By Melanesian

Our moments of triumph on the Olympic stage have not been many, so full marks to our Toea Wisil for her recent triumph on track and field. 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, but Wisil’s qualifying run was something special. Its significance will be held in our collective memories for a long time, as her personal triumph is part of our history as a nation.

In an Olympic year, we are once again contemplating playing host to the next South Pacific Games and the government (especially the previous ONeill-Namah political Leadership) has not been serious about what is and what ought to have been a matter of priority and pride to prepare necessary infrastructure for the event. The nation is about to face its moment of truth on the regional and international stage but we are way behind in our preparations, and so far treated this event as a political afterthought. Our lack of preparations must necessarily be viewed as a measure of our own awareness and pride in ourselves. It is a measure of the way we have gone off-course in terms of focussing our people and our leaders on matters other than that of national interest and national importance. It is a measure of the way we have lost our way as a nation, preoccupied with politics, the demands of enclave type developments like the LNG, and forgotten about being a country, about nationhood, and about what the national interest requires of us. It is a measure of the way we have lost our own sovereignty in favour of serving others’ interests, including personal interests.

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. 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 exuberance, 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, and rightfully so. 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, and gently swayed to the fading strands of John Wong’s voice “Papua New Guinea… one people, one country…”as we walked out, confident and sure of ourselves.

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 days and on level playing fields, 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 and 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 will assert 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 early 70s on the occasion of a South Pacific Commission Meeting 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 Paramount 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, stood up and spoke. Whenever he spoke in his native setting, his dozen wives and multitudes upon multitudes of tribes men far and near came and drank of his words in utter silence, words that echoed like a thousand waterfalls and 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 openly mocked. Perhaps it was because of his earnest but equally farrowed facial features. Perhaps it was because he didn’t understand a word of English and could not speak any. Even perhaps it was because they couldn’t understand him at all with his typical highlands big-manly animations. He did look like someone out of the stone-age, but his heart was earnest and his composure sure and demeanour true. Notwithstanding, he felt the mocking laughter deeply, like the bitter stings 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, but also the pride of history of his fathers and that of the then Territories of Papua and New Guinea he represented, Kondom Agaunduo slowly raised his hand as if to brush the wafting wasps away, allowed the laughter to subside, and spoke in slow deliberate 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 ino nap lap long ol! “ With that he sat down, and never spoke again.

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. 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 few moments of triumph on the sporting fields 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 naturally in a way we could never have openly predicted-with complex intermarriages. Even 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, and held us together. He underwent a period of self-examination and self-assessment for some time, and 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, but not necessarily without strings. 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 that of a thousand urchins. No war would have prepared him for this public admonition and rejection. 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. He also knows how during the Commission of Inquiry into Sandline, he, along with several other public servants, were made public scapegoats by powerful people and powerful governments behind Sandline, to wipe their own footprints, as they melted into the dark.

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 to bludgeon Somare. Then when the courts were called upon to intervene by a Supreme Court Reference, Julia Gillard used a political bulldozer to smash down the gates of our Judicial system and our Constitution, by openly recognizing Peter ONeill as Prime Minister! She pre-empted the Supreme Court, the sole arbiter under the Constitution to deal with the then pending question of legitimacy of Peter ONeill as Prime Minister.

Australia has always advocated the importance of the rule of law, and the importance of having an independent judiciary as the backstop of our democracy in Papua New Guinea. Except on this occasion Australia threw all that out the window. When it suited Australia’s strategic economic and political purposes, even the ideals of rule of law, governance, transparency, accountability and principles of democratic government were readily flushed down the toilet by Australia. Gillard used her High Commissioner, Ian 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, however constitutionally illegitimate that was.

Australia was instrumental in the smashing of the Constitution and the judiciary of Papua New Guinea, the two most important institutions that birthed this nation and gave it its soul, its sacred sanctity and sovereignty, and its separate identity as a separate people and a separate nation in the South Pacific. The judiciary is the watchdog that guards the Constitution. The Constitution is like a vial that contains the essential DNA of Papua New Guinea, the largest nation of Melanesian people on God’s earth. If you destroy the Constitution and its watch dog, you destroy a nation, and the rest becomes history.

Prior to and during the elections, 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. Immediately after ONeill was declared winner of the Ialibu-Pangia seat by beating his nearest rival by 45,000 votes, Ian Kemish moved a whole company of Australian Army specialists into the Airways Hotel where ONeill team was holed up, as a show of alliance, and as a Personal VIP Protective Unit in full combat gear, against anything that ONeill’s brother Belden Namah would throw. It was an open show of strength. The Australian Army under Gillard moved huge amounts of firearms into PNG and into the Airways Hotel on secret Australian Airforce Fights. They made sure ONeill knew he was under the Australian army protection, and that he owed his rather “unusual landslide election win” to them.

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. It was 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 has 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, Rod Mitchell 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 political deals he has done with Australia in return for political recognition after the 2nd of August 2011 bludgeoning of Somare.

The real question is, does he have what it takes, and 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 own Post Office Box. He has 18 months to show us that he is the Prime Minister of PNG and not Julia Gillard’s rubber stamp of Australian cross-interests 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. He has to, like Jerry Singirok did, honour the oath he took before God and man under our Constitution to protect our people and the national interest. Peter ONeill must know what the national interest calls for in every case, and must summon the courage like Singirok did, and honour the national interest in everything confronting the nation today, not just in respect of Bougainville, although Bougainville ought to be high priority on our nation’s list of “unfinished business”.

