Papua New Guinea

Julian Moti defence counsel attacks Australian government’s “politically driven prosecution”

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 November 2009

In Queensland’s Supreme Court, defence counsel for former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti condemned Australian authorities for “bringing the administration of justice into disrepute”.

“Pressure politics” at Sydney protest over asylum seekers

By Mathew Benn, 3 November 2009

A rally called by the Refugee Action Committee to protest the Labor government’s callous treatment of refugees was dominated by futile appeals for “compassion” from Prime Minister Rudd.

Australian government’s industrial “cop” prosecutes union over Qantas strikes

By Mike Head, 3 November 2009

The Rudd government’s Fair Work Ombudsman and Qantas are seeking fines, multi-million dollar compensation

Australian government’s “Indonesian Solution” in disarray

By Richard Phillips, 2 November 2009

Two weeks after an Australian customs ship rescued 78 Tamil asylum seekers, the unresolved standoff over their future has focussed attention on the Labor government’s inhumane and illegal treatment of refugees.

Australian imperialism, the 1999 East Timor intervention and the pseudo-left

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 November 2009

September marked the tenth anniversary of the Australian-led military intervention into East Timor. It is also a decade since a layer of pseudo “left” groups organised “troops in” demonstrations—performing a vital service for the Howard government and the Australian ruling elite.

Australian man faces lengthy jail term for “offensive” letters

By Mike Head, 30 October 2009

A Muslim man faces up to 14 years in prison for sending allegedly offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Bridgestone closes plants in Australia and New Zealand

By Terry Cook, 29 October 2009

The Bridgestone closures, which end tyre production in Australasia, are part of a global restructuring of the auto industry, in the wake of the worldwide financial crisis.

Australian government intensifies crackdown on asylum seekers

By Richard Phillips, 28 October 2009

The Rudd government is planning an “Indonesian solution” paying Jakarta to incarcerate refugees intercepted while trying to reach Australia.

Sri Lanka: Plantation unions accept wage sell-out

By M. Vasanthan, 28 October 2009

All the plantation unions, including those that initially opposed it, have effectively fallen into line behind a deal that binds workers to poverty-level wages and productivity speed-up for the next two years.

Australia: Five men convicted of terrorist “conspiracy”

By Mike Head, 22 October 2009

Following one of the longest jury deliberations ever recorded—23 days—five Sydney Islamic men were convicted last week on terrorist “conspiracy” charges.

Australian government prosecutors suffer significant blow in Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 October 2009

Justice Mullins concluded that the police and prosecution’s failure to disclose all the relevant documents on time meant that defence’s cross examination of the prosecution’s witnesses could not proceed this week.

Moti defence counsel challenges Australian Federal Police witness

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 October 2009

Australian Federal Police agent Peter Bond was cross examined yesterday in the Queensland Supreme Court case brought by former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti.

Australia: Rudd intervenes to block Tamil asylum-seekers

By Richard Phillips, 17 October 2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s response to the Tamil refugees is completely predictable and reflects the views of the entire political establishment, from the crisis ridden Liberal-National coalition to the corporate media and the unions.

Australian Federal Police disclose 1,500 pages of documents in Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 October 2009

On Thursday morning, Moti’s counsel Jim Kennan SC explained that in the previous 48 hours, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had handed over more than 1,500 pages of documents.

New Zealand workers face deepening assault on jobs and conditions

By Chris Ross and John Braddock, 16 October 2009

Over the past two months, workers in New Zealand have faced an intensifying barrage of attacks on their jobs, wages, and working conditions.

Australia: Contradictory witness testimonies in Julian Moti hearing

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 October 2009

The Queensland Supreme Court resumed hearings yesterday on the application by former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti, for a permanent stay of proceedings in the attempt by Australian prosecuting authorities to try him on charges relating to statutory rape allegations that were discharged by a Vanuatu magistrate in 1998.

Australia: Productivity Commission report rules out curbing executive pay

By Terry Cook, 13 October 2009

A recently released report by Australia’s Productivity Commission into CEO salaries has opposed any significant restraint on the multi-million dollar remuneration packages.

