Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 12:36 | SYDNEY
People | experts Jenny Hayward-Jones
Nonresident Fellow, Pacific Islands Program
Lowy Institute
Areas of ExpertisePacific Islands politics; Pacific Islands economic and social development; governance; statebuilding

Interview: Prime Minister Peter O'Neill

[vimeo:54587511] Senator Bob Carr is in Papua New Guinea this week on his first visit as Foreign Minister. He is attending the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum and touring the Highlands region with his counterpart, the PNG Foreign Minister. Meanwhile, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has just

PNG New Voices 2012

The summary report of the first ever PNG New Voices conference highlights the enthusiasm of Papua New Guinea’s young people to participate in debate about PNG’s economy and international outlook in the Asian century. Conference participants called for higher-quality leadership and the creation

PNG PM Peter O'Neill at Lowy Institute

Today the Lowy Institute hosted the Hon Peter O'Neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, at a Distinguished Speaker lecture on 'PNG in the Asian Century' (a transcript of the speech will be published on this blog and the Lowy Institute website when it becomes available). My first impressions of

Melanesian politics: Stael blong Vanuatu

A parliamentary vote in Vanuatu yesterday saw Sato Kilman re-elected by 29 to 23 votes as Prime Minister following the 30 October elections. His People's Progressive Party won only five seats in a 52-member parliament (pictured) but Kilman proved to be a superior deal-maker in putting together a

PNG in the Asian century

Australia is not alone in thinking seriously about the implications of the Asian century. Discussions at the Lowy Institute's PNG New Voices conference last week debated Papua New Guinea's international choices and place in the Asian century. The participants at our conference had clearly not only

PNG New Voices Conference Agenda

The Lowy Institute's New Voices conference will be held in Port Moresby, Papua Guinea on 22 October, featuring prominent young Papua New Guineans and emerging leaders. 

Stars align for Fiji policy shift

The Fiji Government has a history of making poor decisions whenever there appeared to be a slight willingness in Australia or New Zealand to re-assess approaches to Fiji. The deportation of diplomats or Fiji Times publishers at inopportune moments made it impossible for foreign ministers in

Australia MIA in PNG

Like Alexander Downer, I think the Australian Government should pay more attention to the political crisis in Papua New Guinea. I\'ve been uncertain about what Canberra can practically do, but here\'s a suggestion: it\'s time for Australia to play its strongest card. So far, we have played a weak

What Somare and O'Neill hath wrought

Papua New Guinea has just paid an economic price for its political instability, with Standard and Poor\'s downgrading its credit rating from B- to B-. The short-lived military mutiny created headlines around the world. It was enough to convince the ratings agency that there was now increased

What happened in PNG yesterday?

Yesterday\'s military mutiny in Papua New Guinea ended peacefully, with no civil unrest or loss of life. The mutiny, carried out by retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, was instigated by Sir Michael Somare\'s camp in an attempt to have Somare re-installed as Prime Minister. The constitutional

Fiji: One step forward, two steps back

Fiji\'s Prime Minister last week took a step forward when he lifted the country\'s Public Emergency Regulations. As the only real progress towards democracy emerging from Suva in recent years, it had to be welcomed.  But Commodore Bainimarama allowed himself only a few days to bask in the

Fiji ends public emergency regulations

Fiji\'s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama offered his country an interesting gift for the new year — a promise to lift the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) on 7 January. The PER has been in place since April 2009, when Bainimarama abrogated Fiji\'s constitution. Although some suspicion

PNG still in deadlock

Today marks day five of Papua New Guinea\'s constitutional crisis. The country has two prime ministers, two cabinets, two governors-general and two police commissioners. Both Michael Somare and Peter O\'Neill have fair claims to the prime ministership. PNG\'s Supreme Court has

PNG should try a national unity government

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Jenny Hayward-Jones, The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program Director at the Lowy Institute, argues that the younger generation is fed up with old-style politics in Port Moresby.Australian Financial Review, 15 December 2011, p. 55

PNG: Land of the unexpected

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea yesterday ruled in a 3-2 decision that the election of Peter O\'Neill in August was unconstitutional as there was no vacancy in the office of Prime Minister at the time of his election. The court also ruled that Sir Michael Somare, who had been out

Fiji: Should we believe in promises?

