the daily updates. The updates were just short summaries of resource news. I subscribed to the google news service for various keywords and everyday was sent a tonne of news on the resource industry in PNG. When it came time to produce content for the magazine, i just copy pasted all the best short
updates on the blog to the magazine layout.

My freind Jason Kaut in Lae (back then) helped put together the first feature for the magazine and sent to me. He also secured some advertising from Hornibrooks NGI.

So anyway, once the layout was complete, i went down to one of the local printers and gave them the file. About 20 days later the magazine was completed. Man, most of those news was outdated!!! I was really pissed off.

I did a fire sale on all the copies. It cost me K2500 to print the magazines. I recovered almost 80 percent of it. I figured that my model may have been right, but my execution was just lousy. I decided to put off the magazine just for now and decided to reasses my situation, i didnt want to lose money on the first hit. I wanted to produce a winner.

The best thing out of the resource magazine project was that i was getting more interested in websites and blogs as publishing mediums.

Creating my first free blog…

At Divine Word University in Madang (were I went to Uni), we did a semester of web design and internet as per the study course. We had to design our own websites etc using dreamweaver etc.

I did two sites, both were on philosophy. One site was like your standard website with all the menus and front page etc. The other one was done using photoshop and its html option and was made of pictures of beautifully scantily clad women.

You’d click on say one lady’s navel and get redirected to a page on nutrition and philosophies of food and health etc. We were only required to submit one site but I submitted both, asking the lecturer to grade me only on the one that he thought was the best . And he did. He graded me on the one that was done using photoshop, he said he liked the images.

One thing I learnt while doing these assignments, was that as internet in PNG trundled along in its third world shoes, the rest of the world was driving Ferraris online. The internet was exploding with information and a new breed of information entrepreneurs who were changing the landscape of the so called cyber world. And here in PNG, we were missing out on the revolution that was led by young people.

After school, apart from doing some muck around sites on my PC, I didn’t look at websites again, until I began publishing magazines and newsletters and began to learn about blogging. What is a blog? A blog is a simple website. It’s a bit confusing cause if someone asked then what is a website?, I would have to answer ‘ a website is a complicated blog.’ …anyway, I define a website as a place in the internet and a blog as one version of that place (like there are utes, vans, sedans versions of what we call cars).I’m not going to go into all the technicalities or whatnot about blogging….my feeble explanations will only confuse you. Just type in blogging in Google and hit enter.

Anyway I started a blog by creating a free blog at blogspot.com. This blog complimented the resource digest magazine I did and it featured, updates – short summaries of resource news as I explained before. Setting up a blog was easy and free. The work was in updating it and the whole learning curve of managing it and so forth. But it was making 300 hits a day after a few weeks. I looked information on the internet on blogging and I got a lot of great information on customizing a blog, getting people to visit it,
keywords, and ideas on earning money and more from many sites that were also blogs.

When I first started, it was a confusing, there so many different terms and all kinds of ideas, technical details and ‘gurus’.

Falling Head First Into CyberWorld….

Madness is the best way to describe the amount of info online on internet publishing and business models. It can be overwhelming.

Just do a Google search on how to design a website and make income from it and you will come across millions of sites. One thing I quickly realized was that most of the information I was finding was roughly that same and written in the same way on websites whose names were the same search terms I was using. Either that or I found short articles on large article directories that had links to the authors’ websites which covered the topic I was after.

Though I didn’t understand what Search Engine Optimization was before, I suddenly realized what it meant now, or why it was important.

There are people who live by making money online using their websites. Just like a shop must attract customers with promotions and prices, a website must attract visitors to make some money. If 1000 visitors will only make the website $1 dollar, than it needs a 10,000 visitors to make $10 dollars. Unlike in the real world where you can advertise your shops specials in the newspaper and have loud speakers blaring your promotions, on the internet you may have to rely on mainly search engines to drive traffic to your
website.

Search Engine Optimization is understanding how search engines, especially Google, rank websites according to the relevance to your search term.
Google’s legendary algorithm robot things will look at keywords in a website, at the domain name, at the number of other websites linking back to that particular website and other details (I’m writing this just off the top of my head) and rank the site according to your search term. Basically, when you look for a particular term on the internet, the Google robots rank the websites and present the most relevant to your search terms, making your life easier because you don’t have to looking through a million websites looking for what’s relevant.

