By Colin Lonagata on Sharp Talk (10 hours ago via mobile near Boroko
This pic was taken over an hour ago at the Vision City food court…so some foreigners feel that we are to dirty to share their hot water and in our own country they degrade us like this…FUCK YOU…!! I will be seeing that fucking expatriate tomorrow and will shove that notice up his fucking asshole
If you want to make a complaint about this as we all did on Sharp Talk, you can email the Mall Manager Christopher Barraclough on and cc his assistant Noelyn Tomar on


  1. Don’t waste your time going to the Mall management….simple just get this little you know what out of the country. You don’t have to be tolerant to this kind of ANIMAL.

  2. I saw dat notice on wednesday 8th of august while waiting 2 use d atm. Its really racist, n 2 think dat foreigners r stil treating us lyk shits in our own soil. Mayb dey want dis riots of looting n destroyin ol dis foreign owned shops to start…?

  3. Hope the Immigrations is taking a stand today. No discussions, just deport them. I fear for them if they remain in the country. We don’t need such expats! I mean there are expats who are basically PNGean, we work on mutual respect BUT with this rubbish……just blacklist Manager n whoever is involved and put them on the next flight OUT OF THE COUNTRY!!!!!! tait pinis……next lets go store by store (company by company) and check if the regulations of the country are adhered to – country-wide.

  4. Good news people. So earlier in the day a group of Sharpies went on down to the shop only to find that IPA and the Police had beat them to it.

    This is an email from John benny from IPA

    Good Afternoon All,

    Just incase some of you have not seen the attachment, facebook and other social media were flooded with negative/frustrating comments regarding this photo. I for one was not happy with the discriminatory nature of this notice and I had to conduct spot inspection before lunch today to find out which company was responsible for putting up such notice. Officers who accompanied me included Abel, Russell, Ebes and Lee. When we arrived at Vision City, we were met by Mr. Christopher Barraclough (Shopping Mall Manager) who advised that Police has just arrested the foreigners involved and are currently at Hohola Police Station for questioning.

    During our conversation, Mr. Barraclough advised that they just received fresh information about people trying to loot Vision City, frustrated over that photo. We will see what happens next. We traveled to Hohola Police Station and noted that the foreigners responsible were locked up there (upon request from NCD) for questioning. I was allowed by Police to ask some questions which I did and noted that the company responsible for that notice was Retail Food Junction Limited (IPA certified company) and the names of those individuals were Mr. Aaron Sia from Malaysia (Shop Manager) and the main person involved in this case was April Ferre from Philippines (Assistant Shop Manager). Those individuals should have thought of the implications of such notices before putting that in public. We might see an apology notice tomorrow regarding that incident. In the meantime, we will wait and see the outcome of police investigations.

    For your information and comments.

    Thank you.

