Fond illusions: Some reflections on Australian dependence, Pacific interventions and Indigenous land (2006)

The development of an independent Australian voice and policy seemed promising, and several suggested elements leave us with the fond illusion that one exists. However crippling disabilities stand in the way. Independence might be recognised through the shared and clearly defined institutions of citizenship, mutual support and solidarity. Yet Australian independence has been compromised by imperial dependence and imperial emulation. Continue reading “Fond illusions: Some reflections on Australian dependence, Pacific interventions and Indigenous land (2006)”

Valuation and registration of customary land in Papua New Guinea (2006)

This paper considers what an opportunity cost valuation of customary land can tell us about the pressures for land registration in Papua New Guinea. The discussion here presents a historical perspective on land registration, introduces land disputes and land markets in PNG, explains an opportunity cost valuation of land, and then suggest ways in which such valuations can help us interpret the processes of land registration. Calculations on the economic value of customary land draws on data from pilot surveys of land use in two provinces (Madang and Oro). Continue reading “Valuation and registration of customary land in Papua New Guinea (2006)”

Food security and agriculture in the Australia-East Timor relationship (2006)

This chapter will discuss important conflicts of interest over agricultural development in the Australia-East Timor relationship. East Timor needs to stabilise domestic production, as the central element of its food security strategy. However Australia has a strategic view of global agricultural liberalisation, and uses aid programs to advance these interests. Different approaches to ‘food security’ are linked to distinct interests. This paper discusses those different approaches and their associated agricultural development implications. Continue reading “Food security and agriculture in the Australia-East Timor relationship (2006)”

The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)

In 1997 the Howard Government gave Australia’s foreign aid program a ‘poverty reduction’ focus with a ‘national interest’ link, later developing ‘good governance’ as the principal program theme. This anticipated the IMF and World Bank’s 1999 abandoning of ‘structural adjustment’ in favour of ‘poverty reduction’ programs, and build on National Competition Policy established by the previous Labor Government. Most aid moneys are now contracted to private Australia (and New Zealand) based companies, and the total aid budget has grown considerably. Continue reading “The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)”

Challenging ‘integrated conservation and development’ in Papua New Guinea: The Bismarck Ramu Group (2005)

This paper examines Bismarck Ramu Group’s distinct model of community development. After looking at a brief history of the group, its internal workings and its modified approach to conservation, the paper tries to identify possible lessons for other groups. Four broad lessons are suggested: the self-reliant model, indigenous community empowerment, the challenge to ‘desocialised’ conservation and certain elements of the group’s process. Continue reading “Challenging ‘integrated conservation and development’ in Papua New Guinea: The Bismarck Ramu Group (2005)”

Independent development in East Timor? (2005)

Independent development is possible, but difficult, in a small country like Timor-Leste. It requires solidarity and independent thinking. Yet independent thinking is constantly under threat from what might be called the ‘Anglo economic technocracy’, a mindset which stresses privatisation, uncoordinated investment and supposed open markets. Continue reading “Independent development in East Timor? (2005)”

A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)

The World Bank has attempted to deceive the people of Papua New Guinea, by representing itself as dedicated to ‘good governance’. It is in fact a representative of large, private corporate interests, which are seeking market access and profitable opportunities. A collection of nice-sounding principles obscures this simple fact. Continue reading “A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)”

Self-determination after Independence: East Timor and the World Bank (2003)

This paper introduces the concept of self-determination in the East Timorese struggle for political independence, and then examines the question of economic self-determination, with special focus on the role of the World Bank in East Timor The paper discusses the Bank’s relationship with East Timor’s Transitional Administration (under the United Nations’ Transitional Authority), and then some new self-determination dilemmas for the politically independent Democratic Republic of East Timor. Continue reading “Self-determination after Independence: East Timor and the World Bank (2003)”

Aid, trade and oil: Australia’s second betrayal of East Timor (2003)

Having abandoned the East Timorese people to invasion and genocide for a quarter of a century, a bewildered Australian Government was forced into military intervention in late 1999, just as that little nation began its final race towards independence. Though civil solidarity had grown over many years, state intervention in support of the East Timorese was a very last minute affair. Informed observers note that there were joint US-Indonesian military exercises just days before the August 1999 referendum. Continue reading “Aid, trade and oil: Australia’s second betrayal of East Timor (2003)”

Ukun Rasik An: More than independence (2002)

Short documentary based on interviews with East Timorese people as their nation prepares for the ‘restoration of independence’ on 20 May 2002 [Independence was first declared in 1975]. The video ends with footage of the 2002 celebrations. Music: ‘O Cabalo Azul’ by Carlos Nuñez and friends. Continue reading “Ukun Rasik An: More than independence (2002)”