This then leaves the question, can you develop a useless website that ranks high up there for a highly searched term…the answer is probably yes.
 However, Google also ranks according to authority ie how many other websites on other servers will link back to your website. For example, if I have a great blog on rocks in PNG. Other rock lovers from around the world are interested in PNG rocks, find my blog and link back to the great articles
I have on my blog. This increases my Google rankings as my website is deemed an authority. There is one bit of consolation when you are on your search for more knowledge. Some sites are duds, but there are other websites that absolutely great for information and are linked to by other websites.

Anyway, stuffing ones head with data is conducive to productivity, so I pushed ahead. While researching wordpress ( a platform) and blogger, a came across the term Content Management System or CMS for short.

A CMS is basically a prebuilt website or blog with templates and other features available.

My friend Dino Naing, a true website wiz, explained that there are people in the world who believe that the internet should be free and that anyone, no matter where they are from or what they do, should be able to build and own a website and have access to free software. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Concrete5 and more are CMS’s that all free to download by anybody, anywhere!!! Amazing!!! (please note every cms works in a particular ‘language,’ the three mention work in PHP).

Using Joomla and creating www.pngcars.com

So I started looking more into the Joomla CMS. Dino showed me how to download it and set up on my own computer and play around it. If you are newbie to Joomla with limited knowledge of how to develop websites etc, then you’ll understand that it was a tough slog at the start.

Looking back, I realize that with anything, patience is necessity. When someone tells you that Joomla is easy and you can have website up in less than 60 seconds, you don’t take your time to read and follow the whole Joomla manual step by step. You want to skip forwards continuously. That was my mistake. I was thinking that I should start the car website as soon as possible, so I wanted to learn as much as I could about Joomla and how to use it…but I was still totally lost.

Dino told me if I got the domain registered and paid for the hosting, he would help me get the whole thing online. But still I procrastinated. One day, I received my backdated pay. I was working for the Government then and sometimes they forget to pay you for several fortnights and then you get backpay!!!. I got drunk for three days.

In the middle of this great binge (i think it was one of the last ones before i quit alcohol) I registered the domain name and payed for the hosting account with Hosting Shop in Australia. They gave me a Cpanel account. Cpanel as a means of managing your hosting account. I won’t go into the details of a Cpanel account but it is simply great and easy to use and understand. So I called up Dino still drunk and told him “ Bro, I am emailing you the passwords, username for the website and could you help me get this done.” I cant remember but I think Dino also had a few to drink and said ‘rightieO’ and had the website up on less than no time. Though we had
some configuration issues at the start, what you see on http://www.pngcars.com  exactly how Dino designed the initial site. I think the site was fully set up in September 2008.

One of the earliest people to find the site was Wally Jenkins in New Zealand. Wally I believe is Papua New Guinean and he designed the PNG Cars logo and sent it over.

Overtime, I’ve got better at using Joomla and Cpanel and we have a few more sites we are working on including
* http://www.pngengineering.com,
* http://www.pngbusiness.org, and *www.pngmoms.com.

Conclusion, not really.

PNG Cars has been a low cost journey for me. I have met great people and made new freinds because of the website. Visitors come from all over PNG and all over the world. Its been awesome. I hope the site will get big enough soon to clock ten thousands hits in a month. I just need to work harder at providing better content.

Ela Motors, Freeway Motors have been great supporters of the website. Paul Abbot, Megan, Donna, Api, Arua, Mathew Peters and the guys and girls at Ela Motors have been awesome.

Jon Rei, one of the hardest working guys in the business, has been a great supporter for www.pngcars.com since day one. Teddy has also been great.

Other sponsors such as Hasting Deering and Autorec PNG have also supported the website which was great. Pinnacle Singapore and Bank of South Pacific have been awesome and will continue to be (which reminds me, i need to open an account with BSP pronto)

Alot of private sellers have sold their cars on www.pngcars.com. It would be nice if they could also donate something back to the website but to this day, not a single toea, only thankyous, and promotions to their freinds, which is okay I guess because it drives traffic especially to the classifieds section of the website. I may remove this service as a free one once the site starts clocking over a ten thousand hits a month. Let me know what you think?

I have had alot of help and advice from others such as Emmanual of  www.masalai.wordpress.com, Wally Jenkins and Dino Naing as well as many journalists and all my freinds. If you want a website designed quickly and efficiently email Dino dinonaing@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , the guy is a wiz at IT, web design and web graphics. He’ll have it uop for you in no time.