    John Benny

        Our moments of triumph on the Olympic stage have not been many, so full marks to Toea Wisil for her triumph is our triumph indeed! We have had our moments over the last 37 years in the regional sporting events like the Commonwealth Games, the Arafura Games, the South Pacific and the Mini South Pacific Games. In an Olympic year, we are contemplating playing host once again to the next South Pacific Games and the government and the ONeill-Namah political Leadership has not been serious about what is and what ought to have been a matter of priority and pride. The nation is about to face its moment of truth on the regional and international stage. We are about to reveal once again for all to see what we have been about for the last 37 years, at least since the last time we hosted the Games here- then courtesy of the generous people of the People’s Republic of China. At least we had a Sir Anthony Siaguru to lead us out with a committee of equally talented people, showcased and acquitted well of the nation they represented. Oh how the red gold and black fluttered in the steady South-Westerly, and our hearts were instantaneously lifted to greater heights of palpitations, as our athletes triumphed. We could believe once again in ourselves, and the social contract we signed in 1975 to be one nation, one people and one country. And oh how we triumphed then hauling in more gold silver and bronze than ever before, or since! Every Kiwai, Tolai, Highlander, Wopa, Siwai, Orokaiva, Orokolo, Sol and Tasi walked out of that stadium proud. We savoured those precious few shared moments of triumph with tears streaming down our faces, we looked at each other wide eyed and teary faced, and we laughed tears of joy and elation.
        We knew we will always be one people, a people cast together by history, a people held together by our ancient agrarian ways, thrust almost prematurely into the limelight of 21st Century to sink or swim, live or die. Together we chose life. And but whilst the odds were always staked against us, and some called us stone aged primitives, while others whispered,”… they won’t make it…”, it is in rare moments of sporting triumph like this, pitted against their best, on a clear sky blue day and level playing field, we have come together and asserted resoundingly that we have arrived on the world’s centre stage!
        We have asserted that we are an ancient people, a strong people, the largest nation in the Pacific Islands, the land link between the tiger economies of Asia and the Pacific, we are the pre-historic home of Melanesia, we are a serious people, and we shall be taken seriously by our other Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian neighbours. Whether they like it or not, whether they like our way of doing things or not, we are here and we are asserting ourselves, and assert we did at that and every other SP Game since.
        Who would have predicted how we would turn out as a nation and a people in 1973 when we were granted Self Government so hurriedly by the Gorton/Whitlam Governments of Canberra?
        In the late 1960-70s in one of those South Pacific Commission Meetings held in the capital of one of our Polynesian countries, the Paramount Chief of the Chimbu people, and he may as well have been the Chief of all the Highlanders, because he was a tall towering and imposing Simbu, who stood as tall as the mountains, and firm as his native rock of Elimbari. When he spoke, his dozen wives and multitudes upon multitudes of tribes men far and near came and drank of his words in utter silence, words that flowed seamlessly like the Waghi giving life to a deeply farrowed land. But this time, his solemn maiden Chiefly address to the South Pacific Commission in tok pisin was mocked, perhaps because of his earnest but equally farrowed facial features. Perhaps it was because he didn’t understand a word of English,or because they couldn’t understand him, and couldn’t reply. He did look like someone out of the stone age, but his heart was earnest and his composure sure and demeanour true, but nevertheless he felt the bitter sting of a thousand wasps buzzing around his head. He couldn’t speak English. Realizing, from the laughter and the polite nods that he had just become the laughing stock of the Pacific, and realizing he carried with him, not only the pride of the Narengu tribe of Chimbu, the pride of the Highlands, but also of the then Territories of Papua and New Guinea he represented, Kondom Agaunduo stood up and spoke in pisin and uttered those famous lines… ” yupela harim ah! Nau mi kam long hia na toktok na yupela lap long mi. Em I orait. Tomoro bai mi salim ol pikinini bilong mi i kam. Taim ol I kam, bai yupela no nap lap long ol! “ With that he sat down.
        Paramount Chief Kondom Agaunduo now lies in silent repose in his village on the side of the Highway named after an equally imposing political force of the Simbu people, one of the finest sons that Chief Kondom spoke of. Kondom was a man before his time. He was a Chief and Luluai, a cultural hero who brought progress to Chimbu in the early colonial period. He was the first Simbu coffee grower, father of the Chimbu Coffee Cooperative, Member of the District Advisory Council, Observer to the First Legislative Council in Port Moresby. Before his premature death from a car accident, he was truly a pioneer who craved education and progress for his people so that they could meet or match the whiteman, a man without pigs, on his own terms, and triumph. He was resolute and uncompromising in this cause. His leadership, punctuated by long eloquent speeches, was impeccable. There was no ounce of self interest in his cause. His cause was that of every Chimbu to advance.
        Our moments of triumph on the sporting field have been shared together, as highlanders, Momases, NGIs and Papuans- groupings that came as we tried to define ourselves along our natural geographic regions. Yet these groupings sit very un-comfortably with our own assertion and notion as one people and one nation. Today we have indeed become one people and one nation with complex intermarriages. When corporate greed threatened to blow us apart, and it did for many years for thousands on Bougainville, one man, a soldier and a national hero from Karkar Island, stood up and defied all odds to put a stop to the blood bath that was about to unfold. He underwent a period of self-examination and self-assessment for some time. After all that was done, he stood up, and he stood by the oath he took before God and man to protect the Constitution, his nation, his people in Bougainville and on the mainland. He realized in time that if he didn’t stand up, he would by his conduct have revoked the Constitutional framework that held us together as a people, and cut adrift the people of Bougainville. He defied vulgar political direction and greedy corporate puppetry from outside. When Jerry Singirok triumphed personally over the evil that was about to be served, a chalice of blood, a slaughter that appeared inevitable, the whole nation triumphed. We all exhaled in great shared relief! Whew!
        Many a child who was born in the 1980s, educated to feel equally eloquent and masters of their own destiny, deserving of a great future in this country, find themselves having to invariably come to terms with political legacies and historical events like Bougainville, constantly nagging at them with them having to ask themselves this question- what was all that about? The mothers of Bougainville, who survived, who suffered through loss of their own sons, daughters and husbands, are still asking that very question to this day.
        While the fallen soldiers were draped in the red black and gold, the fallen in Bougainville lie scattered all over those islands of sorrow, and their spirits still wander unrequited. Deep down, every mother in Bougainville still ask, why did the nation turn its guns on our sons? Why did Bougainville become the Islands of sorrow? Can we as a nation triumph together in sporting fields like the coming SP Games and in other spheres if we do not deal with Bougainville, look at our brother in the eye and honestly feel the same blood pulsating through our veins?
        How can we explain Bougainville to our children that they, as intelligent human beings with inquisitive minds, can make sense of it? How can the fatherless and the motherless children of Bougainville who also struggle daily with their permanent condition be consoled? And how do they further explain it to their children?
        We cannot explain Bougainville, the shedding of innocent blood, the birthing of an Island of orphans and widows, in any other way than the sense of corporate greed, and blatant disregard for human lives and the rights of human beings by so called civilized nations, acting secretively through off-balance sheet black ops operatives. No one has gone behind the scenes to expose the people behind the people in Sandline. Faceless men in glass steel and concrete towers in faraway lands, powerful governments and their operatives, use money and influence and do deals and sign papers that instantaneously spill the blood innocent people all over the world. It was the South Americas yesterday, and today it is the Middle-East, with Africa the ongoing playground of those who want to pawn off the lives of the starving innocent using contentions of old tribal rifts and religious differences as convenient divisive tools. The death of the cold war has spawned new wars , wars that relate directly to control and exploitation of scarce resources and energy fields, that will see the rise and re-ordering of civilisation as we know.
        While those who conceived Sandline have long melted into the shadows, governments involved quickly cut off connections, wiped the paper trail and electronic footprints leading to their doorsteps, shredded the papers and claimed both ignorance and innocence; the Queen sits with a solemn smile on her throne in England, while the Kangaroos still graze peacefully on the brown meadows of Australia. Long gone are the sounds of machine guns and echoes of the cries of children looking for their mothers. Today, they come with bundles of Aid money to “help” the people of Bougainville. It’s the re-building and restoration program that they in their magnanimous generosity bestow on Bougainville that comes not necessarily without strings attached . How wonderfully generous the help is to us with roads that may one day carry our copper and gold out again, and ports that may see ships bearing all manner of colours once more berth, but let us not even contemplate that for now.
        For now, having put up his hand for Sumkar and lost to an Australian Naturalized citizen, Jerry Singirok, sits back on his Island home to contemplate and take stock of his gains and losses, his friends and his foes, especially those who pretended to be friends but were really against him. He savours the sting of deception, like the buzz and sting of a thousand urchins. No war would have prepared him for this public admonition. In the 2012 elections, more so than ever before, the Australian Defence and intelligence played a very heavy hand, and made no secret about the fact of who Canberra wants installed as the new Prime Minister. Jerry Singirok of all people was in a better position to know and understand what was really at stake.
        On the 2nd of August 2011, Australia engineered the disposal of Somare while he was in Hospital. They used ONeill’s ambition, Nape’s greed and Namah’s stupidity. Then when the courts were called upon to intervene, Julia Gillard used a political bulldozer to recognize ONeill’s government. She pre-empted the Supreme Court, the sole arbiter under the Constitution to deal with the question of legitimacy of Peter ONeill as Prime Minister. Having realized she stuffed up, she was not going to back off. She used High Commissioner Kemish, tons of money, and the full swag of intelligence tools at her disposal, including the complicity of the Post Courier, to push for Peter ONeill. Australia was instrumental in the smashing of the Judiciary and the Constitution. Australia moved its people into key positions within the Electoral Commission, and even brought in its military and SAS veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to run a separate communications and operations capability parallel to the PNG security forces. All this was done to ensure one result- Peter ONeill to form the next government. Even after ONeill was declared Kemish moved a whole company of Army specialists into the Airways where ONeill team was holed up, as a show of alliance, and as a personal protection unit against anything that Belden Namah would throw. They moved huge amounts of firearms into PNG and the Airways Hotel on secret Australian Airforce Fights.
        It was a job well done for Ian Kemish, who unlike any other High Commissioner before him, was prepared to get his hands dirty, and do some of the work himself. As a diplomat, he has trod where even angels wouldn’t dare. What a brave man this Ian Kemish is, for he has successfully and almost singlehandedly displayed the full length and breadth of the power of Australia over Papua New Guinea politics. He has shown other diplomats in almost resounding terms, who owns this country! And for this he would have earned a long and well deserved holiday somewhere in Europe, and for sure almost endless career possibilities with the Commonwealth. A job well done in any one’s language.
        Somare and other elder statesmen have played the only card they could play under the circumstances. But their card no longer carries any personal ambitions. They have been there and done that. There is no anger or resentment left in Chan, Somare or even Wingti. They have measured ambitions, which involve issues of what form or shape of legacy will they all and each leave for this nation. How will they be remembered after they pass? Each one of them have had a by-pass operation. Each is living on time that has been graciously extended to them. And each of them has known what it is like to have and hold power, exercise power, and what a heady thing that is!
        The real issue for Somare Chan and Wingti, and others of the elder Statesmen around ONeill , is how much of the love for the RED GOLD & BLACK can they impart to Peter ONeill and get him away from the charms of money, wealth, fame and more fortune promised to him by those who now like cicadas whisper incessantly into his ears. To be sure, Papua New Guineans know the deals O’Neill has done over the years. We also know his various businesses that are run openly and under other people’s names. We also know of his associations with the likes of young George Constantinou and the Cragnolinis. We know the straight and the crooked deals he made over the years, just as we know the deeds of others around him. We also know of the deals, political deals, he has done with Australia in return for political recognition after the 2nd of August 2011 knifing robbery. The real question is, can he stand up for the RED GOLD & BLACK? Or will he be just another good native?
        The signs are already fairly ominous of a sell-out job done by Peter ONeill. It already appears he has sold his soul to Julia Gillard. He needs these next 18 months to prove to the rest of us that he is a true nationalist, that the genes of his native mother will always outweigh those of his Irish Father, that he will rise to be a better Prime Minister, and better at negotiating competing interests and triumphing over those who want to turn him and his office into their Post Office Box. He has 18 moths to show us that he is the Prime Minister of PNG and not the rubber stamp of Australian cross-interest in this country. He will have to do better than he has done so far to show us that our lives and our resources are safe from the marauding corporate raiders who are crowding his social calendar even now.
        He has to demonstrate that the mothers of Bougainville who lost their sons fighting for their land and resources have not died in vain. He has to show us that the blood of the innocent spilled on Bougainville was for a cause of equal worth, and that indeed he will use this term of Prime Minister-ship to initiate a ministry of healing of the nation., to reconcile us as brother to brother, that our blood can flow through our veins once again from one heartbeat. For Somare who signed the First Project Agreement for Bougainville and for Chan who signed to spill blood, this will be a fitting closure, for the past to be properly buried , and for the future to be welcomed together. For without properly dealing with these matters, we can never wipe the sorrow from the Islands of Bougainville.
        Is Peter ONeill one of the sons that the great Simbu Chief Kondom Agaunduo spoke of in his maiden speech to the SPC, or is he just another ‘yes’ man for the Australians, doing their bidding so that he can increase his own barns, while the rest of the country starve? Does Peter ONeill have the smarts of a modern education and business acumen to really serve the national interest, or will be be just another drunken politician, pandering to his mates, and the sharks and vultures already circling around and above the nation?
        While the nation prepares to host the next South Pacific Games, will we be proud to cheer our red black and gold? Does Peter ONeill possess the skill, courage, mental, intellectual and moral fortitude to rise to the call of the nation, not only give us cause to celebrate and showcase our nation in the games, but show those sharks and vultures that circle us, preying on us and our resources, that this is the land of an ancient people, a people of pride, strength and culture? That we will not be bought or sold for political or economic convenience? That the birth place of the Melanesian nations- the heart and soul of Melanesia is not for sale? These questions are only for Peter ONeill to answer, and prove his mettle. If he fails, then that will be his legacy, and his only, because we will not be bought or sold by anyone, and our sons will see to that, even as they did on Bougainville.

  5. Good to see that action has been taken against racism. Can I suggest also that the Port Moresby residents hit them where it hurts the most-the cash register. Stop buying ice cream or coffee from that shop and then we’ll how long their business lasts. It is totally unacceptable for Papua New Guineans to be treated like this in out own country.