Australian government deports Sri Lankan asylum-seekers

By Richard Phillips, 12 October 2009

In line with the previous Liberal-National coalition administration, the Australian Labor government has begun deporting refugees it claims do not qualify as asylum-seekers.

SEP public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne

Seventy years since World War II: lessons and warnings

8 October 2009

The SEP/ISSE meetings will discuss the historical lessons of World War II. That terrible conflagration was not inevitable. It was above all the product of the treachery of Social Democracy and Stalinism, which betrayed the working class and enabled capitalism to survive the revolutionary convulsions of the preceding period.

The Australian Labor Party and the war in Afghanistan

Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 7 October 2009

Since its election in November 2007, the Rudd Labor government has escalated Australian military involvement in the Afghan conflict. Just as Afghanistan is now referred to as Obama’s war, so it has become Rudd’s war.

Pacific tsunami relief efforts grossly inadequate

By Tom Peters, 7 October 2009

In absolute terms the number of people affected by the tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga is small, but, per capita, the level of destruction is enormous.

Australia: The assassination of Michael McGurk and the stench of NSW Labor

By Alex Messenger, 5 October 2009

Revelations arising from the murder of Sydney loan-shark Michael McGurk highlight links between NSW Labor and an underworld of property moguls and violent criminals.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 October 2009

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

Australia: The political issues facing Victorian paramedics

the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 1 October 2009

A “no” vote must be the first step towards a coordinated industrial and political campaign mounted in opposition to the grossly inadequate salaries and dangerous working conditions endured by ambulance workers, and in defence of the public health system as a whole.

Australian government lawyers demand Guantánamo compensation case be stopped to protect US alliance

By Richard Phillips, 29 September 2009

The government has intensified its efforts to stop Mamdouh Habib, a 53-year-old Australian citizen and father of four, from suing over its role in his illegal detention and torture in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay between 2001 and 2005.

Severe dust storm hits Australian coastal cities

By Alex Safari, 29 September 2009

A huge dust storm blanketed large areas of Australia’s southeastern coast last Wednesday, covering cities and towns in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, before moving out to sea towards New Zealand.

“Fair Work Australia”: A union-enforced straitjacket on workers

By Mike Head, 26 September 2009

The trade unions are enforcing Labor’s industrial legislation that goes far beyond the previous government’s “Work Choices” laws in prohibiting nearly all strikes.

The Australian media and the Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 September 2009

The Australian media has imposed an effective blackout on proceedings brought before the Queensland Supreme Court by former Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti.

Behind the “day of action”: Australian university union enforces government agenda

By Mike Head, 22 September 2009

The purpose of the limited “day of action” called by the National Tertiary Education Union was to suppress any political struggle against Labor’s agenda, while cementing the union’s place in implementing it.

Australian academics’strike at UNSW: a few observations from the ISSE

By Mathew Benn, 19 September 2009

Academics and general staff at the University of New South Wales went on strike last Wednesday as part of the National Tertiary Education Union’s “National Day of Action”. Members of the International Students for Social Equality—which has a club on campus—visited the picket lines and spoke to strikers.

Australian court told witnesses were threatened in Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 September 2009

The Queensland Supreme Court has heard allegations that witnesses called by counsel for the former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti were threatened with the termination of their employment if they gave evidence.

Australia: University staff strike for “day of action”

By our reporters, 17 September 2009

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at 16 universities stopped work yesterday to fight increased workloads, a blow-out in class sizes, casualisation and other attacks on jobs and conditions.

Australian court hears Julian Moti’s challenge to “politically motivated” prosecution

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 September 2009

The Queensland Supreme Court yesterday commenced hearings on an application made by former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti for a permanent stay of proceedings in his prosecution by Australian authorities on statutory rape charges.

Rudd’s Education Revolution “a disaster for universities”

By our reporters, 17 September 2009

Macquarie University’s National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch president Carolyn Kennett speaks with the World Socialist Web Site about the deepening assault on public tertiary education that sparked yesterday’s industrial action

Australia: UN envoy denounced after he describes Northern Territory “intervention” as racist

By Richard Phillips, 16 September 2009

All factions of the political elite came together last month to denounce the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights after he criticised the federal Labor government’s policies towards Aborigines.