PNG Cars…sorry final last words…

Though PNG Cars is a news site that is funded by classifieds, it gets stereotyped as a website that sell cars. I guess the media here in PNG doesnt recognise www.pngcars.com as a legitimate news and article site on.  Yes it does sell cars for its sponsors, but it also covers the motoring and transport industry in PNG.and there is nothing wrong with selling cars. The motoring industry provides thousands of jobs for Papua New Guineans all over the country.

My future plan is to make the website a cool car website for all with heaps of news and better articles and road adventures and heaps, heaps more. I previously developed a PDF version of the newsletter but couldnt manage with my workload but i am relaunching it again this month. I am also developing a TV version of www.pngcars.com for Kundu TV. The first edition hopefully will be early next month.

What are my future plans for www.pngcars.com? I am going to make it big..If you have any comments, please by all means, share it below or email me

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10 thoughts on “How I started www.pngcars.com

  1. Thanks for educating me on the difference between a website and a blog. Very useful information. Gutpla wok blo yu am inspired.

  2. I must say, it has been a long road. I have been keeping up with the site since it’s launch and it was great to hear some of the developments take place. Sorry Jaive, I never got around to creating a template for you in WordPress, but I still have the PSD file ready for development of the site. Perhaps we can have it made of the coming years.

  3. I must say, it has been a long road. I have been keeping up with the site since it’s launch and it was great to hear some of the developments take place. Sorry Jaive, I never got around to creating a template for you in WordPress, but I still have the PSD file ready for development of the site. Perhaps we can have it made over the coming months.

  4. Thanks Manu for posting this up on Masalai. I got a tonne more work to make the website a must see for all PNG people. I may try doing a wordpress version of the site as well to see how it would go. Thanks Gordon and Ruth.
    I recently heard about some other people who want to start a website similiar to pngcars.com….the more the merrier I say.
    I will be doing pngcars.com full time so there will be a very big improvement in content and site usablity.
    Thanks again

  5. Thank you for the motivation. I think I am another CA student from DWU who is into the cyber world…and following your steps I guess. Procrasination is just one things that spoils all dreams….Am registering mine in January 2013…..wish you the best in the years to come……..

  6. THE MANUS DETENTION CENTRE IS AN ILLEGAL SETUP.

    The Manus detention centre set up to facilitate Australia’s political solution aimed at stemming the flow of refugees, asylum seekers or boatpeople into Australia, under a Bi-lateral Agreement with the PNG government, is an illegal set up, for an illegal purpose. Australia and Papua New Guinea have breached international law and the PNG Constitution.

    In Australia the Labour Party led by their PM Gillard recently made a 180 degree bout turn on their Refugee Policy. They abandoned the Malaysian solution and embraced the Pacific Solution. For those who have ample political memory, the ALP actually initially went to the last Australian elections opposing Liberal-National Coalition Parties on their Pacific Solution initiative. It appears Julia Gillard and the ALP lied to the Australian people.

    Only several months ago Julia Gillard telephoned PNG Prime Minister O’Neill and asked him to facilitate the processing of boatpeople and refugees in PNG’s Manus Island as a return favour to her for granting ONeill premature political recognition of his (otherwise illegitimate) government when ONeill threw out an ill Prime Minister Somare still on legitimate official sick leave, convalescing in a Singapore hospital.

    ONeill could not refuse Gillard, as she had provided him the scarce element of legitimacy he needed to govern, even whilst the supreme Court was still deliberating on the question of whether there was a vacancy in the Office of Prime Minister on the 2nd of August 2011 or not.

    For Gillard what this signified was a shift in policy for processing of boat people and Refugees from Malaysia to Manus (in PNG ) and Nauru, a gamble she took against the Liberal-National Coalition attacks on her Immigration policy by adopting their own previous Howard-Downer strategy.

    Australia’s breach of International Law.

    In the past the NA led Somare government has opposed the processing of Refugees in PNG. There were very good legal and human rights reasons for this policy in PNG. This refusal was based on proper and sound legal advice. That it is unconstitutional and unlawful to have an asylum processing centre in PNG, like the one set up by the Australians in Manus, is beyond question.

    The Manus processing centre is a closed jail like centre where there is heavily armed security, and is out of bounds to the public and the media. It is a strictly controlled environment where the Refugees are not allowed to mingle with locals. They cannot leave the site. No locals are allowed in. It is a prison-like environment wherein detainees are not allowed access to normal creature comforts of normal life. There is a very strong fence that cannot be assailed and armed guards are posted everywhere. Australian Federal Police and Military maintain an overriding presence on the Manus facility.