ONeill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.

For Somare, who signed the First Project Agreement for Bougainville and for Chan who signed to spill blood, the healing of Bougainville 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, this matter of “unfinished business”, we can never wipe the sorrow from the Islands of Bougainville; we will not have served the national interest, and we cannot go on the world stage as a complete whole.

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 just another drunken politician, pandering to his mates, and the sharks and vultures already circling around and above the nation looking to extract our resources and leave us bare?

Toea Wisil’s triumph was really our triumph indeed as a people. The idea that this Highlands lass could dare to burst through all manner of human impediments, the chains of time and history, the insurmountable social religious and cultural prejudices, to stamp her mark on a premier world qualifying event is remarkable when you consider that in the early 1930s as Sydney Harbour Bridge was being opened, the world didn’t even know then that highlanders like the people of Ialibu-Pangia ever existed in the interior of this country. With every TV stations bearing down on her, Wisil gave the world a rare insight into what we as a people, this ancient Melanesian primordial odyssey have birthed, and what is to come! While the nation prepares to host the next South Pacific Games, one wonders whether we will be proud to cheer our red black and gold, or will we die of complacency, indifference, and simply fizzle into nothingness? The real question again is, does Peter ONeill – the man from Ialibu-Pangia, another young highlander like Wisil, possess the skill, courage, mental, intellectual and moral fortitude to rise to the call of the nation, to lift the pride of this nation high and assert our position as a Melanesian people. Does he have what it takes to not only give us cause to celebrate and showcase our nation in the coming games, but show those sharks and vultures that circle him; that he is a nationalist, that this is the land of an ancient and free people, a people of pride, strength and culture and he will serve the national interest above all else? 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 O’Neill to answer, and prove his personal mettle. If he fails and sells us cheap to the Australian and other interests, (as there are many signs already that he will fail us), then that will be his legacy, and his only. If he becomes the convenient conduit to allow Australians to crush our heart and soul as a people, then this nation will never forgive him, future generations will not forgive him, and all the labour of our forefathers and the fathers of our Constitution have laboured in vain.

This alone remains Peter O’Neill’s greatest challenge as Prime Minister today, as the wolves are no longer at the gates huffing and puffing, they are in his living room, in and under his bed, and at his table.

It is therefore incumbent on other leaders to also stand up for this nation, just as the former Governor for Morobe did, to rule a line in the sand, and tell the hordes that prey on our people and their Leaders, to stay outside the line, and clarify their wish lists. Australia has proven that it cannot be trusted to secure our Constitution, our Judiciary and our democracy according to principles of rule of law. Australia has proven its ability to openly manipulate our politics and our institutions to serve its own interests. Australia is only here to serve its economic and strategic interests, and we cannot blame it for that, as long as our leaders wake up from their deep slumber and protect our own National Interests.

Our Laws and our Constitution, and our Parliamentary system was adopted from England. We must not lose sight of our own origins both as a people and as a modern nation State. Peter ONeill has the advantage of the wise Counsel of Somare, Chan and Wingti at his disposal. Somare for issues relating to national identity as a modern Melanesian State, Chan and Wingti to help define and chart the economic course that serves the overall strategic national interest s of this country. Those with wish lists in bed with ONeill must be made to define and measure them against clearly stated interests of the nation. If these interests are not defined, and made subservient to the national interests by our young Leaders like ONeill, then the wolves will definitely eat us. Before we realize what is going on, ONeill will have successfully sold our people and the national interest down the river, and he will have sailed into the sunset with his gains, and we will be left to ponder what really went wrong as we struggle as a soul-less nation to live with the manacles of economic slavery, control and poverty he placed us under. God forbid that this should happen!


  1. A very erudite and clever essay. The old procedure where the subtle use of facts is added together with the author’s opinion and bingo: new ‘facts’ emerge irrespective of there being any evidence to back it up.

    One could go through the essay and systematically address each insinuation and innuendo but to what end? e.g. Gorton was not Australian PM when Whitlam pushed through both Self Government and Independence with the full agreement and insistence of the PNG leaders at the time.

    Nobody can or should claim that mistakes were not made on both sides of the Torres Strait. The importance is to learn from the mistakes of history.

    The author correctly points out that the challenge for PNG is to become a unified nation. Previous, so called leaders have failed dismally to defend PNG’s resources and the people’s heritage. To laud some of these people now seems very convenient in order to justify the age old tactic many developing nations seem to conveniently fall back on. ‘It’s not our fault. It’s the outsiders wot dunnit.’ So previous PNG leaders had absolutely no responsibility for anything that happened in their country? Yeah right!

    Notably absent is the author’s name and the guts to stand behind his/her assertions. Perhaps if we knew who the author was we might be able to discuss the truth about what has been claimed?

    1. Thankyou Paul,you seem like a person with lost of guts, gumption and gusto! Its a pity you didnt provide your surname to support your observations.

      Then again I think I know why. You believe in free speech dont you? You have caught up with the rest of the world that on such sites as this we can freely publish our views without fear or favor.There are thousands of sites like this on the net where you can express your views annonymously, if you choose, on politics, religion and right down to the mating habits of retired crocodile hunters.

      In PNG we express our views freely because our right to do so is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.Perhaps it is about time Australia adopted a Bill of Rights like other more progressive and civilized nations to save people like “Paul” unnecessary angst and agony.