Fiji\'s government delivered its 2012 budget last week. In his budget address, Commodore Frank Bainimarama promised that his government would start work on a new constitution no later than September 2012. He also announced $5.9 million in the budget for electronic voter registration— \'as a

Plus ça change in Pacific politics

Just when the Pacific was looking relatively stable — a new and confident government in Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands hoping a positive rating by the World Bank would improve investor confidence; Vanuatu\'s Prime Minister managing to hold on to his job continuously since May this

Some facts about Lowy Fiji poll

Rowan Barnsley, in his Reader Riposte, claims the Lowy Institute\'s Fiji poll was \'undertaken by a known sympathiser of the military junta. Even more alarming in my view was how the survey was funded.\' The Lowy Institute first considered commissioning a public opinion poll in Fiji two

PNG Prime Minister breakthrough visit

The visit of new Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O\'Neill to Canberra last week represented something of a breakthrough in bilateral relations. O\'Neill brought nine cabinet ministers with him, who met with Australian counterparts in the 20th bilateral Ministerial Forum (pictured

Canberra head in the sand over how Fijians feel

Jenny Hayward-Jones writes in The Australian Magazine about the Lowy Institute's poll of the Fijian people on their opinions of the Bainimarama regime. Hayward-Jones argues that the results of the poll, which found that 66 per cent of Fijians thought that Bainimarama was doing a good job, are valid

Freedom of speech in Fiji

Commodore Frank Bainimarama once famously told an Australian journalist that he did not trust the Fiji people. Apparently the Australian government doesn\'t trust them either. The Fiji people currently have no forum in which to have their voice heard, but on the one occasion they have

Launch of Pacific Outcomes Report & Keynote Address

The Outcomes Report of the conference 'The Pacific Islands and the World: Realising the Pacific's Potential' conference has been released. It summarises the main discussion generated from the conference and puts forward 10 policy recommendations based on this discussion to help the

Don't ignore the voice of Fiji people

Politicians and political parties the world over dismiss opinion polls when the results are inconvenient and embrace them when the results show support for their policies. So I wasn\'t surprised to see some of the reactions to the results of the Lowy Institute\'s Fiji Poll. I was personally

Fiji poll: Challenges and opportunities

The Lowy Institute launches its first ever Fiji Poll, Fiji at Home and in the World, today in Auckland, New Zealand. We commissioned the poll to give a voice to the Fiji people, whose thinking about their own government and their relations with the world are not properly understood by either the

Fiji at home and in the world: public opinion and foreign policy

The Lowy Institute’s first Fiji Poll was a wide-ranging survey of public opinion in Fiji about the performance of Fiji’s military-led government and Fiji’s relations with the world. Questions focused on the implementation of government promises, the role of Fiji’s military, and democracy.

PNG, land of the unexpected

It is often said that anyone who confidently predicts the future in PNG politics is a fool. I have been following the political turmoil in Papua New Guinea over the last few months but did not anticipate the shock election of Peter O\'Neill as Prime Minister yesterday. Public attention

Resetting our relationship with PNG

It is not often we hear Papua New Guinea described in public by a federal politician as a top foreign policy priority and a country with which Australia has a joint destiny. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop did just that in an excellent speech to the Lowy Institute\'s

The future state of the world: what it means for Australia foreign aid program

In January 2011, the Australian Government’s Independent Panel to Review Aid commissioned the Lowy Institute to undertake a study of the future state of the world and its potential impact on the government’s aid program. The report, written against the background of a strong focus by the

My Fiji paper: A response to critics

My Policy Brief on Australian policy towards Fiji has inspired a maelstrom of misinformation. This may have come about in part because some individuals chose not to read the paper, but heard that I was critical of Australian policy for having failed to influence a return to democracy in Fiji and

Fiji and the art of misinformation

The Fiji Government issued a statement last week which implied that my criticism of Australian policy on Fiji was a vindication of the Fiji Government's status.  It would be generous to say that perhaps the Fiji Government had not read my Policy Brief (Policy overboard: Australia's

Fiji: Engagement is not appeasement

Some of the reactions to the publication of my Policy Brief on Australian policy towards Fiji have confirmed my thinking that debate on the situation is Fiji is so polarised that rational discussion is almost impossible.  I don\'t expect everyone involved in this debate to read my

