Research participants commented that the free-call design was beneficial for them. [3] The vote was originally scheduled for 15 June 2019,[4] before being delayed to 17 October due to a row over funding. Do you agree for Bougainville to have: (1) Greater Autonomy (2) Independence? This article is based upon a paper published by the ANU Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) as part of its ‘Discussion paper’ series. Watson is a Research Fellow with the Department of Pacific Affairs at Australian National University. They’ve taken the bark, the leaves and the branches, until the tree no longer resembles its former greatness. The Pacific Region is fast becoming important for competing superpowers for geopolitical and economic strategy. 4.With a projected vote on independence from Papua New Guinea just three months away, suddenly Bougainville is the centre of a lot of activity. The affected voters got a chance to cast their ballots elsewhere. We are reborn.”. Bougainville Referendum Results : ‘We are reborn’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence from Papua New Guinea The root of the problem is our worldview: this civilization is based on individual, materialistic desires and selfish actions. For, good governance is one of the major considerations that must be ticked off or crossed when it comes to ratification of the vote. “I want to first acknowledge the result. He says the challenge for any mine operator would be developing a project that is environmentally safe, yet still deliver an acceptable return to shareholders and to the government. We prayed to God and he gave us strength. Available at: conflict [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. The second source said the West wanted to limit China’s engagement with what could soon be the world’s newest nation, strategically located in waters separating Asia and the Americas. Discussions will take place with the Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence can begin. [3]. At the international level, Australia will be keen to ensure that whatever the outcome of the Bougainville referendum, stability is maintained in Papua New Guinea, if only to counter China’s growing interest in offering aid and economic benefits as it builds a Pacific presence. Copyright 2020 - Both in Bougainville and elsewhere in PNG, there is a large gap between ideal and actual service delivery. The 2019 Bougainville referendum offered valuable lessons for future elections, Kerryn Baker and Thiago Oppermann write. [online] 4. Kerr also lamented Australian aid cuts to PNG at the same time, saying they were “most unfortunate … on the very eve of independence”. “So as part of that is to guarantee the security of the process and also reconcile and rebuild the relationship amongst all of us – our soldiers on this side and ex-combatants on the other side because that will then remove this cloud of suspicion.”. Two upcoming reconciliations are to be held on Bougainville at the same time before the referendum. The important things that Australia is focused on is not forming a view one way or the other on the outcome of a referendum in another country, but importantly supporting that wherever we can to ensure a credible, and a peaceful and an inclusive process.”. The results will be announced in mid-December. “It gives them at least the belief that they could stand on their own two feet and the wish to do so, so that they can keep the wealth of their territory to themselves.”. Meanwhile, at discussions this week a British political scientist with experience in referenda said if Bougainville chooses independence from PNG it’s likely to be some years before it is implemented. The JSB noted the progress made so far and resolved for the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Task Force on Post Referendum. Bougainville is one of the many Indigenous communities around the world fighting to protect and preserve their ancestral knowledge, language and culture. Copper Mine Underscores Doubts over Bougainville’s Economic Viability. Sir Puka said a national reconciliation and another involving former combatants were postponed last month because of the PNG government’s change of leadership. Mr Ahern also said "the referendum result will bring more hard work. Our fragmented worldview has created a separation theology and our separated theology has divided our sociology. Having observed those preliminary conditions, Bougainville duly conducted the referendum on independence. (2018). ” The United States and its Pacific allies have plugged a funding gap that endangered next month’s independence referendum in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) region of Bougainville, a strategic move that also sidelined China, two sources told Reuters. The first Greater Autonomy for Bougainville and the other full Independence from Papua New Guinea. Both governments will agree upon the official date of the referendum. One estimate cited by the Lowy Institute says Bougainville would only have 56% of the revenue needed to be self-reliant. Careful consideration of ‘mobile telephone literacy’ is needed in the design and promotion of future innovative services. Available at: [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020], ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. Yet in remains in pockets among the Wakunai peoples and some isolated villages we visited inland from the west coast. “China is everywhere. Even in colonial times, Bougainville was an outpost. “This cannot be done legally,” Kerr wrote. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. “This land must become holy again, Me’ekamui. It seems that the overwhelming outcome of the referendum on Bougainville, with over 97% of eligible voters supporting independence, surprised even seasoned observers. Despite the overwhelming desire for autonomy, Bougainvilleans require political support and good faith from the PNG national government in Port Moresby before a new sovereign state can be established. Available at: [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. The President Momis mentioned the people of Bougainville that despite so many problems they have faced in the past kept their faith for the future of Bougainville as clearly demonstrated by their vote. Its destructive connections co-opt leaderships in a way that doesn’t work out well for people.”