Paltry GDP growth promoted as proof of Australian “recovery”

By Alex Messenger, 15 September 2009

Quarterly growth of 0.6 percent might mean that Australia has dodged a so-called ‘technical recession’, but a closer study of the figures reveals that Labor’s massive stimulus package is far from the much touted “road to recovery”

Gillard’s “Teach for Australia”: a corporate-backed assault on teaching

By Katrina Morrison and Laura Tiernan, 14 September 2009

Teach for Australia will parachute unqualified teachers into disadvantaged government schools. Part of the Rudd government’s “education revolution”, the initiative is modelled on Teach for America and the UK’s Teach First.

Education deans oppose Teach for Australia

“Teachers need a depth of theoretical understanding”

By Laura Tiernan, 14 September 2009

Since the Rudd government’s Teach for Australia program was first publicly mooted at the start of 2008, it has been condemned by education deans at universities in Sydney and Melbourne.

Hundreds die in disease outbreaks in Papua New Guinea

By Frank Gaglioti, 12 September 2009

Outbreaks of dysentery, influenza and cholera have hit remote communities in the northern Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea in recent weeks. According to local authorities, more than 400 people have died so far.

Australia: Bail denial in terrorism case sets dangerous new precedent

By Mike Head, 11 September 2009

Three men accused of a terrorist conspiracy have been denied bail, with a magistrate saying they were politically opposed to the existing legal and political system.

Australia: Ambulance union sells out MICA paramedics campaign

By Terry Cook, 10 September 2009

The federal and state Labor governments, acting in concert with the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA), mounted a major operation this week to suppress a campaign by around 300 paramedics in defence of their wages and working conditions.

Australia: New details about “SIEV 36” refugee deaths expose official lies

By Richard Phillips, 8 September 2009

Detailed information about the explosion on a fishing vessel carrying Afghan refugees off the north-west coast of Australia last April underscores the seamless transition that has taken place from the former Howard government’s inhuman asylum seeker policy to that of the Rudd Labor government.

Australian car parts maker goes into administration

By Terry Cook, 8 September 2009

The jobs of hundreds of workers at car parts manufacturer ACL are in jeopardy after it went into voluntary administration despite a government bailout.

Australian government downplays huge oil slick

By Frank Gaglioti, 7 September 2009

A major oil and gas rupture from the West Atlas mobile offshore drilling rig off the northwestern coast of Australia is threatening to become a major environmental disaster. The leakage is unlikely to be plugged for weeks.

Australia: Specialist paramedics threatened with punitive sanctions

By Margaret Rees and Patrick O’Connor, 7 September 2009

Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance paramedics met in Melbourne, Victoria on Saturday and resolved to proceed with their planned resignations, to take effect this Wednesday, in protest over a proposed industrial deal agreed by the state Labor government and the Ambulance Employees Australia union.

Australia: Bushfire investigation report a whitewash

By Richard Phillips, 4 September 2009

The Victorian royal commission’s interim report into the February 7 bushfires makes no criticism of the state government, and its predecessors, whose policies are responsible for the tragic loss of life on February 7.

Australia: International students protest lack of access to student concession cards

By Mathew Benn, 4 September 2009

Hundreds of international students protested in Sydney and Melbourne on Wednesday to demand access to the same student concession cards provided to domestic students.

Australian companies write down $47 billion

By Alex Messenger, 3 September 2009

There have been massive corporate write-downs in the mining and property sectors, yet economists say that the downturn has already come and gone.

Former Solomon Islands attorney general challenges Australian government

Evidence backs Julian Moti’s allegation of “politically-motivated” charges

By Patrick O'Connor, 2 September 2009

International and constitutional law expert and former attorney general of the Solomon Islands Julian Moti is applying for statutory rape charges brought by the Australian government to be thrown out of court on the basis that the case is groundless and represents an abuse of judicial process.

Australia: Workers protest against Labor government assault on safety laws

By our correspondents, 2 September 2009

Workers in several cities demonstrated yesterday against moves by the Australian government to undermine occupational health and safety legislation. The trade unions, however, are merely seeking a place in drafting the new laws.

Unemployment and charity requests soar in Australia

By Chris Johnson, 1 September 2009

Applications for unemployment benefits and requests for emergency financial aid are rising rapidly, belying the official claims of a budding recovery.