  6. Why question, just wasting time. Who are they that we should give them chance. They are not doctors, teachers, professors and etc that we may need their services. They are NO HOPERS wherever they came from and it’s just fine to put them on the next flight. I say, JUST DEPORT, get them packing. This is where Immigrations needs to act..

    I will definitely go this particular shop when I’m in Port Moresby next and check out these guys if they are still there.

  7. Actually there are so many unnecessary Asian looking, pretend bosses in those shops, You sort of wonder how on earth they enter PNG and work.


  8. Just watched the News na wanem kain Law emi outdated?If the law exists isnt it still effective today? Someone update us.

  9. Wanem Kain Law emi outdated.? Plis ol lain blo law..tokaut lo mipla plis. Mi les lo harim disla tok tok yah..!

  10. Luckily Hon.Belden Namah is not in government. Otherwise, this person will be deported the next day with his accomplice(s).

  11. Dia fellow rascists. Yes, mi tu mi koros long ol, bikos oli nativ bilong backwards Asia kantri, olsem yumi. Ol tu nogat gutpela edukesin, or skul bilong sensitivity na cross cutting cultural issues. Oli likilik wokman tasol, olsem planti bilong yumi, na tu oli nogat smatpela kru. Sori tumas, tasol wok bilong ol i gutpela. Kai kai bilong ol i gutpela, na yumi save baim tu.

    Wanem explanation bilong ol? Ol lez baga, kuru mal, lokal staff bilong ol, save usim hot wara na ino pilimupim em ken, so wok i bagarap? Mas samting olsem. Ino bikpela samting.

    Yu laik koros? traim korosim ol lain Gavana husat i save beltim ol lain wok meri bilong mipela, salim buai na lik lik samting, long kisim liklik mani long lukautim pikanini bilong ol. Yu tingim wanem long ol upstes kriminal raskol i bakarapim ol ples bung bilong mipela. Yu laik koros, korosim ol PMV draiva husat i save rausim pikanini long bus bilong ol, na sotkatim rut bilong ol, stilim mani bilong mipela. Yu laik koros, traim koros wantaim ol spak man pulimupin rot, na pablic ples, na pait na kilim i dai ol man.

    How ol polis ken putim ol suspect insait long sel bilong polis stesin, olsem ples pik, oli no save kilinim, olsem enimal? Yu save korosim ol tu? Mauswara nating na tok fukim ol, rausim ol. Yupela senisim bel bilong yu pastaim. Sem bilong yupela mauswara na koros nating.

    Tupela Asian wokman i stupid, olsem kantri bilong yumi pulup long stupid idiot.

    “A Mariner’s Catch-Cry”
    It is of worthwhile historical interest that whilst ‘mate-ship’ and giving someone a ‘fair go’ appear worthy exhortations, one can readily understand and appreciate the sociological processes by which these have now come to be exalted by a 21st century Prime Minister like John Howard as national values for Australia.

    We don’t have to reach too far back to find the hand of history at work among the psyche of sea borne convicts who needed to extol the virtues of “mate-ship” (or ship-mates) and “fair go” as being necessary survival catch-cries in over-crowded and plague ridden hulls and decks, where one could have killed for a piece of dried bread or a sip of rancid water. The mariner’s catch-cries borne out of abject tyranny, constantly staring at the face of death, have been deeply seared into the collective conscience of a nation, and as such, become as it were, the obligatory rite of passage for a post-cold war modern state. They have been galvanized into iconic symbols of mortal struggle against all manners of natural elements and artificial odds, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit in a new land. Howard seized upon this experience of recent history, and under its peaceful afterglow, he sought to hue out of it a preamble, and rallying point, for a post Nine Eleven Australia.

    In what has suddenly become the age of terrorism, with the emergence of new super powers in the region, as Prime Minister of an incongruously European enclave in the Pacific, Howard saw himself as the first chief executive in Australian politics to inaugurate some sort of mission statement that would become the necessary turbo-charge to propel his country forward, and to cement his place in Australian political folklore. He sought meaning and intellectual solace within the nation’s brief life experience to give utterance to some form of common purpose and direction to the occurrence of his people on a dry, arid and somewhat alien continent. He attempted to weave history seamlessly into the challenges facing a modern state, to proclaim the dawning of a new era for a modern Australia, based on what he claimed to be homogeneous values. He gleaned from history the collective experiences that would hold Australians to a new horizon, a new prism, from which to view the past, draw strength from it, to face the ever uncertain future with confidence.

    How fitting and ingenious it was for Howard, who was Prime Minister for well over a decade, to deliberately reach back into the dark recesses of his country’s brief history and craft out of it some timeless values that, like a deceased persons last will and testament, or a futuristic software program, would ensure even after he had long departed the corridors of power, he still ruled the country in the legacy of the values he laid. In a sense, this may be deemed by some as an attempt by Howard at ultimate political immortality.

    Howard’s sudden burst of statesmanship would also be the culmination of several other concerns playing at the back of his mind, chief among these may have been the quest to find something to hold together a people made more disparate by years of pursuing a policy of multiculturalism, a coterie of scattered peoples with no common cause or common back ground. In his many years in Parliament, he must have seen the need for the creation of a homogenous value system to unite every Australian under. There is no greater contradiction, no greater paradox, no greater tragedy than being Prime Minister of a people who do not believe in anything, who lack any common cause for cohesion and direction, just merely existing out of sheer necessity and by the cold force of statute law, in an otherwise economically prosperous land mass. It was, as if in a flash of hallucination, Howard saw out of the Simpson Desert, rise, a gigantic mirage of a distorted, disjointed, worn and weathered people, wandering in dreamlike trance, with nothing to hold their ragged spirits, nothing to fight for, nothing to live for, and nothing to die for, all while drowning in a sea of immense and obscene prosperity.

    Surely as a devout Presbyterian it would have played on his mind the trials and tribulations of ancient Moses leading his people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and around in circles, fighting needless enemy after enemy, under similar desert skies, for forty long years. Surely Howard would have silently paraphrased with his own lips the salient prophetic warning: what does it profit Australia if it should gain the whole world by its material prosperity out of Aborigine lands, but lose its own soul? To lose its way in a spiritless and soulless existence held together only by the hundreds of legislation passed by various parliaments every year is an empty affair. The ability to regulate, and over-regulate, is sometimes mistaken for cohesion of a people or even nationhood, when in reality it is an artificial fettering of the will and soul of a people.

    In many ways Howard was not as motivated by the cause of homogeneity, or sameness, and social cohesion as he was for submission of all to his ideals. Howard appeared to be an overt racist (as exemplified by his 1989 leadership loss), in as much as he was careful to camouflage it. He was against Asian Immigration as much as he was determined never to apologize to the stolen generation of Australian indigenous people. He saw China as an enemy as much as he wanted to sell his coal and iron ore to them to secure his own balance of payments.

    Of course as true as the ancient Moses never entered the promise land, Howard duly lost the next elections in the most dramatic and personally humiliating way possible that was almost reminiscent of judgment day for a protestant.

    Under its long held policy of multiculturalism, which replaced the previously 150 year old White Australia Policy, Australia’s phenomenal economic growth and prosperity was underscored by great demographic shifts in urban areas where eighty percent of the population live. Suburbs where white Australia lived and worked for decades have become enclaves or exclusive domains of the Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, Vietnamese, and even Korean immigrants. Cityscapes were demarcated with bright neon phalluses and other edifices by the gay and lesbians to celebrate their bold rise, and conquest, of more than pubs and malls. They all brought with them their gods and their songs; for how could multiculturalism expect them to possibly live without their songs? No people can live or survive without their songs. How can they possibly otherwise sing their songs in a strange, hot and hostile land, unless, of course, their gods also came to carry them through? So today we see the sky lines of Australian suburbia spotted with spires, towers and pinnacles of churches, synagogues, mosques and shrines to almost every god conceivably known to humanity.

    In the post Nine Eleven era, while George Bush was moving decisively with the weight of conservative America behind him to annihilate Muslims and their god, so too was Howard of the view that this presented an opportunity to limit Asian and Boat people Immigration and bring all the disparate songs and their gods to account in multicultural Australia under his newfound values. This was also a moment for Howard to signal his departure from multiculturalism, distinguish himself from Menzies’ and Curtin’s White Australia legacies, and more recently Keating and Labor’s partly successful policy of assimilation of Australia into Asia and APEC, to write a new song of mate-ship and fair go for all Australians, new and old, to sing in unison.

    With the realization of the rise of a New World Order came something else that bothered Howard who was sitting at the bottom of the Pacific looking up the mini skirt of the world, so to speak, glancing back and forth between Asia and America. With China and India rising through the artifice of capitalism to take their proper places in history, Howard’s Australia could no longer glibly take its foreign policy cue carte blanche from the United States whose power under his mate Bush was clearly waning. Howard had to somewhat define Australia’s position.

