Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 20:22 | 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

Aid budget confusion

The Rudd Government has announced an increase to international development assistance for the next financial year from $3,818 million in 2009-10 to $4,349 million in 2010-11. It's a decent increase in challenging times which the government says is consistent with its commitment to scale up ODA to

The Fiji-isation of the Pacific?

The resignations over the last ten days of Tonga’s Attorney-General and Papua New Guinea’s Attorney-General have made me wonder whether there is a 'Fiji-isation' of the Pacific in the air. Each resignation was related to concerns about governance.  In Tonga's case, Attorney-General John Cauchi

African gold rush: Aid and UN votes

As one of those at the Lowy Institute who has claimed Australian aid to Africa is motivated by Australia's bid for a temporary seat at the UN Security Council in 2013-14, I feel compelled by Joel Negin's post to explain my thinking. DFAT's own promotional brochure for its UNSC candidature claims

Fiji blogosphere

As I mentioned in a previous post, the blogosphere has special significance for Fiji as it has become the major source of news on political events. I've heard more than a few comments suggesting that Fiji-focused blogs cannot be relied on for accuracy, and I have to admit that I spend more time

In praise of media freedom

Fiji's interim government has just extended its Public Emergency Regulations (PER) until the end of April. The PER has been implemented on a month-to-month basis and this latest extension will mean that it has been in place for more than a year. The most prominent feature of the PER is Article

Pacific Forum: The absent Chair

Graeme Dobell's post about Australia's drift from the Pacific region covers an issue close to my heart and one I am dwelling on in my research. This recent article from Islands Business also reflects consternation in the region that Australia is losing its Pacific focus. One of the benefits

LNG for PNG: Only the beginning

Papua New Guinea has been obsessed for the last year with the promise of unprecedented revenues from Exxon Mobil's US$15 billion investment in a liquefied natural gas project. Exxon Mobil announced financial closure of the project last week, meaning the project will now proceed in full. PNG is

Fiji: From disaster, an opportunity

I've written previously on the diplomatic opportunities provided by natural disasters to reduce political tensions. Fiji is again suffering from the impact of a natural disaster. Tropical Cyclone Tomas, which struck Fiji this week, was one of the worst cyclones to ever to hit the country. Both

SBY in PNG: Making up for lost time

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was busy improving bilateral relations with more than one neighbour last week. Incredibly, for two countries that share an island and a difficult border, President Yudhoyono was the first Indonesian President to visit PNG since President Soeharto in

Other paths to development

The space given to aid issues in the Australian media over the last fortnight gives me hope that more Australians might be interested in the international debate on development than I previously thought. But discussion in the developed world about 'development' tends to focus on how much aid

NZ points way with rugby diplomacy

I have been sceptical that New Zealand's diplomatic outreach to Fiji would bear much fruit, but I was proven wrong on the weekend. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola agreed on the nomination of respective acting heads of mission and that

How the roar of China tiger will be heard across the world

The year of the tiger began on 14 February with the Chinese lunar new year's day. In the Inquirer section of The Weekend Australian, Lowy Institute research staff described 10 ways China will shape the planet in the next 12 months.The Australian, 13-14 February 2010, Inquirer p. 2

What right for Burma is right for Fiji

The Foreign Minister delivered a statement to parliament about developments in Burma this week. Mr Smith outlined the disturbing situation in Burma, the promises of elections and Australia's decision to 'do more for the long-term future of Burma's people'. He explained Australian policy towards

Fiji: It time to talk about values

At our first Wednesday Lowy Lunch event for the year this week, I spoke about the year ahead in the Pacific. On Fiji, I said it was important Australia had a relationship that allowed our Government to protect business and consular interests, mitigate damage to the region and maintain links so

Wednesday Lunch at Lowy: 2010 The year ahead - Research staff presentations

On 3 February, at the first Wednesday Lunch at Lowy for 2010, three Lowy Institute scholars discussed where the world and our region are headed after a tumultuous year in 2009. Will things be calmer or more uncertain?Mark Thirlwell, Program Director International Economy, assessed the post-GFC