Ten years since East Timor’s independence vote

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 August 2009

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the referendum that saw nearly 80 percent of the East Timorese people vote to secede from Indonesia and become a separate nation-state.

Papua New Guinea government signs $10 billion gas deal with US-Australian consortium

By Will Marshall, 17 April 2008

The Papua New Guinea government recently signed a liquefied natural gas deal worth about $US10 billion with an American-Australian consortium led by ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company. The massive project, which could double PNG’s gross domestic product, highlights the vital economic interests driving the Australian government’s operations in the South Pacific.

More tortured manoeuvres in Papua New Guinea parliament

By Will Marshall, 7 June 2004

A political shakeup in Papua New Guinea over the past fortnight has again highlighted the country’s instability. In a bid to maintain his grip on power, Prime Minister Michael Somare sacked seven cabinet ministers on May 18 and threw the Peoples National Congress (PNC)—the second largest party in the shaky ruling coalition—out of the government.

Standoff over deployment of Australian police to Papua New Guinea

By Will Marshall, 14 April 2004

A standoff is continuing between the Australian and Papua New Guinean (PNG) governments over a key aspect of Canberra’s $800 million Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP): the granting of full legal immunity to 230 Australian police being sent to PNG. The program, which involves the dispatch of officials to take up top posts in the PNG police force, courts, financial and planning agencies, customs and civil aviation, is part of Canberra’s aggressive re-assertion of Australian interests throughout the Pacific.

Australia’s next neo-colonial intervention begins in Papua New Guinea

By Will Marshall, 23 December 2003

The first contingent of 12 Australian police officers arrived last week in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of a far-reaching intervention by Canberra to effectively take charge of key elements of the country’s administration. As part of its “enhanced cooperation package,” Australia is sending 230 police, as well as civil servants, to take up top positions in PNG’s police force, court system, finance and planning agencies, customs and civil aviation.

Australian firms plunder Papua New Guinea

By Will Marshall, 27 October 2003

A central feature of the Australian government’s foreign policy in the Pacific has been the ongoing threat to cut off aid to any of the Pacific Island states that do not agree to implement “good governance” measures, such as economic restructuring and combating corruption.

Canberra blackmails Papua New Guinea into accepting Australian overseers

the Editorial Board, 24 September 2003

Just two months after dispatching an Australian-led military intervention force to the Solomon Islands, the Howard government has bullied Papua New Guinea (PNG) into placing two key state functions—finance and the police—under effective Australian control. The preliminary agreement signed by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his PNG counterpart Rabbie Namaliu on September 18 underscores just how rapidly Canberra is proceeding to consolidate a neo-colonial sphere of influence in the Pacific region.

Papua New Guinea liquidity crisis sees new calls for Australian intervention

By Will Marshall, 16 June 2003

The Papua New Guinea economy is headed for its fourth consecutive year of contraction, producing a full-blown liquidity crisis for the government of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. Treasury and Finance Minister Bart Philemon last month told the Business Council of PNG that the economy was still shrinking despite his previous forecast of two percent growth.

Papua New Guinea reacts angrily to call for direct Australian intervention

By Will Marshall, 6 May 2003

A report released in March entitled Papua New Guinea on the Brink calling on Australia to adopt a more “intrusive” approach to its former colony provoked a sharp reaction from the PNG government last month. Arguing that PNG was following other Pacific countries “down the path to economic paralysis, government and social despair,” the report bluntly urged Canberra to ignore “charges of neocolonialism” and to intervene more directly, if necessary militarily, to prevent the country descending into “terminal decline”.

PNG unions call off all action against budget cuts

By Will Marshall, 3 February 2003

Papua New Guinea’s trade union leaders have called off a threatened three-day public sector strike over the Somare government’s wage freeze and vowed to work closely with the government to implement its drastic austerity measures.

Papua New Guinea slashes budget to provide corporate tax breaks

By Will Marshall, 3 December 2002

After intensive discussions with Australia, the World Bank and the IMF, the Papua New Guinea government handed down a budget last week that granted huge tax exemptions to investors in mining projects, while imposing drastic spending cuts on the public service and education.

