As a disclaimer and to put my flag in the ground from the outset, I am fascinated by the sociology, remoteness and history of Pitcairn and would like to visit the place. I just don’t think I ever will….

While trawling through a daily Pacific Rim news email from the East West Centre at The University of Hawai’i, I came across this story: Pitcairn Hopes To Woo Islanders’ Descendants Back. Here is the link: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2013/October/10-23-08.htm.

What fascinates me about this story is:

–          It was on the back of an appeal by the Pitcairn Tourism Coordinator (who knew?);

–          There are few places on the planet as inaccessible or isolated as Pitcairn, so it doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for most anybody socialised anywhere else;

–          Those who it does hold appeal for, you may need to seriously worry about (more on this later);

–          The Pitcairn Islanders and their descendants left for a reason, I am doubtful that among them, much less the general global population, there are 30 people willing to move there who would be welcomed;

–          How open is Pitcairn to receiving refugees or other displaced people?;

–          A more detailed story on the same topic ran not so long ago: http://www.pidp.org/pireport/2013/August/08-20-10.htm;

–          (this is the later) THE HIGHLIGHTS OF PITCAIRN HISTORY ARE MUTINY AND, MORE RECENTLY, CHILD RAPE!

Also, there is the whole issue that if you have children, you won’t be able to take them there easily, as there are currently restrictions on people under 16 going to Pitcairn.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Pitcairn has the right to exist, that the UK has the obligation to support it, and that people who wish to settle there should be able to do so freely without question, let or hindrance. And I hope the community has healed a great deal since the recent trials. I know the Crown is not silly enough to let even the most remote scrap of rock become uninhabited. And I hope they succeed in their mission to make the island and settlement sustainable. I don’t want to see current Islanders forced to resettle elsewhere.

But, I would like to leave you with this titbit from a Pitcairn Immigration site: “Living in a tiny community on one of the most remote islands in the world is something that should be carefully considered. Once, here you’re a long way from home.” And therein lies the problem with all of this, you’ll be a long way from home…. The place they want you to emigrate to, won’t feel like home, and they know it.

So, for anyone interested, have a look at the Pitcairn Immigration website, www.immigration.pn, or flick them an email at immigration@pitcairn.gov.pn.

Questions, comments, thoughts, retorts?

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One of my favourite political analyses is Essence of Decision. If you don’t know it, the basic premise is that any situation can be analysed from multiple positions. The book uses the Cuban Missile Crisis to illustrate this.

At the risk of losing friends, being abused online and generally starting an indignant shit-storm over making suggestions contrary to hard-held views, I have had a go at seeing things from another angle in relation to the recent Australian Government decision to send people arriving by boat without a visa to this country settled in Papua New Guinea (PNG). And Now Nauru (I started this before the Nauru announcement).

If you want to have a look at my earlier ramblings on Australia’s Gulag Archipelago, have a hunt through the site. And it is here that I hate the use of the word solution, as in “Pacific solution”, as it reminds me too much of the “final solution”. Seems those in power use “solution” to conjuring support for a created “problem”, allowing them to punish the vulnerable, vilified, marginalised and misunderstood.

Like many others, I’m a slacktivist; full of position, rage and vitriol, but limited to retweeting other peoples’ ideas and arguing with people who I think are ill-informed, I don’t do too much by way of actually changing the world. I’ a lefty, and I don’t have the silver bullet.

So, to outline some of the issue people have with Australia’s deal with PNG, I have a non-exhaustive list:

–          You can’t discriminate against people  seeking asylum by the method of arrival in your country;

–          PNG is a dangerous country, and our own Government’s travel advice is to exercise extreme caution if there;

–          We are punishing the victim;

–          With no clan or lineage, those settled in PNG will not be able to own land;

–          It is not illegal to seek asylum;

–          Nauru is too small;

–          See the rest of this site for more reasons Nauru isn’t suitable for resettling anyone!

And now some of my own concerns:

–          PNG is probably the most culturally diverse state on the planet, and even among its own people, there is trouble a plenty;

–          PNG can’t even successfully resettle its own people from the Carteret Islands, who would we thing they will be able to handle this?

–          If they arrive by plane, will they be welcome?

–          What if they arrive by plane without a visa?

–          Nauru is politically unstable;

–          Nauru could well be turned into a prison island (which is a concern I once held for Christmas Island)

–          Nauru and PNG will continue to be vassal states of Australia.

And now, to my recent thinking on what possible good could come settling people in PNG. Yes, I know this is unpalatable. No, I’m not justifying it (see paragraphs one and two).

–          We have a problem in Australia with asylum seekers/refugees with qualifications and experience being unable to work, refused the right to work, and having their qualifications dismissed. If it possible this situation could be reversed in PNG and on Nauru?

–          PNG is a struggling country. I can’t be bothered finding evidence, but I’m sure it has been called a shithole more than once. Nauru similarly. But, could the largesse being labelled “aid” actually help in some way?

–          If this hurts Labor in the polls, the Greens may get some votes, and so will the Liberals. Could the lefty backlash against this hurt Labor and help the Liberal Party win the upcoming election?