Fiji brazen provocation

In this post last week, I speculated on the motivations behind New Zealand’s first steps in a diplomatic rapprochement with Fiji. New Zealand Foreign Minister McCully is no doubt genuine about New Zealand's efforts to improve relations with Fiji, but is Fiji equally genuine? Mr McCully

2020 vision: that sinking feeling

In an article in The Australian, ten Lowy Institute research staff describe ten aspects of our world that may vanish by 2020.The Australian, 16 January 2010, p. 2

Turkey: Cool heads prevail in Israel

Sam's post yesterday on Israel's humiliation of the Turkish Ambassador reminded me how important diplomacy is in the Middle East.  I knew Turkish Ambassador to Israel O?uz Çelikkol well when I served at the Australian Embassy in Ankara a few years ago. He was then Turkey's Special Representative

Fiji: New Zealand quick off the mark

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has moved quickly in the new year to achieve a minor breakthrough in Fiji. While most of Oceania takes its annual January break, New Zealand and Fiji have agreed to improve their very poor diplomatic relations. McCully met with his Fijian counterpart and

Things I have changed my mind about this year

Something that never changes about Melanesia or the wider Pacific Islands region is its unpredictability. This gives me useful cover for my errors of prediction and changes of mind. The major prediction I was wrong about was my belief that the economies of the Pacific Islands would all be hurt

MSG not good for Fiji diet

I was nodding along with Graeme Dobell's post on Tuesday about Australian policy, Fiji and the Pacific until he mentioned the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). I don't agree that the MSG is a serious rival to the Pacific Islands Forum. It has four principal members (the fifth member being the 

Common sense prevails in Vanuatu

Vanuatu's Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabeck, has injected some good sense back into Vanuatu politics. He has overturned the decision of Speaker of Parliament Maxime Carlot Korman to declare Prime Minister Edward Natapei's seat vacant while he was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government

Solomons: Transaction hiccup resolved

Following up on my post from last week on Iranian aid to Solomon Islands and the difficulties Tehran had in sending cash to Honiara, I see the two governments have found a clever way around the legal obstacle. After the ANZ Bank refused to transfer funds from Iran to the Solomon Islands

Natapei sorry for not sending apologies

Commonwealth Heads of Government have been meeting  in Trinidad and Tobago to advance an international agreement on climate change. Although Pacific Islands have a central interest in climate change and the voice of Pacific Island leaders needed to be heard at the Commonwealth meeting, not all

Buying UN votes Iranian-style

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has reported that Iran has been bribing countries to vote against Israel at the United Nations. The report alleges that an Iranian offer of $200,000 of financial assistance to Solomon Islands prior to the visit in October last year of Solomon Islands Foreign

Fiji talks the talk on democracy

Fiji's interim Government has finally announced the commencement of a National Dialogue Forum – on 1 February 2010. The Forum will be held in preparation for a constitutional forum to be commenced in September 2012.  Although Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, the Prime Minister's Permanent Secretary,

PNG budget an impressive sight

The PNG Government handed down its 2010 budget this week. Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch has predicted record high growth of 8.5% per annum, almost double the actual growth of 4.5% in 2009. The PNG economy recorded a major success story this year in continuing to grow at a robust rate and in

Another diplomatic spat with Fiji

Fiji's military leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, yesterday announced the expulsion from Fiji of Australian High Commissioner James Batley and Acting New Zealand High Commissioner Todd Cleaver. The decision was a signal of Bainimarama's unhappiness with advice on the applicability of travel

A tribute to Duncan Kerr

Today marks the last day in office of Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, the Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP. Kerr has announced his retirement from his position and intention to retire from politics at the next federal election. Managing Australia's enhanced relations with

PNG: Japan back in the game

While China is increasingly perceived to be the major Asian player in the Pacific Islands region, Japan's interests in the region should not be forgotten. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) last week signed a memorandum of understanding with the PNG Government to support the

Samoa: After the wave

Samoa holds a national day of mourning today to remember the people it lost in the terrible tragedy of the tsunami last week. The Samoans have demonstrated the best of Pacific resilience, with determination to rebuild after the disaster. Despite the damage to the pristine tourist destinations

Bainimarama tries rewriting history

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, delivered an address to the UN General Assembly on 26 September, in which he defended his 2006 coup and abrogation of Fiji’s constitution in April this year. He asked for the patience of the international community while his

For Fiji sins, no sevens

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth yesterday after it failed to meet the conditions set out by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on 31 July. CMAG had sought a commitment from Fiji to reactivate the President’s Dialogue Forum process and hold elections by October 2010. The

Fiji: A hint of progress?