  2. Transparency is used and demanded a lot these days – operating behind a nom de plume weakens and degrades the argument of the writer so please let us know who you are

  3. Yes indeed Pasquarelli, this might just be your opportunity do do a little bit of “PLEASE EXPLAIN” and be a bit more transparent about your strategic role in originating, forming and shaping Mrs Pauline Hanson’s Party politics on Australian race and immigration policies. What a golden opportunity this is for you – our very own Crocodile Dundee!

  4. Actually mate, my name is Paul Oates. Some of us know your name from KJ’s blog where he quoted you and some selected parts of your essay.

    So why not now come out on this site and say who you are?

    Expressing your thoughts in a free country is what freedom is all about. Being able to cope with and learn from constructive criticism without losing your temper is altogether something else. Misleading your own countrymen and women with poorly researched or incorrect facts is another negative that seems to have been conveniently overlooked.

    I thought professional journo’s were taught to properly research their articles and only quote facts and not personal opinions as facts?

    What say you now?

  5. So Paul Oatley at least you agree Australia needs a Bill of Rights to enshrine Freedom of speech?

    ps- I know you want to know my name so you can quote me, but allow me to give you the license now to feel free to quote me anytime mate. Just refer to me as an annonymous writer who exercised his freedom of speech quaranteed by his country’s Constitution. What a fantastic banner for freedom of speech!

    You dont even have to like or dislike what I say. I am contented with the fact that I dont exist for your pleasure.

    1. Hi Baraniak Arasmus, if that is really your own name. Just a small observation.

      Your jounalism style is more in line with an expat who masquerades as a Melanesian in order to gain an audience. Have you considered that a slightly more temperate style of writing might endear you to the people you claim to represent?

      Tingting blo yu olsem wanem wantok?

      1. Paul,
        Iam Erasmus Baraniak, aka Melanesian. This should make you happy. Now leave me alone to write and go kick the ball.

    “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.

  7. Hi Erasmus,

    Clearly you feel you have the measure of Australia and her people. Like PNG however, the Australian people are made up from many different walks of life and from many ethnic backgrounds. If there is such a thing as a typical Australian psyche, I suggest you may not have quite grasped the finer points of it by lumping us all in the same boat. In that you are not alone. Many other nationalities sometimes take the view. Our political leaders aren’t necessarily a good or representative example of our people.

    It’s a bit like inferring a Buka from the North Solomons should automatically act and integrate with a Huli in the Southern Highlands.

    Nogat tru. Las momo kani.

    I don’t know why you appear have such a downer on Australians. Remember, we helped bring PNG into the modern world and then presented its people at Independence with a ready made nation. Sure things could always have been better but that’s history.

    Rather than look at the glass being half full, accentuate the positives. We have a shared history that has many more positives than negatives.

    Why, we even communicate with each other in the same language and in semi respectful and appreciative terms. Laga?

    The Australian concept of ‘Mateship’ is not a term to be taken lightly or summarily dismissed. Neither is mutual regard between nations.

    There! I kicked the ball right back into backyard.

  8. That was no ball, it was a rock! It is still there where your foot came to grief.

    You take yourself too seriously mate, its almost un-Australian.

    ps balls have a way of bouncing back. Its best you stick to rocks.

  9. Aw Erasmus, is that the best you can do? I was hoping for something a tad more erudite from such a learned person as yourself.

    The issues you have raised surely need more discussion than just such a summary dismissal or are you afraid to actually defend your views in case you might some of them may be flawed?

  10. Paul,
    Iam sorry to disappoint you. I dont have any original ideas. I spend all day speculating and plaigerizing other peoples works so you see, you have the measure of Melanesia already.We have nothing to discuss. Please go ahead and discuss as much as you please, we have been listening for over 37 years, whats one more year!

    1. Mate, you’ve got me all wrong. I’m very interested in your ideas and thoughts and only want to learn from the issues you want to make from your perspective. I certainly don’t seek to lecture or impose my ideas on others.

      I have previously discussed many ideas and concepts on this website concerning the relationship between our two countries and have appreciated the thoughts and ideas from PNG people.such as yourself. I have learnt a lot from these discussions.

      It’s only be mutual discussion and understanding that we can both learn from each other and progress forward.

      Nogut yu belhevi lo displa a?

  11. ‘And here, over an acre of ground, lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which except perhaps by a convulsive movement, or the last quiver of a sigh from a living skeleton, too weak to move. The living lay with their heads against the corpses, and around them moved the ghastly procession of emanciated, aimless people, with nothing to do, no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them…babies have been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live. A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms and ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle, and found the baby had been dead for days’ –



    O land of beauty and the brave
    By one shot! All innocence lost
    Where strange men bled lay wasted
    As morning’s bugle gilded the skies
    History’s verdict was proclaimed
    Captured in such ragged prose
    You of ancient mother’s angel
    A lily in period’s pages pressed
    Along with elves’ fairies of folklore.

    In distant pubs halls and malls
    While reflecting over ale or two
    Many mighty deeds regaled aloud
    Of knights mice and man alike
    In forests fields and everglades
    With blood sweat and tears, spent
    Scattered, consecrated, they lie
    Flooding arid eyes all around
    Toasting mate-ship’s truest heroes.

    B’what manner of man cannot recall
    The way like Moses you led out
    Against Pharaoh’s fiery wrath
    How you slipped the devils noose
    That fateful night by Oivi’s Creek
    Or rising to courage under line of fire
    Setting ablaze both man and spirit
    Still unfazed by hordes of sight unseen
    Who can ever forget you now!
    Tell us, who can ever forget you!