    It is no longer a secret that America has been living way beyond its ability to produce; its hand weakened by debt, could no longer enforce the rules of Brentwood Conference to keep every dog in its place. Howard, placed in a precarious position, as world events unraveled fast, while waltzing and tangoing with his friend Bush has had to keep an eye on the others on the dance floor. While Bush was unawares Howard had to occasionally spin, unfurl his dress and show his wares to the others to keep them interested. That has always been the double tonguing, double faced and double talking character of Australian foreign and trade policy in so far as the Americans are concerned, and vice versa. The AWB wheat sales to Sadam Hussein in breach of UN sanctions was one such example of Howard unfurling his dress, double tonguing and dirty dancing. Thankfully, for him and Downer, he was the one who set the terms of reference of the Cole Commission of Inquiry to escape answering any questions for what could otherwise have been a dirty-flour bomb exploding in his face.

    Australia’s current trade policy with China is another example of Australia playing double games over China as far as the Americans are concerned. By way of insurance, the US has a strong lobby in Canberra to ensure Australia does not betray the US Defense interests for thirty pieces of silver from China.

    Australia is also playing double games with China itself, tricking China into believing it is a bona-fide trading partner, when it is not, prompting recent call by businessmen like Andrew Forrest (of Fortesque Metals) on Australian leaders to abandon their narrow racist phobias against China and be genuine about doing business with China. Australia has deep and abiding prejudices against China, which includes Defense Policy modeling of China as the new enemy.

    American trade policy, on the other hand has been no different as far as Australia was concerned when it came to selling beef or wheat in terms of competing for the same export destinations, refusing in trade negotiations to sign protective exclusivity or reservation clauses that Australia preponderated to keep certain markets to itself.

    Howard realized that, APEC and WTO aside, he had to take advantage of changing dynamics and perceptions, and artfully keep China and India economically engaged beyond just exporting iron ore and coal to China and taking Indian students into Australian universities. Howard also wanted to assert a new position for Australia in the order of things with the US in decline.

    For Howard’s Australia, the historical European Common Market access could no longer be taken for granted. The European countries transforming into a wider European Union with a unified currency and open and flexible (Intra-European Union) market access posed a serious dilemma for the traditional Australian agricultural exports to Europe. The inevitability of Australia losing its market share in exports into Europe became a huge challenge a decade ago. Now a decade on, the challenge clearly became how Howard could keep positive foreign policy engagement, especially in trade, with the Europeans, the Israelis, Arabs, Indonesia, India and China and at the same time do everything under the sun to keep them out of the growing important resource rich economies of the Pacific’s mainly Melanesian countries. In so far as the United States was concerned, Howard had to figure out just how Howard could assure it to keep Australia as a worthy Defense ally in the Pacific, and at the same time keep the United States businessmen and their capital markets out of the Pacific. In a sense Australia wanted to be to the US regarding investments in Melanesia, what England is to the US regarding investments in the European Union.

    Australia’s export capacity in agriculture to Europe and elsewhere has markedly declined in the last twenty years in most sectors in contrast to New Zealand’s comparable products in the same period. This is partly because Australia pursued unwise domestic economic policies that have had the effect of stripping its farming base and debasing its sources of rural innovation, resulting in displacing some of its key rural industries and attendant populations. Certain market policies were pursued to make way for Australia’s entry into more liberalized and globalized capitalist markets underpinned by free trade and free market theories of capitalism.

    Some rural industries, like fruit farms, fruit processing and canning businesses like Letona and Watties, owned and operated by large multinationals in southern New South Wales and rural Victoria, folded or downsized responding to decisions in head offices elsewhere overseas for reasons of achieving greater global efficiency or in response to popular push for free trade. Others folded for industrial relations related adverse cost and efficiency factors. Whole townships dependent on single industries simply died and became ghost towns with remaining population going on welfare and the dole. Many generational orchards and farming lands have been let go and families have fled the bush for lack of government support in times of difficulty, including years of lack of drought support in some areas.

    Commercial banks who have lent to farms in good times refused to reschedule terms when the commodity prices faltered. Some banks who provided negligent or questionable foreign exchange advice to farmers and supported their heavy foreign currency borrowings abandoned the farmers without recompense when they made extraordinary losses. In some cases the government has not come up with workable and innovative farm-gate financing solutions for those farmers engaged in the direct export of commodities. Instead many generational farming communities of Australia have been left high and dry, and in some cases hung to dry by deliberate shifts to pursue capitalist ideologies of free trade. Yet others have been challenged to give up their profitable farms in favor of coal, coal seam or iron ore miners moving in.

    Water has been another major issue for farmers in certain parts. Governments, both Federal and State, have become more and more part of the problem than the solution in coming up with coherent water use policies that would benefit all inhabitants of Australia, especially along the Murray-Darling and the Murrumbidgee river basins. This has adversely affected farmers in several States through which these great rivers once flowed so freely and prolifically. The problem is not just in accessing use and even distribution of water by farmers upstream and by other users downstream; there is a serious issue relating to the type of industries accessing the water- whether the economic returns and the comparative advantages gained are worth the volume of water consumed in industries like cotton for instance, comparing to returns on say rice or wheat? There are other pressing issues of maintaining fragile areas of the environment for preservation of fish, bird and other wildlife species in wetland type zones that are threatened by drought type conditions brought on by artificially snuffing the life out of river systems.

    Then there is the overall problem of lack of volume of total available water. In some parts of Australia ‘…no man never saw it rain, for fifty years at least. Not when the blessed parakeets are flyn’ to the east!”. Some States like New South Wales and Queensland are seriously contemplating expenditure upward of 24 billion dollars each on desalination plants to supply cities like Sydney and Brisbane. This very expensive option has not factored into the equation the needs of their respective farming communities who are left to the vagaries of changed weather patterns and increased drought conditions. The demand for water for farmers in most affected States of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia has reached a point where the price per unit of limited supply has been somewhat heated to the extent that the States have not been able to agree on drawing rights and pricing. This has caused the Federal Government to intervene and legislatively assume water powers and administration, creating a Federal Ministry for Water, taking debate on it to a national level.

    No matter what the final pricing or distribution rights they finally agree to, the issue of overall total available volume in a dry continent frequented further by regular and severe bouts of drought will not be solved within the current paradigms evident and contemplated.

    When one stops to consider the magnitude of the problem, it does not take much imagination or cost in comparative terms, in the final analysis, to sink a few draw pipes into a river or two from the Gulf of Papua and pump down to Australia all that clean fresh pristine water from the tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea. They could easily pump that water right into current dams and reservoirs and supply the farms and cities directly at a miniscule of what it is costing them now, and the small fortune that lack of water is likely to cost them in the future. When one considers that the volume of water that flows through the Murray-Darling in one whole year flows through any one of the Strickland, Lakekamu, or Purari rivers in less than a day, it is not such a silly idea after all!

    However, such dreams of huge water pipes and a dry and barren land coming alive, lay only in the realms of possibility of those who are called by the mover of man and mountains to be visionaries and leaders of men. It is for those who are born to be hunters to hunt, fishermen to fish, and fortunetellers to tell us about tomorrow. For Australia’s tomorrow, it will be a long time before it births a leader who has both promise and passion, with a real connection with the land, who is not faint of heart, possessed of such dare and vision to see those still dry bones rise once more, those dry river beds and canyons rejuvenated, and the deserts greener than ever before, to feed an ever growing and ever hungry world.

    Sadly, the reality of Australia’s loss is not just in abandoned properties and dilapidated farm sheds over what was once productive and thriving rural Australia. The real loss is in farming and land management skills developed over generations of working with the land. A significant body of knowledge, wisdom, and the gritty spirit of the Australian bush borne out of living with and living off a dry and harsh landscape, may well be lost through lack of imagination in leadership. As TS Eliot would ask, “where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?” With its leadership adopting glibly the Harvard business school type productivity and efficiency prescriptions based on economic models that are usually at odds with the interests of real Australia, the bush will continually come under immense pressure until it can no longer hold the spirit of its inhabitants. For some that is already the case.

    The prescriptions of World Trade Organization, APEC, GATT, the failed Uruguay Round, the nearby the DOHA round, the recent G8 leader’s post-GFC designs, aimed at preserving capitalism, if not carefully adjusted and adapted, can be at great odds with preservation of real lives and an iconic way of life in Australia. At the end of the day real people and real lives are sacrificed at the altar of capitalism, for the sake of preserving and perpetuating what in reality is an ideology, an ideology that is proving to unravel at the seams with the world in financial turmoil. Handing out huge amounts of cash to banks by governments is an obscene transfer of public wealth to the hands of those mega rich few who own and control these financial institutions, all for the sake of perpetuating a system nearly collapsed by the sheer greed of these very financial institutions.