. The women had representatives that came all the way from North,Central and South Bougainville for this meeting. We have not learnt enough. Almost 40 years ago, Bougainville’s Panguna mine was the biggest contributor to Papua New Guinea’s export income and the largest open-cut in the world. Bougainville’s people are expected to vote decisively for independence in the Oct. 17 referendum, according to Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based policy think tank. It was implemented by the Autonomous Bougainville Government with the support of the PNG, Australian and New Zealand governments, and operated by Digicel. The civil war may be long buried by the media, but political leaders in Port Moresby, Canberra, Beijing and Washington are keeping a keen eye on Bougainville as they plan their next moves. Likewise, Luke Fletcher, executive director of the Sydney-based Jubilee Australia Research Centre, which studies the social and environmental impacts of resources projects on Pacific communities, says reopening Panguna would be a long, expensive and difficult proposition. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne this week visited Bougainville for a few hours amid fears an upcoming independence vote there could undermine regional stability and provide an opening for China to establish a strategic foothold in what could become the Pacific’s newest nation state. For instance, that technology should be simple to use for people with low literacy, numeracy and technical skills. Hon. The vote is not binding and any move toward independence will require agreement from the central government of Papua New Guinea, commonly referred to as PNG. Claudio said that giving Upes a chance to vote at male-only polling stations was one of many referendum firsts. It is a period when serious negotiations and consultations between the government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville will begin, based on the result of the Bougainville Referendum. Regional, International Eyes on October Referendum. Prime Minister James Marape today acknowledged the result of the Bougainville Referendum. This Sunday, a special #60Mins investigation revealing the communist superpower’s soft invasion of Australia’s island neighbours. Part 2 Report and pictures from Ben Bohane. But I'm confident that what I have witnessed and learnt is a resilience and an unwavering commitment to peace by peaceful means". ”  Experts believe people the 250,000 to 300,000 people of Bougainville will vote overwhelming in favor of independence ahead of the other option, which is greater autonomy. Are the current Melanesian leaders still holding onto this important vision? Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Sir Puka, who has significantly lifted the tempo on Bougainville since coming into the role just weeks ago, said it is vital for all of PNG’s leaders to show their commitment to the referendum process. Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE and ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS signed the joint resolution in the afternoon at the Presidential villa in front of journalists and the Ministers and members from both the ABG and the National Government. This was conducted by the BRC, the independent agency established by the two governments of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville to conduct the referendum, between 23 November and 7 December 2019. Gordon PeakeGordon Peake is a 2020-2021 Visitor with the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Effective government-to-people communications are vital for an informed and engaged citizenry and are essential for the effective operation of democracy. He said election officers hiked for two hours into the jungle to collect the votes. Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. Solutions to ensure as to whether Melanesia will survive or not require a collective effort. The mine was a huge export earner for Papua New Guinea, but many in Bougainville felt they got no benefit and resented the pollution and disruption to their traditional way of living. But more than 40 U.N. staffers and over 100 international observers helped oversee a process that Claudio said had gone remarkably well. The decade-long civil war led to further autonomy for the region, and last year it voted overwhelmingly to become independent from PNG in a non-binding referendum. Bougainville News 2020 : The Bougainville referendum and the fate of Melanesia: Which Way, Big Man? Research participants also suggested leveraging the hotline for use in community-based, face-to-face activities. I want to assure the people of Bougainville and all Papua New Guineans that the Government has heard your voice”, the Prime Minister said. “If Bougainville successfully secedes, Papua New Guinea would be weaker economically, and hence likely to be more pressing, so far as Australia is concerned, for economic support.”, “Bougainville secession would also increase the possibility of instability in Papua New Guinea in other areas.”. The roots of the referendum stem from a bitter inter-clan and separatist conflict that ran from 1988 to 1997, fighting that claimed between 10,000 and 20,000 lives through a combination of violence, disease, poverty and dislocation. Although the PNG government was against independence, and does not have to accept the result, the huge mandate will make it hard to ignore. The regional body such as the MSG and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) could be very powerful institutions that allow the leaders of the Pacific nations to unite and say NO to cheque book diplomacy coming from large foreign powers. This is a war between industrial civilization versus the natural world. The fourth Agenda looked at the Restoration and Development Grants in which both governments have been at loggerheads over the calculations for the RDG. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. It is hosted by the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea as a record of an historic national event. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is nonbinding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place. But customary ownership claims – land used for generations by local communities without the need for legal title – remain unresolved and at least three mining groups are in contention, which means an early restart is unlikely. [7] In October 2018, former Taoiseach of Ireland Bertie Ahern was appointed to chair the Bougainville Referendum Commission, which is responsible for preparing the referendum.