    No one, including lawyers, are allowed access to any Refugee under the Bi-lateral arrangements between Australia and PNG. No media is allowed in, and the use of mobile phones and access to them is greatly restricted. The use of cameras and the internet are also restricted. The detainees are not allowed to speak of their conditions to the outside world. Contact with outside world is greatly restricted to those detained at the risk of them forfeiting their right to early processing. By bi-lateral Agreement those detained are purportedly made subject to Australian law only-not PNG law.

    The initial economic reasons why the Manus Island was first offered by the Manus Provincial government and the leaders of Manus have been largely ignored by Peter ONeill and Julia Gillard. The promise of extraordinary favour by Australia on Manus in the form of extraordinary economic largesse was the perfect bait for cargo-cult prone Manusians.

    The reality is most of the contractors and suppliers of food and consumables are companies out of Australia, so there is very little tangible economic benefit back to PNG or the Manusians for this exercise. The processing centre is run no different to the one the Somare government of PNG phased out.

    Both Australia and PNG are signatories to the UN Convention & Protocols Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention)1951 & 1967 Protocol (“Refugee Convention”) which clearly outlines that a signatory government like Australia cannot expel or transport refugees back to their country of origin or to a third location like Manus or Nauru, unless there is a guarantee that these countries will not persecute them, they would not be oppressed, and that their human rights will be protected (Articles 32 &33).

    Until PNG can give a guarantee that the human rights of the refugees will be guaranteed and protected, and until Australia can satisfy itself that the rights of the refugees will be protected and that they would not be oppressed in any way, Australia is obliged by the Refugee Convention not to expel or transport them at all, but to process them on Australian soil.

    Irrespective of whether a person’s status as a refugee has been determined (under the Convention) or not, the processing of boat people who enter Australia or apprehended by Australian authorities, must principally be done in Australia and on Australian soil, under the Convention, and can only be transported out under fairly limited circumstances. The legal onus is on Australia to satisfy itself objectively beyond any doubt the guarantee of the rights of the refugees as human beings where they are transported to.

    It is an international obligation of Australia under the Refugee Convention that the decision to transport them out of Australian legal jurisdiction can only be done if the Australian government can guarantee the physical safety, security, human rights, and speedy processing of their Applications to enter and remain in Australia as Refugees.

    Past experience shows clearly that Manus is an oppressive environment for the Refugees. Recent reports of banning of cameras and prohibition of lawyers and media access into the detention centre proves that nothing has changed.

    Manus processing centre is actually a jail for innocent people whose only crime has been to search for a better life for themselves, and in some cases, escape from death and persecution for their political or religious beliefs. Article 31 of the Refugee Convention states that no refugee can be penalized for illegal entry of a country’s territory if they are fleeing from persecution.

    Australia has breached international law in the first place in intentionally facilitating and writing up the bi-lateral Agreement that PNG signed which at the core of it deprives refugees, boatpeople and asylum seekers, their human rights under Articles 32 & 33 of the Refugee Convention. Australia knew that these people would not be granted their human rights. Australia knowingly designed the Manus detention centre with rules that keep both Lawyers and the media away.

    Australia also wrote the rules ( by drafting the bi-lateral Agreement) that deem the detention centre as part of Australia where Australian law applies, to deliberately circumvent the jurisdiction of the PNG Courts.

    All these are capricious and oppressive arrangements created by Australia to deliberately entrap the detainees in a legal and political vacuum so that it can do whatsoever it pleases to these human lives, away from the scrutiny of any media, and away from the scrutiny of the Australian courts and the Australian legal system. Most important of all Julia Gillard could tell the Liberal-National Coalition whatever she wants on the floor of the Australian Parliament and they would be none the wiser about it, just as long as the processing is taking place out of their sight.

