Monday 27 Sep 2021 | 22:23 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
  • 27 Sep 2021 12:00

    AfPak’s back, alright

    Pakistan needs to think carefully about its relationship with Afghanistan. The world is watching.

  • 27 Sep 2021 06:00

    Dankeschön Frau Merkel

    A former Australian ambassador to Germany reflects on the Chancellor’s significant impact in the Indo-Pacific.

  • 24 Sep 2021 12:00

    Afghanistan: The Hazara dread

    What the Taliban takeover means for one of the most persecuted peoples in the world.

Pacific Islands

AUKUS: France’s strategic outcry

Last week Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced a new security partnership (AUKUS) and, in the process, put an end to the Attack class submarine program negotiated by France and Australia in 2016. After calling the decision “a stab in the back”, French Foreign Minister

Economic diplomacy: After AUKUS in trade, aid and technology

Waiting line China is now the top export and import partner for 12 of the other 20 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group and a top one-way partner for five others. The US score on this measuring stick is two and one. This is one very basic way of seeing how China’s bid

The future is female in PNG

It seems fitting that the progressive political party that helped Papua New Guinea to independence 46 years ago, and has been the ruling party for the past two years, should have the country’s first-ever female president, Erigere Singin. It’s a bold step and one in the right direction for Pangu

Beyond Fortress Australia

The reality of living in a pandemic has dawned on Australia. Covid cases at the time of writing are high and still climbing. The virus is here to stay. Equally clear is that ring-fencing the country from the world — the ‘Fortress Australia’ policy — is no longer viable

Economic diplomacy: After Kabul, Australia looks to India

Suitcase intelligence Bob Carr recalls in his Diary of a Foreign Minister how a senior Australian intelligence official told him bluntly in 2013 that the war against the Taliban was failing. “We spent a billion dollars in Uruzgan province … We could have achieved the same result if I had been

Pacific needs partnership, not just leadership

Book review: Richard Marles, Tides That Bind: Australia In The Pacific (Monash University Publishing, 2021) There’s much to like in Richard Marles’ new essay on Australia’s relations with the Pacific, Tides That Bind. Above all is the author’s passion for his subject. Those who

Keeping PNG connected by investing in radio

News that Australia’s Telstra could be a buyer of the Pacific Island region’s prominent mobile network and media player Digicel has put communications technology in the spotlight. The Australian government is set to underwrite the deal which some reports suggest could be worth up to A$2 billion

Aiding the Pacific during Covid: An update

More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, how much outside financial support is the Pacific receiving and how far does this go in helping the region weather the crisis? This time last year in The Interpreter we took stock of the provision of Covid-19 related external financial assistance to the

PNG: What to expect in the 2022 elections?

Papua New Guinea will conduct its tenth national election in 2022. A by-election held this week for the Port Moresby North West (MNW) electorate provides a preview of what to expect next year. In PNG, a by-election is required when a vacancy occurs more than a year before the return of writs

New Caledonia eyes final vote on independence

France is showing signs of frustration as it exerts all efforts to underline the real consequences of independence for those long-standing New Caledonian residents who will vote in a third and final referendum before the 1998 Noumea Accord ends next year. French Minister for Overseas Territories

PNG can’t turn a blind eye to the conflict next door

A video recently surfaced on social media in Papua New Guinea, featuring a group of about 20 men, gathered around their apparent leader, declaring war on Indonesia. “People of East Sepik,” the leader says, referring to one of the two provinces which stretch along PNG’s northern coastline

Long-ago battle in Solomon Islands keeps claiming lives

Solomon Islands is littered with unexploded bombs, a legacy of the Second World War as the site of one of the fiercest battles between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. Much of the population across the islands still live with unknown quantities of explosive remains left behind from the

Accountability is the path to better governance in PNG

When we look at progress in decentralisation in Papua New Guinea over the last 20 years – the sole continuous and overriding policy priority of successive governments – many challenges remain to improve downstream service delivery. Programming for “social accountability” shifts the focus

Facebook’s monopoly danger in the Pacific

The recent stoush between the Australian government and social media giant Facebook, with its eight-day-long ban of local news from its platform, had results that were not confined to Australia. Facebook’s block of Australian news also highlighted the vulnerability of information security in the

Lessons from Christchurch

The tragedy of 51 people murdered and many more injured two years ago by an Australian-born far-right extremist was commemorated in Christchurch this week by the New Zealand government along with family and friends of the victims. For the community – in New Zealand most importantly, but also in

When will PNG establish a National Human Rights Commission?

Corruption is one of the biggest challenges in Papua New Guinea, according to Transparency International PNG. In 2020, the government successfully established the Independent Commission Against Corruption to protect government systems and provide whistleblowers a mechanism for reporting complaints.

Farewell, Grand Chief

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare led Papua New Guinea to independence, became the first prime minister of the newly sovereign nation, and served as head of government for 17 of its 45 independent years. More than that, Somare was the living symbol of the country’s fierce spirit of self-determination

Terrorism and New Zealand’s dual citizenship conundrum

Last week, the issue of depriving an individual of their citizenship because of terrorist activity made headlines once again. An alleged Islamic State member, Suhayra Aden, had been detained by Turkish authorities crossing from Syria into Turkey and was being readied for deportation to New Zealand.

Allies but not friends? New Zealand and Australia

A pub quiz question for foreign policy nerds in ten years’ time: In early 2021, why did New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern accuse Scott Morrison’s government of not acting in good faith? “For not living up to its responsibilities on dual citizens crossing from Syria into Turkey” might be the

Foreign policy’s “Indigenous moment” is here

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, the first Maori woman in that role, hit the ground running in her first few months in office. Not only did her appointment break barriers for Indigenous women in international affairs, she has also begun to outline a stunning example of what an

What next for Pacific regionalism?

It has been a disastrous week for Pacific regionalism. The controversial appointment of Henry Puna as Secretary General in a 9-8 vote in last week’s special Leaders Meeting has splintered the Pacific Islands Forum, with five Micronesian states following through on their threat to leave the Forum

PNG: Mistaking massacres for tradition

Each week, it seems we hear about new cases of violent killings linked to tribal warfare in Hela Province, in the heart of Papua New Guinea. Reports emerged last week of 19 dead, including a mother and her child, with thousands more displaced. This is just the latest of a series of gruesome

Pacific development outlook for 2021

Pacific nations have mostly escaped the heavy death toll and hospital bed shortages faced by Western countries battling Covid-19, but the pandemic has dealt a disproportionately severe blow to the region’s economic ambitions. But with the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery in sight in China

A bruising 24 hours in the Pacific

After a divisive marathon meeting into the early hours of Thursday, Pacific leaders have emerged with a new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum. Cook Islands’ former prime minister Henry Puna was elected 9–8, with one abstention. A break from the consensus tradition of the Forum, the

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