    It cannot possibly be fairly characterized as giving the bush or the rural populous a fair go by any government, let alone Australian, when you consider that these very banks have closed down hundreds of farms and sent thousands to the jobless and homeless ques. Try explaining the imposts of free trade to the Innisfail banana farmer in Far North Queensland, the rice farmer in Leeton, or the wheat farmer in the Liverpool Plains, in whose hands Australia continues to pin its hopes of a place in the new economically altered world order, but fails to tangibly support.

    The other cause for loss of the farming productivity and way of life is failure by successive Federal and State governments of Australia to reinvest in and follow through funding in research and development in agricultural crop and livestock productivity, and pest control research. Pests like rabbits are back stronger than ever in destroying the malley, pasture land and crops because of government failure to conduct follow through research for their eradication. In comparison to the US, Japan, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and other progressive economies, Australia has failed to invest in R&D at the same level in the last 30 years to capture its own ingenuity. It is obvious that successive Australian leaders, like Howard, (Rudd and now Gillard) have run out of new and fresh ideas for increasing farm productivity and have opted instead to take the soft option in placing the Australian economy on an almost irresponsible footing with heavy reliance on (including taxing) its finite natural resources to save the day and bring home the bacon.

    The Howard government privatized large publicly owned corporations such as the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra, sold huge chunks of Australia to foreign interests like the Chinese and the Arabs in terms of large tracts of pasture land and rural properties, stud farms, coal, iron ore, aluminum and natural gas properties, before they were voted out.

    Howard even changed the media ownership laws and sanctioned Publishing & Broadcasting Limited, the iconic Australian media company that Sir Frank Packer founded the Packer family fortune on, to be sold. Unconfirmed word in certain sectors has it that a large chunk of PBL was ultimately sold to fronts for suspected Chinese interests trading off gaming industry opportunities in the former Portuguese, now Chinese, controlled Maccau. To India, Australia has begun a process to sell them uranium and other resources like iron ore. This is all part of Australia responding to the ordering of the new world.

    When Climate Change policy threatened the natural resources sector, Howard opted to join the skeptics, as it was politically convenient to save the coal industry- the goose that lays the golden egg for Australia. This created one of the biggest macro policy dilemmas Australia has ever faced. Australian government and its leadership have had to decide whether they are interested to save the planet, or stay in government. The choice between keeping the jobs of the mine workers in the coal industry or save the world has not been an easy one. The Howard government lacked courage to take this decision. The Rudd government was also beset with the same dilemma. It has found out that it is not enough to have a vision. Vision must be supported by knowledge and understanding; but above all else courage, and courage in the face of a powerful mining lobby. For Rudd this presented itself as the moment of difference between world leadership and remaining a mediocre (Australian) politician, and there are many, who inevitably like a field of daisies, bloom in the morning and fade with the setting sun. Rudd was not going to be a daisy, and he paid the price with a knife to his back.

    Once again, a leader of men, a man of abiding courage and deep conviction, a dreamer, a prophet and a political-entrepreneur, a social democrat- if you like, is yet to emerge from the pack who will distinguish himself or herself with the ability to engender big hearts and big enough minds to dream Australia out of the unhealthy and imbalanced political, social, and economic paradigms that it finds itself entombed in. A leader that will, as Howard attempted to do, forge a common basis of identity (aside from meat pies, vegemite, Holden Utes and footy games) to provide a truly spiritual basis for coming together, is yet to emerge. This lack has seriously undermined and will continue to afflict Australia’s bid to become a significant political and economic player in the region as part of the new order of things.

    Australia at times sees itself as stuck in the Pacific, so far away from everyone, every group and everything else that matters to it economically and culturally. As such, Howard realized that unless, it grew a voice and perhaps could shed its umbilical cord and unite its people under some form or shape of common values, and started to make some noise of relevancy likened to some sort of a median player in the region, it is destined to become redundant and a non-event. Hence Howard’s quest to become a middle power or regional power was an attempt at addressing this fear, which lies at the heart of an even deeper crisis- a crisis of identity. It is almost a desperate bid to remain and maintain some potency and relevancy on a stage where the scenery and the props are constantly changing. For Asia, the show has definitely moved on, and Australia has to catch up.

    Howard’s new-found concept of being a median player may well have been inspired by Peter Jackson, a New Zealander, who directed the film sequel Lord of the Rings which hit the box office about the same time. Howard echoed the notion of the existence of a mythical land known as Middle Earth as seen in that film’s adaptation of Tolkien’s famous novel. By asserting a position openly, Howard felt that he could with the stroke of a pen put paid to the deep spiritual crisis of identity that has plagued white Australia ever since John Banks suggested the idea of convicts and jails in the Antipodes.

    One of Australia’s other great phobias is that it will be seen as just a big hole in the ground where natural resources are dug out of, and nothing more.

    The perfect solution for Australia, it seemed to Howard, was to create for itself a role on the world stage and then superimpose that role on the neighboring countries and the region through regional Aid policies, whilst domestically mobilizing the population to fight the scourge of Muslim terrorism, and getting everyone to rally to sing a new song of Mate-ship and Fair go. Hence, he put himself forward as Bush’s Deputy Sherriff in the Pacific, aided by an Irish catholic in Mick Kelty as his go to man with equally expansive ideas and designs on the role of the Australian Federal Police. Howard embarked feverishly on activities aimed at greater regional cooperation on developmental and security interests to put Australia at the helm of the Pacific, sought observer and member status in regional forums like ASEAN, sought a seat on the UN Security Council, used aid and treaty based institutional strengthening programs as effective tools of imposition in the Asia and Pacific regions- all in a bid to remain relevant, and fight its demons at the same time.

    On this particular Australia Day in 2007, Howard used the event to also serve notice on New Australians not to deviate from his stated values. His desire to create a homogenous society caused his values to be written into official government (Immigration) policy and pledges. Howard also attempted to use the proclamation of these values to somewhat under-pin a new culture of egalitarianism based on mate-ship and a fair go in Australian society, just as the Puritans and other Pilgrims did in founding the Americas, culminating in the proclamation of the Bill of Rights, the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    However, even if Howard’s speech on that Australia Day was intended to give a certain Jeffersonian resonance, or a semblance of a Washingtonian moment, to convey him deep political gratification and a lasting legacy, the terms mate-ship and fair go are a far cry from language befitting a constitution of federation or declaration of independence. They are not exactly the rousing and deeply venerated prose of idealism that stirs the spirit and beckons the soul of every Australian toward the lofty, the sublime, and the noble. Nor are they words that inspire Australians to scale the majestic heights of idealism and be held enthralled and captivated by principles higher than their own mortal selves, like the timeless spirit and essence patently alive in the wonderful prose of the American Constitution, and in that of the Declaration of Independence. These terms of mate-ship and fair go, in actual fact, respectively, dangle like a broken pendulum in the wind, resonating precariously between a melancholic lament and a protest of malcontent. As a result they are no more than common slang that represent more fluff and feathers than the real turkey because, in actual contemporary Australian society, they neither reflect a past that is commonly shared nor a future to be commonly hoped for by all who have now come to call themselves Australian.

    The challenge that remains, still, for Australian leaders is how can they, as leaders of disparate groups of mainly migrants, on Aborigine soil, in Melanesian Pacific, without the threat of the oppressive manacles and artifices of statute law, come together and freely assert a cohesive position and place, birthing a new spirit of the Australian people, of a singular soul, to be made self-evident as one people, as the new world order unfolds- living with due regard and reverence for the place and position of the Aborigine and the Melanesian on this side of God’s earth?

    As for mate-ship and fair go, they remain for now, common slangs, reminiscent of a time and a place, a mariner’s survival catch-cry that cannot give, take or hold life, let alone the soul of a disparate people.

    1. Yupela olgeta. Em taim bilong niuopela regime long South Pacific. USA i kam bek gen.

      USA i lusim tingting long South Pacific klostu 20 yia nau.

      Already a few South Pacific Nations are being deluged with money from both the USA and China. Sina em niupela bikman lonf South Pacific.

      So my wantoks, “times they are a changin” in the words of the Bob Dylan song. You need to get into the USA’s ear about uniting PNG with West Papua, of perhaps China.

      Australia has already stated that it recognises Indonesia’s sovereignity over West Papua and that it recognises the Lombok Treaty. See my postings on The West Papua Forum, on PNG Scape,. I did a cut n paste of the speeches, to try to provoke discussion.

      This may be the best time to make change. If the USA looks like using its Freeport Mine revenue, it will deal with a new regime to keep it. If China thinks it can cut a deal there it will back whoever will help it.