    The Refugee Convention is very clear and specific about Refugees access to lawyers and the Courts. Article 16 of the Refugee Convention reads:

    “ACCESS TO COURTS
    1. A refugee shall have free access to the courts of law on the territory of all Contracting States.
    2. A refugee shall enjoy in the Contracting State…the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the courts, including legal assistance…
    3. A refugee shall be accorded in matters referred to in paragraph 2…the treatment granted to a national of the country of his habitual residence”

    In the case of the Manus Refugee Processing Centre, the Refugees are not granted access to lawyers or the courts of PNG. It is all very well for Julia Gillard to claim Australian Law applies in Manus to the processing of these people, but what good is that when under the bi-lateral arrangements PNG Immigration Department (stacked with Ausaid Advisors) cannot grant visas to Australian lawyers or Australian Media teams who want to travel to Manus and speak to the Refugees and highlight their present suffering.

    In any case, even if they were to be granted visas to travel, what good is that when an independent Australian armed Security Company (a captive service provider of the Federal Government) running the facility prohibits any outside access to the inmates?

    Lawyers from both Australia and PNG cannot access any inmate to meet and observe their condition or interview them. Without contact with refugees granting instructions to lawyers, it has been designed to prevent any scrutiny by both Australian and PNG Courts of what is actually going on in Manus concerning the lives of these refugees.

    The Manus processing centre has been deliberately set up to frustrate the rule of law and the clear dictates of international law which was designed to protect vulnerable people like these boatpeople who are at the mercy of a country that sees them as nothing but troublemakers, illegal immigrants, que jumpers etc.

    All these rules and oppressive arrangements have been well thought through and planned by Canberra, written into the bi-lateral Agreement that Gillard obtained ONeill to sign.

    Australia not only is in breach of international law and in particular Article 33 of the Refugee Convention in exporting refugees to a detention centre that deprives refugees of their rights, but Australia is the worst offender in deliberately designing these people’s misery. Hitler designed gas chambers for the Jewish Refugees in WWII. Today we see Australia has designed detention Centres in the Pacific and on Australian soil to the oppression deprivation of refugees.

    For a long time the Australian government has been looking to curb or discourage boat people flooding its shores by deliberately employing cruel and inhuman treatment of asylum seekers, boat people or refugees. Australia’s record in refugee treatment is not pretty. In some cases children and babies have been held in captivity and jail like conditions in Asutralia for years without any ounce of recognition or consideration for their humanity. Families have been rendered asunder, and in some cases lives have been destroyed. Many people held in captivity in jail like conditions in Australia have been left with permanent psychological scarring. Others have gone on hunger strike, committed suicide, or even sown up their lips to demonstrate that they are a people without a voice discarded as garbage by the Australian Federal Government and its leadership.

    Over Christmas in 2011, we watched in horror as the remains of a boat carrying over 300 men women and children, smashed mercilessly against the rocks on Christmas Island, were gathered up piece by piece and limb by limb by the Australian Navy.

    The Australian Navy, Coast Guard and its surveillance system picked up the boat many hours before they struck tragedy. They knew the heavily laden boat was headed for the rocks in bad weather. Yet, they stood by and allowed these people to sail directly to their death. It is not beyond contemplation that the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister of Australia at that time may have been made aware of the impending tragedy, and may have chosen to turn a blind eye.

    This is not the first time Australia has deliberately allowed boat people to drown. This policy of watching and waiting and turning a blind eye to people in peril at sea does not sit well with the Australian Navy, who has made it known to the politicians that they have sworn an oath as seamen and women to save lives of other seafarers. The manner in which the politicians in Canberra appear to expect the Navy to break a time honoured code of ethics of seafarers does not sit well with the higher ranks of the Australian Navy. Some servicemen and women have suffered psychologically as a result, having watched and stood by while innocent men women and children whose only crime was to come to Australia, daring to dream of happiness and to seek a better life and a better future, being haplessly plunged to their certain deaths.

    The Refugee Convention is very clear that it is not a crime for human beings, people of one country to leave their country and go seek a better life in another country if they suffer persecution in the original country on grounds of race, religion or political belief. As a matter of fact it is a fundamental human right to live in peace in a safe and secure environment, and the Convention provides for and gives effect to this right and the sacred sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of every person.

    Australia has over the years done everything under the sun to persecute, desecrate and demonize asylum seekers, refugees and boat people. Yet when it comes down to it, Australia is a country of boat people. White Australia is a country of boat people and their descendants. What gives Julia Gillard and her Cabinet any more right to Australia than those latterly arrivals on Aborigines soil?

    It is only a matter of timing, but that is all. White Australia has no more legal, ethical or moral high ground to claim Terra Australis than these latterly arrivals.