    O proud Orokaiva Warrior, plumed
    Like a spear to the skies you stand
    In your hands both life and death
    When jungle claimed you as its own
    Foes whispered you- Green Shadow !
    Sacred lightning, blurred darkness
    Old men forget, but you not, how
    Ridge by ridge and creek by creek
    Carved out your name forever, by
    History’s hand once writ cannot.

    On Calvary’s way you have trod
    Climbed your own Mount of Olives
    Kokoda Isurava Deniki and Buna
    Thru Gona’s kunai flats, Golgotha!
    As sunset offered deaths pale sting
    You stood, and smiled at its squint
    As only an Orokolo Warrior would
    And together as destiny’s brothers
    Filled Kumusi with Horri’s tears.

    Like the gushing of the Mambare
    Your innocent life poured out
    Daring angels to come measure
    For a cause not your own-
    If only the rocks would sing!
    Or wail like the thrashing Eora!
    A ragged and bloody tune be
    An ode to ultimate sacrifice
    A requiem of love supreme.

    Though ill tuned and unprepared
    While Curtins’ drawn and left wanting
    O’er Blamey’s blunderings in the dark
    Fought like warriors all possessed
    Moving men and mountain alike
    Deserving of accolades all equal
    But alas! to linger in the shadows
    A nameless and faceless solder!
    Dirge to tragedy worse than death.

    As dusk threatens to seize your days
    You contemplate life’s passing tide
    As did Henry the Fifth of age
    On Saint Crispians Day recount
    You strip your sleeves
    And show your scars
    Call out to all with ears
    Nay! I was there beside thee!
    When baptized in miry fire!

    In lands and skies far and near, rise
    Noble shrines and lordly tombs
    In hallowed undulating meadows, lay
    Names epitaphs in marble inscribed
    But as for you in this fading light
    Only rocks rills and mystic valleys
    Herald your poignant deeds indeed
    Now with undiscovered dead repose
    In firm clasps of eternal anonymity.

    Let now this cry go out from here
    To every village in every valley
    From Wapenamanda to Wakunai
    Let no clanging of silver be heard
    No vain fluttering of ribbons be seen
    For you were there beside him !
    Creek by creek and ridge by ridge
    Cast together as destiny’s brothers
    Yet, denied thrice at crow of dawn
    The lesser path of man he chose
    Ever to wander in soul-less sully.

    Hear now! History’s verdict we proclaim!
    Neither angels, elves nor fairies suffice
    Nor medals of backyard foundries entice!
    Now thru ancient gates you march
    To the land of your fathers’ spirits
    A land of promise and of plenty
    Of rich rare and raving beauty
    Where God rules in truth and is just
    Where men walk and not grow weary
    On treks paved in gold and silver
    Here, we proclaim you, immortal!

    We see you now, plain as you were
    Warrior by birth and gallant in death
    And in the timeless paean of Pericles
    As heroes the whole earth their tomb
    Yours with blood and valor, a nation!
    And round the fires of every hut at night
    As we pass the gourd and dakka around
    In singsing places where brave men stand
    We singe the bristles and call your name
    And never let our sons forget your deeds
    Theirs is a land of the proud and ancient
    Where warriors are born but never shall die.

    A Ballad of Tribute.

    (A Tribute to the Proud but forgotten Warriors of the Papuan Infantry Battalion & our Carriers who sacrificed their all that we might be a Nation)


    John Howard knew, or ought to have known the truth about WMDs. Equally John Howard knew, or ought to have known about the AWB scandal; the reported corruption during Downer and Howard’s reign of bribing Saddam Hussein with no less than $300 Million through a Jordanian transport company to keep buying Australian wheat via AWB- contrary to UN sanctions at that time.

    In the aftermath of AWB Inquiry it became clear that a Canadian High Ranking UN Official alerted the Howard government of their breaches of the UN sanctions. She had copies of email and other correspondence she at that time sent to the Australian government to prove that the Howard government knew what AWB, a government sanctioned operation, was doing in Iraq. Yet AWB sallied on, and Alexander Downer even met with Saddam Hussein during that time.

    Howard and Downer were able to extricate themselves from culpability in the manner they fashioned the AWB-Cole Inquiry Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference were narrowly designed to lay all culpability on the directors, officers and employees of AWB. It intentionally took the focus of Inquiry away from political responsibility. This modus operandi was designed by one of three senior Advisors/Bureaucrats within Howard’s team who rescued Howard on a number of occasions, including in the Tampa and the Children-Overboard scandals. The Canadian Bureaucrat was never heard of again after initial denials and departmental buck passing in Canberra and within AWB. The Cole Inquiry Report is now publicly accessible to those interested.

    In the case of WMDs, the Howard government was clearly exposed to have known that it was lying to the Australian public on the real purpose of invading Iraq, and it had nothing to do with WMDs. Andrew Wilkie, former high ranking military and intelligence officer in the Office of National Assessments, a graduate of Duntroon, exposed the Howard government of deliberate obfuscation and dishonesty about the non-existence of any Weapons program in Iraq. Wilkie, in as many words, says Howard politicized the public servants and the intelligence, resulting in a lie to Australian public of the basis of going to war against Iraq. The truth gleaned from all tested intelligence put to Howard at that time disproved the case for existence of WMDs, hence war.