      So, my brothers. The solution has to be political. The TNI (Tetara Natioalisi Indonesia) has 466,000 personell with anothe 25 million reservists (16 – 49 age group). Start to get in the ear of those in power in China and the USA.
      PNG has to support West Papua in the international political sphere.

      Papua Merdeka……Ralph.

  13. *deep sigh* if only such ferocious enthusiasm can be exntended to prosecuting our own corrupt wantoks.patriotiosm?really?


    With a cursory glance at New Zealand one cannot help but notice the relative strength, resilience and pride of a small country self-evident in the spirit of its people.

    This has not happened overnight. It has evolved as a living testament to a deliberate and conscious social contract by the white population to integrate with the indigenous Maori culture, recognizing its unique and inherent richness and its intrinsic power to hold them, to proudly set them all apart, as New Zealanders together, from the rest of the world.

    Its historical foundation, providing both the legal and moral high point is the Treaty of Waitangi, which remains to this day the beacon of racial equality to all New Zealanders irrespective of colour creed or religious persuasion. The Treaty of Waitangi forms the basis of formal legal recognition of the Maori nations that owned and inhabited the territories prior to the advance of the British.

    Whilst there are continuing challenges to work out in specific aspects of the Treaty, the content of ownership and compensation rights in respect of both land and water; there is no denial as to the historical legal ownership of the lands, seas and waterways by the original Maori inhabitants. This forms the solid back drop to the formal and social acceptance of the whites by the Maori and in turn the Maori and their culture by the whites, as one people- the foundational bedrock on which a nation has been forged.

    The Treaty of Waitangi marks the meeting of equals. It is the starting point from which an ongoing national conversation has evolved and continues to evolve as all New Zealanders, together, confront the legacies of the past and confidently face the challenges of the future, and build their nation together.

    In sporting fields like in Rugby League, or in Rugby Union, the All Blacks wearing their predominantly black colors with either a white fern or a kiwi, become the embodiment and the living demonstration of the spirit of New Zealand in the distinctive war cry- the Maori Haka. Every New Zealand representative player, black or white, knows the Haka of the ancient warriors, whose blood runs through their veins, from one generation of warrior men to the next. It has been whispered that the colours immortalize every All Black or Kiwi. They feel the mystical connection to the land, even as the fern that grows on it or the kiwi that inhabits under its towering limbs, both, like the players themselves, are sired by that ancient soil now known as New Zealand.

    It happens each and every time they dance the ancient Haka. They feel a quiet hush come over the gallery, like that great white mist that slowly rises above the thermal pools of Rotarua on a winter’s day. The place plays before them like a black and white clip of an old silent movie, in slow motion, and they sailing one of those majestic ancient hand-carved long canoes into Kaipara Harbour. Then they see it! Behold! There gathered in the surrounding multitudes tattooed and wrinkled faces of their people past and present. The thunder of a great roar goes up and there pressing them and urging them ever upward, and ever onward, unto glory and greatness is the unmistakable deafening cry of the ancients. Today, in this place, at such a time as this, this very moment, the All Blacks know destiny has become them, the past present and future has all become one, intermeshed in them. History has it, many a team of Wallabies and all other wannabies have discovered, their spirits crushed to smithereens with uncompromising ferocity, and as each time and every time, the Haka, like a requiem mass, is stomped on the ground before them; they know within their quivering mortal frames what awaits them.

    In contrast, the Australian players are usually seen simply and nonchalantly standing around, listless, fidgeting or nodding their heads, perhaps wishing they could find something primordial, something ancient, something deep within their culture and psyche to showcase their national spirit in appropriate response to the war cries of those who walk the unbroken line of warriors. Alas! That is not to be.

    Maori language and culture has also come to occupy a very important place in the New Zealand academic syllabus at schools. Children in New Zealand learn both cultures and traditions as part of what it means to be a New Zealander. It is an evolving and yet consciously balanced and ever continuously balancing society.

    In further contrast, in Australia today whilst Aboriginal and Melanesian Torres Strait culture remain the only true and authentic Australian cultural experiences, they have been relegated to obscurity or granted merely ceremonial roles as curious practices of a fringe people that are out there somewhere in the never. For Howard, it seemed the culture of Indigenous Australia did not represent and could never have represented anything beyond the weird mutterings and practices of fringe dwellers or curious tourism show pieces to be brought out in Olympics type gatherings to impress the world, but nothing more. Their spirit remains crushed and subjugated to an extent that their songs will never be sung in their own lands. What Australia could have become with a social contract in the way of New Zealand was not going to be achieved under Howard, and looked very likely to be buried in the sands of time by Rudd and Jenny Macklin, along with the large unfinished part of the sorry business. Certainly Julia Gillard has made no advances on Rudd’s symbolic apology.

    Australia may have a flying kangaroo on the tail of Qantas aircraft, but can objects made of metal; petroleum derivatives and tufts of natural fabrics really by some strange divination become the spirit of a people, or will such forever remain the fantasy of some paisley tied, pin striped suited marketing guru in some cold steel and glass Melbourne board room? Can the perching of young children perilously over the precipice of a cliff, singing verses of an homesick person, ever represent the true spirit of Australia, even if they still called Australia home?

    The earliest manifestations of the true spirit of the vast continent and the rich heritage of continuous communion with the land, Terra Australis, belong in the dreamtime of the Aborigine nations. These nations today have the quiet knowledge of the land, like a mother embracing her new born child and the child’s instinctive knowledge of being and belonging; theirs is a world where words do not exist and if they did, they would be inadequate. Yet their pleas with successive leaders of Australia, as was with Hawke, Keating and Howard, will continue to fall on the deaf ears that possess little or no empathy, no visual ability and imagination to fathom the richness of what Australia really is, and could become.

    Australia has shifted away from celebrating its convict past. The re-enactment of early convict life at the Rocks in Sydney, for example, as a regular event in the 1980s with a cast of a dozen in full period costume and draught horse drawn carts and stocks no longer happens. This may have something to do with the Japanese tourists taking to laughing at the convict story. Although it is not clear that the flood of Japanese tourists were responsible for the reenactments to cease, it was observed that as the true story of Australia unfolded of how the white man took the Aborigine lands and of the abhorrent ways early Australians treated each other and Aborigines, the Japanese would just stand agape like stunned mullets and then burst into incessant grinning and nodding at each other. What they heard of and witnessed in the floggings, hangings, firing squads shooting natives and prisoners, enchainment and locking of persons in stocks and casts, was a direct contradiction to the human rights and POW rights postulations of Australia since the last World War.

    Certainly for all the grandstanding for justice and human rights that Australia promulgates internationally the Japanese are usually astonished that what they just witnessed as a re-enactment did actually take place in what is today a praetor State for democracy.

    The Japanese themselves suffered silently and were even forced to suffer deeper humiliation by attending the Australian Parliament and apologizing to the Australian people for what they did in the Second World War. Against such humiliation, and to find years later, that democracies of the west like Australia who then fought, and still today fight for freedom and democracy, actually harbored dark and tyrannical foundations, shocked the sensibilities of the Japanese tourists. It certainly was not a storyline of mate-ship or someone being given a fair go in the way Howard spoke of so emotively in that 2007 Australia Day speech. This would amuse any Japanese student of history.

    Australia strangely lives in perpetual denial of its criminal history or other less salubrious practices such as slavery (Black Birding) in the Pacific or repugnant racial policies toward indigenous peoples both of Australia and the Pacific. It is neither polite nor fashionable dinner party conversation to talk about the era of convicts, the era of Australian slave trade in the Pacific or of White Australia Policy; (enunciated by Barton and enthusiastically embraced by Menzies) that subsisted for most of its 200 year history. Not unlike the hidden hand of a puppeteer at work behind the scene, these eras still influences and form the core basis of Australia’s greater world view in the Pacific. Certainly the core values and tenets of its immigration policy and legislation is based on this.

    Babette Smith in her book Australia’s Birthstain speaks of families who deliberately hide their convict origins and of Australian society that has “culturalized” the fear of its own history. In her largely introspective body of work Smith skillfully seeks to expose the reasons why there has always been this… ‘[F]undamental national silence that the convicts as real life characters- whose stories abounded in success, failure, optimism and in tragedy, triumph and pathos- were forgotten? Was it the crimes they committed in Britain? Or did the source of a birthstain so terrible that it must be hidden lie in the penal colonies?’

    Rather than admitting that Australians have been living a lie as to their history, she admits Australians to have suffered from mass amnesia, that Australians merely
    “… suffered a major distortion of their convict history, a distortion that has been accompanied by a desire to avoid the subject altogether if possible”.