It seems Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, is serious about implementing his Strategic Framework for Change.  He has created a new department to guide the implementation of the framework and 'facilitate consensus building through nation-wide reconciliation and dialogue

The Pacific Islands and the World Conference

The countries of the Pacific region, once remote from the global centres of economic power, are now in the most dynamic economic region in the world. But are they using this position to their own advantage? Are they taking the right approach to realise their potential? These were the key questions

A failure to deal with Fiji blots regional forum copybook

In an opinion piece in The Age, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Program Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, argues that Australia has a unique responsibility as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum over the next year to guide the Pacific region through the challenges of the

Pacific Forum: Australia takes the helm

Prime Minister Rudd has hosted his first Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in Cairns and taken over as chair of the regional group for the next year. By all accounts, he was a popular chair. The Australian Government put significant effort into organising this first major diplomatic

Fiji: The police state turns nasty

Yesterday's arrests in Fiji of the leadership of the Methodist Church and a female paramount chief are a dramatic development in Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s quest to increase his control over the country. Whether they will be the trigger for the ultimate demise of his leadership, or civil

Is the MSG a threat to Pacific unity?

The decision by the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) leaders on 10 July to lend their support to Fiji’s interim Government, and the backpedalling by leaders since that decision, reveals some interesting insights into how diplomacy works — or does not work — in the Pacific. The

Fiji: MSG throws down the gauntlet

The leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji), who met in Port Vila last Friday,have surprised some of their regional counterparts by supporting Fiji interim Prime Minister Bainimarama’s strategic framework for change in Fiji.  Bainimarama

Has Fiji found its sugar daddy?

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra is reportedly in Vanuatu today, seeking to meet leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji). In the last week, he has also been to Tonga and Fiji, where he is reported to have met with Fiji’s interim

A new strategic framework for Fiji?

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, gave an address to the nation on 1 July setting out a strategic framework for change for the next five years. Although Fiji’s media is heavily censored by the interim Government, the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation at least has a live

Tackling extreme poverty in Papua New Guinea

The Lowy Institute and CARE Australia convened a conference in Sydney on 14 May 2009 on tackling extreme poverty in Papua New Guinea. The conference brought together politicians, government officials, academics, private sector and non-government experts to explore ways of improving the situation of

New Zealand aid policy

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully has announced an overhaul of New Zealand’s aid program. The key changes are a new mandate for NZAID — moving from poverty alleviation to a clear focus on sustainable economic growth in the Pacific Islands region — and the removal of NZAID

Building the PNG relationship

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare was in Australia last week on a state visit. The wide-ranging discussion in his 28 April joint press conference with Prime Minister Rudd was a timely reminder that the Australia-PNG relationship is broader than the aid framework that dominates

Fiji and the UN: Everything old is new again

John Boonstra, blogging at UN Dispatch, has picked up on some Australian diplomatic sleight of hand. Prime Minister Rudd expressed concern in a press conference on 28 April that the revenue remittances from Fijian forces working with UN peacekeeping missions were helping sustain Fiji’s

China help may harm Fiji

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Fergus Hanson and Jenny Hayward-Jones argue that Beijing (along with other countries) should consider redirecting its aid to Fiji through international financial institutions. The Australian, 23 April 2009, p. 12

Fiji crisis requires urgent response

In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, argues for a prompt response by the Australian government to the crisis in Fiji. Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2009, p. 11 

Need for decisive action on Fiji

In an opinion piece in the Canberra Times, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, argues for Australia to act quickly in its response to Fiji's economic crisis. Canberra Times, 17 April 2009, p. 13

Fiji: the flailing state

The abrogation of Fiji's constitution could precipitate an economic collapse in Fiji, jeopardising regional stability and Australia's interests

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