    Andrew Wilkie, today is an Independent Member of Parliament, who succeeded Labor’s Duncan Kerr, as Member for Denison. He occupies an ample electoral office on the main street of down town Hobart. In his 2004 book “The Axis of Deceit”, he clearly outlines for all who care to read the deliberate Howard Government intelligence failures, designed to sully the mandate of the Australian people, and take Australia to war in Iraq.

    Howard has amply rewarded the three Advisors who mostly designed his “ see no evil- knew no evil-did no evil” escape strategies in above scandals, with lucrative and powerful posts within the Australian intelligence community and overseas diplomatic posts, where they serve today. But what about the thousands slaughtered and maimed, homes and businesses destroyed, ancient artifacts of great human interest and posterity bombed to bits, lives and a way of life absolutely torn apart- all based on a lie? How do you take back the broken pieces and apologize for a grave and costly mistake?

    When we stand back and reflect upon that period before and after the invasion of Iraq, the frightening level of misinformation by the US government in the media on WMDs , brain washing and the perpetuation of a deep phobia appealing to the darker side of humanity against Muslims and Arabs, and the United States successfully engaged in, co-opting the British and the Australian Governments as willing accomplices to this lie, we realize that humanity birthed a new meaning to the word insanity.

    Humanity also birthed a new form of anarchy based on our rightness. The prevailing notion of us against them, we are right they are wrong or we know better than them, fails to accommodate the valid possibility that another story, another narrative, another explanation may exist and also be equally valid, or even the possibility that we could be completely wrong. The West’s unwillingness to distinguish between individual terrorists or their organizations and believers of a certain religion, blindly or deliberately pushing its own agenda of the hour, to control energy fields of the middle east for its own economic gain in the guise of pursuing WMDs , has robbed democracy and capitalism of its essential gloss.

    We accuse others of fanaticism but fail to see our own fundamentalism. We do not live as people who know and realize that this generation does not have all the answers. That which we think we know may only be partial to greater truths and enlightenment yet to be revealed. We do not live as people who revere the seat of science and mathematics that perpetuated life during the construction of the pyramids of Giza, for example. Such state of enlightenment and knowledge that incorporated complex elements of light, energy, truth and astronomy as well as aspects of mathematics, geometry and metaphysics, in such bold fusion of pure human brilliance, despite our various other advances, is lost to us. We ought to be humbled by the realization that we don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle in our hands, and live accordingly.

    We still do not have the cure for many illnesses that plague our human condition. Yet we are bent on killing and maiming fellow humanity for ideals that don’t have feelings nor talk back to us, and for lies that weaken our moral fibre. We live and breathe in a limited sphere of intelligence with limited resources, and yet, we summon the audacity to do hideous things to each other and to the environment that does not commensurate with our own limitations.

    We have filled this space in history with greed and selfishness, from individuals to multinational corporations, that has resulted in scarcity and starvation. Economic growth that comes not from harmful extractive activity but through living in harmony with the universe, discovering new frontiers of knowledge and truly appreciating the magnificent joys of being alive on this planet are privileges. They are privileges reserved for people and nations who walk humbly and deeply venerate each other and the earth, its creatures whether in the deep oceans, in the celestial skies above or on our magnificent land decorated with rivers, valleys, forests, mountains and big skies.

    We have inflicted all manner of violence on others and their innocent children in the name of God, freedom and democracy instead of seeking a higher path of understanding. Lesser still, we have gone to war on the basis of a lie. We have sowed in the destruction of their homes and their livestock in the name of freedom and democracy instead of seeking to forge another road to the hearts of those who do not understand us. We have bombed their homes and destroyed their human spirit that we may conquer them and take their resources, instead of forging ways of trading in and sharing these resources. In so doing we have succeeded in making freedom and democracy the symbols of our rightness and their wrongness.

    The greatest destruction ever wrought upon human beings anywhere throughout history has been by the hands and designs of fellow human beings. It has never been the handiwork of mental retards, but of Kings, Prime Ministers, Presidents and governments carefully planning with big budgets, carefully crafted bombs, missiles that would penetrate bunkers and long distant bombers with video camera gauges to film the carnage left behind.

    The modern bomber carries with it by deliberate design a camera that videos the ghastly and macabre sights of the destruction inflicted, the searing and tearing limb to limb of helpless flesh, and invariably the shedding of innocent blood, of unsuspecting bodies in their various parts lying strewn everywhere against ghostly night skies. The film clips do not often do justice to the sheer terror in the faces of those about to die by our bombs and our guns, or the cries of terror or agony of a mother clasping the half torn body of her child. After every raid, teams of serious men and women, sit, huddled, poring over photographs and video images, like a macabre bloodthirsty ritual, only to determine if it was a good kill or a bad kill. We never stop to ask- how can a kill be a good kill? Where, we kill more or innocent people than intended, we just glibly shrug our shoulders and say, oh it’s just too bad. We callously call it collateral damage these days, all in the name of democracy and freedom. It is us who have come to define freedom as a prison and democracy as the hand that murders, maims and mutilates.

    The history of Christianity, for instance, is littered with the causes of the right and the truth, those who had the truth, those who adhered and those who didn’t. The church burnt people at the stake those accused of witchcraft or sorcery, without any trial. Wave after wave of crusades killed maimed and tortured fellow humans in the name of God and the right because they did not believe in ‘our’ god or chose to disagree with the ‘truth’ as the church saw it. The church did not give any chance to ‘heretics’ as it called them, or placed any value on human lives sufficient to grant them the chance of repentance and rehabilitation in the truth.