    She goes on to outline a string of national events to demonstrate this distortion where convicts did not even feature a mention. The convict has been written out of the official national records, with some records of convicts permanently destroyed.

    Today, the convict is conspicuously missing in what Australia has paraded as part of its history in events such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show or a parody of other national events. The role of convicts as thieves or farm hands tending to the mighty merino sheep of John Macarthur fame, farm produce beside characters such as gold miners and early explorers is no longer the case. They celebrate bush rangers and wood cutters, shearers, gold diggers, early explorers as heroes, notwithstanding that the gold digger and the early explorer was more likely than not out for himself and the bushranger may have been an outright criminal and outlaw.

    Smith, to her personal credit, has courageously and skillfully brought in to the light of day a great and fascinating body of convict history that is thought best forgotten by contemporary thinking of greater Australia, because it reveals the truth of Australia’s deep dark past.

    The early world view of the indigenous inhabitants shared by the convicts and their penal masters, forged largely by open subjugation of the original inhabitant of the continent, as something less than human, still noticeably permeates bi-lateral discourses with Pacific neighbors and even the Pacific Forum. This is seen clearly in Australia’s long prevailing attitudes and perceptions that go toward shaping current dialogue in projects, programs and policy initiatives in the region.

    As a case in point, one only has to look at how many years it took, how many Pacific Forum meetings and how many bi-lateral meetings it took, on the subject of seasonal labor from the Pacific, for Australia to finally entertain the idea as a possibility. In all reality Howard’s Australia was extremely reluctant to have little black or brown fellows running around and touching or picking up bits of its fruit on its farms while it is happy for the European and Japanese hands to pick up the same fruits. Perhaps it reminded Howard of the legacy of his country’s Blackbirding days, something he would rather have seen blotted out of the history books.

    Australia would happily allow the sons and daughters of Germans and Japanese touch their fruit on their farms that they would put to their lips and their mouths, and feed their children with, but not the sons and daughters of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels- all at the same time, they wish to enshrine Kokoda as a hallowed place in their history! What unmitigated racist hypocrisy!

    Australia would have stood firm on preventing the Pacific seasonal labor push except that New Zealand, much to Australia’s chagrin, took leadership of the agenda and agreed to allow the scheme to be trialed by its farmers. Australia was highly embarrassed into capitulation by a smaller country like New Zealand that has already dealt with its racial and black and white issues. Australia was extremely incensed at the political level, but could not show it. New Zealand in this way and in expressing its difference as a people and a nation always presents a very delicate diplomatic predicament for Australia as far as the Pacific is concerned.

    That certainly was not the first time New Zealand has shown up Australia. Among many incidents, two incidents of recent memory stand out.

    Firstly, New Zealand single handedly successfully brokered the formal peace process in Bougainville, initially in mid-1990 by offering and holding peace talks between the leaders of the Bougainville conflict and the Papua New Guinea government aboard the HMNZS Endeavour, while Australia, Bougainville Copper Limited, [majority owned and operated by Anglo-Australian mining giant Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA)] and CRA who were initially part of creating the problem stood by and did as little as possible.

    By way of background, over 75% percent of profits from the huge Bougainville mine were remitted to or through Australia, its citizens and companies who benefitted immensely through supply, sub-contracting and employment over 15 years from one of the largest copper-gold mines in the world when CRA was effectively operating the mine.

    Bougainville was allowed to develop into an armed conflict that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and destruction of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth property and closure of the Panguna copper mine costing CRA, the State of Papua New Guinea and individual investors Billions of dollars in lost revenue and profits. It remains closed today.

    The seeds of such deadly conflict lie in the manner CRA operated the mine, and both CRA and the PNG Government’s failure to meet and discuss the traditional Landowners’ grievances, again centered largely around the manner in which CRA was operating the mine through the operating company, Bougainville Copper Limited.

    After experiencing over 15 years of mining, the Landowners soon saw that their natural and social environment was being destroyed beyond repair with very little corresponding wealth to them forthcoming as was promised before the open cut mine began. The social fabric of their society was destroyed, the birds were gone, the fish no longer swam in the rivers and the sea was slowly but surely being poisoned. They wanted to talk to CRA and their government to air their grievances and find solutions. Neither CRA nor their government, both as shareholders and signatories to the Bougainville arrangements, found time to meet, despite the Bougainville Agreement (and the statutory laws constituting that Agreements) called for periodic review of the landowner arrangements to address any on-going concerns.

    CRA and the government let the people down. The Australian Government viewed this solely as an internal law and order problem, thereby plunging the seeds of discord further into Bougainville’s shimmering magma of malcontent, forcing the landowners to the point of germinating armed agitation.

    It is a little known fact that in 1989, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, then Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and his then Finance Minister Paul Pora, before the situation in Bougainville blew its top and became an entrenched full scale armed conflict, met with the landowners of the Panguna mine and gauged very quickly that they could avert full closure of the mine, restore order and resolve the outstanding issues with a suitable compensation package.

    Namaliu and Pora, both highly buoyed by the talks with the landowner leaders on Bougainville, approached the Australian government and CRA Board to match the K45million package that the Papua New Guinea government had appropriated for the purpose. CRA refused to come to the party and the Australian government took the view that the local people of Bougainville (who owned the land on which the huge mine stood) were nothing more than common criminals that required subjugation by the strongest arm of the law.

    If Sir Rabbie and Minister Pora expected a certain level of mate-ship or fair go for the land owners of Bougainville from the Australian government or CRA, they were to be bitterly disappointed. Much to the dismay of Sir Rabbie and Paul Pora, Australia conveniently preferred to view it as a Papua New Guinean internal law and order problem wherein the natives needed to be subjugated. Even John Ralph, the CRA nominated Bougainville Copper Limited Chairman at that time who possessed intimate understanding of the issues did not even raise a finger.

    The issues raised by the landowners were justifiably related to the mining activities of CRA. The Land owners objected to CRA’s environmental practices and the destruction of their way without proportionate compensation to them. There were also discrepancies with compensation packages that the colonial Australian government had negotiated with people who were not the true landowners of Panguna. As time went by the discrepancies became more and more apparent and this early mistake of the Australian colonial administration came back to haunt the government of Papua New Guinea and the company. It clearly was not a law and order issue as it was made out to be by CRA and the Australian government. It was an issue of environmental mismanagement coupled with an issue with recognition and rewarding of the wrong people where the real landowners, in particular the womenfolk of matrilineal society were not given a fair go on.

    CRA and successive Papua New Guinea governments failed to review the Bougainville Agreements on two occasions of six year intervals in the 1980s; which would have provided the forum for landowners as original stakeholders to air their grievances on many issues including the pollution by CRA of the Jaba River and the destruction of their traditional lifestyle.

    The subsequent events are now matters of history, save to say that an attempt by British interests (and the newly elected Chan/Haiveta government of Papua New Guinea) to launch the now infamous bold covert operation to carpet bomb and totally annihilate the population of Bougainville to re-take the Panguna mine in March 1997, springing the Sandline Affair, now stands as a chilling reminder to all, of the ever present darker side of humanity and of government assisted corporate greed.

    The operatives of the mercenary army had strong connections to the British Government and it is doubtful that the Australian government was, again, as ignorant of the genesis of the operation as it subsequently conveniently claimed to be granted the long standing intelligence sharing arrangements between the British and Australian government intelligence arms. As a matter of fact the much celebrated foreign correspondent Sean Dorney in his book aptly titled – The Sandline Affair, reveals prior monitoring by Australian Intelligence on the ground through the various eaves dropping mechanisms they already have on the government offices of Papua New Guinea, through telephone traffic listening centers and through human spying operatives coordinated by the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. Sean Dorney further reveals in his book that the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was made aware of the events surrounding the engagement by the Government of Papua New Guinea of mercenaries for Bougainville, through the spying operations in Port Moresby by Australia and through private briefing of events by the ABC’s Mary Louise O’Callaghan.

    Mr Downer, on his departure after a 3 day visit to Papua New Guinea, on 21st February 1997 urged the Chan-Haivata government of Papua New Guinea not to change direction with its Bougainville Policy. He urged the government to pursue the course already set by it.

    Although Downer may have been referring to the course of peace, those who know about Australia’s spying operations in the country, which would include every government Minister and every person in the know in Port Moresby, this may well have been an open and clear endorsement of the Chan government’s planned mercenary operation on Bougainville. After all, no one else knew of what transpired in an earlier one on one meeting between Downer and Chan. Chan’s subsequent revelation in a televised news conference that Downer was certainly not ignorant and that he already knew what was going on. This seems to lend credence to the possibility of a possible tacit support of the Chan government’s plans by Australia. Chan also revealed that he had earlier informed Howard by telephone of the Sandline contract while Downer was visiting at the Waigani Parliament House. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Downer’s farewell endorsement was a reference to the government’s plans in respect of the engagement of Sandline and to annihilate Bougainvilleans.