–          Could this actually be a good thing for Nauru? Skilled migrants to a country devoid of any apparent administrative talent.

–          If Australia wants to stop people coming to Australia by boat, Australia needs to assist refugees and asylum seekers to bypass the boat journey. How do you think we could do this? Processing in Indonesia and Malaysia?

–          If you were a Nauruan or PNG politician, what would you do?

–          If you were Christmas Island, what would you be thinking about al this?

–          How many people are going to become virtual prisoners on Nauru or in PNG?

But, beside all this, do we think this proposal will actually last?

And now is the controversial part: what do you think is a “solution”? And what is the “problem”?

If you dislike a contravention of international law, I respect that. If you think people would be better off resettled in Australia than PNG or Nauru, I understand that. If for you the most important point is dissuading people form dying at sea, how would you have that happen? And now, is there any good that could come from these agreements?

Maybe this didn’t end up as much like Essence as I thought when I started writing, but I hope you get the point I’m making.

Questions, comments, thoughts, retorts?

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A few events of the last two days have had me thinking. This is something of a brain dump.

The general thrust of the first is that people seeking asylum in Australia, if they arrive by boat, will be resettled in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The second is that there was a riot/disturbance/unrest/event/venting of pent-up emotion at a detention facility on Nauru.

And here is the brain dump:

  • There is a great irony in Australia having Nauru over a barrel, while now being over a barrel itself at the hands of PNG.
  • If you lock people up indefinitely, with no recourse, what the hell do you expect will happen?
  • With PNG being one of the most (practically undisputedly) culturally diverse, and most conflicted regions on the planet, what good can come from settling asylum seekers there?
  • Scott Morrison’s spiel to the media conflating pink batts-related fires with events on Nauru shows how pathetic Australian politics and political discourse and political critique happen to be.
  • The Labor party is using government funds to advertise recent policy changes, so is effectively managing to have free electoral advertising.
  • And why advertise these changes domestically? We all already live here! Again, misuse of funds?
  • There is a song by Redgum called Long Run, and I wonder how different it would be were it rehashed today.
  • As the Australian public is so outraged by the thought of someone arriving without “documents”, perhaps we should set up a separate channel for processing for those who have “documents”. (Tongue very much in cheek now) Then we could impose the mental-health-blood-sport approach to the rest; this could please all sides, or at least some of the most rabid on all sides….
  • Australians’ outrage and surprise at the activation/enlisting/recruiting of Nauruan ‘deputies’ shows they have limited understanding of the nature of rural/regional/remote/isolated law enforcement; we do something very similar in Australia, but we call them “special constables”. In fact, I remember them being activated as a child when we had events on Christmas Island. While the system used on Nauru seems unpalatable, and ad hoc, how do you propose they deal with it? This is a basket case country with basket case government, so be glad they can still afford a phone system.
  • For all the outrage and angst, we still have not seen a solution proposed that allows a degree of decency in the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia.
  • What happened to the ideal of Advance Australia? We seem to have conveniently removed it form our daily considerations.

Questions, comments, thoughts, retorts?

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The basket case of the Pacific

May 30, 2013

I’m beginning to think the people of Nauru may actually deserve the parliamentarians they have had over the last few years. Actually, I’ve probably decided they do deserve them, and the disjointed confusion and waste that the inability to form a government or even attend parliament delivers. The real question is: Why do Nauruans keep […]

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It’s been a while…….

January 9, 2012

It has been a long time since I published here. Not through lack of interest or shortage of material, it has been a mixture of laziness, malaise, being “out of practice”, and getting posts half written and then deciding the time has passed me by. In the past few (read many) months, I have gained […]

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Christmas Island’s Maritime Curse Continues

January 9, 2012

This afternoon, I visited Facebook and found this statement, from one of my closest friends: “Thinking of you all on the island, a bit lost for words really…. What could possibly go wrong next? When is the place going to get a break from shit going wrong!!” It made me immediately fear something awful, like […]

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Sport and politics; we’re doing it wrong

June 8, 2011

Sport and politics…. Apparently they do mix. It is often said that sport and politics shouldn’t mix. Stiff shit, Princess, they do mix. Sometimes it gets taken a little too far. And it is also true that there are very few things in life that are apolitical. And just because you think something is apolitical, […]

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Fiji… What to do about Fiji?

May 21, 2011

The most serious and interesting issue from the last week (and probably for the week ahead) has definitely been the flight of Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara from Fiji to Tonga. This has made some things abundantly clear, raised a few questions, and been met with mixed reactions. The responses of Canberra and Wellington […]

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Introducing Australia’s Gulag Archipelago

May 8, 2011

There’s a bit more going on in this post than I would like, but hopefully it makes a few decent points or gets you thinking. The main point is the impact of what I have dubbed Australia’s Gulag Archipelago. I haven’t taken the time to refine or even balance it, but I will more fully […]

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Mixed bag issues update

May 3, 2011

The good: It may seem like a bad joke for Nauru to be involved in a forestry program, but there are few places on earth that need such efforts, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has started restoration on Nauru and Solomon Islands. Internet coverage and telecommunications services spreading fast through the Pacific Islands. […]

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