Unstable government formed in Papua New Guinea

By Will Marshall, 20 August 2002

Papua New Guinea’s longest serving politician, Sir Michael Somare, has emerged as prime minister after the most violent and corrupt elections in the country’s 27-year history. Heading an unstable coalition of 13 parties and 20 independent MPs, he immediately confronts demands from business and Australia, the former colonial ruler, for drastic austerity measures that will lead to further social breakdown.

Papua New Guinea narrowly averts constitutional crisis following "blighted election"

By Will Marshall, 3 August 2002

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea has, at least for the moment, narrowly averted a constitutional crisis stemming from national elections that were plagued by violence, vote rigging and protracted delays in counting. Even though a number of seats are yet to be decided, parliament, which is dominated by small parties and independents, will meet on Monday to vote for a new government.

Papua New Guinea election plagued by corruption, violence and a lack of funds

By Will Marshall, 8 July 2002

Polling ended last Saturday in Papua New Guinea’s national elections after being delayed for a week amid ongoing violence and corruption. While some seats have already been decided, the Electoral Commission warned last week that protracted delays in counting might provoke a constitutional crisis if the results are not finalised by the deadline on July 15.

Calls for state of emergency in Papua New Guinea elections

By Will Marshall, 7 June 2002

With polling in the national elections due to begin on June 15, a series of calls have been made in Papua New Guinea for the government to impose a state of emergency in response to reports of campaign violence.

Papua New Guinea faces an HIV/AIDS epidemic

By Will Marshall, 4 June 2002

A recent report commissioned by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) has revealed that the Pacific country of Papua New Guinea (PNG) faces a potential HIV/AIDS disaster on a similar scale to sub-Saharan Africa.

Papua New Guinea adopts Bougainville peace package

By Will Marshall, 15 April 2002

After more than five years of negotiations overseen by the Australian government, all factions in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) parliament came together on March 27 to vote unanimously for the Bougainville Peace Agreement , giving limited autonomy to the resource-rich island and the possibility of a ballot on secession in 10 to 15 years time.

Australian mining giant leaves environmental disaster in Papua New Guinea

By Will Marshall, 9 April 2002

Australian-British mining giant BHP-Billiton announced at the end of January that it was severing all ties with the Ok Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea. Facing the possibility of legal liabilities amounting to billions of dollars due to environmental damage, BHP-Billiton secured a deal from the PNG government that indemnifies the company against all future compensation claims.

Papua New Guinea government offers free education in election bid

By Will Marshall, 11 February 2002

In a blatant pitch for votes in the approaching June election, Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Mekere Morauta claimed late last year that his government would grant free education for primary and secondary school children if it gained another term. “No child in government or church schools will pay tuition fees,” he pledged. “These will be paid for by the national government”.

Eye-witnesses confirm that police killed Papua New Guinea students

By Will Marshall, 15 October 2001

A government-appointed inquiry into the killing of four demonstrators during student-led anti-privatisation protests in June has heard overwhelming evidence, including eye-witness accounts, confirming that police shot the protesters.

Bougainville autonomy deal remains fragile

By Will Marshall, 18 September 2001

The future of the autonomy package signed between the Papua New Guinea government and various factions from the island of Bougainville remains uncertain despite the orchestrated festivities that accompanied the signing ceremony in the Bougainville town of Arawa on August 30.

Papua New Guinea government vows to continue IMF program

By Will Marshall, 1 August 2001

Papua New Guinea Minister Sir Mekere Morauta used last week’s re-opening of parliament to pledge to continue the World Bank-IMF privatisation and restructuring program, despite continued public outrage over the police killing of four anti-privatisation protesters just a month ago.

Papua New Guinea government under siege after police kill three protesters

By Will Marshall and Mike Head, 29 June 2001

The Papua New Guinea government faces continuing unrest following the police killing of at least three anti-government protesters on Tuesday night. In an attempt to contain further student-led demonstrations, Sir Mekere Morauta’s government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew throughout Port Moresby until July 10, but it is far from being in full control of the situation.

Papua New Guinea government obtains shaky weapons disposal pact in Bougainville

By Will Marshall, 23 May 2001

Under pressure from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government and Australia, the former colonial ruler, some of the factional leaders on the mineral-rich PNG island of Bougainville signed an agreement on weapons disposal earlier this month.