    Indeed to the Chan-Haiveta government they took this as positive endorsement from Australia for the course of engaging Sandline, and to the Bougainvillean leadership, they also took this as a positive message for peace initiatives, except subsequent events were to reveal that they were both contemplating two separate policies. Whichever way it all played out Downer flew back to Canberra in his airforce jet to patiently await the outcome.

    The stage was set for the carpet bombing and mass slaughter of Bougainvilleans, had it not been for a man of conscience, a man endowed with nerves of steel, and an indelible understanding of honor and service, called Jerry Singirok. He took an oath to protect his country, and this he did. The rest is, again, history as they say.

    It was only after New Zealand’s initial intervention to secure peace and normality in Bougainville that Australia later hosted the Cairns and Townsville peace meetings. New Zealand through the tireless efforts of Hon. Jim McKinnon, initially as Member of Parliament and subsequently in serving as Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum, brought about cease fire and a Pacific Peace Keeping Force as a precursor to settlement and return to normalcy on those Islands of sorrow.

    After peace was secured, the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer ran around like a cat with its tail on fire with a cheque book in hand trying to look and sound as important as possible. Australia was quietly seen languishing in the reserves bench while New Zealand throughout the crisis took a leadership role. Howard and Downer were never in sight in the Pacific during that part of their reign, let alone in Bougainville when the people were suffering for a cause that Australia was perceived as having helped create, and could have helped avert earlier in the piece. The unobservant eye would have been very impressed by that little latterly cheque book waving dance by Downer, but thankfully in the Pacific we don’t miss much when it comes to appreciating the difference between form and substance.

    The second occasion, in which New Zealand took leadership over indigenous Pacific Affairs, and led Australia, was in relation to Fiji. Australia had driven Fiji into the arms of China and this recently caused the US to, for the first time, directly intervene in the Pacific Forum dialogue to separately engage with Pacific countries. New Zealand had the unenviable task of saving Australia’s face over Fiji by being the first to open diplomatic relations with Fiji and ushering Fiji back into the commonwealth and the Forum. The Fiji Foreign Minister has not indicated whether it wants to accept New Zealand and Australia’s supplications, and has opted to take advice on it.

    New Zealand and what it stands for understands the Pacific people better than Australia has ever been in a position to do. How New Zealand plays its hand in the Pacific in the long term will define how it is perceived, whether as Australia’s hand maiden, messenger, puppet or a separate people of a separate nation in the Pacific linking with its neighbors for parallel growth and pursuit of respective destinies.

    There is always the option for New Zealand to assert an independent position as a unique people with a unique place in the region – thus rejecting the ‘me too’ tag it presently enjoys.

    Certainly Pacific Islanders and Melanesians in particular, have a better rapport with New Zealanders, and New Zealanders are not racist as Australians can sometimes come across as. In construction fields and in enterprises that require expat leaders and supervisors, most Melanesians respond well, work harder and longer hours for a Kiwi supervisor than they would do for an Australian. That difference may have something to do with the Treaty of Waitangi.


    Toward end of last year I took two friends from Australia home to Madang for a holiday. We were booked into Coastwatchers Hotel. My experiences of hospitality and what I found out about the Coral Seas Hotel Group thru this experience convinced me these people should not be involved in Hospitality or in Promotion of Tourism in PNG. By the way Coral Sea Hotel Group owns the Coastwatchers Hotel.

    We were supposed to be picked up at the airport when we arrived. We waited for an hour and the Coastwatchers bus never came. We hitched a ride from a local friend who came to our rescue. On our way into town we saw the Hotel bus parked on the side of the road at a Buai Market with the driver chewing buai and chatting to locals.

    When we got to the Hotel, the Check in was laborious for the three of us. They couldn’t find our bookings, even though I had rung up and made bookings two weeks earlier and reconfirmed it two days before the flight. Hence, we didn’t get the rooms we requested and we were put in three separate rooms which ended up costing us more, but to add insult to injury, the rooms were substandard for the cost per room.

    There was buai spit everywhere in the hotel, including on footpaths and back walls. The room rubbish bins had buai stains on them even though they were inlaid over with plastic bags. Cockroaches made quick getaways under the refrigerator.

    The restaurant was no better, even though we didn’t expect anything fabulous in Madang. We expected a decent experience and were expecting to pay reasonable fares. What we got was the opposite and more. The food orders were jumbled. We got the steaks well-done instead of medium rare, and chips cooked with old oil by an unkempt looking chef with buai in corner of his mouth donning a crimson smile, and his uniform very dirty. To add to this the grease trap and the toilets downstairs were leaking and the stinking odour in the restaurant was unbearable. It was very embarrassing for me.

    At first I wanted to apologize to my friends for choosing the Coastwatchers Hotel for our Madang holiday experience, but increasingly I became angry and disturbed. I was disturbed by the way the Hotel was run. So I started to take note of small things, like for instance the restaurant toilets and the kitchen and staff toilets. I wondered if the Health authorities were aware that food was being prepared in putrid circumstances and the staff toilets, in the vicinity of the main kitchen, were not cleaned for weeks, it seemed.

    That night I had the runs from the food and I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t alone; my two friends also had the runs. We found out before we departed that the hotel water supply was from untreated bore water, supplied in the restaurant as safe drinking water! This would never be allowed to happen anywhere else in the world.

    The following night, having had some relief from medication we thought we would get some decent sleep. That was not to be as there was a public dance held at the Hotel. The music was very loud, and there were a lot of drunken people yelling and screaming right outside our doors facing the car park from 7 pm to 4 am. Motor Vehicle radios were blaring, doors slamming, wheels screeching and we just couldn’t sleep a wink. We each had rung the reception, and we were told there was a dance on, and this is the usual thing on Fridays and Saturdays.

    What really took the cake for me was to see firsthand how the Coastwatchers Hotel Laundry functioned. They did not send their laundry out to a commercial Laundromat. They did it in-house with one washing machine. I found-out this because my personal laundry did not come back on time. I went to the laundry which consisted of one frail looking old man from Raikos. He was hand washing all the sheets and everything, and with dangerous chemicals without even a pair of gloves on! I learnt the only washing machine of the Hotel had broken down three weeks earlier and he reported it to the “Big Boss” but nothing was done about it, and meanwhile he was told to hand wash everything and sun-dry it. He didn’t have any help. He constituted the whole hotel’s 30 plus rooms’ laundry staff! Can you imagine that!

    I took my (still) dirty laundry off the old man and excused myself. I felt sorry for the old man because he felt guilty on my account. I told him not to be because I understood. I walked away shaking my head in disbelief.

    Having spent several unpleasant nights at this dirty substandard hotel, we were not going to have our holiday spoilt. We shifted out to another more pleasant hotel which made for a happier ending of our short stay in the tourism capital of PNG. However, the impressions I gained from the Coastwatchers Hotel were simply that:
    1. The Hotel was only after our money and they don’t have the heart for hospitality.
    2. Madang is a tourism destination of PNG and Coral Sea Hotels is not about encouraging tourism in Madang.
    3. They don’t train their staff properly, or at all.
    4. They don’t have proper booking system.
    5. They don’t have proper kitchen hygiene standards.
    6. They don’t respect and care about their guests.
    7. They don’t care about their business and their property.
    8. That poor local Laundry man was being abused, with his health in danger.
    9. The bore-water is a health risk to the unsuspecting public.
    10. Hotel management is substandard.
    11. Coastwatchers don’t practise Health & Safety.

    I am not usually a negative person, but in this case I don’t have anything positive to say about this hotel experience, and I put it down to the owners of the Hotel. Coral Sea Hotels is not in the business of hospitality or tourism. They are into making money. They are no different to logging companies or Mining companies. In all reality they should stick to real estate only and leave hospitality and tourism to people who are serious about it and who have a heart and feeling for this country, its people, their culture and the environment.

    As I began to look around, I realized that, unlike the Madang Lodge, Madang Resort, Airways group of Hotels and Kumul Hotels, Coral Sea Hotels don’t train their people anymore, they don’t look after their people (top echelon aside) and they don’t have an eye for detail or a goal for guest satisfaction in all their Hotels in PNG. They poach good people from other hotels for Hotels like Grand Papua, but don’t know how to manage them. The Gateway Port Moresby restaurant is a prime example, and I could go on about their other Hotels and facilities, but I shall leave it here for now as I really have nothing against their business model or the owners.

    I wonder where that man Warren Daniels is now, who knew something about how to run Coral Sea Hotels? Perhaps he can be brought back to rescue me from my lamentations?

    By Paul Yabob

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