    In reflection, you have to ask today, what ‘truth’ was so precious that it demanded its redemption by the blood of humans slaughtered or burnt at the stakes? What truth was so absolute that a mortal soul had no chance of repentance before ‘our’ god but was seen to be permanently condemned to damnation?

    Governments in the west behave as if truth, democracy and human rights are such malleable and elastic brews, brimming with generous flavors of relativity, depending on who we are drinking with. We run domestic public opinion through the media by asking whether those locked onto our heat seeking missile radar screens are on side with us or against us as the ultimate test of truth, democracy, and whether they deserve to have rights as human beings. We have come to view might as being right all the time. In the US and its Coalition taking unilateral preemptive military action without UN Approval for the invasion of Iraq, our ability to enforce our rightness has been automatically co-opted in the cause of democracy and freedom.

    If democracy is such a relative and malleable brew, then it must also stand for the validity of the other argument, the other hypothesis, the other narrative that we must allow to exist and understand, just like the ancient Greeks and Romans did as an essential part of the synthesis of reason by which process democracy was birthed.

    In the five day war between Georgia and Russia, the United States and its Allies quickly moved to support Georgia and condemn Russia in the name of democracy. Western media painted Russia as the wicked aggressor in that war. What they failed to mention was that the United States has been deeply involved in the political and military training of the Georgian army for the last 15 years and on at least three past occasions in 1992, 2004 and 2008, Georgia has been using full Military force to invade and take forcefully two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, resulting in thousands dead or homeless, sending refugees into Russia. It seems from this, more often than not, the United States and its cadre of followers appear to easily view or brand certain countries as part of the ‘Axis of evil’, ‘Undemocratic’ or ‘Rogue States’ through the narrow prism of self-interest.

    The lessons of Vietnam should ring loud and provide clear parameters to the powerful countries to act within. The US refused to recognize Vietnamese Independence in 1945 and for 9 years vigorously supported the French to re-colonize it. The US supported one of the most blood thirsty and vicious dictators in President Diem. While the poor village people watched and waged guerilla warfare, the leaflets promising peace, harmony and democracy were followed by deadly bombs and chemical warfare. This was followed by a full scale invasion that saw the deliberate poisoning by the United States and its Allies of water sources and paddy fields. In addition to what Diem killed, the Allies killed hundreds of thousands more, destroying entire families and villages. Some two million people were killed in all in the name of democracy and freedom. Their human rights were not a factor in the equation.

    Today that country is only just rising to drink of the bittersweet spring of forgiveness that flows from remembering, yet deliberately choosing to channel the tears and the blood of its innocent, into a flood of progressive activity, to build a modern democratic State, for the sake of their children and as a tribute to their dead, and homage to their ancestors. It is a quiet and deliberate miracle by a peaceful and genteel people, a mark of inner strength and resilience, from brokenness to breaking free.

    The invasion and occupation of Iraq was touted by George Bush and Tony Blair as necessary to establish democracy and human rights in that country. Saddam Hussein was branded an evil despotic dictator. No one dared utter the fact that he was set up and financed by the Americans and armed by the British. He used the arms and chemical weapons supplied by the British and Americans to massacre Kurds in the thousands. (That is supposedly how they knew he was supposed to have weapons of mass destruction). No one in America or Britain batted an eye lid over that. Today that country, with hundreds of thousands dead, is still caught in strife and turmoil caused by the lies of the US and its allies.

    The role of media in western democracies in branding and profiling certain countries as part of the “Axis of Evil” (or for that matter, boat people as” illegals”), is a critical tool of the US and its allies for controlling public opinion.

    In 1988 Saddam attacked and killed over five thousand people in the Kurdish village of Halabja in northern Iraq with chemical weapons supplied by Anglo-American interests. Not a word was uttered by the West in protest. It was only when Saddam made the mistake of invading an Anglo-American ally in Kuwait that the human rights and freedoms of the Kurds became an issue in the Western media. What double standards! People even engaged in violent protests in London over the plight of the Kurds in northern Iraq during the period of Gulf war. You have to ask where were these English people when Saddam poisoned thousands Kurds in Halabja?

    Turkey shares a common border with Iraq. At the time of Sadam’s invasion of Kuwait, while Brits were protesting over Iraq’s treatment of Kurds in Iraq, what was actually happening in neighboring Turkey would have had any normal person gasping for air. Turkey slaughtered thousands of Kurds with British and American supplied tanks and guns while CNN and Western media were selectively decrying Saddam’s slaughter of Iraqi Kurds. Turkey is a member of NATO and its military received US$8 billion worth of arms, tanks, helicopters, and ships, generously gifted by the Americans at that time. No one condemned the Turks.

    The American and British media has controlled the news process and what to decry. Such double standards and false morality in the name of democracy and human rights are carefully concealed by the powerful that control the media houses to promote selective values.

    Again, democracy and human rights appear to be malleable concepts depending on whether the abusers are on our side or not and who controls the media. There has even emerged a sad rule of thumb that the West uses to measure the importance of human lives and human carcasses – whatever appeals on the day to the West’s own sense of self preservation.

    Democracy, to last as an ideal and to maintain its relevancy in a newly ordered world, must be allowed to rise above the self-interest of the West and must deliver equally and justly to all, and for all, lest the stench of hypocrisy suffocates the world and tips the balance of the delicate laws of nature that governs the universe and its inhabitants in favor of abject anarchy.

    There are numerous similar examples of the Vietnamese and the Kurds stretching from the deserts of Africa to the jungles of South America where the United States has become the sole arbiter of good and evil. In Nicaragua, for example, hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered this century by US backed militia in the pretext of preventing communism.