Papua New Guinea mutiny ends but basic demands remain

By Will Marshall, 2 April 2001

After 12 days of armed mutiny, Papua New Guinea soldiers returned hundreds of seized weapons to armouries on March 26, but none of the underlying issues have been resolved and the government of Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta remains extremely fragile.

Australian-sponsored Bougainville settlement breaks down

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 March 2001

Talks arranged by the Australian government to finalise a settlement between the Papuan New Guinea government and pro- and anti-secessionist factions on the island of Bougainville broke down on February 27, despite Canberra's considerable efforts to secure an agreement.

Week-long military revolt shakes Papua New Guinea government

By Will Marshall and Peter Symonds, 22 March 2001

The position of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government remains precarious after a tense week-long standoff in the capital of Port Moresby with hundreds of rebellious troops. The soldiers have reportedly agreed today to end their mutiny and hand back weapons after Prime Minister Mekere Morauta withdrew the government's proposed defence force restructuring plan and promised an unconditional amnesty to those involved.

BP responsible for Papua New Guinea kerosene explosions

By Will Marshall, 8 March 2001

Five people were killed and at least 40 severely injured in a series of kerosene lamp and stove explosions on February 9 and 10 in eight villages scattered across the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea. Oil giant British Petroleum, whose outlets sold the contaminated kerosene, has accepted responsibility for the tragedy but many questions remain unanswered about the causes of the disaster and the response of the government and the company.

Papua New Guinea government overturns minimum pay rise

By Will Marshall, 26 February 2001

With his government under mounting pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta this month overturned a decision to increase the minimum wage of rural workers to 60.42 kina per week (about $US18). The government's own Minimum Wages Board had recommended a 160 percent increase from the current K24.2 ($7) minimum wage.

Australia pushes Papua New Guinea to accept Bougainville secession vote

By Frank Gaglioti, 7 February 2001

Under direct Australian pressure, the Papua New Guinea government accepted an “Agreed Principles on Referendum” with representatives from the island of Bougainville on January 26 at the East New Britain resort town of Kokopo.

Bougainville autonomy talks to resume

By Peter Byrne and Tim Joy, 23 January 2001

Talks on the future status of the resource-rich Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville will resume this week following a meeting earlier this month between Bougainville leaders and the relevant PNG minister.

Bill to stabilise parliament delayed

Papua New Guinea prime minister staves off leadership challenge

By Will Marshall, 15 November 2000

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has been rebuffed in his efforts to push through the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Bill, the purpose of which was to meet the demands of global investors and financial markets for stable political rule.

Signs of disintegration in Papua New Guinea security forces

By a correspondent, 17 October 2000

So far this year two of the three largest island nations in the South Pacific have become engulfed in political turmoil. Both the attempted coup in Fiji and the ousting of the government in the Solomons have exposed the advanced state of decay in the state structures of these countries. In the former, an elite anti-terrorist group was involved in taking the entire government hostage; in the latter the police force collapsed with its members defecting to rival ethnic-based militia gangs.

Papua New Guinea government seeks tight control over political parties

By Will Marshall, 27 September 2000

Under pressure from Australia and international investors, the Papua New Guinea government of Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has introduced legislation that seeks to stabilise the system of rule and impose strict controls over political parties.

PNG superannuation fund collapse robs workers of retirement benefits

By Liz Mantell, 6 September 2000

More than 55,000 contributors to the Papua New Guinea National Provident Fund superannuation scheme were informed via the media earlier this year that a financial collapse had halved the value of their retirement entitlements. Fund managers announced that they were planning to “write down by 50 percent” all contributions paid into the fund prior to December 31, 1999.

Papua New Guinea fast money schemes: a financial house of cards collapses

By Stan McKenzie, 6 July 2000

Last month, the National Court of Papua New Guinea ordered the liquidation of Windfall, one of six so-called “fast money” schemes that operated across PNG for much of last year.