Australia Fiji policy needs an overhaul

I\'ve been struck by two separate statements by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd this year. In a television interview in New Zealand in March, he denied the need for a new approach to bring about democracy in Fiji. Rudd argued there was: \'a tendency in parts of the region for the question to

Rudd takes his eye off Pacific Islands

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Program Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia program, writes that neighbourhood links with Pacific Island governments must be maintained.The Australian, 22 March 2011, p. 8

Rudd neglects friends in the Pacific

While Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has been busy pursuing Australian foreign policy interests in North Africa and managing the consular response to the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, he is unlikely to have had time to keep an eye on the neighbourhood. This is probably not helping to

Does Egypt offer any lessons for Fiji?

Watching events in Egypt unfold over the last few weeks, I have wondered whether a similar popular protest could take place in Fiji.  The two countries have little in common beyond the fact that the militaries of each occupy a dominant and somewhat sacred role in political life, and both

Does charity begin at home?

Cross-posted from our companion blog, Interpreting the Aid Review. It was always going to happen. The costly consequences of a series of natural disasters over the Australian summer has given rise to questions about the place of overseas development assistance in Australia's spending priorities

What have I changed my mind about this year? China in the Pacific

I have for some time been relatively sanguine about the rise of China in the Pacific. I believed that, like most powers which engage with Pacific Island countries, China wanted a stable and prosperous Pacific region. Chinese trade, aid and investment in the Pacific were good if they

A Melanesian melodrama

Since writing just three weeks ago about political shenanigans in the Pacific, the intrigue in the region has only become more intense — and then there was the political earthquake that shook Papua New Guinea last week. PNG Prime Minister Somare's decision to step aside while a

Pacific politicking and a new democracy

It's been an eventful few weeks in Pacific politics. In a month usually devoted to presentations of annual appropriations bills to parliament, the region has engaged in a few changes of personnel. Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei has paid an especially high price for trying to attend

Engaging Fiji?

Earlier this week we hosted, in conjunction with the ANU's Crawford School of Economics and Government, the Fiji/Vanuatu Update conference. As part of that event, a panel of experts contemplated the nature of Fiji's political environment and assessed options for international engagement with the

Fiji update

On 8 November, the Lowy Institute for International Policy co-hosted the Fiji and Vanuatu Update 2010 with the Crawford School of Economics and Governance, Australian National University. As part of the 2010 Update a distinguished panel was assembled to discuss these very challenges and to discuss

The US: Back in the Pacific

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be visiting Papua New Guinea tomorrow, as part of her seven country tour of the Asia-Pacific.  Her visit is timely. It comes soon after Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell's testimony before the House Foreign

Fiji \'celebrates\' independence

Fiji celebrated 40 years of independence on 10 October, with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama urging his fellow citizens to participate in the vision of a modern and just Fiji.  Bainimarama came to the celebrations fresh from a charm offensive at the UN last month, where he gave a speech&

Pacific still rates with Gillard

When I wrote this post yesterday, I was not aware that Richard Marles' (pictured) position as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs was one of those subject to rapid title change before the Government was sworn in. I would like to claim some influence for his

No need for Pacific panic

As the Gillard Government is sworn in today in Canberra, there will be no Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance or Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, two positions ably filled in the last government by Bob McMullan and Duncan Kerr. While this might

Australian foreign policy post-election

What sort of world will a new Australian government be dealing with, and how is it likely to approach it? Deputy Director Martine Letts, Director of Studies Andrew Shearer, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf and Myer Foundation Melanesia Program Director Jenny Hayward-Jones briefed

Undermining the Pacific Islands Forum

On the surface, Fiji’s Engaging with the Pacific meeting held at Natadola last week appears to undermine the integrity of the Pacific Islands Forum. The meeting was convened after Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Edward Natapei deferred the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders' meeting which was to be

Pacific the loser from aid budget?

CORRECTION (posted 21/5/10) Aid to pacific increases: I incorrectly surmised from the overall aid flows of the aid budget that aid to the Pacific had decreased. Australia's aid to the Pacific in fact increased if you use the more reliable country program figures in table 15, on page 66. Good news