    Truth, democracy and human rights have been defined and re-defined the American way across the globe. Some of that hubris has rubbed off on Australia in its dealings with its own indigenous population and the Pacific people, where democracy, truth and human rights seem to be subjected to a true blue dinky die form of cultural relativism that condemns others to their apparent wrongness but magnifies downtown cosmopolitan Australia in all its glorious and stupendous rightness.

    For the cause of human rights in Australia, it seems generations of Australians have not shaken off the shackles of oppression and injustice toward their own. As Menzies was with Wilfred Burchett in the 1940s (over Burchett’s reporting contrasting reviews on what the West was really doing in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Hiroshima and later on the Korean Peninsula), for generations it seems, Australia latently incubates an inclination or culture of political oppression and social blindness toward those who speak the raw truth, stand on principle or are ethnically different.

    Wilfred Burchett was never given a fair go by Australia, his own country. He was stripped off his passport, his citizenship and denied his nationality. He was literally deported by his own country into oblivion. He lived in exile until the day he died almost a decade ago.

    Australia has a history of oppressing those who voice a new or novel idea; express alternative views to the mainstream, those who blow the whistle on the system, and those who simply appear racially, ethnically and culturally different, vulnerable, weak and defenseless. Its legal system is willing to give effect to the full rights of the dead (in matters of probate for instance) whereas the basic rights of the living appear to be entreated with a form of relativism, sometimes downright trampled upon with impunity, as is the case with boat people at the moment.

    Australia takes issue on and speaks of truth, justice, democracy and the freedoms of people in faraway places like Zimbabwe, Iraq and Afghanistan but is blind to the injustices and oppression it metes out at home. In terms of the future, such inclination unfortunately does not bode well for those who are not Australian or those on the fringes of mainstream Australia.

    It is lamentable indeed that Australia has become somewhat of a cultural cringe and intellectual wilderness of a degree that is unable to recognize, respect, live with, tolerate, embrace and celebrate the synthesis of ideas and humanity that is a necessary hallmark of a first world democracy, and of mature and progressive societies. Australia has a way of passing the buck , or being ever so defensive when the truth is spoken, however softly. Australia must mature in ways that will necessitate it to speak peace instead of war, invest in equality and justice instead of commercial exploitation of its neighbors and the weak and vulnerable within its borders like its indigenous people, and boat people.

    What is blind prosperity and power without compassion, war without morality and military or economic might without greater capacity for understanding and acting within the bounds of fairness and justice to fellow humanity?

    In Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s recently published book, ‘The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better’, they statistically prove that societies that deliberately seek equality in the distribution of the wealth of the nation and its opportunities, reap tangible benefits of a healthier society with greater social cohesion and less social problems.

    In respect of Australia Wilkinson and Pickett make the salient observation that it is a country that has had a big increase in inequality and injustice resulting in social problems like increased drug use, violence, obesity, school failure, teenage pregnancies etc. Inequalities in society does breed problems associated with a person’s perception of themselves and this translates directly into the quality of their social engagement with society members.

    The values of fair go and mate-ship as espoused by Howard still remain in the realms of mythology. Initially it was Rudd’s (and now Gillard’s) Labor government seized on this new book as providing empirical evidence for social democracy, the basis to tax the rich mining companies more than ever before in a bid to balance the high level of budget deficit, in post GFC Australia. Whilst GFC is increasingly being ideologically viewed more and more as a direct result of neoliberal policies of governments that have glorified greed and excess to the benefit of a few and to the disadvantage of the majority, Wilkinson and Pickett’s work is being embraced as timely in aid of fundamental ideological shifts for the better.

    In the United States, companies with large executive salaries and directors payouts are being hounded by the Obama administration on behalf of beleaguered shareholders. In a country that celebrates wealth, and publicly proclaims greed is good and the pursuit of ones happiness through accumulation of wealth as noble and honorable, this change in public policy is driven by what society has now come to realize as morally reprehensible some of the avoidable adverse aspects and consequences of greed.

    Politically, in Australia, the then Rudd (and now Gillard) government has ideologically shifted most of the blame of the financial crisis to the Liberal Coalition Parties’ corner blaming them for their policies of encouraging big business and traditionally concentrating wealth in a small percentage of the population.

    Concentrating the wealth of the nation in the hands of a few is no longer good policy and governments have now been shown by empirical statistical evidence to deliberately shift and spread wealth across the wider cross section of society as a matter of beneficial public policy. This has got to be one of the major public policy shifts for capitalism in our time as traditionally capitalism embraces individualism and the pursuit of happiness by the individual in a market driven economy. A critical flaw in capitalist individualism that the world is becoming more aware of is that accumulation has a limit.

    We cannot keep raping the limited forests without endangering ourselves and other creatures that share this planet with us. We cannot keep raping the depths of the oceans without destroying whole food chains and complex marine eco systems that are interdependent to provide us a continuous food source and fill our souls with a heightened sense of wonder.

    As humanity, we cannot live life in little boxes when are meant to live as a people and as communities sharing and caring for each other. The long tailed adverse consequences of two centuries of not living as communities, of building societies largely characterized by individualism- a curse of industrialization that elevates some humans above others using artificial and superficial distribution of wealth and inverse social ordering, are slowly being realized now in poverty, homelessness, mental illnesses and other social ills. Only a few select are feasting while most of the world are starving and dying. A few at the apex have a voice and control the wealth of the world while the rest fall in a graduated scale to a base that is filled with those deemed as people with no voice, no face and generally deemed as unworthy.