Cyanide spill endangers villagers in Papua New Guinea

By Mike Head, 28 March 2000

For the second time in less than two months, an Australian gold mining company has been responsible for a cyanide spill that has endangered lives and the environment in another country. The lethal chemical washed into a river system last week when a freight helicopter chartered by Dome Resources dropped a one-tonne box of sodium cyanide pellets about 80 kilometres north of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) capital of Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea ministers sacked as Australia applies pressure for economic restructuring

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 March 2000

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Mekere Morauta on March 9 suddenly sacked three cabinet ministers and demoted a fourth on the eve of an Australian ministerial delegation, heightening the political tensions in PNG.

Papua New Guinea budget targets public sector workers

By Frank Gaglioti, 11 January 2000

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) budget brought down last month is setting the stage for confrontations with public sector workers as the government prepares to implement its sweeping plans for privatisation and job shedding.

University of Papua New Guinea shuts early after student protests over fee rises

By Laura Mitchell, 23 October 1999

The University Council has closed the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) three weeks before the end of the academic year in response to student boycotts that have spread to university campuses across the country. More than 2,500 UPNG students had been on strike since October 1 protesting against a planned 25 percent increase in tuition fees.

Papua New Guinea government rules out independence for Bougainville

By Peter Byrne and Peter Symonds, 16 October 1999

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government headed by Prime Minister Mekere Morauta last week offered a limited autonomy package to the Bougainville province putting further pressure on the separatist Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) to accept PNG sovereignty. Announcing the offer, Bougainville Affairs Minister and former prime minister Michael Somare said the critical areas of foreign affairs, defence and police would stay within the control of the central government. Somare has set a deadline of December 25 for Bougainville's politicians to draft a new provincial constitution within the framework of the national constitution.

Ok Tedi mine closure—BHP and PNG government in conflict

By Tim Joy, 14 September 1999

BHP, Australia's largest mining and resources company, has released a discussion paper outlining plans for the closure of the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea. Since the mine opened, BHP and the PNG government have consistently denied or downplayed scientific studies critical of its environmental impact. BHP's paper now admits the devastating effect of the mine.

As Papua New Guinea government prepares to privatise

Air Niugini sacks engineers

By Noel Holt, 27 August 1999

Air Niugini retrenched its entire 96-strong engineering workforce at the end of last month, again focusing public attention on safety problems in Papua New Guinea's national air carrier. The sackings came as the new government of Prime Minister Mekere Morauta prepared to announce far-reaching privatisation plans covering state-owned assets, including Air Niugini.

New PNG government implements IMF's economic restructuring demands

By Frank Gaglioti and Sue Phillips, 19 August 1999

After just over a month in office, the Papua New Guinea government led by Prime Minister Mekere Morauta has announced plans for a far-reaching program of economic restructuring, along the lines being demanded by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the country's former colonial ruler, Australia.

Bankers' man installed as PNG Prime Minister

By Laura Mitchell, 17 July 1999

A week of intense political drama culminated on Wednesday in the installation of Sir Mekere Morauta as Papua New Guinea's next Prime Minister. Morauta, an advocate of International Monetary Fund-ordered restructuring and austerity, was the candidate openly favoured by the government in Australia, PNG's former colonial ruler and largest single source of investment.

PNG Prime Minister resigns after Australian intervention

By Sue Phillips and Frank Gaglioti, 12 July 1999

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate resigned on July 7, amid economic and political turmoil. In doing so, Skate accused Australia of political interference. He denounced Canberra for opposing his government's diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, revealed in the media just 48 hours earlier, and for supporting a key opponent to replace him as prime minister.

Papua New Guinea government likely to fall

By Peter Symonds, 29 June 1999

The Papua New Guinea government of Prime Minister Bill Skate is on the point of collapse after the People's Democratic Movement (PDM), the largest party in the ruling coalition, joined the opposition on Monday. PDM leader Mekere Morauta, pointed to the country's currency collapse and other economic troubles, saying that people “have lost confidence in this government and its ability to take the country out of the problems we are facing”.

Papua New Guinea in legal battle with mercenary outfit

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 1999

The British mercenary company Sandline International is engaged in a series of unprecedented legal moves in Europe, the US and Australia to seize $US25 million in funds from the Papua New Guinea government, which has refused to make the final payments on a contract signed in 1997 to mount a military operation against separatist guerrillas on Bougainville Island.