[8]. Pacific island of Bougainville is moving a step closer to potential independence from Papua New Guinea as preparations begin for a long-promised referendum later this year. Let us avoid the pitfalls of bad governance by making a conscious and conscientious choice for good governance without making compromises, taking short cuts or looking for quick fixes at the leadership level. He also thanked the Donor partners, International organizations that observed the polling and the count the UN team, High Commissioners of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many who were part of the peace process on Bougainville. The smooth conduct of the referendum was a result of the high community engagement, locally led … This bigger issue of large information ‘blackspots’ in Bougainville, due to poor access to mobile telephony, radio or other information channels, will continue to challenge government and development communicators alike. Sir Puka said there are now teams on the ground preparing for the events at a date that is yet to be announced but expected to be the end of the month. In late 2019, the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) voted in a non-binding referendum offering two choices: greater autonomy or independence. But mining has been crippled by the war – and the distribution of revenue was one of the factors behind the conflict. Sir Mel Togolo, the BCL chairman, told the company’s annual general meeting on May 2 that continued uncertainty about Panguna’s tenure remains a big challenge. Acknowledging the result is non-binding, Ahern said: the referendum is one part of that ongoing journey. James Marape, who took over as Papua New Guinea’s prime minister in late May, said on June 14 he would prefer Bougainville to remain part of a unified nation, but would listen to the people’s voice and then consult over future options. Bougainville House of Representatives, Picture Above : Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE and ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS signed the joint resolution September 12 at the Presidential villa Buka in front of journalists and the Ministers and members from both the ABG and the National Government. It is time to listen to the words of many great people who want to see these island nations thrive under autonomy and renewed freedom. [4] Mcdonald, J. One Bougainvillian, nursing graduate Alexia Baria, told news agency AFP that “happiness was an understatement”. It was a clear sign of the separate identity that Bougainvilleans have long maintained. First consultations between the PNG and autonomous Bougainville governments on how to implement the result are due to begin this week. This article focuses on one initiative, a telephone information hotline that operated for eight weeks just before polling. Voters had two options – more autonomy, or full independence. As co-founding father of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister, Fr. He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. The original paper can be found here. We can choose, if we will” The Melanesian Way (Bernard Narakobi). This is the essence of my message today. [online] Gurias Shake Off Hagen Eagles in Opening Match, Momase Teachers:Government To Abolish PNG Teachers Association, Two Arrested For Tax Related Fraud & Corruption. Tragically, crises such as those in Bougainville are typically reported on as “primitive tribes fighting”. The islands have a population of around 300,000, and 206,731 people enrolled to vote in the referendum. Along with Japan, New Zealand and the U.S., Australia has committed to a 10-year $1.7 billion electrification project in Papua New Guinea. The referendum is a key element of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), which, following a ten-year armed conflict, provided for special autonomy and a vote on independence to be … The PNG government must decide if it will continue to stand with the global capitalists or with the Bougainvilleans, West Papuans and many other resilient, grassroot communities across Oceania that say NO to colonialism, nuclear testing, climate change, corruptions that lead to mismanagement, and the gambling of their resources, history and future. This indicated that the strategy fell short of its promise, which reduced uptake of the service. The research found no striking differences in the awareness or use of the service by age or gender. If humans are to survive as a species, we cannot continue our destructive, terror-reigning path. ” The Australian governor general John Kerr warned the Queen that a plan for Bougainville independence was not lawful, was opposed by Australia and Rio Tinto copper interests, and would increase regional instability and force Australia to hand more financial support to Papua New Guinea. Agenda three was on the Post Referendum Transition of which many discussions have been made and also looking at the legal issues going forward. His movement believed that colonial administration, mining and churches were thieves full of trickeries, and that Bougainville must be restored. But the process of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve. 5 major news alerts this week ( July 1- 7) on the Bougainville Referendum, 1 : Ahern urges focus on post-referendum peace in Bougainville ( From Irish Times ), 2. They voted in highland villages and on remote atolls. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. In 2019 he was seconded to the Bougainville Referendum Commission to lead the media and voter communications campaign. Even so, some research participants did not understand how to select the four options or that the messages changed each week. In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. The end of the fighting led to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and the promise of a non-binding referendum on independence. Invisible capitalists, whose whole philosophy is based on Scottish Capitalist Adam Smith’s book “The Wealth of Nations”, are cashing their cheques amidst the slaughter of innocent Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indigenous Australian and other ancient people across the world. 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