    This behoves Australia to adopt a position, a moral and legal position that is concomitant with a full understanding and appreciation of the full surrounding circumstances causing plight of people around the globe; and in this sense Australia’s own hegemonic part in the invasion of other countries and causing demographic, political, religious and economic instability in certain parts.

    Australian Leaders equally fail to see the full benefits of a healthy Immigration Policy that treats people with dignity. Their Immigration policy is ridden by every political jockey as if to ensure the next load of boat people do not get in at all was a virtue worthy of the highest political goal score and inverse personal credibility, be it government or opposition. The fact that Australia does not have an open quota system, prescribed open criteria, and aggressive selective migration policy, allows for some people to capitalize on it to set up money making operations to do boat runs with people who would otherwise be decent and skilled human beings in any society. Australia’s own policy failure is just as culpable for lives lost at sea and the abuses of human rights, as those who are blamed for economic gain in transportation.

    The front page right hand column of The Australian some months ago (prior to the Manus Agreement with PNG) said the Australian Government internal studies reveal that it will need 800,000 new skilled workers in 5 years’ time! It expressed grave concerns for the Australian economy that it cannot be in a position to meet this demand. How poetically paradoxical was this page as it had right across the top in bold was the headline “Labor floats Nauru solution”.

    Now, even if every able bodied Australian female, and every hot blooded beer swirling meat pie eating fly swatting footy crazy Aussie male, started fornicating non-stop for the next 6 months, they still will not produce the 800,000 skilled workers needed in 5 years’ time to meet the demand forecasted.

    That is one reason why, Australian Migration Policy as closed discriminatory and insular as it is, driven by a psyche of isolation and out-dated phobias, need to be stood on its head and overhauled to meet the challenges of the next century, or Australia will surely suffer being left behind as a land of red necks and human rights bigots.

    Manus Detention Centre & Bi-Lateral Arrangements are illegal.

    Clearly the Manus solution in Papua New Guinea is illegal and unconstitutional under international law as well as under PNG law.

    Among other reasons, it is illegal because:

    1. It deprives the liberty of people to be held in Jail like lock ups. Under the PNG Constitution (Section 37) , a person cannot be deprived of his liberty unless he is convicted of a crime, or the Police charged him with a crime, and the courts in the meantime refuse bail. Where a person is suspected of a committing an offence, he can be held for a short time for Police interview. Aside from that, there is no other basis in law in PNG to hold a person captive. Any asylum seeker so held can sue the PNG Government for damages for false imprisonment and for breach of his rights under Section 37 of the Constitution. The Manus Refugee processing centre is therefore an establishment set up for an unlawful purpose. The Bi-lateral Agreements signed by Australia and PNG to effect an unlawful purpose are void from the beginning. The holding of refugees on Manus at this moment is unlawful.

    2. PNG is a signatory to the Refugee Convention, it is obliged to protect and process refugees speedily, and where necessary allow the Refugees access to Lawyers and the courts to have their claims heard and settled speedily (Article 16 of the Refugee Convention). The manner in which the Manus Centre is set up with High Security perimeter is very clearly designed to deny the basic human rights of the Refugees guaranteed by the Refugee Convention.

    3. The denial of human rights entailing the Manus processing Centre, locking up of men, women and children who have not broken any law in PNG, is harsh, oppressive and inhuman, which is a breach of Section 41 of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea. This is so especially when these people do not know when they will be processed and they are held in abeyance for months and years at a time, sometimes separated from their families. It is also oppressive when they have no access to lawyers or courts, especially Australian courts applying Australian Law in respect of their Applications to remain in Australia. PNG Courts cannot apply Australian Law. An aggrieved refugee in Manus is automatically denied access to Australian lawyers and Australian Courts to have his case reviewed. Denial of proper Jurisdiction and facilities is denial of natural justice, a form of oppression that is Unconstitutional under PNG law.

    4. Australia will have breached its obligations under the Refugee Convention by transporting these Refugees to Manus. Australia has an obligation to receive refugees, grant asylum and resettle them. Australia has an obligation to facilitate safe travels of Refugees to safe destinations. Australia also has an obligation at law to process the Refugees speedily on Australian soil. The very fact that the Manus centre is not unlike a maximum security jail, and the fact that the people do not have access to welfare services, lawyers, Journalists, access to Australian Lawyers and Courts, with their human rights unlikely to be protected, should oblige Australia not to send these people in the first place to Manus. It now seems PNG has aided and abetted in Australia’s breach of the Refugee Convention, and has become an Accessory after the fact.