    We cannot keep taking from the earth without causing an imbalance is what is otherwise a beautifully and intricately balanced creation where everything is so wonderfully and gracefully put together in their most awesome complexity; wholly purposed to give and sustain life. Dissenters in society already benefitting from such dis-ordering of humanity and unequal distribution will see this as a new socialist creep into market economies, as a disincentive to individual exertion. They will continue to deliberately fail or even refuse to see the wider benefits and overall good of a more equal, sharing and caring society.

    Those who argue against more immigration into Australia, for example, seek to disguise their own greed, their own insecurities, their own dark racism and prejudice, by mounting arguments of scarcity or other forms of social or racial vilification to keep the wealth within the hands of a few.

    Are we now facing an era of change? Will we see a new invigorated American Foreign policy after the coming elections , an America that prides itself on building confidence in international institutions and building bridges between peoples of the world for a fair, humane and equitable world instead of military confrontation (using the scarce capital and resources of the world) that directly threatens the collapse of the world’s financial system and the environment?

    Will we see a shift in free market and free trade ideology to embrace a more equal distribution of the wealth of the world according to the needs of each peoples of the earth? Will we, in our lifetime, see an international inventory of the world’s resources being made and trade is regulated to ensure the best use is made of these resources for the greater good of humanity taking into account the ability of mother earth to keep replenishing some of these resources? Will we see America cease from advocating its tyrannical one eyed definition of democracy, freedom and human rights?

    Will we see the heart of world media change to advocate the truth and not continue being the sales department or the propaganda arm of the rich and powerful nations?

    Will Australia shift from its traditional iniquities of injustice toward its indigenous people and minorities and build a more economically, politically and socially broad based cohesive and egalitarian society, especially in so far as its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities are concerned? For the indigenous people and for minority groups like refugees, will Australia finally embrace a Bill of Rights that is well and truly overdue to protect the rights of minorities arriving or living among a majority of population that is apathetically basking in the warmth and afterglow of material success with disparately disproportionate distribution of a nation’s wealth and opportunities?

    Will we see a more fair and more equal Australia in its dealings with Melanesian Countries of the South Pacific, or will we see more of the same, rip off-cheque-book diplomacy, or unnecessary permanent occupation and rewiring of economies, that threatens to capture the Pacific Melanesian countries in a web of Aid dependency? It is now a well-known secret that Aid is an effective hook, or tool, that Australia uses to re-wire and re-order the Melanesian Countries and their resources and their resources for its own benefit

    Evidence suggests that Australia has to do more at home to create a more cohesive and fair society, giving fair go and showing mate-ship to its indigenous peoples that will form the basis of, and a strong foundation for Australia to relate properly to the Melanesian Pacific. Today Australia is not a cohesive society. It is not a society where everyone is having a fair go. It is not a society that practices mate-ship. It is an intellectually insular society that is numbed to the rest of the world. It is not quite unlike a goldfish left in its own bowl for over 200 years, that imbibes on its own brew for all this time, and in the result, heaps endless platitudes on itself like a Judge in Master chef on how good it tastes, how fair and how just Australian society is- when the contrary is true.

    As its neighbors, It is both important and responsible for Melanesian Pacific to hold the mirror of truth to Australia. Anyone into the school of Systems Thinking will agree with the basic proposition that, fundamental to the success and perpetuation of any system, or for that matter society as a system, is the capacity to allow into the system the element of reflection, the process of reassessment with necessary checks and balances. Systems Thinking allows that there is no positive growth or advancement without change. For advancement to take place there must be within the existing system the ability to allow new parts or elements in, or the culling of certain parts of the existing system.

    The mirror of change must be held up to Australia so that the blow torch of truth can be brought to bear upon its blind spots, or what CS Lewis calls the shadow lands, of Australian government, and of contemporary Australian society.

    This is a process that may sometimes evoke anger, or even outright denial. Yet no individual, society or for that matter, nation, can progress without this essential dialectical process, and we cannot expect the condition of man, no matter of what color or creed , anywhere, but especially in Australia, to improve without this change. Without a process of honest introspection, Australia is only kidding itself in the Pacific if it thinks it can become a model democracy without values that engender fairness, equality and a sense of egalitarianism in the region.

    The Pacific will always view Australia with suspicion, as a wolf in sheepskin, until we see real and tangible change toward fairness, equality, social justice, health and education, and human rights being upheld, for Indigenous Australia, boatpeople and other minority groups. The current government system made of policies and laws applying to indigenous people and boat people is simply unjust, unfair, inhumane, harsh, oppressive, disproportionate, unreasonable, and simply not good enough for a developed country like Australia, prospering on the back of the lands and resources of Aborigine people. Canberra’s treatment of Indigenous people reeks of symbolism and tokenism all the way from Tasmania to the Torres Straits.

    Australia has done nothing to rid itself of the initial and underlying felony on which the nation of Australia, as a federation, is built on. Its continuous existence is felonious, and it will always be so until the day a proper treaty is entered into with the various Aborigine nations of Australia to ratify and legalize the taking of their lands and resources, to apply retrospectively. The prospect of success of this, and the terms therefor, are entirely a matter of discretion for the Aborigine nations. This is the measure of mate-ship and fair go that Howard espoused, if it is to mean anything at all in Australia, and particularly to the original owners of Australia.

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