    Australia proudly sends its soldiers to other countries to fight and bring democracy to these countries, now it must stand up and show what a model democracy it is. Julia Gillard and her Cabinet must not make excuses for their generation of Australians and co-opt compliant leaders like Peter O’Neill, and blackmail the people of PNG with aid, to condone and carry on breach of International law and PNG law designed to protect, guaranty and secure the dignity and sanctity of all human life.

    Papua New Guinea must keep its nose clean and cease being party to Australia’s inhuman, discriminatory, oppressive and illegal activities. The O’Neill government must not stoop to continue such illegal and unlawful conduct. The people of PNG and their dignity must not be allowed to be tarnished by Australia’s own policy failures and inability to treat other people humanely.

    Australia is very backward in human rights laws and protection of lives of asylum seekers. They do not have a codified bill of rights as we in PNG do in our Constitution. The Australian government wants to make Manus and Nauru as oppressive as possible to deter further asylum seekers, even if it is against the law. This is the very crux of oppression and illegality that Peter ONeill has signed PNG up for.

    Breach of Human Rights & Constitution.

    Human Rights Breached by the Manus Detention Centre under Papua New Guinea Constitution include:

    a) Freedom from inhumane treatment.
    b) Right to protection of the law.
    c) Right not to be held in custody unless charged with an offence known at law.
    d) Right to be heard quickly, and by a fair and impartial tribunal.
    e) Right to respect for the inherent dignity of a person.
    f) Freedom from harsh, oppressive and unwarranted treatment.

    Peter ONeill may feel obliged to keep doing favours for Julia Gillard for the political recognition granted to his illegitimate regime in August 2011, but this is not a matter for politics and political favors. The Independent State of Papua New Guinea and indeed the office of Prime Minister is not Peter ONeill’s personal business enterprise. The Office is set up under the Constitution as a public office and it must be run in accordance with the laws of this country. Infact it was not a private decision for pliable Peter alone to make personally by directing the Foreign Minister Pato to facilitate Peter and Julia’s wishes and most ardent desires, as he did.

    This is a matter of law, and NEC and Parliament should have been the appropriate body to look at and debate the full ramifications of this decision.

    The issue of a sovereign country like PNG deciding to cede part of its sovereignty over a territory like Manus detention centre to Australian Jurisdiction is a very serious matter. Ceding one’s sovereignty and ones judicial jurisdiction, and building a prison to imprison persons who have not broken any law in PNG, are very serious matters clearly for the Parliament to debate.

    What Peter ONeill has done so far is clearly illegal, and is a gross abuse of public office.

    Any aggrieved party can, and must, as a matter of public interest, challenge this by way of a Supreme Court Reference for the Courts to give their opinion on the Constitutional and international law ramifications ( as outlined) of the Manus Detention Centre.

    The PNG Opposition should knock this on the head, and call on Australian Leaders to respect human lives and treat their inherent person with dignity, not like some pile of garbage to be transported all over the Pacific ocean and discarded in some remote disused military facility.

    Our Constitution recognizes the whole person in any human being. It recognizes the sacred sanctity of human lives in their physical as well as their spiritual environs and the wellbeing of the integral person. That is why international law providing for Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Conventions such as the Refugee Convention have been imported by the Constitution to be part of the domestic laws of Papua New Guinea, enforceable by our courts.

    By our Constitution and by international law, the Manus Detention Centre and the Bi-lateral Agreement enabling it are illegal.

    If Australia wants to be a model democracy and a great nation one day, Australian leaders must first show the world that they have joined the rest of humanity, and have become a people of dignity and decency in their Refugee and Immigration policies, respecting and living within the rule of law, not trying to get around it. That would be a good starting point for a nation of early boatpeople.

    As for Peter ONeill, he must close down the Detention Centre or leave the State open to legal suit by the Refugees for damages running to the tens of Millions of Kina.

    It is a fact that both the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Attorney General were not involved in vetting the Manus arrangements. The State Solicitor never gave legal clearance for PNG to enter into this bi-lateral Agreement with Australia.

    As a matter of fact, Peter ONeill has been signing Agreement after Agreement with Australia since August 2011, without line Department scrutiny and proper legal clearances from the State Solicitor. There is a danger that many other Agreements equally rushed for ONeill’s signature in the last 12 months by Australia may be also be outside our laws.

    BY GAVERA GAVERA JNR.

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